Head of School
On July 1, 2018, Chris Durst became Altamont’s new head of school—the fifth since Altamont was formed in 1975 through the merger of Birmingham University School and Brooke Hill School. He served previously as upper school principal at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia, and brings more than 29 years of diverse experience in independent schools as a teacher and administrator to his new position at Altamont.
What was your first job?
I got my very first job when I was 17 as a maintenance person at an apartment complex. That wasn’t a great summer! My first job in education was as a 7th grade geography teacher, varsity boys soccer coach, jv boys basketball coach, and middle school baseball coach at Columbus Academy in Columbus, Ohio.
What is one thing you hope students know when they graduate?
I want them to know so many things! Fundamentally, I hope students know the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and that they have a sense of humility and empathy.
What is one of your favorite memories from middle or high school?
Our high school opened a new theater, and I had the lead role in the first play, Caine Mutiny Court Martial. We were so excited to have that new space. It was a big moment for the school and to be a part of that was special. We also won a state baseball championship when I was in high school, which was also a very big moment.
What is the best advice you were given and by whom?
The best advice I was given came from my high school baseball coach: “The more you give of yourself, the more you will love what is left.” I have thought of that at so many different points in my life.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your first year at Altamont?
Honestly, to get to know everyone’s name! I want to be able to recognize and greet every person I meet in the hallway.