Gulliver Schools, one of South Florida’s leading independent schools, has announced that it has appointed Clifton L. Kling as its first-ever president and CEO.
Kling has served since 2014 as president of Jackson Academy, Mississippi’s largest independent school and a recognized leader in progressive private education, with 1,200 students in grades K-3 through 12. He will join Gulliver in January 2018 to ensure a smooth transition for both schools.
“Cliff Kling is a visionary leader who will inspire our community and drive us to the highest academic and organizational standards,” said Jocelyn F. Woolworth, chair of the Gulliver Board of Trustees. “We believe this new leadership position will have great benefits for our students, faculty and staff, and will allow us to continue attracting the best and brightest teachers and staff, and the most engaged students and families.”
As president and CEO of Gulliver, Kling will support the implementation of the schools’ strategic plan. His responsibilities will include setting the strategic direction of Gulliver, with a focus on planning and implementing major facilities projects; enhancing and elevating marketing, communications and fundraising efforts, and deepening the school’s community, corporate, and foundation relations.
“I found in Gulliver a school that matches so closely with my own deeply held beliefs about education and the growth and development of children,” Kling said. “Helping all children within the school realize the power of their potential is what the very best schools do. Helping children discover and then maximize their unique gifts and talents is the heart of education.”
Holding both a Juris Doctor degree and CPA designation, Kling is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Mississippi School of Law, and is a highly accomplished administrator and educator. In 17 years at Jackson Academy, first as chief financial officer and general counsel, and then as president, he developed a broad strategic plan for the school, organized the doubling of the size of its campus, and raised record amounts for its annual fund.
At Jackson Academy, he was central to the design, planning, and construction of a state-of-the-art, 800-seat Performing Arts Center, along with many other campus upgrades and improvements. In addition, he was responsible for implementing transformational property acquisitions, campus expansion, construction, improvements, and renovations.
As president, he helped shape the restructuring of the school into four divisions, creating a new middle school. In addition, his vision and leadership were responsible for the school implementing a STEM curriculum for grades 1-8 and installing three new STEM labs.
Kling also led a comprehensive branding and identity process, which gave the school a well-articulated brand statement and motto.
Even with these many accomplishments, Kling is most proud of the time he spent with students. He invested many hours meeting with students in small groups in his office, interacting with them on campus, and attending and supporting students in performing arts, sporting, and other events.
As part of the leadership team, Frank Steel will continue as head of schools, concentrating on academic, faculty and student programs, as well as enrollment and admissions efforts and fundraising support.
Charlie Rue will continue as chief operating officer, overseeing the non-academic aspects of Gulliver, particularly its business and financial systems.
Kling is an active board member and has served as a Visiting Accreditation Team chair of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).
He has received numerous academic and professional recognitions, including being named a Georgetown University John Carroll Scholar and a James O. Eastland Scholar in Law at University of Mississippi. He is a member of the prestigious academic societies Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma, and is a proud Eagle Scout.
Kling is married and has two daughters, ages 13 and 9.
For more information about Gulliver, visit www.gulliverschools.org.