By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Susan “Susie” Wooten Kirk was formally introduced Monday, July 18, as Escambia Academy’s new headmaster.
Kirk, who was a teacher for eight years and a counselor at Flomaton High and Escambia County High for the past 20, has a Bachelor of Science in Education and a master’s degree in Counseling. She steps into the vacancy created by the recent departure of Hugh Fountain, who was the school’s headmaster and head football coach.
Board president Chris McElhaney said God intervened in the search for a new leader for the school, making the process less taxing than it might have been.
“We have searched for a new headmaster, and God has blessed us with a new one,” he said. “Our prayer was that God give us direction, and the board had a feeling of peace come over us. So, it’s not like we’ve been struggling, concerned or fretting over the school. We’re going to hit the ground running, and Susie is going to turn the tide, bring us all together. She is a perfect fit for EA.”
According to a press release issued by the board, Kirk and her family “share a rich history and tradition at Escambia Academy in that her family has been proud to be called Cougars for almost 40 years.”
Her husband, Chris, graduated from EA in 1986 and was a member of the school’s first state championship basketball team. He later served as president of the board for five years and as “The Voice of the Cougars” during live radio broadcasts for 20 years.
Each of the Kirks’ sons — Blake, who graduated in 2009, Tanner, who graduated in 2011, and Garrett, a 2015 graduate — attended EA from K4 through 12th grade. Garrett was part of the first EA state championship football team. The Kirks’ daughter-in-law, Mary Maud Meacham Kirk, graduated from EA in 2012.
The new headmaster said she is filled with positive emotion over her new position.
“If it is possible to be completely humbled, honored and beyond excited at the same time, that is how I would describe my emotions at this point,” she said. “I have often said that when I retired, I wanted to come be headmaster at Escambia Academy, but I never in my wildest dreams expected it to come true.
“I am so thankful to the board of directors for allowing me the opportunity to serve the students, faculty, staff, parents and stakeholders of Escambia Academy. God’s timing is amazing, and I have absolutely no doubt that this is where I have been sent to serve.”
Board member Tim Doerr said Chris Kirk was a Godsend for him when he first joined the board.
“In 2014 or 2015, when I came on the board, I was lost, so I reached out to Chris Kirk,” Doerr said. “When it came time to look for a new headmaster, they were the family I thought of. It’s great to have her come back: I’m super-excited.”
Susie Kirk said she would work to maintain and restore many of the family and religious traditions on which the school was founded.
“My vision for Escambia Academy is for all of us to embrace and build upon the family oriented, Christian tradition that has driven and sustained this school for decades, as we strive to continue to excel in academics, sports, the arts, student government, community involvement, and hopefully, many new things to come,” she said. “A house divided cannot stand, so I hope we will all be united. I know we can build on some of the great traditions here. Escambia Academy will only be as successful as the support that we receive from our community of families.”
She added that the three things that are most important to her — family, God and EA — make her new job a great fit.
“I love the family atmosphere here, I love that we can worship here,” she said. “I’ve got a lot to learn, but we’re headed in the right direction.”
Staff member Ditto Gorme contributed to this article.