Message from Dr. Bellis

Dr. Steve Bellis poses with four Pembroke Hill School upper school students

In 1910 as Vassie James Hill prepared to start a school for boys, she studied with the groundbreaking educator John Dewey.

Among Dewey’s central beliefs was the idea that learning was best achieved by activity and engagement in addition to sitting and listening. The Country Day School opened (in 1910) with Dewey’s progressive ideals at the heart of its curriculum, and three years later in 1913, they were incorporated into the new school for girls, Sunset Hill.

These ideals still flourish today at Pembroke Hill. We are a place where students learn at a young age to see themselves as participants in life rather than merely spectators. This happens on the athletic field and the stage. It also happens in the lab and in the classroom.

Our approach is remarkably simple. Put talented and diverse young people together with skilled and dedicated adults, with support from engaged and committed families and you create extraordinary results that speak for themselves. This combination produces a school culture that must be experienced in order to be truly understood. It is a culture where students at all levels say it is “cool to do your best” or “cool to be smart” and where mathematicians, athletes, writers, musicians and class leaders all thrive side-by-side, often within the same student.

The relationships forged between faculty and students are the heart of the Pembroke Hill experience. Every young person is known by many adults. This intimacy and long-term commitment forge a bond that is rare in today’s world. Teachers expect much of their students, but they expect even more from themselves. Every day I get to see this result in students achieving more than they themselves thought possible.

If you are already part of the Pembroke Hill community you know what I mean. If you are just beginning to explore our school, I invite you to come to visit us and experience first hand the unique spirit of Pembroke Hill.

You may always contact me at or follow me on Twitter.

Dr. Steve Bellis
Head of School
The Pembroke Hill School