Dr. Steve D. Whitaker: Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating 20 Years as TFA’s Head of School

Dr. Steve D. Whitaker has served as the Head of School at The First Academy since July 2003. During his tenure, the school has advanced a bold spiritual formation agenda, experienced outstanding enrollment growth, and witnessed remarkable scholastic achievements. Multiple capital campaigns led to major renovations and expansion of the Lower School, the building of a new Upper and Middle School, the opening of the Tennis Center, a renovation of the Boyd-Moline Library, the addition of a Black Box Theatre, a new $10.5 million Field House/Gymnasium Facility, and the addition of the Gather Space and Royal Eatery. The First Academy families have generously pledged over $55 million to fund these initiatives.

Moments and Milestones

  • Dr. Whitaker has carried out the “Good To Great,” “Leading The Way,”  and “Leading The Way: Finishing The Task” Strategic Plans successfully.
  • Over 1,600 students have graduated from The First Academy while Dr. Whitaker has served as Head of School.
  • Over $125 Million in scholarships have been offered to TFA seniors during Dr. Whitaker’s tenure.
  • The vision for The First Academy is nearly complete with the additions of the Upper School, Lower School expansion, Middle School, Alumni Commons, the Cramer Family Field House, and more due to Dr. Whitaker’s leadership and reliance on God’s provision.
  • In 2016-2017, Dr. Whitaker authored the book “In God We Trust: 5 Anchor Points for Turbulent Times” as a supplement and resource for the school year theme that year.
  • With Dr. Whitaker’s goal of keeping TFA true to its mission, The Senior Thesis Project was born and has become the true capstone of the student experience at The First Academy.
  • Dr. Whitaker has led countless devotions, prayer times, and chapel services while at TFA. He and his wife, Tricia, have also poured their hearts into the FirstWord devotional shared with nearly 2,000 subscribers daily.
  • Hundreds of students have come to know Christ because Dr. Whitaker has continued to put Christ first in everything that The First Academy does.

Celebrate Good Times!

On Thursday, April 6, 2023, our TFA Family surprised Dr. Whitaker with a school-wide day of celebration! Every student across each division of The First Academy (Lower, Middle, Upper, The Classical School, and The First Hope) wrote a personalized note of congratulation for our Head of School. Dr. Whitaker walked into a fully decorated office with all of the notes proudly displayed. Each student also took home a delicious, celebratory treat. Dr. Whitaker was also surprised with a luncheon with past school board members, TFA Alumni, Brother Jim Henry (Pastor Emeritus-First Orlando), Dr. David Uth (Senior Pastor-First Orlando), special friends, and the Whitaker Family. We are incredibly thankful for our amazing Head of School. The best is yet to come!

In the News

Thank you to the Orange Observer for spotlighting Dr. Whitaker’s 20 years as The First Academy’s Head of School. View the full story here.