Head of School Transition

Dr. Steve Bellis reads to Pembroke Hill studentsIn a letter to the Pembroke Hill School community on Sept. 8, 2017, Board of Trustees president Don Montague announced that Steve Bellis, head of school, had informed the Board that 2018-19 will be his last year leading the school.


Board Selects Search Firm To Assist With Head of School Selection

The Board of Trustees has selected Educators’ Collaborative to conduct the search for the next head of school for Pembroke Hill. According to Anne Dema, chair of the Search Committee, the Executive Committee of the Board interviewed several nationally known search firms experienced in helping independent schools choose their leaders.

“We determined that Educators’ Collaborative would be the best fit for Pembroke Hill because of their commitment to personalizing the process, experience as former heads of schools, knowledge and appreciation for the Midwest and Pembroke Hill, and commitment to supporting the transition and the new head’s first year,” she said.

Anne explained that the next step in the search process is the appointment of individuals to the Search Committee and the Advisory Committee. “The role of the Search Committee is to identify the qualities most desired and needed for the head of school and then to screen, review and evaluate candidates accordingly, so a head of school recommendation may be made to the Board of Trustees,” Anne said. “The Advisory Committee, with representation from all school constituencies, will provide advice and counsel to the Search Committee, which will help ensure an inclusive process. Members of the Advisory Committee will interview finalists and provide their individual input to the Search Committee before final decisions are reached.”

Working in conjunction with the Board and the Search Committee, Educators’ Collaborative will create a position profile. The firm will also conduct on-campus sessions in January with community members during which they will give input on what they feel are the school’s strengths, areas for enhancement and qualities needed in the school’s next leader. Additionally, the community will be invited to participate in an online survey.

Educators’ Collaborative will actively recruit and screen candidates. They will also coordinate on-campus interviews with the finalists.

Anne believes the Board of Trustees could name a new head of school as soon as early summer or as late as October.

“We are not going to rush this decision, and we will take the time necessary to select our next school head in a thoughtful manner,” she concluded. Frequent updates will be provided to the school community over the next several months as the search process unfolds.

Two Campus Visit Dates Announced

These two, two-day visits will occur on Monday and Tuesday, May 7–8, and the following Monday and Tuesday, May 14–15. During the visits to campus, the candidates will meet with faculty, staff, parents, alumni and students. Closer to the visits, I will provide you with the candidates’ resumes and bios.  I encourage you to attend the community forums, listed below, to become acquainted with the finalists.

Read More about Two Campus Visit Dates Announced

A Special Thanks to Search and Advisory Committees

The Search Committee comprises members of the Board of Trustees to determine priority qualities for the next head of school and evaluates candidates to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Composed of representatives of school constituencies, an Advisory Committee provides advice and counsel to the Search Committee in this process.

Search Committee
Anne Dema, Search Committee Chair
Don Montague, Board Chair
Jean-Willy de Pierre
David Chao
Rita Cortes
Alumna '83, Trustee
Steve Hughes
Alumnus '75, Former Trustee
Kimi Nelson
Alumna '82, Trustee
Clay Patterson
Alumnus '96, Trustee

Advisory Committee
Jamie Allen
Lower School Parent
David Burke
Assistant Upper School Principal, Director of College Counseling, Head Varsity Boys Golf Coach
Bobbi Elliott
Controller, Head 7/8 Volleyball Coach
Billie Howard Barnes
Fifth Grade Teacher
Noah Laible
Upper School Math Teacher, Assistant Varsity Boys Lacrosse Coach, Assistant Robotics Coach
Bart Robertson
Assistant Director of Admissions - Ward Parkway Campus
Kit Smith
Early Childhood Teacher
Amanda Willis
Wornall Campus Counselor
Anna Toms
Alumna '05, Middle School English Department Chair, Dean of Students
Greg Wolf
Alumnus '88, Upper School Parent