The leader of the Tatnall School is out of a job after less than two years in the leadership role.

The prestigious college preparatory school's website now lists Dr. Timothy Burns as interim Head of School after Christopher R. Tompkins' name mysteriously vanished within a one-hour time frame in the early evening Tuesday, January 8, 2019.  

The circumstances surrounding Tompkins' sudden departure are unknown, but faculty and staff were notified Tuesday via a letter from Board of Trustees President Stephen D. Marvin, a copy of which WDEL has obtained.

Tompkins was unable to be reached for comment and emails to his Tatnall School address bounced back, with a message stating the account had been disabled.

Marketing and communications director Page McConnel had no comment on the circumstances surrounding Tompkins' departure and refused to elaborate on whether the decision belonged to Tompkins or the board.  

"Tompkins made significant contributions to the school during his time as Head, and the school wishes him the very best in his future endeavors," said McConnel in an email.

Marvin's letter to the community also thanked Tompkins for his contributions.

"Over the past year and a half, Tatnall has benefited from Chris’ steadfast commitment to strengthening our school’s competitive position. Focusing on innovative curriculum, improved student programs, and the transformation of the physical plant, Chris has helped build a strong foundation for Tatnall’s continued growth. We wish him the very best."

Burns is returning to Tatnall in a reprise of his role during the 2016-17 school year.  He didn't return a request for comment.

"Dr. Burns is a national-caliber leader who is familiar with Tatnall’s community, strategic priorities, ongoing initiatives, mission, and culture. Tatnall looks forward to the school’s continued momentum under the leadership of Dr. Burns," McConnel said late Tuesday night. 

Marvin noted a high turnover rate in Tatnall's staffing over the last few years.

"The Board of Trustees recognizes that Tatnall has experienced several personnel changes over the past few years. With this in mind, we have developed a plan that will ensure continuity and progress. In support of Tatnall’s forward-moving momentum, the Board has identified an Interim Head of School who has a deep understanding of and appreciation for Tatnall’s mission of educational excellence," he said in a letter to the community.  

Tompkins was unanimously appointed to the leadership post on July 1, 2017, after what former Board of Trustees President Caroline Brown Lintner called an "expansive" nationwide search that was the "most comprehensive" in the school's history. 

Tompkins came to the Greenville-area school from Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was Head of School.  He also served as Head of School at Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, from 2008 to 2015, according to Tatnall's website. 

A board member and a teacher had no comment.  

Amy Cherry is the Assistant News Director and an investigative journalist at WDEL. She joined WDEL's award-winning news team in 2010 from WBZ Newsradio 1030 in Boston and has received national accolades for reporting.