MONROE, Ga. — The George Walton Academy trustees made a leadership change, announcing it is moving on from Dan Dolan after his four years as the head of school.
Dolan came to the Monroe private school in 2016 as associate headmaster for a transition period as longtime Headmaster Billy Nicholson and Associate Headmaster Steve Whitley, principal of the GWA upper school, retired.
The plan was for Dolan to spend a year as headmaster-in-waiting, but Nicholson left in the spring of 2017 and Dolan’s ascension took place sooner than expected.
Dolan came to GWA from St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas. The school said he was a unanimous choice of the board of trustees.
Michael Geoffroy, a Covington attorney who remains on the board and was its chairman when Dolan was announced in May 2016, said then Dolan was selected “because of his leadership skills, qualifications and shared values.”
Under Dolan, the school completed its most successful capital campaign ever, securing more than $4 million in pledges for the “Go Beyond” effort to improve facilities for athletics, the band and performing arts.
GWA celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 2019-20 academic year. During that time, the school marked increased revenue. Tax records show GWA had more than $12.1 million in total revenue for 2019, according to its most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS in March 2020.
That was nearly 26% above the previous year’s reported income, and the school reported a profit of $1.9 million compared to a loss of more than $230,000 the year before.
But rumblings about the school’s leadership began to grow in 2021. Dolan reportedly suspended the Bulldogs football coach, Shane Davis, even after the team finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 in the state for small private schools and reached the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
And in January, the board self-reported to the Georgia High School Association an investigation into alleged improper benefits to a student-athlete.
Roy Roberts Jr., the current chairman of the board, said he would form a search committee and announce its membership soon.
“Dr. Dolan’s dedication, work ethic, foresight and vision propelled us to being known as one of the finest college preparatory educational institutions in our region,” Roberts wrote in a letter to GWA families Friday.
“The Board is thankful for his leadership and excited about the direction we are pursuing.”
No interim head of school was immediately announced.