Saint Mary's School News

Saint Mary’s School selects Dr. Adam Holden as Head of School

Saint Mary's School is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Adam Holden as our fifteenth Head of School.

Following a comprehensive and inclusive seven-month search process that attracted nearly 100 talented candidates from secondary and higher education, the search committee unanimously recommended Dr. Holden, a decision that was wholeheartedly approved by the Board of Trustees.

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.

"I am truly honored and excited to embark on this journey as the Head of School at Saint Mary’s School," said Dr. Adam Holden. "This is the moment for girls' education and we know the impact that our students will unlock for society as a whole. I firmly believe that education is the key to unlocking a brighter future for our students and society as a whole. Together, with our dedicated faculty, passionate students, and supportive community, we will foster a culture of lifelong learning, personal growth, and social responsibility as we prepare young women for college and life."

“What an honor it is to be chosen as the next leader of this amazing institution,” said Holden. “ The opportunity to continue on this journey is pivotal. Together, with our dedicated faculty, passionate students, caring parents, and supportive community, we will continue to foster a culture of lifelong learning, personal growth, and social responsibility as we prepare young women for college and life."

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 an ideal leader for Saint Mary's School.

Liza Roberts, Board Chair, expressed her excitement, stating, "It is not often that a person can rally a team within months, build and drive a strategic plan, and create deep meaningful partnerships. Building on a transformational campaign that has raised nearly $57M in five years, Dr. Holden’s commitment to innovation and leadership are precisely what we need to build upon this momentum. His commitment to excellence is driving our new leadership program with Duke University through our Young Women’s Leadership Institute taking place in July, and we know this is only the beginning of the potential we have yet to realize. Adam also has a deep respect for Saint Mary's history and culture, an appreciation for our Episcopal heritage, and a love of our community, which he shares with his wife, Dr. Jessica Holden. We are lucky to have them both.”

Saint Mary's School is thrilled to welcome Dr. Adam Holden, along with his wife Dr. Jessica Holden and their beloved French Bulldog, Charlotte, as permanent residents of the Coonrod Head of School House.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Saint Mary’s Communications,

Saint Mary's School is a renowned all-girls college preparatory day and boarding school with a rich history and a commitment to academic excellence. Founded on an Episcopal heritage, the school provides a nurturing and inclusive environment for students, empowering them to achieve their full potential. With a focus on innovation, character development, and community engagement, Saint Mary's School prepares young women for college and life.