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Meet the Head of School

A. Lee Burns III ’87

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Head of School Lee Burns is a Chattanooga native and McCallie alumnus from the Class of 1987. During his six years at McCallie, he received the DAR Citizenship Award (1982); DAR History Award (1982); served on the Headmaster's Council; received the Kent Latin Medal (1984); was Keo-Kio President; Senate Vice-President; TEPS Vice President; and captain of the Tennis team. He graduated Cum Laude from McCallie in 1987 and was awarded one of the school’s highest honors, the Campbell Award.
After graduating from McCallie, Lee went on to Dartmouth College where he graduated cum laude in 1991. While at Dartmouth, he played Varsity Tennis for four years and was a Tennis Academic All-American. In 1994, Lee earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Harvard. He has also studied at the London School of Economics. 
From 2000-2014, Lee served as Head of School at Presbyterian Day School (PDS), a boys' school serving over 600 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis. Prior to being appointed head of school at PDS in 2000, Lee was a teacher, coach and administrator at Christ School, an Episcopal boys' boarding high school in North Carolina. Lee was appointed as Head of School at McCallie in 2014.
Professionally, Lee has accomplished many things. He served from 2011-2013 as President of the Elementary School Heads Association, a group of approximately 250 heads of K-6 and K-8 independent schools from around the country. He is a long-time member of the Country Day School Headmasters Association and the Visionary Heads Group. He has been a presenter at annual conferences of the National Association of Independent Schools, the International Boys’ School Coalition, and the Educational Records Bureau. From 2010-2014, Lee served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence, an institute which provides professional development for public and independent schools. 
Lee has been an avid tennis player, winning several state championships as a junior player and as an adult. He continues to enjoy tennis, squash, skiing and watching SEC football. He also spends a lot of time reading and writing. He has co-authored a book on a boy’s journey to manhood and has been published in Independent School magazine.
Lee is the father of three children:  Betsy (GPS Class of 2021), Arthur (McCallie Class of 2023), and Preston (McCallie Class of 2028).