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 Progress Update

On behalf of the Pembroke Hill Head of School Search Committee, I would like to update you on the progress of the search, as the Board of Trustees seeks to identify Steve Bellis’ successor.  While some activity related to the search has been visible to the school community, many of the most important steps over the coming months will take place behind the scenes, and I will continue to provide periodic updates.

As you know, our Educators’ Collaborative (EC) consultants, Marcus Hurlbut and John Mackenzie, spent two days in January on campus meeting with parents, students, teachers, staff and alumni. In addition, over 510 members of our community completed the online survey giving more feedback regarding the state of the school and the direction of the search.  With the benefit of all this information, EC and Pembroke Hill have put together an impressive and detailed profile that is proving to inspire candidates to apply for the position.

View the Profile

Our consultants are now actively engaged in building a strong applicant pool and will then vet the candidates through preliminary interviews and reference checks.  They have indicated that, as expected, Pembroke Hill is attracting robust interest from many highly qualified candidates, both domestic and international, who view our position as very desirable.  The candidate pool includes experienced heads of schools, others in senior administrative positions at independent schools ready to move to their first headship and some individuals with strong leadership experience outside of independent schools.

Our Search Committee expects to begin screening candidates in April.  Out of respect for candidate privacy, all communications with candidates and all interviews prior to the finalist stage will be handled in a confidential manner. This assurance of confidentiality enables candidates to feel more comfortable about applying for the position and thus strengthens the candidate pool.

The search will become more public when finalists are identified and invited to visit our school. At this point, we are planning for those visits to take place in May, during which there will be opportunities for school community members to meet with the candidates and to provide impressions of each.

Our goal has been to conclude the search prior to the end of the 2018 calendar year, and it is progressing on or ahead of the initially projected schedule.  As a reminder, the head-elect will not officially assume responsibilities at Pembroke Hill until July 1, 2019 upon the conclusion of Steve Bellis’ tenure.

I will provide additional information between now and the finalist visits. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Anne Dema 
Head of School Search Committee Chair

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