• News
Pembroke Hill Appoints Lower School Head For 2020-21
Grace Thompson
After completing a national search, Pembroke Hill has appointed Karen Boyle lower school head effective for the 2021-22 school year. Karen comes to Pembroke Hill from the Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., where she has served as the director of teaching and learning since 2017.

While Pembroke Hill looks forward to welcoming Karen, the school is grateful to Molly Doherty for accepting the role of interim lower school principal for 2020-21 - a very challenging year due to COVID-19. Molly’s leadership, compassion and dedication have truly made a difference for Pembroke Hill, but especially in the lower school community.
“I am very excited for us to hire a leader with Karen’s experience,” said Brad Shelley, head of school. “During the interview process, her presence, calmness and thoughtfulness resonated with members of the lower school faculty and the administrative team. Her experience as a division head and working in independent schools will be a great benefit to our school.”

In addition to her current leadership role, Karen was the lower school director for Rossman School in St. Louis - a position she held for 16 years.

Karen explained her excitement for joining the Pembroke Hill community. “First and foremost, the people! When I visited, everyone I met - adults and children alike - warmly welcomed me. The children were joyfully engaged in learning and eager to include me in what they were doing. Faculty and staff were equally joyful and passionate about their work. They truly demonstrated a commitment to professional excellence and ongoing learning. I left campus feeling energized, inspired and excited about collaborating with students, parents, faculty and the administrative team.”

A graduate of John Burroughs School, an independent school in St. Louis, Karen earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and psychology with a concentration in early childhood education from Washington University in Saint Louis. She continued her education at St. Louis University where she completed a master of arts degree in educational studies, curriculum and instruction.

Prior to her administrative positions, Karen was a classroom teacher of students in preschool through sixth grade.

“Lower school students are my favorite!” she said. “During these years, children need to build a foundation of skills that enables them to seek, access, analyze and utilize information effectively; think critically; problem solve; and collaborate. We want lower schoolers to take risks in their learning, celebrating both their successes and challenges as learning opportunities. This allows them to build independence, self confidence and self advocacy skills.”

She continued, “I believe lower school should provide a joyful learning environment that inspires passion for learning, nurtures strong character and instills habits of effective learning. Children no longer need to be consumers of knowledge. Rather they need to actively engage in authentic learning experiences. It is also critical, during these years of children’s educational journeys, to attend to their social-emotional learning.”

The mother of 20-year-old daughter Caroline who is a sophomore at DePauw University, Karen enjoys her 10-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever, Cooper. Convinced she is part mermaid, Karen explained, “I love any activity that involves water - swimming, canoeing, whitewater rafting, skiing. If I cannot be in the water during my free time, I want to at least be outdoors. I fill my time with hiking, camping, biking and anything else that gets me outside.”

Once again, thank you Molly, and welcome Karen.