Head of School Search
Join me in Welcoming St. Mark’s Cathedral School’s Incoming Head of School, Dylan Deal
January 17, 2023
Dear Members of the St. Mark’s Community,
The Board of Trustees and I are delighted to announce Mr. Dylan Deal as St. Mark’s Cathedral School’s next Head of School, beginning July 1, 2023, our 70th school year.
Our Search Committee unanimously recommended Dylan to the Board of Trustees following an extensive nationwide search. This past September, our consultants from The Education Group sent the St. Mark’s community a survey in order to identify the qualities and qualifications required in its next head of school. In Dylan, we found a candidate who embodies those identified attributes and more. He is an accomplished administrator in a large preschool through twelfth-grade school, an experienced educator, an award-winning coach, and a visionary leader eager to embrace St. Marks’ traditions as it moves forward as a leader among Episcopal parish schools.
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Dylan comes to us from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA, where he currently serves as Director of the Merle-Smith Campus and Head of Upper School. Throughout his 21-year career, which includes stints at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA and Bayside Academy in Daphne, AL, he has taught Religion and English, served as a Dean of Students, and coached baseball and softball. His current responsibilities as a Division Head include overseeing his division’s academic program, its extensive fine arts and athletics programs, and its facilities. Dylan’s notable experience in senior leadership has prepared him well for promoting the St. Mark’s mission, building community, managing and embracing current faculty structures, engaging with the Board of Trustees, and, most importantly, caring for our students and families.
Dylan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Davidson College, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard Business School.
Dylan and his family are Episcopalians. He is married to the creative, thoughtful, and gracious Katie Arnold. They are parents to two delightful daughters, Larkin, 11, and Winnie, 7, and a sweet mutt named Fern! Dylan and his family are excited about moving to Shreveport to join the St. Mark’s community for the next great chapter of its history.
The Search Process
After the August announcement of Dr. Chris Carter’s departure at the conclusion of this school year, the Board of Trustees moved quickly and intentionally to implement a comprehensive search process. We retained the consulting services of The Education Group in order to receive professional guidance on our process, as well as maximize the scope of our search. Our Board then appointed a Search Committee, consisting of current and past Trustees, as well as an Advisory Committee consisting of faculty members, Cathedral representatives, and current parents from the St. Mark’s community.
Upon completion of their on-campus visit on September 20, 2022, our consultants screened and interviewed more than 30 applicants across the United States and presented 8 fully vetted candidates for the Search Committee’s consideration. The Search Committee narrowed the candidate pool down to six semi-finalist candidates, whom they then interviewed in mid-November. They selected three final candidates to visit St. Mark’s in early December. The campus visits involved meetings with Dean Alston Johnson, the Board of Trustees, the Vestry, the Search and Advisory Committees, faculty, staff, students, and St. Mark’s community members. A Search Committee member was present for every constituent engagement that each candidate had while on campus, and each constituent group was afforded the opportunity to provide feedback on each candidate through a digital survey.
The feedback we received from our faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and students who met with Dylan during his campus visit was overwhelmingly positive. This feedback, along with the Search Committee’s observations of his interactions with our constituent groups, made it clear that he commanded further consideration.
The next step in due diligence was for our Search Committee to formally meet with our Advisory Committee. On December 15th, the members of these two committees met for well over an hour, during which time each member of the Advisory Committee was provided an opportunity to share their thoughts on each candidate, as well as the thoughts of our community members with whom they interact on a daily basis. At the conclusion of this meeting, the Search Committee felt confident that Dylan Deal was the right candidate to pursue.
Our Search Committee then proceeded to check Dylan’s references. Reference checks were conducted in pairs so that two committee members were present when speaking with each of his references. In addition to the references that he provided, our Search Committee also spoke to no less than four references that were not provided in his candidate packet. To a one, each of his references, to include the additional ones that were not part of his candidate packet, spoke of Dylan in the highest regard. Two of them, former colleagues, even suggested that they would relocate for the opportunity to work with him again!
On December 28th, the Board of Trustees convened during a Special Session to hear the Search Committee’s recommendation. Upon discussion of the process, feedback from our community, Dylan’s references, and Advisory Committee feedback, our Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendation.
In the days following the Board’s approval, Dylan’s appointment was then approved by the Vestry of St. Mark’s Cathedral.
On January 7th, Dylan, along with his wife, Katie, made an additional visit to St. Mark’s in order to visit the school one more time, as well as gain an additional feel for the town to which they would consider relocating their family. During this time, they took an extensive tour of the school and Cathedral, toured Shreveport, and had dinner with a few members of both the Board of Trustees Executive team and members of the Search Committee. It was a delightful visit for all involved!
On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, Dylan formally accepted the offer to serve as our next Head of School.
Leading Our Future and Forging the Path
Dylan’s appointment begins a new chapter in the St. Mark’s Cathedral School story. During Dr. Chris Carter’s 15-year tenure, he has worked tirelessly to fulfill our mission, and we are thankful for his continued work to ensure that St. Mark’s is ready for the future and its new leadership.
As we turn the page, we are encouraged that, in Dylan Deal, we see a leader who is committed to fostering a culture of excellent academic preparation, thoughtful innovation, creative experiences, and an extensive athletics program. We see someone who is both capable and willing to set high standards for teaching and learning while remaining true to the St. Mark’s Cathedral School Episcopal identity, mission, and parish values.
On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I have many folks to thank. I must first thank our Search Committee members – Laura Baudoin, Lloyd Brown, Michel Fritze, Lisa Love, and Chris Walls – for the untold hours and energy that they committed to this process. Each of them answered the call to serve with our school’s best interest at heart, and I’m most grateful for the steadfast professionalism each of them exemplified while serving on this committee. In a word, they’ve all been, “exceptional.” Thank you!
