Director of Admission Wins Prestigious Everett E. Gourley Award

Director of Admission Wins Prestigious Everett E. Gourley Award

In September, Governor’s Director of Admission Mike Kinnealey received the prestigious Everett E. Gourley Award for excellence in enrollment management at the 2020 Enrollment Management Association (EMA) Annual Conference. The Gourley Award, named for Everett Gourley, the former director of admission and assistant headmaster of the Asheville School, is given each year to that educator whose interest in students and concern for colleagues is an inspiration to those who serve in admission.

Nominated by Kinnealey’s peers, the Gourley Award is one of two major leadership awards given by EMA, an organization representing over 1,300 independent schools, and represents the highest honor in the profession in any given year. This is the first time that a Govs faculty member has received the Gourley Award.

“If you have met Mike, you would see it was an easy choice,” said Colby Morgan, Assistant Director at EMA. “It is unusual to see someone in his position continue to be an advisor while also building a strong admissions office. Mike has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the broader admissions community, his school, the students, and their families. He is respected and well-networked in the profession while also acting as a trusted and sought after advisor for students; all while managing an admissions team that, in a typical year, is in all corners of the globe. For these reasons, Mike epitomizes the Gourley Award.”  

Recipients of this award are often established admission professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to their field through presentations at national conferences, a devotion to full involvement in school life, and a dedication to working with others in admission to improve the profession.

“The competitiveness of the independent school admissions landscape and the pressure on admissions offices to meet the bottom-line needs of schools can cause people to lose sight of what really matters,” said Dr. Peter H. Quimby, Head of School at Governor’s, who nominated Mike for the Gourley Award. “For Mike, it’s always about what’s good for the students and what’s good for the profession.”

In a speech accepting the Award, Mike spoke about Mr. Gourley’s legacy and what our students need in our current complicated society, stating, “What I personally need to do is to be the teacher and the coach, but also the mentor and the role model. Being ‘good’ at our schools is looking at the opportunities of bringing in voices from around the world and from all sorts of backgrounds; then allow our students, in small classrooms, to become intellectually nimble and culturally fluent, so they can go out and be leaders in society.”

“Mike’s approach to admissions work is grounded in authenticity,” Dr. Quimby states. “In doing the best job he can to help our families know who we are so that they can decide whether Governor’s is the right fit for them. And as a result, families come away from the admission process feeling valued, cared for, and respected. In an office that sees over 1,000 applications a year, that’s saying something. Mike’s deep investment in our applicants builds enormous trust and good will.”

Mike has been at The Governor's Academy for 12 years. In addition to his role as Director of Admission, Mike is the assistant coach of the varsity baseball team after being head coach for many years. In roles that are both internally and externally facing, Mike engages with prospective students and families, matriculated students, as well as faculty on a daily basis. He truly understands the importance of family at Govs and serves a critical role in the community.

Prior to his time at Govs, Mike worked at Milton Academy, where former Director of Admission Chris Baker stated she was most impressed by Mike’s “ability to capture his interviews with students in writing in ways that made the students come to life for other readers. [Mike’s] ability to understand the essence of young people is unparalleled. And it is that passion for bringing his work back to students that has inspired his career, and all those around him.”

Congratulations to Mike on this prestigious award and thank you for all that you do for the Govs family!

The Enrollment Management Association is a non-profit organization that provides professional support, advocacy, and smart, strategic enrollment tools to the enrollment offices of more than 1,300 independent schools. The annual conference, run remotely this year, and had over 3,500 registrants, was aptly named: “Reimagine Enrollment, Get Inspired to Lead and Thrive in an Ever-Changing World Together.” To learn more about the EMA, click here. To watch Mike’s acceptance speech, click here.