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St. Mark’s School

Chief Advancement Officer

Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc. has been retained by St. Mark’s School, located in Southborough, Massachusetts, to conduct a national search for a Chief Advancement Officer.

St. Mark’s School

St. Mark’s, founded in 1865, is a coeducational college-preparatory school, educating students in grades nine through twelve, 75% of whom board. Nested upon 250 acres in the picturesque suburb of Southborough, Massachusetts, the school is only 25 miles from the abundant cultural and social opportunities in Boston.

The school’s outstanding faculty — 65 in number — leads 365 students through a rigorous curriculum and a full program of athletic, artistic and spiritual activities, fostering a close and supportive community. St. Mark’s engages and motivates talented students of diverse backgrounds from around the country and around the world, emphasizing excellence, values, character, and service to the larger community. Class size averages 12 students with a student–faculty ratio of five to one. Each department offers honors and advanced courses.
St. Mark’s offers more than 20 Advanced Courses, as well as independent study opportunities which range from working on the School’s prize-winning electric vehicle to reading Luke’s Gospel in Ancient Greek. Graduates leave St. Mark’s exceptionally prepared to succeed at the highly selective colleges and universities to which they gain acceptance.

The School’s endowment currently stands at $140 million. The current annual operating budget is $23 million. St. Mark’s School successfully completed a $50 million dollar Capital Campaign in 2002. The School is currently in the middle of a new comprehensive Capital Campaign with a working goal of $90 million. There are approximately 3,000 alumni/ae including a constituency of parents and friends.

Dr. John Warren, a graduate of the Class of 1974, was appointed in July 2006 as the fifteenth Head of School for St. Mark’s School.

The Opportunity

St. Mark’s School seeks an ambitious and experienced fundraising professional who will manage, lead and support the current staff of 14 alumni and development professionals and staff.  The new hire must be a sophisticated advancement professional who possesses superb front-line fundraising skills.  The CAO is expected to continue to enhance St. Mark’s School’s advancement function, including the setting of fundraising goals and meeting accountability objectives, and lead the School to further success with future capital campaigns. The ideal candidate is a thoughtful, articulate and experienced strategic leader who demonstrates the ability to create strong relationships with the advancement team and other school constituents and motivate them all toward common goals. The ideal candidate will embrace a genuine affinity for and enthusiasm about the challenge and reward of capital fundraising within an ambitious boarding school environment. The ability to be impeccably organized, evidence of skillfully preparing for visits undertaken by Head of School and Trustees, able to inspire a team oriented advancement function which is relationship oriented, and all the while display a personable nature characterized by respect for others are all attributes and skills central to this opportunity. In this high-profile position, the CAO will be an active leader and participate in interactions with St. Mark’s School faculty, staff, alumni, parents and trustees.

Position Overview

The Chief Advancement Officer leads all aspects of institutional advancement for St. Mark’s School toward maximum possible success now and in the future. The Chief Advancement Officer reports to the Head of School and is a member of the School’s Senior Administrative Team. The Chief Advancement Officer charts, with the Head of School, the strategic path that will ensure the School secures the financial resources necessary to achieve its short and long term goals. The Chief Advancement Officer develops and maintains strong relationships with School constituents and directs the Advancement Team in securing annual, major gifts, principal gifts, capital, and planned gifts. The CAO directly manages and leads a team of fourteen (14) professionals and staff. Reporting directly to the CAO are the Executive Director of Advancement (Annual Giving, Alumni Relations, Stewardship), Director of Major Gifts (Major Gifts and Planned Giving), Communications Manager, Senior Director of Advancement Services and an Administrative Assistant.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Create and maintain a document that describes the strategic vision for leadership of the School’s Advancement effort.
  • Lead and direct the work of the Advancement Team, and therefore, manage overall office personnel activities, including the hiring, training, supervision and evaluation of the Advancement Office staff, and helping them successfully meet their responsibilities.
  • Oversee work of Executive Director of Advancement and other staff members responsible for annual, capital, principal/major gifts, endowment fundraising, alumni and parent programs, communications, donor research and stewardship, gift accounting and records management. This includes alumni and parent events, annual fund solicitations, planned giving programs, parent programs, ongoing capital gifts programs, reunions based on class year and affinity groups, local and regional gatherings, and special events for major donors.
  • Direct campaign planning, principal and major gifts and communications, including management of major and planned gifts. And therefore, work with various internal and external constituencies to develop bold, compelling institutional initiatives that will attract philanthropic support and move St. Mark’s forward.
  • Work with the Head of School to develop dollar goals and strategies for each giving program, including cultivation strategies for all major gift prospects, and travel with Head of School, as appropriate, in solicitation of major capital gifts.
  • Develop and maintain a highly collaborative working relationship with the Head of School to ensure cohesive messaging of the Head’s institutional strategic goals and objectives for the Advancement Office.
  • Develop a complete program of research and an action plan for solicitation of the School’s key prospects in order to maximize financial support.
  • Identify best practices of advancement work including measurement of productivity and metrics of the fundraising staff.
  • Provide regular, detailed reports and information to the Head of School and Board of Trustees to help in decision-making and program evaluation.
  • Oversee all advancement-related communications and marketing activities, including print, electronic and video publications.
  • An interest in and knowledge of how to effectively embrace and leverage new media communication tools in support of advancement and alumni work.
  • Direct overall office planning and interact with the School community with a broad understanding of the goals and objectives of the School and the Advancement Office.
  • Manage and evaluate programs to secure outright and deferred gifts for annual, capital and endowment purposes.
  • Oversee a plan to identify, cultivate, solicit and provide stewardship for potential and current donors.
  • Personally manage a select portfolio of major gift prospects.
  • Serve as administrative liaisons to the Trustee External Relations Committee and Campaign Steering Committee and assist the Head of School with liaison work with the Committee on Trustees.
  • Serve as member of Business and Facilities Senior Administrative Group and External Relations Senior Administrative Group.

