The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Headmaster shares insight into selection process

HOMEGROWN After a multi-year, nationwide search to find a Head of Upper School, the school found their man in William Atkinson ‘95.

After a multi-year search, the school has identified and hired new heads of both Upper and Lower School, permanent solutions to the voids which have been recently filled by Interim Head of Upper School and Associate Headmaster John Ashton and Interim Head of Lower School and Fine Arts Department Chair Marion Glorioso-Kirby. 

To Headmaster David Dini, building an elite institution starts with the hiring process, as it’s these faculty and staff that will be shaping students throughout their time here.

“Hiring is, arguably, the most important thing we do because these adults are going to be the ones coaching teams, teaching classes and leading advisories,” Dini said. “The experience revolves around the people, which is why we focus so much energy on this and always think about the long term, not just about the here and now.”

With this emphasis in mind, the school began to come up with a plan in terms of the specific traits and experience they were looking for in new administrators. Due to the sacrifices Ashton and Glorioso-Kirby made in serving as the Interim Heads in addition to their normal responsibilities, the school was able to take its time and search for the right candidate.

Throughout the process, the school worked alongside Carney Sandoe & Associates, a consulting firm  specializing in faculty placement at independent schools. Given that often the best candidates are currently not seeking a job, the firm assists the school in finding and engaging additional potential applicants. 

“We’ve used them for searches before, and they always help us identify and engage candidates from across the country,” Dini said. “That process started many months ago, when we developed a job description and discussed the culture of the school, what our priorities are and what our long term goals are so they can share this with the candidates.”

Given that the roles of Upper and Lower School Head carry different expectations and responsibilities, it’s only natural that the school emphasizes different traits in each process. For the Upper School position, the potential of longevity and consistency was one of the primary factors the committee emphasized.

“In the Upper School, we’ve had a revolving door of division heads,” Dini said. “It’s a highly visible role in a school, and many people that served in that role are now heads of other schools. We wanted a long runway to make sure we can think through this really carefully and won’t have another experience where somebody stays for two or three years and then leaves.”

Being a unique job requiring a certain skillset and level of experience, the search for a new Lower School Head was carried out among a very targeted candidate pool.

“There tends to be more geographic spread for Upper School division head roles than there is for Lower School, so we knew it would be less likely that we would have national candidates in the pool,” Dini said. “The nature of this job is somewhat different. There are very specific kinds of challenges in those primary grades, so you need somebody that has real substantive experience in those learning styles and culture.”

Dini sees the hiring process as a great success, checking all the boxes of being deliberate, intentional and thoughtful of the school’s goals. 

“We spent a lot of time engaging people around campus to gather perspectives, making sure those voices were representative of our campus,” Dini said. “Part of our job is to anticipate as much as we can and know some decisions may not be well-received by everyone. We’re not making decisions to win a popularity contest, we’re making decisions that we believe promote the larger wellbeing of the school.”

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About the Contributor
Grayson Redmond, Managing Editor