- Snapshots of St. George's
St. George’s Head of School Alixe Callen announced Wednesday that the 2022-2023 academic year will be her last on the Hilltop. On July 1, 2023, Ms. Callen will become the Head of School at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, her alma mater.
“While the invitation to return home to my own school is a wonderful honor, the decision to leave St. George’s was not easy,” Ms. Callen wrote in a letter to the community. “My family and I have loved every moment of our life on the Hilltop. Indeed, serving this school has been both a pleasure and a privilege. I pray that the relationships we have built here will last a lifetime.”
Ms. Callen arrived at St. George’s in 2017 and recently completed her fifth school year as Head of School.
“Alixe has helped build St. George’s into one of the nation’s most respected independent schools. We will benefit from her continued leadership during this year of transition,” Chair of the Board Dana L. Schmaltz ’85, P’17, ’20, wrote to the community in a companion letter June 8, 2022.
Trustees Rudy Bethea ’87 and Meade Thayer ’70 will lead our Search Committee for a new Head of School.
The full announcement letters by Head of School Alixe Callen and Board Chair Dana Schmaltz are copied below:
Dear St. George's Community,
I write today with mixed emotions. At this past weekend’s annual meeting of the St. George’s Board of Trustees, I shared that the 2022-2023 school year will be my last on the Hilltop. Beginning on July 1, 2023, I will become Head of School at Milton Academy — my beloved alma mater.
While the invitation to return home to my own school is a wonderful honor, the decision to leave St. George’s was not easy. My family and I have loved every moment of our life on the Hilltop. Indeed, serving this school has been both a pleasure and a privilege. I pray that the relationships we have built here will last a lifetime.
I have been blessed to work alongside a tremendous group of faculty, staff and administrators. I deeply believe that we are all educators, regardless of the specific responsibilities associated with our roles. Together, we have served our young Dragons through some of the most challenging years of the past century. I am grateful for the collective creativity, professionalism, and care exhibited by these wonderful educators. I am particularly indebted to my leadership team, and most especially to the two Associate Heads of Schools with whom I work every day. Elizabeth (“Beezie”) Bickford and Mervan Osborne ‘86 are true treasures whose contributions to the Hilltop and the wider world of education know no bounds.
The Board of Trustees has been a constant source of support and guidance, and I am thankful for everything they have done to invest in my leadership. Leslie Heaney and Dana Schmaltz, the two board chairs during my tenure, have been uniquely and wonderfully helpful, generously sharing their time and expertise as we together navigated the challenges of the past few years.
And while I have also loved meeting all of the families and alumni who make up the greater Dragon community, more than anything it’s the students I will miss. Together, we have sought to build a community that sings with purpose, respect, pride, joy, and love. I have been delighted by our students’ willingness to collaborate in this endeavor. The most important intellectual work we do on this Hilltop is to teach our students to be thoughtful and contributing community members, preparing them to lead lives of constructive service to the world. Our students live this mission every day.
As I explained to the board this past weekend, I am committed to finishing strong. I don’t expect my sixth year on the Hilltop to look any different from my first five. There is a wonderful sense of momentum right now at St. George’s, and I don’t want that to change based on this news.
Over the course of the coming months, as the Board of Trustees conducts its search for the school’s next head and ultimately names my successor, I will work hard to ensure a smooth and effective transition.
Thank you to the entire community for the trust and confidence that you have afforded me. I am blessed beyond words to have lived and worked amongst you all.
Head of School
Dear St. George's Community,
As you have learned from her letter to the school community, next year will be Alixe Callen’s final year as St. George’s Head of School. When Alixe informed the Board of Trustees recently that she was under consideration to lead her alma mater, Milton Academy, we realized immediately it was an incredible opportunity for Alixe to return home. Given that many members of the board are also St. George’s alumni, we understand Alixe’s desire to return to a place that means so much to her. We celebrate this moment for Alixe, Ace, and their family and fully support her decision.
Working alongside a strong senior leadership team, a talented faculty and staff, and a dedicated Board of Trustees deeply committed to the future, Alixe has helped build St. George’s into one of the nation’s most respected independent schools. We will benefit from her continued leadership during this year of transition.
As a board, we have always known that this moment might come given Alixe’s many talents. We are fully prepared for this transition, and indeed, we see this change as a tremendous opportunity for St. George’s to build on the incredible foundation we have put in place.
That foundation includes:
- Four straight years of record applications, with perhaps the strongest incoming class of talented and diverse students from across the country and around the world ever to grace the Hilltop;
- A strong college placement performance in an extremely challenging environment with our Dragons headed to phenomenal colleges and universities around the world;
- An innovative and vigorous academic program that promotes experiential education;
- A rock-solid financial outlook, including continued balanced budgets and an endowment that has consistently outperformed our peer schools over the last decade;
- A record financial aid budget that will give even more deserving students the chance to experience a St. George’s education;
- A firm, community-wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the implementation of our ongoing DEI initiatives;
- A carefully crafted Strategic Plan that we are beginning to implement that will significantly enhance our campus and the educational experience; and
- A vibrant and supportive school community that just came together in historic fashion to celebrate the school’s 125th anniversary.
Quite simply, this is not the same school Alixe Callen inherited in 2017. St. George’s is a school on the rise thanks to the good work of Alixe and her team, and we have no doubt that the opportunity to lead this institution into an even brighter future will draw strong interest from talented individuals across the country and within our own community.
Given that expected interest, we are already moving to find the right leader. I have asked trustees Rudy Bethea ’87 and Meade Thayer ’70 to lead our Search Committee. Both have significant professional experience they can bring to bear as our Search Committee co-chairs. We have also initiated conversations with top national search firms to see which one can best meet our needs. These firms recognize how much we have accomplished over the last five years, the opportunity this position presents, and they are eager to work with the board to find the next great leader for St. George’s.
While we are moving expeditiously, we are also moving intentionally. We remain committed to taking the time necessary to find the right person to take St. George’s to the next level, and we will be asking all of our community stakeholders for input. Our search will be inclusive and transparent, and it will recognize that as we focus on the future, we will also need to draw on our rich history to make sure we remember the lessons we have learned over our 125 years.
As always, Alixe, the faculty and staff, and the Board of Trustees will need the strong support of this community as we begin the next chapter of the St. George’s story. We will keep this community updated every step of that journey, but for now please join me in congratulating Alixe and her family and thanking them for their ongoing efforts on behalf of the school we love.
Dana L. Schmaltz ’85, P’17, ’20