Qualifications & Experience

  • More than ten years of advancement experience in a sophisticated educational institution strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience, track record and skill set to excel as a manager and leader of the Advancement Office.
  • Ability to excel as a front-line fundraiser on all levels, including excellent ‘closing’ skills.
  • Ability to engage, interact effectively with, and earn the respect of all the constituencies of the St. Mark’s School community: the Head of School, Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends of St. Mark’s School.
  • Success and experience in recruiting, managing and supporting volunteers, including members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Ability to set strategic direction, serve as a skilled and knowledgeable mentor, and help professional staff meet goals and objectives.
  • Knowledge of effective marketing; ability to communicate the values and mission of the School both internally and externally.
  • Knowledge of and experience with successful principal gift, major gift and planned giving solicitation for alumni, parents and friends of a top national and international educational boarding school institution.
  • Experience in organizing, managing and conducting a capital campaign.
  • Ability and knowledge of how to work with a highly successful annual fund.
  • Ability and skill set to interact effectively with sophisticated, high net worth individuals.
  • Ability and interest in how best to utilize technology in alumni and development work.
  • Knowledge and experience in prospect tracking, stewardship and reporting procedures, and all aspects of annual giving programs.
  • An interest and ability to travel frequently.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Confidence, self-assurance, humility, a personal style that will command respect and attention, a positive outlook, the highest level of integrity, a strong work ethic, and an entrepreneurial approach to work.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required.

Welcome from John Warren ‘74, Head of School

Welcome to St. Mark’s School! Whether you are discovering our school for the first time or know it well, I am confident you will find much here that impresses you. We update information about what is happening on campus frequently, and we regularly add new photographs, too. So whatever your relationship with our school, I hope you return to this site often and that you leave each time with the impression that we here in Southborough already possess: St. Mark’s is a very exciting place to go to school.

The driving force behind St. Mark’s continued success is its outstanding faculty, a diverse group of skilled and committed men and women who appropriately challenge and support students. On the one hand, our teachers hold students to high standards both inside and outside the classroom. At the same time, these talented educators use the best creative and sensitive strategies to help students reach those high standards. We are blessed as well with an outstanding group of students, committed to learning, eager to engage others, possessing a broad range of talents, and drawn from around the country and around the world. Supporting both faculty and students is a talented caring staff.

St. Mark’s is situated on 250 acres in historic Southborough, MA — a setting that provides the rural comfort, beauty, and safety of a small New England town as well as quick and convenient access to the many social and cultural opportunities in nearby Boston, Providence, and Worcester.

Much of life at St. Mark’s takes place under one roof, in our Main Building. That distinctive feature — combined with our small seminar-style classes, a student body of 365, and the variety of connections students and faculty make in the classroom, on the athletic field, on the stage, and in the dormitory — creates an extraordinary sense of community, which visitors to our campus comment upon again and again. We talk together about values at St. Mark’s and we explore spiritual questions. We take ourselves seriously, but we also have a lot of fun.

Hopefully, our website will adequately shine a spotlight on both aspects of life at St. Mark’s — the serious and the fun. Here, you will find much information about the riches of our curriculum, boarding life, our athletic and artistic offerings, and our extracurricular programs. This website also describes how we maintain vibrant connections with the larger world.

I feel particularly privileged to be leading St. Mark’s because of my own history with the school. A graduate of the Class of 1974, my life was enriched profoundly by relationships with talented caring faculty and fellow students. I am very proud of the ample evidence I see every day that current St. Mark’s students are having an equally rich experience. If you are just getting to know St. Mark’s, we hope this website will pique your interest, prompting a desire to visit.

