Benjamin Franklin High School’s governing board, Advocates for Academic Excellence in Education, Inc. (AAEE), is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Patrick Widhalm as the next Head of School. The national search for Head of School was conducted with the assistance of Educational Directions, Inc.
Dr. Widhalm has served as the Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana, since 2001. LSMSA is a residential high school that has been recognized as one of the top schools in Louisiana and in the nation. Prior appointments include the Conservatory of Music at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and founding Dean of Arts and Academics at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
Dr. Widhalm earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Missouri - Kansas City, his Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music from the University of North Texas and additional certifications from the Ravel Academie (France), and Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, Austria.
In 2008, Dr. Widhalm was selected to lead the Louisiana team participating in the Education Leaders Institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in Chicago. In October 2009, he received the Lieutenant Governor's Louisiana Culture Award for education. He has served as a member of Leadership Louisiana, Council for a Better Louisiana, been appointed to the State Arts Council, and served as president of the Natchitoches Rotary Club.
Dr. Widhalm was attracted to Franklin due to the school’s consistently strong reputation for academic excellence. Ben Franklin is the top school in Louisiana and received the National Blue Ribbon recognition in 2015, for the fourth time. “What I saw during the interview process really sold me. I saw a highly qualified faculty and staff working with bright and motivated students for academic and personal growth, and that is the heart of a great school. I am honored and excited to be joining and working with the Franklin community,” says Widhalm. Dr. Widhalm will join the Franklin community effective July 1, 2016.
For more information contact Mrs. Christy Cowart Read ’89, Development Director, at 504-286-2615 or visit our web site at www.bfhsla.org.
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Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans’ most outstanding public charter school, has been preparing students for success through academic achievement since it was founded in 1957. Consistently ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and Business Week, Franklin has received the highest School Performance Score in Louisiana, making it the #1 public school in the state, year after year. Franklin is repeatedly named a National Blue Ribbon School, producing Presidential and National Merit Scholars each year. The exceptional students, faculty and staff of Benjamin Franklin High School are the best and the brightest of New Orleans.