About Us

From the Head of School

Welcome to Shady Hill. Here, we offer a fundamentally different way of teaching and learning for children. Since 1915, Shady Hill has taught students to think, to question, and to consider multiple perspectives and then transform their ideas into meaningful action.
While there are innumerable ways that Shady Hill profoundly shapes each student’s experience, five dimensions, in particular, stand out to me: 

  • Expert, Caring Faculty—Our outstanding teachers know each of our students as individuals and guide as well as instruct them in discovery and exploration.
  • Joyful Learning—Our student-centered approach promotes independent thinking, creativity, and healthy risk-taking while developing an ethical mindset. Older students engage with younger ones, reinforcing their roles as community leaders and contributors.
  • Central Subject—In Grades 3–8, students spend the year studying an overarching topic through literature, geography, writing, and history. Before Grade 3, classes pursue a variety of Thematic Studies, each embracing the Central Subject methodology but in shorter, age-appropriate units.
  • Campus—Our beautiful campus has a small-village feel. Students use its open spaces, natural areas, and wetlands as extended learning spaces as they observe and explore their world.
  • Teacher Training Center—Each year, our renowned program brings 18 aspiring teachers to campus. The benefit is two-way. The apprentices train to be progressive educators while our faculty keeps abreast of innovative trends and best practices in education.
For a virtual tour of our program and campus, I invite you to explore a set of interactive pages that showcase Shady Hill. The combination of videos, interviews, and classroom highlights will give you an inside view of what we value and cherish as a school and as a community. To access the tour, click here.
I hope you will be energized by what you read, hear, and see in your exploration of this website and discover what a remarkable learning environment Shady Hill is for children.
Mark J. Stanek
Head of School

Meet Mark Stanek

Mark Stanek became Shady Hill's sixth Head of School on July 1, 2010.

  • B.A. in Mathematics, Hamilton College
  • M.A. in Private School Leadership and Education Administration, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Recipient of the Klingenstein Scholarship & Rose Scholarship
Previous Experience
  • Head of School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York
  • Middle School Principal at Milton Academy
  • Authored the 2nd edition of The Middle School Handbook for NAIS.
Board Experience
  • President of Association of Independent Schools of New England (2018 to present)
  • CCAE (2018-present)
  • Charles River School (2017 to present)
  • The Heads Network (2012 to present)
  • Beacon Academy (2013 to 2016)

Shady Hill's Strategic Plan

Since creating the School's most recent strategic plan in 2013, Shady Hill has been implementing its priorities. Read about this important work.

617.520.5260        178 Coolidge Hill    Cambridge MA 02138