New Head of School

St. Luke's is thrilled to announce Mary Halpin Carter as our ninth Head of School. Mark Davis, who has led St. Luke's since 2002, will formally pass the torch on July 1, 2022.

Introducing Mary Halpin Carter

Dear St. Luke's Community,

It is with great joy we officially announce: 
St. Luke’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to select Mary Halpin Carter, Ph.D., as St. Luke’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2022.
Mary has been the beloved and transformative Head at The Derryfield School for the past nine years. First hired in 1997 as the Director of Admission, she advanced through several academic leadership positions, and was ultimately selected by her board to lead the school. 
During her tenure as Head of School, Mary created and executed a highly successful Strategic Plan and led the largest capital campaign in Derryfield history—funding several new spaces including a science and innovation center. Mary is a Dartmouth alumna and holds an M.Ed. in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education and School Leadership from the University of New Hampshire.
A commitment to a student-centered experience was at the forefront of Mary’s tenure at Derryfield. This comment, made during her campus visit, highlights incredibly strong alignment with St. Luke’s Strategic Plan: “My mission is to develop human potential. We do this by centering the profound relationships between students and teachers around the development of each student’s focus, agency, and self-direction. High standards form the foundation of academic excellence. The next level in education involves offering experiences that help students learn to craft meaningful lives.” 
Perhaps most compelling is Mary’s education philosophy which resonates as St. Lukesian through and through: “Shaping school culture will be my primary role as St. Luke’s Head of School. I will do so with the intent of developing students into practical, ethical leaders who are prepared to lead lives of purpose and meaning. I believe a school can be on the forefront of education while providing a joyful, engaging environment that is a magnet for young people and adults alike.”
For all these reasons, and after a rigorous process, the Search Committee recommended Mary enthusiastically and unanimously to the Board:
“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.”
Mary and her husband Chris currently live in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. They have three grown children, Louisa (25), Polly (23), and Martin (21). A golden retriever named Hefty and an English mastiff named Cordelia are also part of the family.
We are so pleased to announce that Mary will attend the November 18 State of the School, where she will share brief remarks. In the coming weeks, we’ll announce more opportunities to meet and hear from Mary and share news of our newly formed Head of School Transition Team.
We close this letter thankful for the support of this community and grateful to our own “beloved and transformative” Head of School, Mark Davis. We know the entire St. Luke’s community will send Mark off with deep love and appreciation and will welcome Mary to the Hilltop with arms wide open. 
My best,
Jennifer L. Foster
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Getting to Know Mary Halpin Carter

Since 2012, Mary Halpin Carter, Ph.D., has 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.

List of 3 items.

  • Education

    University of New Hampshire
    Ph.D. in Education; Concentration in School Leadership.
    Dissertation: Independently Innovative: Teachers and Change in Successful Schools.

    Columbia University
    Klingenstein Fellowship for excellence in independent school teaching.

    Harvard Graduate School of Education
    M.Ed. in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments.

    Dartmouth College
    A.B. in History with a focus on American intellectual and cultural history.
  • Experience

    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.
  • Acccomplishments

    • 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.

Mary Halpin Carter

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 Halpin Carter

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."

Head of School Search Background

After longstanding Head of School Mark Davis announced plans to retire after the 2021-2022 school year, St. Luke’s launched an extensive search for the next Head of School. Below is the search page which provides an overview of the search process, team, and communications.
St. Luke’s seeks a new Head for July 2022 who has the experience, skill, passion, and creativity to not only sustain the School’s current strong position as a leader in education, but who will also chart a path of continued improvements that will further elevate the St. Luke’s exceptional educational experience. That new Head will embody the attributes which comprise the core of St. Luke’s School: intelligence, kindness, achievement, and humility.

About St. Luke's

The St. Luke’s motto, Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve, captures the spirit of an exceptional school in service of graduating students who are motivated and well-prepared to make a difference in the world. With a well-deserved reputation for both academic excellence and genuine care for each student, St. Luke’s has found a sweet spot that sets it apart from many of its Fairfield County, CT public and independent school peers.
As a community that deeply values the power of relationships between and among students, teachers, and parents, St. Luke’s leverages those partnerships to provide an outstanding education that is characterized by high standards and a commitment to fostering positive character growth in its students.
Founded in 1928 and located on a beautiful wooded hilltop in New Canaan, CT, St. Luke’s is a secular, co-educational day school serving 592 students in Grades 5 through 12. Students hail from 30 towns in Fairfield County (CT) and neighboring Westchester County (NY). The campus sits on 40 acres and includes both well-designed classrooms and outstanding facilities for athletics and the arts. Great care has been taken to maintain and update the campus to ensure that it supports both the depth and breadth of the School’s program as well as facilitating the strong sense of community that all at St. Luke’s hold dear.


