Quest Academy selects Baltimore educator as new head of school

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 3/5/2015 11:35 AM
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  • Quest Academy in Palatine has named Khalek Kirkland its new head of school, effective July 1. Kirkland, who replaces Benjamin Hebebrand, currently serves as head of school at the SEED School in Baltimore.

    Quest Academy in Palatine has named Khalek Kirkland its new head of school, effective July 1. Kirkland, who replaces Benjamin Hebebrand, currently serves as head of school at the SEED School in Baltimore. Courtesy of Quest Academy

Quest Academy in Palatine announced Thursday that Khalek Kirkland, who currently heads the SEED School in Baltimore, will take over as the academy's head of school effective July 1.

Kirkland will become the fifth head of school at Quest, an independent school that attracts gifted students from more than 25 Chicago suburbs. He will succeed Benjamin Hebebrand, who last fall announced plans to move to Wisconsin with his wife, and assume leadership of the Madison Country Day School.

Quest's board of trustees unanimously approved Kirkland's appointment based on the recommendation of a search committee tasked with finding Hebebrand's successor.

"Our nationwide search process sought the best leadership in education today, and we got him," board President Chris Dickerson said in a statement announcing the hire. "Khalek inspired the trustees from our first meeting, with his intelligence, by his passion for teaching and learning, and deep commitment to nurturing the whole child."

Kirkland has served as the head of school for the past five years at the SEED School in Baltimore, a public boarding school that serves at-risk children from across Maryland.

At SEED, Kirkland oversaw school operations, improved the curriculum, introduced new athletic programs, raised more than $5 million in capital and $2.5 million in grants, and established academic and community ties with local institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University, according to Quest.

"I am deeply honored to be joining Quest as its new head of school, and extend my humble gratitude to the search committee and board of trustees for trusting me with the responsibility to lead," Kirkland said in Quest's announcement. "During the search process, everyone I met shared a genuine passion and infectious enthusiasm for the school, in large part thanks to Ben Hebebrand. My goal is to build on that, as we chart the school's dynamic future together as a community."

Before taking the reins at SEED, Kirkland served as Senior Director of Leadership for the NYC Board of Education, and principal of the Ronald Edmonds Learning Center in Brooklyn.

He earned doctorate and master's degrees from Fordham University, a master's degree in mathematics education from New York University, and his bachelor's degree in political science from Morehouse College.

"Dr. Kirkland's educational vision is a perfect fit for Quest Academy and its students," Hebebrand said.

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