(Updated) Tatnall School board appoints interim head after abrupt departure of his predecessor


The head of Tatnall School has departed the private institution.

A statement was issued by the school on Wednesday morning.

“The Tatnall School Board of Trustees announced today the departure of Christopher R. Tompkins, who has served as Head of School since July 2017. Tompkins made significant contributions to the school during his time as Head, and the school wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.

The Board has identified Dr. Timothy Burns as Tatnall’s Interim Head of School. Dr. Burns is a national-caliber leader who is familiar with Tatnall’s community, strategic priorities, ongoing initiatives, mission, and culture. Tatnall looks forward to the school’s continued momentum under the leadership of Dr. Burns.”

The school also sent along the following letter: Click on image to enlarge:

The letter from Board of Trustees Chair and alumnus Stephen Marvin praised Tompkin’s efforts in improving the competitiveness of the school and in working to improve the physical plant and curriculum.

Marvin also noted that turnover has taken place at the school and led to plans to ensure smooth transitions to new administrators.

Private schools, like Tatnall, face challenges that include downsizing of highly paid positions at employers like DuPont and a shrinking pool of potential students.

Also, parents of potential Tatnall students have movedto nearby areas of Pennsylvania, allowing children to attend public schools that are ranked as among the best in the nation. Charter schools also offer an option for parents looking to avoid the tuition costs of private institutions.

Tuition at Tatnall can run as much as $28,600 a year.The school has expanded its student base to include children as young as three. Private schools do offer scholarship funds.

Tatnall was founded as a girls school in Wilmington. In the early 1950s, the school moved to the suburban setting in an area near the home of former Vice President Joe Biden.

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