When Eric Lombardi first set foot on campus at Fort Worth Country Day School, he was playing for the rival soccer team at St. Mark’s School in Dallas.
At 51, he is returning to Country Day, a private college-prep school founded in 1962, as head of school. He replaces Evan Peterson, who is retiring at the end of June.
Lombardi is division head of the middle school at St. John’s School in Houston. He will start his new job July 1.
“I feel very fortunate. I am coming to an amazing school,” Lombardi told the Star-Telegram.
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Before joining St. John’s, Lombardi had Upper School leadership, admission, teaching, college counseling and coaching positions at Casady School in Oklahoma City and Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif. A Dallas native, Lombardi graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in history. He earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University and a master’s in education from Columbia University.
Country Day communications manager Shannon Allen said Peterson announced his retirement in May and a search committee began looking for a new head of school in August.
Peterson came to Fort Worth Country Day as head of the Upper School in 1986, left for 10 years to be the head of Hampton Roads Academy in Virginia and returned in 2001 as head of school, a position he has held for 13 years.
Peterson, 64, said that he and his wife are building a home near Asheville, N.C., and that he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren.
When Peterson became head of school, he brought back Latin and started an engineering program. He also taught children how to milk cows and churn butter, chores he did as a boy growing up in Plainfield, N.J.
Peterson said he hopes he will be remembered for his work in establishing “virtual classes” in which Country Day students and students from 15 other private schools nationwide study with professors from Stanford University.
Country Day School has about 1,117 students and a student-faculty ratio as low as 11-to-1 in some grades. Tuition for the Upper School, grades nine through 12, is $20,330, according to its website, www.fwcds.org.