List of 10 items.

  • Will St. Luke’s Mission or Philosophy change with a new Head of School?

    No. The School’s mission has been thoughtfully developed and evolved over time. An important factor in evaluating the next Head of School will be the degree to which candidates understand, support, and can enhance our mission.
  • What firm is supporting the search process?

    The Search Committee has engaged the firm Resource Group 175 (RG175) to partner with it on our Head of School search. Consultants Jerrold Katz, Tom Olverson, and Tony Featherston will facilitate and support our search process.
  • What is the timeline for the search?

    The current plan is to be able to announce the appointment of a new Head of School by fall 2021. The new Head will assume responsibility on July 1, 2022.
  • What is the role of the Board of Trustees in the search?

    The Board is responsible for selecting the Head of School. This is one of the most important roles that the Board plays for St. Luke’s. The detailed task of conducting the search will be undertaken by a Board-designated Search Committee.
  • How were Search Committee members selected?

    Search Committee members share a deep appreciation for St. Luke’s mission. They include individuals who offer a diverse set of experiences and points of view as well as a strong degree of commitment to and involvement in the school community.
  • What is the role of the Search Committee?

    The Search Committee is charged with engaging and learning from all constituents to define the qualities required of the next Head of School. The Search Committee will review candidate files, interview the most viable candidates, speak with multiple references, and make a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
  • Will the Head of School search impact student experience?

    No. Mark Davis will remain Head of School until June 30, 2022. The Head of School search will have little or no visibility with students.
  • Will the search impact the faculty's time in the classrooms or the administration's time and availability?

    No. While the faculty and administration’s input will be sought throughout the search process, it will not intrude on classroom time or ongoing school operations.
  • How will the Search Committee keep the community updated?

    There will be periodic communication from the Search Committee throughout the process. It is important to note that most of the search process must be confidential, and that will shape the communication.
  • How can I help during the search?

    Broad community input will be critical to effectively defining the leadership, professional and personal qualities required in the new Head of School. We will be providing forums for faculty, staff, and parents to meet with our consultants, and community members will have an opportunity to complete an online survey. Here are some further ways in which you can help:

    • Please make our search consultants aware of any individuals whom you would recommend as potentially strong candidates.

    • Please bring any rumors or speculation directly to the Search Committee to minimize the spreading of any inaccurate information.

    • Finally, please read carefully any communications from the Search Committee.
    Thank you for your input and support throughout this important process.

Search Committee

    • Jennifer L. Foster

      Jennifer L. Foster

      Search Chair, Board Chair,
      Parent ’17, ’23

    • James Andersen

      Trustee, Parent ’15, ’16, ’17, ’21, ’22

    • Robert Cioffi

      Robert Cioffi

      Treasurer, Board of Trustees, Parent ’23

    • La’Vandra DuPree

      La’Vandra DuPree

      Trustee, Parent ’18

    • Alec LeBris

      Alec LeBris

      US Teacher, SLS ’95

    • Christopher Rosow

      Christopher Rosow

      Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, Parent ’20, ’22, ’26

    • Jeff Sanders

      Jeff Sanders

      Parent ’21, ’24

    • Karen Stamoulis

      Karen Stamoulis

      SLS ’89, Trustee, Parent ’18, ’22

    • Kirsten Tobler

      Kirsten Tobler

      MS Teacher

    • Nancy Troeger

      Nancy Troeger

      Administrator, Parent ’21, ’22

Advisory Groups

In addition to the groups listed below, but not listed individually by name here, a student advisory panel provided valuable contributions and feedback to the search committee.


Bob Salomon ’55
Arty Selkowitz ’61
TaShun Bowden-Lewis ’90
Liz DeFilippo ’93
Dj Wolff ’03
Kim Callaghan ’09
Myles Gaines ’13
Gabby Finley ’17


Sonia Bell
Dave Burnham
Mary Frederick
Kim Gerardi
Dale Griffa
Hunter Martin
Carrie Meatto
Jean Myles
Eleanor Page
Jessie Samuel
Emily Walsh 
Ty Wieland
Jeorge Yankura


Carrie Corcoran P’23, P’25
Amy DiTeodoro P’21, P’22
Matthew Drapkin P’24, P’26, P’28
Christopher Ellis P’21, P’22, P’26
Kristen Gunn P’21, P’23, P’26
Suresh Kavan P’21, P’23
David Loewenberg P’21, P‘24
Aimee Mueller P’23, P‘24
Moina Noor P’18, P’21, P’26
Uchenna Pratt P’21, P’23
Shawn Regan P’22, P’24
Kristen Staikos P’22, P’24, P’27

St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 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.