Windermere Prep’s Micah Kurtz takes top role at Oak Hill Academy

Throughout his career, Kurtz has developed a unique set of skills that make him the perfect candidate to lead one of the nation’s top athletics powerhouses.

Micah Kurtz has been named the next president of the Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Micah Kurtz has been named the next president of the Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Courtesy photo
  • Sports
  • Share

Micah Kurtz isn’t the most traditional or expected candidate for a prestigious role such as president of a top-tier academic institution. He never has been a school principal, and his background is on the athletics side of education — he currently serves as Windermere Prep’s director of sports performance and assistant director of athletics.

But the more you learn about Kurtz — and consider Oak Hill Academy’s unique structure as an athletics powerhouse — you begin to see why he is the perfect man to lead the school.

“When this opportunity came up, I spoke with my brother and best friend, and we put together a proposal that we felt showed why we believed I was the best candidate for the job,” Kurtz said. “We made it clear in my initial interview process that I understand that if you look at my background, I’m probably considered a non-traditional candidate — not having been a school principal or having my doctorate in education. But, at every school I’ve been a part of, I’ve been able to help build a positive culture throughout the entire school, not just its athletics programs.”

Oak Hill’s leadership agreed. On April 2, the school announced Kurtz as its next president. 

“I am thrilled for Micah Kurtz’s appointment to Oak Hill Academy,” said former Oak Hill AD and basketball coach Steve Smith in a press release. “I have known Micah for over 20 years and firmly believe he is the perfect choice to serve and lead the school into the future. I have met only a few individuals in my four decades as an educator and coach who I would list to have the talent and foresight for student development and fostering a successful school culture. Micah Kurtz tops my list.”

Kurtz served as the strength and conditioning consultant for Oak Hill’s basketball program for the past 14 seasons.
Courtesy photo


The concept of unitas — Latin for united — is the driving force behind how Windermere Prep runs — both as a school and as an athletics program. That connective idea not only helped Kurtz to understand his role deeper and how he could positively affect the school as a whole, but also, it helped him develop for his new role. 

“When I came here six years ago, the former athletic director and the vice president of athletics for the whole company that owns Windermere Prep … talked to me about what working at a private school is like,” Kurtz said. “We want to be great in academics and athletics. We want to hire the best people we can so that we can promote the school and show all the great things that are going on to attract students, enrollment-wise. That general understanding was something that drove my growth during my time here in Windermere. … From a marketing perspective, because we were able to use our positions to build a great school culture, students and parents were excited and wanted to be a part of the school, which drove enrollment.”

Kurtz understood he wasn’t just a coach. He was part of something bigger that drove the school’s success. To do that, he needed to be diligent in implementing the small stuff. 

“Being a private school, the parents of our students are paying a lot of money for their kids to go here, so they have a very vested interest in what we’re doing,” Kurtz said. “So, especially when I first started, I remember having meeting after meeting with parents of my students wanting to know about my program and how I designed it and what am I doing to meet their individual child’s needs. … Looking back at it now, it was an awesome experience that helped me grow, because not only did I have to be thorough with my work but also be able to explain the why behind everything that I do. Once people believe in what you do, it eliminates a lot of the potential issues that could come from teaching or training or educating that parent’s child. So, those skills are something that I really built on during my time at Windermere and are going to be part of what I do at Oak Hill.”

Windermere Prep Athletic Director Pat Hollern saw the impact Kurtz had on students.

“What he brought to the program was how he allowed kids to grow and feel comfortable in the weight room, and then how he helped them become committed to their personal growth,” Hollern said. “I know that this may sound cliché, but that room became more about each individual kid’s journey of improvement, and there was no ceiling put on what they could accomplish. He made sure each kid knew they could grow and made them feel comfortable and confident knowing that they were going to be led by somebody who cared about their growth — whether that growth was somebody who was a smaller kid and just needed to gain a little confidence to a bigger kid that just kept getting bigger and stronger. Micah facilitated that, and he built that with the people he brought in there with him.” 

Along with his team, Kurtz is ready to lead Oak Hill in the next phase of its history.
Courtesy photo

With the experience, understanding and growth he developed over his time at Windermere Prep, Kurtz presented to the Oak Hill board of trustees a clear picture of why he was the right candidate.

“Merging my experience with the athletics piece at Oak Hill — which has been predominantly one of the top basketball programs in the country for the past 30, 40 years — was big for me in the process … along with expressing how I would use my network and my experience to drive enrollment and revenue,” Kurtz said. “My background in athletics and what we can bring to the table in trying to expand on some of the athletic programs at Oak Hill turned out to be a really big strength in my interview process, too. ... The board saw our vision and really overwhelmingly decided I was the person most suited to lead this next part of Oak Hill’s history.”

Hollern can see why Oak Hill landed on Kurtz to run its school. 

“Knowing he’s spent time working with them and had come from there, there’s a lot familiarity and understanding from both sides,” Hollern said. “Having the ability to understand the type of school Oak Hill is and what the mission of the school is, is really important in leading them in the right direction, and Micah has that experience there.” 

For Kurtz, the opportunity to merge his passion for serving young people and helping them excel in both academics and athletics in a role like this was a dream he’s been working toward with his team for more than a decade.

“It’s always been a dream of mine, and the more I think about it now, the more I realize how far-fetched of a dream it was,” Kurtz said. “For probably the last 10, 15 years, my brother, best friend and I have talked about running our own school — somehow, someway. With the three of us all being huge into athletics and passionate about academics and maximizing the potential of young people, we’ve always had this dream of … empowering these kids to be great in their academics, and athletics, and then really teaching them the life skills they need to maximize their potential in every area of life.” 

Kurtz is set to make the move to Virginia this summer, following the end of the current school year.

Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics.

 Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @SamBAlbuquerque

Instagram: @OrangeObserverSam



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

Latest News