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.

Announcements

Two Campus Visit Dates Announced
I am pleased to offer you an update on the Pembroke Hill head of school search process.

On April 6, the Search Committee reviewed the dossiers of the 25 strongest applicants and received input about these individuals from our consultants who had interviewed them and conducted initial reference checks. This group included a mix of experienced heads of schools as well as individuals seeking their first headship; men and women; and candidates of color.

From this group we invited nine individuals for in-person interviews, which were conducted off-campus April 15-16. We were impressed with the overall quality of the candidates and identified two individuals who we believe represent the best fit for Pembroke Hill.  We have invited them to visit our campuses in May.

These two, two-day visits will occur on Monday and Tuesday, May 7–8, and the following Monday and Tuesday, May 14–15.  (We originally requested that you reserve an additional time period, April 30–May 1.  However, as we were able to identify our top two choices, the April 30-May 1 slot is no longer needed, so please remove those dates from your calendar.)

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.

May 7–8 Visit
Faculty and Staff Forum
     Monday, May 73:30–4:45 p.m. • Centennial Hall Theatre
Parent and Alumni Forum
     Monday, May 77–8 p.m. • Centennial Hall Theatre

May 14–15 Visit
Faculty and Staff Forum
    Monday, May 143:30–4:45 p.m. • Centennial Hall Theatre
Parent and Alumni Forum
    Monday, May 147–8 p.m. • Centennial Hall Theatre

As you spend time with the finalists, I encourage you to evaluate them on a broad range of areas including:
  • supporting and challenging students
  • diversity and inclusion
  • school community
  • educational leadership philosophy
  • community outreach
  • school sustainability
  • curriculum and programming
  • faculty recruitment and retention
  • fiscal management

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.  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.

As you prepare to meet the finalists, the Pembroke Hill community should be extremely proud of the school’s stellar reputation as an early years-12th grade school that offers an outstanding educational experience where every child is known, cared for and valued; and teaching and learning is at its highest level.  Our search consultants credit this reputation for the exceptionally strong pool of candidates who considered this to be an exciting leadership opportunity.

The Search Committee had the challenging task of evaluating a number of highly qualified candidates representing a broad range of backgrounds and experiences in independent school education.  The selection of our two finalists was based on review of detailed dossiers, in-depth interviews and reference checks, and consideration of the Leadership Profile developed with community input.

As the Search Committee deliberated the potential of each semi-finalist, we concluded we wanted an individual who would take Pembroke Hill to the next level of excellence and innovation in education. Because of the school’s strong faculty, student enrollment, administration, financial stability and endowment, we focused on individuals poised to apply their prior independent school experience to leading Pembroke Hill into its future.

I am excited for our school community to meet our finalists during their visits.  Thank you in advance for your warm welcome to them and for your participation in the community forums.

Anne Dema
Head of School Search Committee

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
Trustee
Don Montague, Board Chair
Trustee
Jean-Willy de Pierre
Trustee
David Chao
Trustee
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