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.


Head of School Search Committee And Advisory Committee Established By Board Of Trustees

As part of the head of school search process, the Board of Trustees has announced the establishment of the Search Committee and an Advisory Committee. 

Search Committee members include the following Trustees:

  • Anne Dema, Search Committee chair
  • Don Montague, Board Chair
  • Jean-Willy de Pierre
  • David Chao
  • Rita Cortes ’83
  • Steve Hughes ’75 (former Trustee)
  • Kimi Nelson ’82
  • Clay Patterson ’96

Advisory Committee members include:

  • 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
  • Anna Toms ’05, middle school English department chair, dean of students
  • Amanda Willis, Wornall campus counselor
  • Greg Wolf ’88, upper school parent

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, so a head of school recommendation may be made to the Board of Trustees.

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. 

In December, the Board announced that Educators’ Collaborative had been selected to conduct the search for the next Pembroke Hill head of school. Representatives of Educators’ Collaborative will be on campus, Thursday and Friday, Jan. 18 and 19, to conduct information-gathering sessions with the school’s various constituencies including the Alumni Association Executive Committee. 

Additionally, an online survey will be distributed to school constituents, including alumni, the week of Jan. 22. Anne Dema, Search Committee chair, said, “It is very important that all members of the school community have opportunities to participate in this process. I strongly encourage everyone to complete the survey when they receive it via email.” 

Anne believes the Board of Trustees could name a new head of school as early as 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.

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