By Aiden Wacksman
In 2017, Dr. James Hutchins joined the Oak Hall family as the sixth Head of School Oak Hall has seen in its 50 years.
Born at the Fort McClellan Military Base in Anniston, Ala., Hutchins was raised by his mother in Rome, Ga. While his father was deployed to Vietnam, as he was a soldier in the Army, his mother worked many hours to support her four children. Hutchins attended public school, where he was held back in first grade. Hutchins felt that he needed to “catch up with the other students,” he noted. This occurrence, however, he considers the turning point in his life. Throughout the rest of his lower and middle school education, he earned high grades, often receiving honors and high honors. In high school, Hutchins explained that his grades suffered somewhat because he played football and baseball, all while working a part time job.
After graduating high school, Hutchins began his long journey to obtain a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. He earned his bachelor’s degree in middle school science and math at Shorter College in his hometown, and he earned his master’s degree and his doctorate at the University of Alabama. While working toward his higher degrees, Hutchins taught middle school science at the Darlington School in Rome, Ga. Teaching and going to school became difficult at certain points because Hutchins was coaching, teaching, and taking care of his two children simultaneously.
Hutchins later advanced his career by becoming the headmaster at The Donoho School in Anniston, Ala., where his tenure spanned three years. He learned about the unique opportunity to become Oak Hall’s next Head of School via a search consultant. At the time, he wasn’t keen about coming to Oak Hall because he was content at his current school. His change of heart, however, manifested when he did research about Oak Hall. Hutchins immediately fell in love with the school and its community. “I felt the fit was right,” he said.
His mother Glenda is the constant inspiration for his life. “She worked hard to raise four kids by herself,” Hutchins explained. “She never complained or made excuses,” he continued. His mother taught him the value of hard work and encouraged him to be the best person possible.
In his spare time, Hutchins jogs three to four days a week for three miles while listening to Elvis. He also loves to read, but he especially appreciates literature that discusses leadership and empowerment. His favorite book is “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.
“I would want to be remembered as someone that cared about the success of our students and enjoyed doing it every day,” Hutchins said.