I’d be remiss if I did not, also, thank the families of our Search Committee, as I know they, too, were asked to make personal sacrifices in order to facilitate the success of this process. Thank you!
I thank Dean Alston Johnson and the wardens of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bill Kalmbach (Senior Warden) and Lisa Love (Junior Warden). Your continued support and commitment to maintaining a healthy church-school relationship throughout the search process was invaluable. Thank you!
A most sincere word of thanks goes out to the members of our Advisory Committee – Lee Berry, Kristen Dennis, Scott Deupree, Valerie Gamble, Aimee Greene, Sanders Hearne, Paige Holmes, Anne Jenkins, Emily Vigen, and Cheryl Vines. Your willingness to serve in an extended capacity made this process as collaborative as possible, and your unclouded commentary to our Search Committee was, indeed, vital. Thank you!
Our school owes Caroline Andress and Alexis Wedgeworth a tremendous debt of gratitude. They served as our school’s points of contact for our consultants, coordinated all of our candidate visits, and facilitated all school communications regarding this process. It is important for all of us to remember that our candidates were also interviewing us. Caroline and Alexis, besides being critical facilitators of this process, went above and beyond what was expected of them to ensure that we made a favorable first impression upon all of our candidates. Take a bow, ladies. Thank you!
Last, but certainly not least, I want to express our gratitude to the administrators, faculty, students, and parents who graciously made time to participate in the search process. Your participation allowed us to conduct a search that was thorough, deliberate, and collaborative. Your feedback served as a critical beacon of guidance to our Search Committee throughout this process, and your demonstrated effort reflects great credit upon our school community. Thank you!
The Board of Trustees and the Search Committee are confident that we have found a new Head of School who will serve St. Mark’s for many years, and there is no doubt that St. Mark’s will thrive under Dylan Deal’s leadership. While the Board is organizing a Transition Committee for Dylan, it is absolutely incumbent upon each of us to hold ourselves personally accountable to facilitate Dylan and his family’s successful transition to the St. Mark’s Cathedral School community. We thank all of you for supporting St. Mark’s now, and in the future. Please join me in welcoming the Deal family to our community!
Chair, St. Mark’s Cathedral School Board of Trustees
Please scroll down to read a letter from Dylan to the St. Mark’s community.
Dear St. Mark’s Cathedral School Community,
It is with profound joy and sincere humility that I accept the opportunity to serve St. Mark’s Cathedral School as Head of School. From the very beginning when I saw the literature about the position, I suspected there was a chance for this to be an excellent match. As the interview process unfolded my certainty grew. As a servant at heart, I sensed immediately the community’s passion for and commitment to the growth of young people. Two visits to the beautiful St. Mark’s campus solidified my hunch that this is a school designed for young people to thrive, to grow in confidence, and to realize their individual and collective potential.
You can expect that I will take time to get to know all of you, the school, and the community. You can expect me to lead with integrity, authenticity, passion, humility, discernment, and kindness. And you can expect me to keep St. Mark’s mission at the forefront of deliberations and decisions and to keep our young people at the center of our conversations.
I want to express deep gratitude for the Search Committee, whose enthusiasm for and commitment to St. Mark’s seem boundless; for the administrators, namely Alexis Wedgeworth and Caroline Andress, who gave so graciously of their time and knowledge of the school; and for all of the people we met whose kindness and hospitality were peerless. And I want to share my immense excitement to work with these and all community members to build upon the great work St. Mark’s does to prepare young people for a world that desperately needs them. I look forward to getting to know all of you as we move forward together.
See you soon!
- Update 12/20/22: Discernment Phase
- Update 12/10/22: Finalist C Visit Schedule
- Update 12/7/22: Finalist B Visit Schedule
- Update 12/2/22: Finalist A Visit Schedule
- Update 12/2/22: Parent Meetings with Finalists
- Update 11/28/22: Finalists Visits
- Update 9/29/22: Head of School Survey Results
- Update 11/15/22: Recruitment & Candidate Development Stage
- Update 9/12/22: Head of School Survey & Parent Meetings
- Update 9/6/22: Head of School Search
- Update 8/26/22: A Message from the Board Chair
Update 12/20/22: Discernment Phase
Update 12/10/22: Finalist C Visit Schedule
Update 12/7/22: Finalist B Visit Schedule
Update 12/2/22: Finalist A Visit Schedule
Update 12/2/22: Parent Meetings with Finalists
Update 11/28/22: Finalists Visits
Update 9/29/22: Head of School Survey Results
Update 11/15/22: Recruitment & Candidate Development Stage
Update 9/12/22: Head of School Survey & Parent Meetings
Update 9/6/22: Head of School Search
Update 8/26/22: A Message from the Board Chair
Head of School Search Committee
Past Trustee, Parent, Cathedral Member
Trustee, Past Parents' Club President, Parent, Cathedral Member
Trustee, Past Parent, Junior Warden of St. Mark's Cathedral
Past Board Chairman, Parent, Cathedral Member
Board Chairman, Parent
Parent, Cathedral Member
4th Grade Teacher
Past Parent, Past Warden of St. Mark's Cathedral
Trustee, Past Parents' Club Parent, Parent
Kindergarten Teacher, Past Parent
Trustee, Past Parent, Cathedral Member
Past Trustee, Parent
8th Grade English Teacher, Parent, Alumna, Cathedral Member
Enrichment Teacher, Past Parent
Parents' Club President, Parent, Alumna