History of the School

Joseph Burnett, the school’s founder, was the father of six boys, the eldest of whom was a student at St. Paul’s School of Concord, N.H. The headmaster of that private institution, founded a decade prior to St. Mark’s, suggested Burnett create a similar school in Massachusetts, one that Burnett’s other five boys could call home. Like so many St. Markers to follow, Burnett met the challenge that faced him. His goal was to offer a high-quality education, and to this day, St. Mark’s remains focused on excellent academics, provides a rigorous liberal arts program that stems from a classical tradition, and prepares its students for the best colleges and universities.

In appearance, St. Mark’s has changed much since its founding. Then, the school was composed solely of one structure—a square, two-story house painted yellow with green blinds. That building and others from those early days, including a large schoolroom and dormitory wing built in 1866–1867, were gradually demolished in the 1890s, to make way for the brick and Tudor-styled structures that now grace the school’s 250-acre campus. To this day, St. Mark’s continues to add new facilities for its students—a new athletic center, dormitory, and performing arts center all within the last two decades—but strives to couple the feel of its pre-existing buildings with the amenities recent design and architectural advances allow.

The school adheres to a similar philosophy in its everyday mission, as well. Though the means by which faculty can educate students has changed with advances in technology and such, St. Mark’s still looks to its longtime Latin motto as an inspiration for that mission. Age Quod Agis roughly translates as follows for today’s students: Do and be your best. It is a goal that certainly involves achievement in the classroom but extends to other aspects of life at an independent school. St. Markers are challenged on multiple fronts—in the academic arena, on the athletic field, and as they find their place in the small on-campus community and beyond. They are challenged, yet also supported.

The scale on which this mission is carried out is much grander today than it was in the school’s first academic year. Upon its opening, one faculty member and a dozen boys called St. Mark’s home. Now the school employs more than 65 faculty members and welcomes more than 360 students each fall—and, of course, these days, St. Mark’s is no longer solely a boys school. In the 1970s, St. Mark’s reached an agreement for coordinated education with the nearby Southborough School, a newly founded institution for girls; four years later, Southborough School merged with St. Mark’s, establishing the latter as a coeducational facility and thus enriching its community.

To this day, St. Mark’s remains focused on excellent academics, provides a rigorous liberal arts program that stems from a classical tradition, and prepares its students for the best colleges and universities.

Another change in regard to student make-up since those early days regards the inclusion of day students. Although the vast majority of St. Markers still live on campus, many commute to school six days a week from Southborough and nearby communities. These day students—about 20 percent of the student population—are welcome at all school events and only help to create a greater diversity on campus.

Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, St. Mark’s School—now more than 150 years old—continues to serve young learners from throughout the world. Yet it maintains a solid link to the school Burnett founded—St. Mark’s is still very much a family-based environment.

The Head of School

John Warren’s appointment comes following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees to accept the recommendation handed down by the Search Committee charged with finding the school’s next administrative leader.

In the January 23, 2006 announcement of his appointment as the new Head of School, Board Chair G. Thomas Martinson ’80 and Board President George Putnam III ‘69 reported the following about John Warren, “His personal characteristics – his intelligence, his integrity, his energy, but above all his passion – made John an obvious choice. He is passionate about learning, about students, about the school. We on the Board of Trustees believe that St. Mark’s is great right now, but we also believe that it can be even better. The Board is certain that John is the right person to lead the school to be absolutely the best that it can be.”

John served as Trustee of St. Mark’s from 1995 until he took a leave of absence during the Head of School search. He had chaired the Education Committee since 1997.  Prior to joining St. Mark’s School, John was Special Assistant to the Head of School at Milton Academy.  He had been at Milton since 1981, teaching history, coaching, and serving as house head since 1985.  He was that school’s Academic Dean from 1995 to 2001. He chaired the History and Social Sciences Department from 1992 to 1995.

Following his graduation from St. Mark’s, John continued his education, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. John and his wife, Laura Appell-Warren, have a son who is a playwright and independent filmmaker and a daughter who is an elementary schoolteacher.  Laura, who possesses a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, directs the St. Mark’s Global Citizenship Program and teaches history, religion, and anthropology at St. Mark’s.

Mission Statement

St. Mark’s School educates young people for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1865 as an intentionally small residential community, the School challenges its students to develop their particular analytic and creative capabilities by both inspiring their academic and spiritual curiosity and kindling their passion for discovery.  We value cooperation over self-interest, and we encourage each person to explore his or her place in the larger world beyond our campus.

St. Mark’s School Benefits

St. Mark’s School offers a dynamic and supportive work environment, competitive salaries and a generous benefits package including a retirement plan, paid vacations, and medical insurance.   St. Mark’s School is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Contact Information

To explore this superb career opportunity on a highly confidential basis please send a letter of interest and a resume (both as Microsoft Word documents) to:

Doug Cooney, Executive Search Consultant, Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc.
572 Washington Street, Suite 15, Wellesley, MA 02482
Telephone: 781.237.2800

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