(SAVANNAH, Ga.) After more than 25 years of serving as a leader in education and eight years as President of Bethesda Academy, Dr. H. Michael Hughes announced that he will retire at the end of the 2023-2024 academic school year.

Hughes, who became president of the all-boys private school in July 2016, worked closely with the Board of Governors to create the “New Bethesda,” honoring George Whitefield’s command to instill in young men a love of God, a love of learning, and a strong work ethic but providing them with a transformational and holistic education that will ensure a lifetime of success. He has overseen notable improvements in the life of the school, including the modernization of facilities, expansion of academic and leadership programs and the successful navigation through the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been a tireless advocate for the students of Bethesda Academy, playing a pivotal role in creating a welcoming and supportive learning environment for all students.

“I’m thrilled we were able to make so much progress for the students here at Bethesda Academy.” Hughes said. “Any success I can claim is certainly shared with our wonderful faculty and staff.”

Working closely with Dr. Ted Moore and the Board of Governors, Bethesda Academy developed a new strategic plan, Lead the Way, focusing on enhancing academic, athletic, character and leadership development programs. Hughes developed partnerships with several institutions, including the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, Point University, the Georgia Ports Authority, Savannah Technical College and Xcel Strategies.

The athletic program made significant gains, including upgraded weight room facilities, the building of a football field and track and the performance of the Blazer football and basketball teams in state playoff tournaments. This year, Bethesda Academy won its first SCISA State Championship in football.

In 2017, Hughes was given the Georgia GOAL Advocacy Award. In 2020, he was honored with the SCISA Betty B. Disher Educational Innovation Award, recognizing the improvements and innovative practices in Bethesda Academy’s teaching and learning curriculum. President Paula Wallace awarded Bethesda Academy the prestigious SCAD Salutes Award in 2021 for Bethesda’s invaluable efforts in educating and supporting the youth in the Savannah and local community.

A seasoned educator and decorated military officer, Hughes brought 22 years of leadership experience to Bethesda Academy. Previously head of Antilles School and West Point’s Center for Enhanced Performance, he boasts graduate degrees from Virginia and UNC Chapel Hill and his exceptional military service earned him the Legion of Merit.

Paul Pressly, chair of the Bethesda Academy Board of Governors, has named a national search committee is working with RG 175, a national search firm, to select the next Bethesda Academy president. The Bethesda Academy committee chair is Kim Iocovozzi, and committee members include Quentin Marlin, Carol Bell, Leslie Littlejohn, Terry Longworth, and Pressly.

“I have enjoyed working with Mike and watching him improve the educational program at Bethesda. Now that he has accomplished nearly all of the initiatives in the Lead the Way plan, I can understand his desire to retire after a long and successful career. A new leader will be able to build on Mike’s accomplishments and raise the organization to the next level,” Pressly said. “We’ll be looking for someone with the visionary leadership and collaborative management skills to continue building on the legacy of Bethesda’s founder, George Whitefield, and its 283 years of history.”

Bethesda Academy is a private day school for young men in grades six through twelve in Savannah, Ga. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Bethesda Academy offers small class sizes, individual learning plans, and a student success leadership program. Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. The 650-acre campus allows Bethesda Academy to offer a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and outdoor learning experience with a college preparatory curriculum. Through its “Lead The Way” initiative, students have access to exclusive integrated learning and leadership opportunities. For more information, visit www.bethesdaacademy.org or call 912.644.4376.

Cynthia Cradduck
Cecilia Russo Marketing, LLC