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.


Three Finalist Interview Dates Announced

Dear Members of the Pembroke Hill Community,

I am pleased to provide an update on our head of school search as we seek to identify Steve Bellis’ successor upon the conclusion of his tenure in June 2019.

The search is moving on schedule, and the opportunity to lead our school has created a strong pool of candidates.  Search consultants, John Mackenzie and Marcus Hurlbut of Educators' Collaborative, have been in communication with approximately 70 individuals who have indicated genuine interest in this position.  We have attracted candidates from 22 states, two U.S. territories and two foreign countries. The candidate pool includes experienced heads of schools and others with senior administrative experience at independent schools who are ready to move to their first headship.

Last week, the Search Committee carefully reviewed candidate dossiers and heard reports from John and Marc about their interviews and reference checks.  At the conclusion of these discussions, the Search Committee selected nine individuals who have been invited for preliminary, confidential interviews. These are scheduled within the next few weeks at an off-campus location. Out of respect for candidate confidentiality, I hope you understand that we cannot share additional details at this time.

After this preliminary round of interviews, the Search Committee will identify a small group of finalists who, along with spouses/partners, will be invited to Pembroke Hill for two days of interviews during which they will meet with faculty, staff, parents, alumni and students.

While the finalists have not yet been named, we have planned for three of these interviews.  Members of the school community will have opportunities to meet the finalists according to the following schedules. Candidate bios will be distributed prior to the visits.

April 30 – May 1 Visit
Faculty and Staff Forum
     Monday, April 30  •  3:30 – 4:45 p.m.  •  Wornall Campus Dining Hall
Parent and Alumni Forum
     Monday, April 30  •  7 - 8 p.m.  •  Wornall Campus Dining Hall

May 7 – 8 Visit
Faculty and Staff Forum
     Monday, May 7  •  3:30 – 4:45 p.m.  •  Centennial Hall Theatre
Parent and Alumni Forum
     Monday, May 7  •  7 - 8 p.m.  •  Centennial Hall Theatre

May 14 - 15 Visit  
Faculty and Staff Forum
     Monday, May 14  •  3:30 – 4:45 p.m.  •  Centennial Hall Theatre  
Parent and Alumni Forum
     Monday, May 14  •  7 - 8 p.m.  •  Centennial Hall Theatre

Following these visits, individuals who have attended the forums will be invited to share their thoughts about each candidate with the Search Committee through an online survey.

I strongly encourage you to participate in these sessions and to provide feedback. Your input, along with that of the Advisory Committee, is essential.  It will help the Board of Trustees make the best decision possible based on the recommendation of the Search Committee.

The process of selecting our next head of school is exciting and extremely important for the future of Pembroke Hill, and it cannot be accomplished without the commitment and involvement of our school community.  I especially want to thank the members of the Search Committee and the Advisory Committee for their dedicated and diligent work.  (For a list of the members of these two committees, click HERE.)

I am very much looking forward to the candidate visits. Thank you in advance for your warm welcome to our finalists and for your participation in the community forums.


Anne Dema
Pembroke Hill 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