From the Head of School

Welcome to our website. Here at Shady Hill, we offer a fundamentally different way of teaching and learning for children in pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8. 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 Course—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

Recent Articles by Mark Stanek

Meet Mark Stanek

Head of School 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 came 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 co-authored the 2nd edition of The Middle School Handbook for NAIS.

In addition to his work at Shady Hill, Mark serves on the boards of Beacon Academy (2013 to present), The Heads Network (2012 to present), and the Association of Independent Schools of New England (2015 to present).

Shady Hill's 2013 Strategic Plan

After creating a new Strategic Plan for the School in 2013, we have started this  important work. See what the future holds for Shady Hill —
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