2019-20 Annual Report

Zoom meeting grid

Fifth grade students in Billie Barnes and Kathy Merola's class celebrated a Pembroke Hill spirit day while learning virtually in March 2020.

Dear Pembroke Hill Community,

The 2019-20 school year was one unlike any other we have experienced, but thanks to your leadership, we have risen to the challenges and are positioned to help our students through what can only be described as a very different school year. Our students, faculty and administration have been especially resilient, and we are proud of what has been accomplished so far.

We honor our many donors’ generosity through our 2019-20 Annual Report.  This publication includes the names of all of our donors who made gifts to the school, between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, including to the Annual Fund, the Building Together Campaign, Memorials, Endowment Funds and Planned Giving.

We want to highlight several exciting initiatives/programs that occurred throughout the school because of your generosity.

  • The Annual Fund continues to be essential to the school as it supports all aspects of PHS from technology and innovation to faculty professional development and the student experience.  We are so grateful to Annual Fund donors and their continued commitment to supporting the priorities of Pembroke Hill.
  • We introduced our continuous learning program that includes: a schedule that is most conducive to teaching and learning in all divisions; opportunities for one-on-one meetings with teachers through “office hours”; a common learning management system to digitally streamline the educational process including class/course information, assignments, learning resources, digital discussions and teacher/student feedback; and teaching strategies to accommodate in-person, blended or all-virtual learning environments.
  • We created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees whose members are multiracial and multicultural and represent parents, students, faculty/staff, alumni and Trustees. It is co-chaired by Vicki McReynolds and Ed Stevens, both of whom are current parents and Trustees. This Advisory Council’s role is to extend guidance, not set policy, to the Board and school administration across multiple functions, but especially in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging while keeping us accountable for our inclusionary work.
  • Our extensive financial aid program helps our school to be a viable option for outstanding students around the area and assists those students whose families would not otherwise be able to enroll their children in Pembroke Hill.
  • The health and wellness of our students continues to be one of our highest priorities.  Donors’ support enables us to establish a network of resources for students including counselors, learning specialists, nurses and educational programs in areas such as mindfulness and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • The Building Together campaign achieved a new milestone when we officially broke ground on the Ward Parkway Campus.  Construction began in May 2020; occupancy is expected for the Dining Hall in August 2021, and for the Athletic Center in December 2021.

We are grateful for your support, and we thank you for believing in Pembroke Hill and in our mission of cultivating the best in each, for the benefit of all.

Anne Dema signature
Brad Shelley signature
Anne Dema
President, Board of Trustees
Brad Shelley
Head of School



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Alumni $347,926
Alumni Who Are Parents $263,229
Current Parents $337,067
Friends $153,038
Businesses &
Total $1,287,655
Pembroke Hill COVID-19 Community Fund $144,715
2019-20 Building Together Campaign $5,429,030
Endowment and Designated Gifts $341,181
Total $5,914,926
TOTAL GIFTS $7,202,581
AS OF JUNE 30, 2020
infographic showing revenue of $27,503,849 and expenses of $26,957,254


Like most independent schools, tuition and fees are Pembroke Hill's primary sources of income, providing 86 percent annually.

Supplementing the annual operating budget, the Annual Fund invites the Pembroke Hill community to support our current students, and the endowment provides a reliable source of income from earnings.


Nearly all of Pembroke Hill's resources support our faculty and students. Of the school's annual expenses, approximately 70 percent support faculty and staff salaries and benefits. The result is a very low student-teacher ratio, small class sizes and outstanding faculty and coaches.

2019-20 Board of Trustees

Anne Dema, Ph.D.

Zhanpeng (Frederick) Jiang
Vice President

Christina Valentine Hogan ’85

Jeff Hargroves

Hunter Wolbach ’93
Development Committee Chair

Bill Gautreaux

Lisa Lattan

Sonali Agarwal, M.D.

Jamie Allen

David Chao, Ph.D.

