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About Mark Stanek
Mark Stanek became the sixth Head of School at Shady Hill on July 1, 2010.

Mark grew up in Rochester, NY, and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Hamilton College and an M.A. in Private School Leadership and Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Columbia, he was awarded both a Klingenstein Scholarship and a Rose Fellowship.

He comes to Shady Hill after having served as Head of School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York; Middle School Principal at Milton Academy; and Middle School Dean of Students at The Athenian School in Danville, CA. In 2006-2007, he received a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Fellowship for Aspiring Heads, and he recently co-authored the 2nd edition of The Middle School Handbook for NAIS.

Welcome from the Head of School

It is a pleasure to introduce you to our joyful learning community! I encourage you to explore our website to learn more about our multifaceted school, including our commitment to child-centered and experiential learning in a nurturing and inclusive environment.

At Shady Hill, students are taught to think, to question, and to consider multiple perspectives before transforming their ideas into meaningful action. This tradition of learning has served our students well for over 95 years, since the school was founded on the back porch of the Hocking family home in Cambridge.

I invite you to visit our school in order to see our mission and philosophy in action. Our outstanding faculty in the Lower and Middle Schools guide as well as instruct our students through discovery and exploration while helping them to acquire important life-long skills. Through these close connections, children engage in activities that promote creativity, independent thinking, and healthy risk-taking all the while developing an ethical mindset.

Through our teaching approach called “Central Subject,“ students study in depth a people, a period of history, or an idea or movement through literature, geography, writing, and history. Since the 1960s, sixth grade classes have studied Africa as a Central Subject. They read African folktales and study the storytelling traditions, arts, and daily life of various African cultures. The focus is on the diversity of the continent, with particular emphasis on challenging stereotypes and assumptions. At the end of the school year, the grade hosts a Rites of Passage evening for students and their parents. It is a time when students celebrate learning and accomplishments and parents share wisdom and advice.

Our verdant campus with its small village feel and areas of natural wetlands are used as extended learning laboratories as students observe and explore their world. Young mathematicians and budding scientists use manipulatives and technology to understand number concepts, to analyze data, and to draw conclusions. Emerging adolescents are constantly reminded of their roles as leaders and responsible citizens in our community as they engage with younger students.

Our website also highlights our pre-eminent Teacher Training Course which not only inspires and challenges nascent teachers, but allows our faculty to grapple with innovative trends and best practices in the field of education. We are honored to have been a significant part of the development of so many emerging teachers and school leaders. Shady Hill’s historical commitment to diversity and inclusion, imaginative exploration, skill building, and respect for the pace of childhood make it the perfect place for up and coming educators and most importantly, the students we serve.

The immense commitment that our teachers, parents, students, staff, administrators, board members, and alumni have to our school’s mission is truly inspiring. I hope you will be energized by what you read, hear, and see as you peruse our website and discover what a remarkable learning environment Shady Hill continues to be.

Mark J. Stanek
Head of School