SAIS President Announcement

September 28, 2023

The SAIS Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Brett Jacobsen has been selected to serve as the next SAIS president as of July 1, 2024.

During his 28-year career, Brett has demonstrated the vision, strategy, growth, and advancement required for this new era of leadership. Serving in almost every facet of a school environment, including as CEO/head of school for the past 18 years, he has a deep understanding of the current demands of the SAIS independent school marketplace and the disposition to provide the professional support to school leaders and their communities to live out their respective missions more fully. Additionally, he has developed an extensive and diverse network, partnering with hundreds of school leaders within SAIS and throughout the world.

Since 2009, Brett has served as the chief executive officer at The Mount Vernon School in Atlanta. During this transformational period, the school experienced exponential growth in enrollment and gained a national reputation for innovation in education. Illustrating this, Mount Vernon’s upper school launched a school-within-a-school model, Innovation Diploma, whose students have served as consultants for Delta, Mercedes, AT&T, Porsche, and the National Center for Civil & Human Rights. In 2012, Brett started an R&D lab known as Mount Vernon Ventures, serving educational communities throughout the world. Over the past decade, Ventures has welcomed over 1,000 teachers and administrators to education visitation days, workshops, and summer conferences. Recently, he founded Mount Vernon Online, an online high school, enrolling its first cohort of students in August 2022. 

The transformational story at Mount Vernon was recognized in 2021 by NBOA when Brett received the inaugural Jeffrey Shields Innovation in Operations Award. Additionally, he was highlighted by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 2017 Most Admired CEOs in the education category. Prior to coming to Mount Vernon, he served as head of school at Second Baptist School in Houston, Texas, where he began his teaching career and deepened his expertise as division head, dean, and development director. 

After growing up in rural west Texas, he received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, a master’s in educational leadership and supervision from the University of Houston, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Baylor University. He is also a proud member of Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2013. 

As a certified foresight practitioner, Brett frequently shares his journey of innovation and entrepreneurial impact at national and international conferences. Additionally, he has served as a board and advisory council member for SAIS, Leadership + Design, Consilience Learning, EDLeader21, and the Sandy Springs Arts Foundation. In addition to being a voracious researcher, Brett loves traveling with his wife, Adrienne, and their two teenage daughters. 

Before Brett begins his role on July 1, 2024, please take a moment to read his letter to the SAIS community. Also, if you’d like to send a note of congratulations, he can be reached at

SAIS would like to extend thanks to Jack Hall of CarterBaldwin Executive Search for leading a nationwide search which began in May and generated applications from leaders across the country. Thank you also to the members of the Search Committee:

  • Chair: Jackie Westerfield, Grandview Preparatory School (FL)
  • DuBose Egleston, Porter-Gaud School (SC)
  • Autumn Graves, St. Anne’s-Belfield School (VA)
  • Adam Greene, Episcopal School of Jacksonville (FL)
  • Stuart Gulley, Woodward Academy (GA)
  • Palmer Kennedy, Jackson Academy (MS)
  • Mark Reed, John M. Belk Endowment (NC)
  • Kelley Waldron, St. Andrew’s School (GA)
  • Staff: Lori Spear, SAIS (GA)

“Brett is very much a leader of the moment and for the future. I am so excited to see the directions he takes SAIS and how he works with the incredible family of SAIS schools.”

Debra Wilson | NAIS President | Past President of SAIS  

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve on the SAIS board with Brett. His thoughtful approach to education and school leadership will serve the SAIS community well, both now and in the future.

Mark Reed | Former Head, Charlotte Country Day School | Past Board Chair, SAIS