Stuart Hirstein

Stuart Hirstein
Head of School

Stuart Hirstein officially became a part of USJ on July 1, 2013. He is an experienced educator who spent the last seven years working at an independent school in Hawaii.

Since 2005, Hirstein has been associate headmaster at Island Pacific Academy, an independent, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school with 650 students in Kapolei, Hawaii. He served as the institution’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, was responsible for the school’s day-to-day operations, and was chief mediator for employee and parent issues.

He also served as the school’s academic department chair and was responsible for recruiting faculty and staff. His accomplishments at Island Pacific included leading the team that created the school’s International Baccalaureate Program and starting an orchestra program, college counseling office, marketing program, and athletic department.

Hirstein was a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Fellow for Aspiring Heads of School and a Hawaii Emerging Leader Fellow. He is a consultant for other NAIS schools and received International Baccalaureate training in 2010.

He has a master’s in business administration from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and a bachelor’s in secondary education from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. He attended college on a baseball scholarship.

After graduating from Tusculum, he began his career as a high school teacher and then decided to join the U.S. Army to serve his country in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm. A decorated Gulf War veteran, he completed several successful combat missions in Iraq.

A friend in the military convinced him to get an MBA and then a job in banking after he left the Army. Among other jobs, he worked at Lehman Brothers in New York City, commuting to work each day. Then came the job burnout. Hirstein said he was waiting for the commuter train in bad weather one day when he decided it was time to make a lifestyle change.

The family moved to Kapolei, Hawaii, when he accepted a job at the Bank of Hawaii there. He became good friends with the Headmaster at Island Pacific Academy, a new independent school. When he had the opportunity to be the CFO at Pacific Academy, he jumped at the offer so he could return to education.

Stuart and his wife, Mimi, have four children in their “blended” family. They are Austin, Camille Phoebe and Ansley.

The move to Tennessee brings Hirstein back to the state where he attended college, not too far from Austin in Knoxville, and closer to his parents, who retired to Murfreesboro for 15 years and now live in Huntsville, Alabama.