BELL BUCKLE, Tenn. – The Webb School set a record in welcoming 330 students for on-campus and online classes that began Aug. 17. It is the school’s 151st year, and students represent 15 different countries, 12 states and 23 Tennessee cities, with 119 boarding and 211 day students. Webb’s admissions team is continuing to enroll students.
“What a glorious opening day for our 151st year,” said Head of School Ken Cheeseman, who is in his first year joining the school July 1. “Our beautiful campus was looking its best, and the weather was about as perfect as one could hope for in mid-August in Tennessee. After months in waiting, our campus is alive again with the energy and excitement of students,” he added.
In a message at the close of the first day, Cheeseman expressed to parents, “I want to again thank you for the confidence you have placed in us and for the privilege and blessing of working with your students. Welcome back, Webb family!”
“Planning for a new school year is always important,” said the new head. This year, however, as we prepared to open campus with in-person and also online classes, we formulated those plans amid continued COVID-19 precautions, guidelines and restrictions,” said Cheeseman. “We developed Safe Start 2020: Webb’s Reopening Plan to communicate the most up-to-date information to our day and boarding families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Being informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governmental bodies and educational organizations, our leadership team continued to fine-tune health and safety plans and educational strategies.”
Webb’s reputation, leading a day/boarding school -- a combination that he found “very appealing” early in his career -- and returning to Tennessee, attracted him to Webb during the 2019 head of school search. The new head also brings experience in strategic planning, policy setting, admissions and fundraising. Cheeseman’s career includes leadership positions at three Tennessee schools, including two in Nashville, and service as Tennessee Association of Independent Schools Board president.
“I have often thought of Webb throughout my career and have been aware of the school's storied history, its success and its reputation for education excellence,” he said.
Cheeseman said he has been impressed by Webb’s alumni. “One of the elements that I appreciate is the deep love and affection that the alumni base has for Webb. Clearly the experiences that so many of our students have had at Webb have been transformative in their lives. This inspires me with a strong sense of purpose to continue those kinds of experiences for our students.”
Prior to Webb, Cheeseman served as Head of School of Fort Worth Christian School in Fort Worth, Texas. He has also held positions of Head of School and Academic Dean, respectively, at St. Paul Christian Academy and Brentwood Academy, both in Nashville, Tenn., and served in various leadership roles at TMI Episcopal in San Antonio, Texas, McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Woodberry Forest School in Orange, Va. He is a graduate of University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Economics and received a Master of Education in Curriculum Leadership from Lipscomb University. He and wife Cathy, who reside in Murfreesboro, have four children, including Abby Faith 13, a Webb eighth grader. Cathy Cheeseman, a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, who earned All-Southern Conference in track and has received numerous Tennessee and USA Track and Field Coach of the Year honors, will coach Webb’s varsity boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams.