Dr. Michael Groves, long-serving President of Oak Hill Academy, announces retirement

Dr. Groves with students

Dr. Michael D. Groves, president of Oak Hill Academy since 2002, announced that he intends to retire, effective July 31, 2024. Don Gibson, chair of the OHA Board of Trustees, is overseeing the search for Oak Hill’s next president. Inquiries may be directed to Mr. Donald B. Gibson.

Dr. Groves shared the following letter with the Board of Trustees:

October 30, 2023

Hello from the President’s Office at Oak Hill Academy.

In our meeting this past Friday, I notified the Board of Trustees that I intend to retire, effective July 31, 2024.

For 26 years, Joy and I have made the Oak Hill Academy campus our home. We arrived in Mouth of Wilson in the summer of 1998, driving borrowed vehicles, and moved our scant belongings into the basement of Hough Dormitory. Our two children, Matthew and Aaron, were still in car seats. Now we are grandparents to Mary Frances, who is older today than Aaron was when we began our tenure at OHA. I’ve presented diplomas to the children of OHA alumni who also received a diploma with my signature. In so many ways, our lives here on The Hill have come full circle. We are grateful beyond description.

I want to thank the Oak Hill Academy Board of Trustees; the Board’s support for me and my leadership of the school is and has been an immeasurable gift. A head of school serving the same institution for over a quarter century … it’s practically inconceivable today. I also wish to acknowledge the faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni who’ve walked alongside us through the years. Colleagues who are friends, neighbors, and fellow congregants at Young’s Chapel Baptist Church are what make this community so very special.

I am proud of the work accomplished since 2002. Oak Hill Academy has multiple new buildings, and we’ve forged innovative partnerships that provide stability for students in an era of monumental change. OHA has maintained our strong alliance with Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, our teams have won national championships on the basketball court, the Lenore Equestrian Program is endowed in perpetuity, and our school maintains zero debt. Most importantly, the lives of countless adolescents have been enriched by the timeless mission of Oak Hill Academy.

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a shifting landscape for education in general and for small boarding schools in particular. Oak Hill Academy is well-positioned to receive its next generation of students, and with the presence of God nurturing us onward, I strongly believe the best days are ahead for our 145-year-old school.    

As our time living in this special place draws to a close, know that we are grateful first and foremost for the opportunity to serve. Joy and I shall be forever loyal to this extraordinary school and community in the mountains of southwest Virginia. May God continue to bless our beloved Oak Hill Academy.


Michael D. Groves, Ph.D.