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Ivory D. Hills Named Next Head of School

Ivory D. Hills Named Next Head of School
Ivory D. Hills Announced as Next Head of School

On July 31, St. Mark’s announced the appointment of Dr. Ivory D. Hills as its next head of school. Dr. Hills will begin his tenure at St. Mark’s on July 1, 2024.

In a letter to the St. Mark’s community, Head of School Search Committee Chairs Michael B. Moore ’80 and Elizabeth R. Santini ’95 wrote, “Amidst an exceedingly competitive nationwide search, during which we encountered numerous talented and highly qualified educational leaders, Ivory unquestionably emerged as the standout candidate.”

Following in-depth interviews with Dr. Hills, members of the search committee lauded Dr. Hills’ extraordinary intellect, his dedication to fostering a tight-knit community, his exceptional emotional intelligence, and his unparalleled grasp of the multifaceted financial, organizational, and cultural aspects associated with leading a boarding school. Since 2011, Dr. Hills has served in a number roles at Deerfield Academy–most recently dean of faculty and assistant head of school for strategy and planning–where he has excelled as both a dedicated classroom teacher and an influential academic leader.

A distinguished scientist holding a B.S. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from MIT, Dr. Hills brings an organized, data-driven approach to his work. His academic background significantly influences his teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making techniques.

“Ivory is a brilliant thinker and a gifted leader,” said Mr. Moore, president of the St. Mark’s Board of Trustees. “He has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing independent schools today, and he is passionate about the St. Mark’s School mission. We are confident that he will be an outstanding head of school.”

In his current capacity at Deerfield, Dr. Hills oversees a 140-member faculty and provides comprehensive support for academic, artistic, athletic, co-curricular, college advising, health and wellness, and residential programs. He fosters a culture of positivity among the faculty, emphasizing student-centered growth, and deftly manages workload assignments, housing placements, leave replacements, and professional development requests. Additionally, he collaborates closely with the school's advancement office to support faculty and curriculum-centered fundraising initiatives while ensuring that data-informed decision-making is at the core of the institution's progress.

Before his tenure at Deerfield, Dr. Hills served as a senior research chemist at Merck Research Laboratories, leading medicinal chemistry teams involved in groundbreaking drug development for Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, schizophrenia, and colorectal cancer. When he joins our community in Southborough, Dr. Hills will be accompanied by his wife, Christina, and their daughter, Sophie.

“With Ivory at the helm, we are confident that St. Mark’s will continue to flourish on the strong foundation it stands upon,” Mr. Moore and Ms. Santini wrote. “Together, we will embark on an exciting journey, starting next July, to shape a future filled with promise, excellence, and boundless possibilities.”