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.


Important Pembroke Hill Announcement

In a letter to the Pembroke Hill School community on Sept. 8, 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. Don's letter follows.

Sept. 8, 2017

Dear Valued Members of our Pembroke Hill Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I write to inform you that Steve Bellis has advised us that 2018-19 will be his last year as head of school. We are most grateful for Steve's overwhelmingly positive impact on our community since he joined us 16 years ago. I am also extremely pleased that Steve has agreed to continue leading Pembroke Hill for two more years. This will ensure a smooth transition while providing continuity during the next phase of the facilities master plan on the Ward Parkway campus.

Steve's letter to the Board is included here.

With the exception of two early Sunset Hill headmistresses, no one will have led the school longer than Steve. Through his steadfast leadership and commitment to excellence, our school has improved in many important areas. Our students' educational experiences have been supported by significant curriculum changes, an extensive infusion of technology and a dedication to teacher professional growth. All of these have resulted in impressive student academic achievement that continues to improve each year.

Under Steve's direction, Pembroke Hill has cultivated a caring community culture. Through his efforts, we identified our core values of respect, compassion, scholarship and integrity – all of which have become embedded into the life of the school and are sure to have an enduring positive effect.

With Steve's guidance, our financial position is as strong as it has ever been. He accomplished this while increasing faculty salaries and lowering the level of tuition increases. Additionally, Steve has successfully steered the school through a period of extraordinary personnel change.

On a personal note, I have enjoyed working with Steve, and I believe he has played a huge role in bringing heart to our community. This has been most evident to me during the countless times I have walked with him through the campuses. I have been amazed at the personal connection Steve has with our students. He doesn't just know their names; he knows them. Steve constantly demonstrates, through the decisions he makes and the actions he takes, a sincere desire to help every one of our students to succeed not only in school, but also in life.

Moving forward, the Board's Executive Committee will immediately begin planning for this transition. I am happy to announce that our Board President-elect and Provost of William Jewell College, Anne Dema, has agreed to chair the search committee. She, along with members of the Board's Executive Committee, will select a search firm and will determine the composition of the search committee. We plan to provide regular updates via the Pembroke Hill website and other school communications.

There is no question that Pembroke Hill will miss Steve's leadership and guidance. The school is a better place thanks to his stewardship. We wish Steve all the best and look forward to accomplishing much together over the next two years.

Best regards,
Don Montague
President, Board of Trustees
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