A highly-qualified educator with national and international experience will be installed as the 18th head of school for All Saints Episcopal School on September 5. The formal service will take place at 8 a.m. in the Patriot Gym on the school’s campus, 3222 103rd Street.
Mr. Bruce Latta joined All Saints on June 15 as the school’s new head of school to succeed Dr. Mike Bennett, who retired at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Latta was selected from an impressive field of candidates by the Board of Trustees, Head of School Search Committee, parents and faculty. His educational experiences include working for national organizations developing curriculum, assessments, and instruction as well as serving as a school administrator and teacher in the United States and overseas. Most recently, Latta was the Division Head for the Middle and Upper Schools for the Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Florida before moving to Lubbock.
“Bruce Latta has demonstrated a passion for education and innovation that will serve the All Saints School students well,” All Saints Board of Trustees Chairman Paula Key said. “He has an exciting vision for the future that will carry our mission of academic excellence forward with unique educational opportunities for the All Saints School students of all ages.”
Latta’s formal installation ceremony will be led by The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of NW Texas. Bishop Mayer will be assisted by The Rev. Paige McKay, Chaplain of All Saints Episcopal School, and Rev. Deacon Melissa Cross, All Saints High School English teacher.
“During the service, Mr. Latta will vow to foster the love of learning, intellectual curiosity, spiritual foundation, and moral character each student will need to achieve his or her fullest potential as a child of God,” All Saints Chaplain Paige McKay said. “The School community also commits its continued prayers for Mr. Latta and his work. This is a meaningful service and one the school community looks forward to with anticipation.”
Latta said his family’s transition to Lubbock has been easy. He and his wife, Emily, have two daughters; Hayley (a sophomore) and Tyler (a junior). Both daughters are attending All Saints High School. “Life in West Texas is terrific,” he said. “Lubbock may be the best kept secret in the nation.”
“Professionally, the transition has been exceptionally smooth, mainly because All Saints is a terrific school. It helps that all of my teaching and school administration experience have been at independent schools like All Saints,” Latta said. “Independent schools have a different level of demand placed on them than other private and public schools, from college counseling to fundraising to providing unique opportunities for children that they cannot get anywhere else. The work ahead is familiar, energizing, and exciting.”
Latta earned a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University; an M.B.A. from The University of Michigan; a M.Ed. in Learning and Technology from Western Governor’s University; and a Certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.
He began his teaching career in 1987 in Maryland at St. Paul’s School teaching math, coaching three sports, co-directing the jazz band, and serving as a Class Dean. He was awarded a fellowship at Columbia University, he taught overseas at Sutton Valence School in Maidstone, England, and he developed the curriculum and taught gifted programs hosted at the Hong Kong International School in Tai Tam, Hong Kong.
In 1995, Latta moved to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth where he coordinated the development and supervision of residential summer programs for gifted students. He then moved to New York City to join The Edison Project [now Edison Learning], where he served as Associate Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Division and later as Vice-President of Edison Extra, a summer school program that served 35,000 students.
In 2002, he became the Vice President of Policy, Standards, and Instruction for the Council for Basic Education, where he supervised the development and evaluation of academic standards, testing programs, and teacher training programs. He also served as Director of Research and Content for the National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, a federally-funded whole-school reform program housed at George Washington University.
“These unique experiences broadened my perspective: my vision of education is not limited to one particular approach. This works well at independent schools like All Saints,” Latta said. “We are not constrained by state testing and have greater flexibility to meet each student’s individual needs.”
Latta said this independence creates three exciting challenges for All Saints. “First, we have to provide an exceptional education for all students. Second, we must offer students unique opportunities that they cannot get anywhere else. Finally, because we are independent and need to charge tuition, we have to earn families’ business every year,” he said. “We have intelligent, informed, and successful families at All Saints who have both high standards and plenty of educational options. As a result, “good enough” is not good enough at All Saints Episcopal School; we have to be exceptional.”
He left Washington in 2004 to help his parents prepare the family business for an eventual sale. In 2006 he began his tenure at the Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Florida, where he remained until he moved to Lubbock to join All Saints Episcopal School. The Out-of-Door Academy is a co-ed PK-12 school with an enrollment of 725 students.
While there, Latta served as the Division Head of the Upper School and later the Middle School. He led the Upper School through a challenging period that culminated in expanded arts and athletics programs, improved SAT scores and AP scores, increased academic and elective offerings, and a larger enrollment. Because of his success with the Upper School, he was chosen to lead the creation of a stand-alone Middle School at the Out-of-Door Academy.
“Both Out-of-Door and All Saints are exceptional independent schools with long traditions of excellence in their communities,” Latta said. “When I started at Out-of-Door, the high school was young, just like All Saints’ high school, and it had not yet developed into the school of choice that it is today.”
Latta said All Saints is currently facing many of the same challenges that the Out-of Door Academy faced a decade ago. “I’m confident that we will succeed because both Out-of-Door and All Saints have the same core strengths: an exceptional faculty that will go to the ends of the Earth to help children, terrific students, and supportive families,” he said.