The First Independent STEAM School in Orange County, CA
Serving Early Childhood to 8th Grade

Head of School Transition

Dr. Michael Pratt recently announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The Succession Committee, led by former School Committee chair Patty Cyr, has hired Bob Fricker from Carney Sandoe and Associates to lead us in our search for a new Head of School. Other members of the committee include Fr. Christopher Potter (co-chair); Celia Coulter (School Committee Chair); Allen McNamee (School Committee Secretary); Dirksen Lehman (School Committee Member); Monica Barnum (Elementary Division Principal); Tim England ( Bishop's Warden).

Please see updates below, and feel free to reach out with questions or concerns by emailing

St. John's is pleased to announce that Patrick McHonett has accepted our invitation to be the next Head of School. See below for full details. 


Dear friends and colleagues,

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Patrick McHonett has enthusiastically accepted our invitation to be the next Head of School at St. John’s.

Mr. McHonett will be joining us after twelve years’ experience at Phoenix Country Day School, where he is currently the Associate Head of School and has served in a variety of roles, including Admissions, Marketing, Communications, Fundraising, Counseling and Program Development.  He was one of fifty rising stars nationwide selected to participate in the National Association of Independent Schools’ Fellowship for Aspiring Heads and has been preparing for his new role since.

After his visit to campus, our community found Mr. McHonett to be “very personable while still demonstrating vast knowledge and expertise in all school aspects.”  We were impressed by his “creative and innovative approach to learning,” and value that “he has the right past experience, current energy and vision to take our school to tremendous heights, future growth and innovation.”  It also is important to St. John’s that he is dedicated to merging “the spiritual along with the academic areas of our school.”

Mr. McHonett has a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Legal Studies from Claremont McKenna College and a master’s degree in Education, Leadership and Supervision from Arizona State.   He enjoys reading, photography, yoga, and coaching, particularly middle school flag football and volleyball.  Patrick and his wife Jessica are looking forward to joining our community next summer, and their two children are excited to become Cardinals starting the 2019-2020 school year.

In the meantime, the School Committee and Dr. Pratt will work closely together to ensure that Mr. McHonett’s transition is smooth and that he arrives ready to hit the ground running on July 1, 2019.

Thank you to all of the members of our community who took part in the interview process.  Please join us in welcoming the McHonett family if you see them on campus over the coming months.


Patty Cyr signature

Succession Committee Chair







Dear St. John’s Parents,

As you all now know, Dr. Pratt will be retiring from St. John’s at the conclusion of the 2018 – 2019 school year. We are so grateful for his years of service and all that we have accomplished during his tenure. Over the past five years, under his leadership, we led the movement among local schools to develop the STEAM approach to teaching and learning, and our faculty are now considered experts in that field. We developed a robust arts program under the A in STEAM, giving each child the opportunity to find a place to shine. We completed a capital campaign to build the Johnson STEAM Center and the Konrad A. Reuland Memorial field, which our students enjoy at recess and during interscholastic competitions. With Dr. Pratt’s guidance, the School is enjoying a period of enrollment growth guided by the current Strategic Plan, and started an I-20 program to diversify our student body. At the same time, we stayed true to our mission to develop the whole child, to treat each child as an individual, and to focus on character as a necessary foundation of any Episcopal education. We look forward to continuing to work together through the 2018-19 school year as Dr. Pratt completes his final year at St. John’s and upgrades our library into a Learning Commons appropriate for the 21st century education St. John’s offers.

To assist us in our search for a talented replacement, we have retained the recruiting firm of Carney, Sandoe and Associates, who helped bring Dr. Pratt to campus five years ago. We have also established a Succession Committee, led by former School Committee Chair Patty Cyr, who will be in touch over the coming weeks and months as we move forward in our search activities.

Please feel free to forward any questions or concerns to

Best regards,

Celia Coulter signature

Celia Coulter

School Committee Chair






Dear Friends,

It is with profound bittersweet emotion that I share with you that I will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Susan and I very much look forward to returning fulltime to our home in Napa, but I shall miss this wonderful school.

The very first time I stepped onto the campus—it happened to be on a Cardinella Wednesday—the warmth of the community was palpable, and that has not changed. This is a place where children not only learn, but also a where their hearts are full of joy. That is only possible where there are teachers who love to teach and who love their students. This is the essence of St. John’s.

I have been privileged to work with a dedicated and talented faculty and administration, as well as with the School Committee, which has been a faithful steward of the School. The same can be said for the many wonderful volunteers in the PTF, who have devoted countless hours to enrich the experience of every student.

I will leave the School knowing that its future is bright: a worthy mission grounded in the relationship with the Church; an innovative program based on STEAM; a beautiful campus with quality facilities; a world class faculty, staff, and administration; dedicated volunteers; and students eager to learn. Every ingredient is present for the School to continue to grow and flourish well into the future. With deep gratitude for the time I have been privileged to lead the School, I look forward to working closely with the School Committee to ensure a smooth and successful transition to new leadership. Until then, I will cherish my time with you.


Michael D. Pratt signature

Michael D. Pratt, Ph.D.

Head of School