Head of School Welcome

Message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

Welcome, Dr. Adam Holden!

August 19, 2022

Dear members of the Saint Mary's School community,

After conducting a global search for a two-year Interim Head of School with the assistance of The Education Group, I am delighted to announce Dr. Adam Holden has agreed to fill that important role, effective Monday, August 22, 2022.

Dr. Holden is an international education leader and educator with more than 30 years of experience who will serve Saint Mary's School during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 academic years, as we search for a permanent head beginning in 2024.

As an accomplished academic and longtime Head of School at schools in the United States and abroad, Dr. Holden is exactly what our school needs now. His extensive experience in school administration, organizational management, strategic planning, and leading teams will be invaluable, while his experience on campuses of many different kinds and in cultures of all sorts will enable him to navigate ours with ease.

Dr. Holden brings significant experience in institutional strategic planning, executive leadership training, in-depth executive coaching, and professional development. He is also an accomplished academic leader. Most recently, he served as President and Head of School at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida; he has also served as Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institute in Panama City, Panama; and has served in senior university leadership positions in the U.K. and U.S. Dr. Holden has the experience and the expertise to offer customized educational consulting that will serve our school well. With his academic expertise, Dr. Holden is positioned to be an ideal leader for Saint Mary's School during this interim period.

“I am delighted to be joining the team of outstanding educators at Saint Mary’s School at this pivotal time," Dr. Holden said. "Saint Mary’s has such a rich and purposeful heritage with the very best balance of tradition and innovation in delivering programs of academic excellence. I have been so impressed with the sense of community and shared values, and I am genuinely excited to meet everyone on campus and play my part in making this the greatest year.”

Born near London, England, and raised in the southern part of the United Kingdom, Dr. Holden holds doctorate degrees from the University of Cambridge and California Coast University; an education specialist degree from Fort Hays State University; a master’s degree from Washburn University; and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southampton. As a doctoral researcher with the University of Cambridge, he spent five years conducting research in Central America developing a mobile educational application to provide high-quality professional development for teachers in marginalized communities.

He is also a highly regarded international speaker on digital innovation in education with keynote engagements in Asia, Europe, North and Central America in recent years, as well as two TEDx presentations. Dr. Holden has multiple publications on digital technologies and Blended Learning, serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Online Learning Research, and Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, and has been a contributor to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) SmartBlog on Education.

Dr. Holden's institutional leadership in education has twice earned the coveted National Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award. While in Panama, Dr. Holden was named a special advisor to the Minister of Education for Online & Digital Learning, and he serves on the Ministry of Education Advisory Committee in Pandemic Management for the country of Panama. In this role, he led multiple pilot programs used to define the parameters for the virtual operation of all public schools; and led a team reviewing the national synchronous/asynchronous learning guides while working on the development of the national plan for the reopening of schools across the country of Panama.

“The Transition Team is excited to welcome Dr. Adam Holden as our Interim Head of School,” adds Rev. Maggie Stoddard. “Dr. Holden has everything we were hoping for in our next leader: decades of experience as an effective school administrator, extensive knowledge of educational methodologies and the ways in which young people learn, and the dedication, humility, and integrity that the Saint Mary’s community deserves.”

To learn more about Dr. Holden, please visit his website at

As you can see, Dr. Holden's resume is lengthy, varied, and impressive, and the work of finding him was thorough. I would like to thank the members of the Transition Team for their focus and dedication in that effort. That team includes Chair, the Rev. Maggie Stoddard, Chaplain; Melissa Ramel, Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department and a dorm head; Lane Turner Nash '72HS '74C, former Board of Trustees Chair; and Louise Stowe P'20 '24, Parents Association President. I would also like to thank Board of Trustees Vice Chair Merritt Atkins ’99 for joining the team and me in the search process.

I also thank the members of our Executive Cabinet: Julie Ricciardi, Associate Head of School for Institutional Advancement; Patricia C.A. Sasser, Assistant Head of School; and Shelly Lammon, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

We all look forward to welcoming Dr. Holden to our campus in short order! It is especially gratifying to welcome a new leader at a time of such strength in our community and on our campus. Last week, Saint Mary’s School opened our new school year with a record 316 students enrolled. The Board of Trustees and I are grateful to the school leadership teams and to all our faculty and staff who put so much into making Saint Mary's a magnet for girls and families seeking an excellent education, and who so diligently honor our mission, put our students first, welcome our families, and honor the legacy of our alumnae.

I was delighted to learn that the Student Government Association has chosen the theme "The Greatest Year" to frame this academic year. Welcoming Dr. Adam Holden as Interim Head of School is an ideal way to kick the greatest year off.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Holden to our community!

Best regards,

Liza Roberts P’19 ’24
Chair, Saint Mary’s School Board of Trustees


Liza Roberts P '19,'24
Chair, Board of Trustees