On July 1, 2022, Dr. Mary Halpin Carter, Ph.D. became our new Head of School.
Dr. Carter's Remarks on Being Your "Big Self"
Dr. Carter discusses what it means to be your "big self" during her remarks to the Upper School students.
St. Luke's Head of School
In October 2021, Dr. Mary Halpin Carter, Ph.D. was named as St. Luke's new Head of School. For the previous ten years, Dr. Carter served as the beloved and transformative Head at The Derryfield School. In announcing Dr. Carter's appointment, former St. Luke's Board Chair Jennifer L. Foster said “It is our assessment that Mary is the best culture fit, has the most applicable leadership skills, brings strong alignment with our strategic direction, will competently tackle our challenges, and has the community support to lead St. Luke’s successfully into the future.”
Dr. Carter encourages schools to aim high for students. In her words: "Developing students’ full potential is a powerful way for an institution with high academic standards to fulfill its mission and impact society. Schools that have mastered preparing students for college ought to see if they have the capacity to aim higher and prepare students to live fulfilling lives ... to build lives of meaning and joy."
Mary Carter was formally installed as St. Luke's 11th Head of School on October 13, 2022. Click here for additional details.
Dr. Mary Halpin Carter, St. Luke's Head of School
Students should feel deeply respected at school. I want each child to know, you are not just important to us and your family—the world also needs you to contribute and serve."
Additional Background Information
Before joining St. Luke's, Mary Carter served as Head of School at The Derryfield School, a co-ed, independent, non-denominational day school located in Manchester, New Hampshire, serving 400 students in grades 6-12.
Learn more about Dr. Carter's outstanding experience and accomplishments below.
Dr. Carter joined The Derryfield School in 1997. Prior to becoming Head of School in 2012, she served in various positions, including Assistant Head of School for Faculty and Academic Programs (2010-2012), Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs (2008-2010), Head of Upper School (2006-2008), Academic Dean (2000-2001), and Director of Admission (1997-2000).
Dr. Carter left Derryfield in 2001 to "raise three little people" with her husband, Chris - children Louisa (25), Polly (23), and Martin (21) - but was enticed back in 2006.
Prior to Derryfield, Dr. Carter worked at Newton North High School in Newton, MA as a history teacher and tennis coach. Earlier, she served as Director of Admission and Financial Aid, history teacher, and coach at The Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA. Dr. Carter began her career at Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges in Cambridge, MA, implementing young alumni giving strategies as Assistant Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Fund.
Launched a new academic program that focused on 21st-century skills, application of knowledge to real-world problems, project-based learning and student research. The new program was the product of a three-year faculty research, planning, and training effort, and it included the redesign of all courses, the modification of graduation requirements to include STEM and Design Thinking, the adoption of a new school schedule designed to reduce student stress and the addition of 40 exploration courses for passion pursuit.
Established “Leading for the Common Good” program that, as implemented, entailed shaping upper school culture around inclusion and kindness. Associated curriculum is under development, emphasizing leadership skills, emotional intelligence, ethical decision making and equity and inclusion.
Created pioneering “Pathways” program, featuring personal coaching for every upper school student to identify individual strengths and interests, and encourage participation in academic and extracurricular opportunities at Derryfield, across the region and the globe.
Developed “Portrait of a Middle School Learner” program, in which all middle school courses and advisories are aligned around helping students develop eight core learning skills.
Partnered with college counseling team to strengthen college counseling program, resulting in acceptance of 94% of students in Class of 2020 to at least one of their top three schools, and 64% to their top school.
Led $11.6 million capital campaign, the largest in school history, to fund construction of new science and innovation center, athletic and wellness center and tennis complex, and to increase endowment by $1 million.
-Mark Davis, St. Luke's Head of School Emeritus 2002-2022
Mary has a confident and comfortable bearing that quickly establishes connection and trust in her as a leader. She is ready and eager to be the standard-bearer for the St. Luke's Strategic Plan and has led major strategic change already. She knows how to plan and unleash the best work from those around her. Mary offers confidence, wisdom, and management skill that will be invaluable to St. Luke’s."
-Jennifer Foster, Board Chair, Head of School Search Committee Chair
Mary embodies so many of the traits our community values. She is a highly accomplished, inspirational leader and she is all heart. She loves children and believes learning should be meaningful, challenging, and joyful."
St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 30 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.