Head of School

At the heart of the Bayside experience, you will find our students and teachers exploring the world around us in an environment that educates and develops the whole student. Bayside graduates are fully prepared to excel beyond our campus while possessing high moral standards, a sense of responsibility, and respect for self and others.

In every corner of our beautiful campus, perched on a bluff overlooking Mobile Bay, you will find leaders, artists, scholars, thespians, and athletes participating fully in the life of their school. While we encourage you to explore the breadth and depth of our programs on this website, there is simply no substitute for witnessing Bayside in action. Therefore, I am proud to invite you to experience the Bayside community firsthand, to meet our remarkable students and teachers, and to observe our commitment to fostering excellence in our students. Come see for yourself what makes our community so special.


Michael Papa
Head of School
Bayside Academy
    • HOS with Tater

About Mr. Papa

Michael Papa was unanimously selected by the Board of Trustees to become Head of School of Bayside Academy effective July 1, 2015. Mr. Papa came to Bayside from West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Mr. Papa is a talented, skilled, and knowledgeable K–12 independent school leader. He has a passion for educating the whole child, is a gifted faculty mentor, and has a track record and reputation of building a positive school climate focused on enhancing academic performance of students by supporting teachers to bring their professional best to the classroom each day. He also believes that educating the whole child means providing for life lessons through the fine arts, athletic programs, and community service. 

Mr. Papa has a substantial record of educational leadership. He has served as a science teacher, a coach, a college instructor, and as Division Head or Head of School in five schools. He began his career as a school leader as Head of the Upper and Middle School at Beth Tfiloh School in Baltimore, Maryland. After four years at Beth Tfiloh, he became Head of Upper School at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. From Michigan, he moved south for warmer weather where he became Headmaster at Gulliver Prep in Miami and then six years later, The Academy of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In 2007, Mr. Papa made a personal family decision to leave his Head of School role and accept the position of Executive Director of The Arc of Palm Beach County, a community service and advocacy organization serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During his six years leading The Arc, he grew the organization’s operating budget from a five million to seven million dollar agency. He expanded the role of the agency by partnering with Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach to provide a county wide early identification and intervention program for children birth to age five.
From 2007–2014, Mr. Papa remained active in education, serving as an educational consultant for several schools including Good Sheppard, Glades Academy, Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches, and St. Ann Catholic School. After consulting at Meyer Academy, the board of trustees asked him to lead at Meyer and he agreed, leaving the Arc in 2013. Until his move to Bayside, he served as the Academic Head and Chief Operating Officer at Meyer Academy. 

Mr. Papa has a Bachelor of Science degree from Nasson College, a Master of Science degree from George Washington University, and education and executive leadership training from NOVA Southeastern University and Harvard University. He was a founding member of the Nonprofit Chamber of Palm Beach County as well as a member of its executive committee and a member of Leadership Palm Beach County.
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