Head of School

Hickey Family 2021

James Hickey, Ph.D. has been a teacher for more than twenty-five years with experience working in independent, Catholic, public, boarding, and post-secondary schools.  The tenth Head of School for Austin Preparatory School, Dr. Hickey came to Austin Prep in July 2013 after serving as the Dean of Academic Affairs at The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey.

An educator who has held several senior leadership roles in secondary schools, Dr. Hickey has been a leader in educational change for most his professional career.  In 2009, Dr. Hickey was named the New Jersey Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) for his work in transforming one of the largest public high schools in the nation.  He was recognized for his work by the United States Secretary of Education and the New Jersey Commissioner of Education. 

Since arriving at Austin Prep, Dr. Hickey has advanced to completion the School’s strategic plan and launched a new five year strategic plan in 2019.  Under his leadership, Austin Prep has experienced a capacity enrollment surge, innovation in academic offerings and student experiences outside the classroom, significant upgrades to its facilities and fields, and an increase in the number of teaching faculty.

In addition to leading educational change, Dr. Hickey used his experience as a practitioner to teach both graduate and undergraduate education courses at the college level for nearly 15 years to train aspiring teachers.  A Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Dr. Hickey has served on a number of non-profit and volunteer boards such as the Town of Reading's Burbank YMCA and the Wagner College Alumni Association.  He has presented numerous times at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to share his experiences in educational leadership with other educators.  Dr. Hickey has also led Visiting Committees for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges - Commission on Independent Schools (NEASC-CIS) to support member schools in their accreditation process.  

He and his wife, Cindy, are the proud parents of four children, all of whom attend Austin Prep: Madeline '22, Ryan '23, Jared '24, and Charlie '27.