Rita Cortes ’83

Fred Coulson

Jean-Willy de Pierre

Betsey Hughes

Jonathan Kemper ’71

David Machens

Siobhan McLaughlin-Lesley

Vicki McReynolds

Dana Nelson

Kimi O'Dell Nelson ’82

Jim Nutter Jr. ’77

Danny O'Neill

Clay Patterson ’96

Jorge Santizo

Ed Stevens

Brad Shelley
Head of School

2019-20 Contributors

Vassie James Hill Society

Vassie James Hill was a woman of vision. She founded the Country Day School in 1910 and, together with Lalla Ruth Carr Patton, founded Sunset Hill in 1913. She supported the work of pioneering educator John Dewey and what became known as the Progressive Movement. Driven by a strong belief that the education of young people is society's most important act and that great value must be placed on children and their individual capabilities, Mrs. Hill set out to establish schools unlike anything Kansas City had ever known. She was successful in her pursuit and today, more than a century later, Pembroke Hill is still grounded in her fundamental belief that students learn best by actively participating in a wide variety of experiences.

Members of the Vassie James Hill Society have continued Mrs. Hill's legacy of devotion to young people and their education and value Pembroke Hill's tradition of excellence and student-centered approach to education.

Donors of $1,500 and more are recognized as members of the Vassie James Hill Society for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

Parent Giving

We are so grateful to our parents who support Pembroke Hill’s fundraising efforts. Your support, above and beyond tuition, is truly appreciated and helps to bridge the gap between the actual cost of a Pembroke Hill education and tuition.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020
Two middle school boys pose together in the middle school art room

Donations to The Pembroke Hill Fund have supported a safe return to classrooms in Fall 2020, providing plexiglass barriers for socially-distanced classrooms and technology to teach students whether in the classroom or virtual.

Pembroke Hill Fund logo

Formerly known as the Annual Fund, the Pembroke Hill Fund is critical to enabling our steadfast commitment to delivering a robust and expansive educational program, to supporting healthy mentoring relationships between teachers and students and to fostering thoughtful, passionate individuals who are empowered to cultivate the best in each, for the benefit of all.

Alumni Giving

The following list includes alumni from our predecessor schools, Pembroke-Country Day School and The Sunset Hill School, as well as from The Pembroke Hill School, who have generously made gifts to the school during 2019-20. Our alumni are very special members of our community, and we value you and your dedication to Pembroke Hill.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020
A four-year-old celebrates with a smile and an arm raised with a complete puzzle on a table in front of her

Prekindergarten students in Kit Smith and Lisa Swalwell's class enjoyed puzzles featuring their class picture in April 2020.



Thank you to parents of alumni, grandparents and friends who continue to support Pembroke Hill. We truly appreciate your commitment to our school. Your gifts are remarkable ways to honor the education students receive at Pembroke Hill.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

Faculty & Staff Giving

Thank you to our dedicated faculty and staff who continue to support Pembroke Hill in so many ways. We truly appreciate your commitment to our school. The following list includes those PHS faculty and staff that made a gift to PHS.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

Memorial Gifts

Each year, individuals lovingly remember classmates, family and former faculty with gifts to Pembroke Hill. These donations support the school's Annual Fund or endowment, where they provide for the school in perpetuity.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

Named Endowed Funds & Gifts

The following Endowed Funds were established to provide ongoing support for Pembroke Hill.  We are thankful to members of the school community who have created these endowments and who continue to contribute to them.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

Consecutive Years Giving

Thank you to the following individuals who have donated to Pembroke Hill for at least five consecutive years.  Your sustained support of Pembroke Hill is a special gift to the school and allows us to provide an extraordinary educational experience for our students. 

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

The Founder's Circle

The Founder's Circle honors those friends of Pembroke Hill who are ensuring its strong future through estate commitments. By including the school in their wills and other estate plans, those passionate about Pembroke Hill make a long-lasting impact.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2020

About The Annual Report

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this report. We apologize for any errors or omissions. Please report any errors, as well as address changes and alumni news to John Richardson, director of development, at jrichardson@pembrokehill.org or 816-936-1229.

The Annual Report is published by The Pembroke Hill School.


Together, cultivating the best in each, for the benefit of all


Freedom With Responsibility




Pembroke Hill is a place where:

  • Every child is known, cared for and valued
  • Teaching and learning is at its highest level
  • A growth-oriented culture of excellence thrives
  • Positive supportive relationships exist
Senior Mubariz Thairkheli stands next to a yard sign that reads %22We miss you class of 2020%22

Yard signs that read "We Miss You Class of 2020" were placed in the yard of every senior during Pembroke Hill's distance learning in April 2020.