Please see two separate letters below from our Board of Trustees Chair Scott Stevens, followed by Head of School Mark Reed.
From Scott Stevens, Board of Trustees Chair
Dear Charlotte Country Day School community,
It is with great sadness that I announce Mark Reed is stepping down as Head of School at the end of this school year to assume the position of Managing Director of the John M. Belk Endowment. During his 12-year tenure as Head of School, Mark's inspired leadership and unwavering commitment to the Country Day community have made a transformational impact on our school. The Board of Trustees is enormously grateful for his many significant contributions. He will be sorely missed, and we will have time through the end of the school year to properly thank Mark and celebrate his many achievements.
The Board of Trustees has established a search committee to find our next head of school to be co-chaired by Bill Zimmern and me. The committee will lead a national search in partnership with a third-party search consultant. After the committee has selected and met with the search consultant, the committee will determine the best timing and process for the search, and the committee will then communicate what to expect to this community via e-mail and through our Head of School Search website.
Given the anticipated timing of a search process, the Board of Trustees expects that the new head of school will likely join after the next school year. Fortunately, Mark has hired and developed an exceptional administrative leadership team that positions us well to take our time to conduct a thorough search. We are happy to announce that David Mancos, Country Day’s Chief Financial Officer, will serve as Interim Head of School at the end of this school year. David has served Country Day faithfully for over 21 years, earning the immense trust and respect of the Board and his colleagues. Each of the divisions (Lower, Middle, and Upper) will continue to be led by Bill Mulcahy, Warren Sepkowitz, and Matt Less. We are confident that with David’s leadership, the strength of this team, and our school's exceptional financial stability, Country Day is well positioned to take the appropriate time to find the caliber of leader that the school deserves.
Mark will continue leading through the remainder of this school year—providing steady guidance through one of the most challenging years the school has ever faced. The ongoing pandemic has introduced unpredictable challenges for which there is no roadmap for responding. Mark will continue to partner with the faculty and staff to successfully navigate through these uncertain conditions. Mark will also focus on completing a number of other critical goals during the year, including partnering with the Board to finish the important ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
The Board is thankful for Mark's impact on the school, from his philanthropic success to his mission and student-centered approach to all of the work. Under Mark's leadership, so many committed and generous community members have come together to play critical roles in our school’s success. This broad and enthusiastic engagement in the present and future of Country Day is a key part of his legacy and will be the springboard for our ongoing success in the years ahead.
Please join me in reflecting on all that has been achieved during Mark's 12-year tenure thus far and in expressing deepest appreciation for his continued partnership and his leadership at Country Day:
- A student-focused and community-involved Strategic Planning process in 2011 that led to the development of four Shared Visions, which guided the work over the past several years;
- $92.5 million raised over the past five years in the largest comprehensive campaign in the school's history;
- The transformation of the Cannon Campus including the addition of 72,000 square feet of educational space for the construction of Purdy Center for Science and Mathematics, Hance Lower School Learning Center, Dowd Student Center, and John and Claudia Belk Upper School Learning Center;
- Strength in admissions and enrollment evidenced with an increase in inquiries and applications every year over the past six years, an average 96% re-enrollment rate, and the largest enrollment in the history of the school;
- Added significant diversity, equity, and inclusion programming to our curriculum; increased faculty and leadership of color; increased the Board of Trustees to 23% people of color, enrollment to 20% students of color overall, and 27% of newly enrolled students in the past year; created a Board Diversity Initiative to allocate $1.4 million per year to recruiting, retaining, and supporting diverse students;
- Increased Country Day's endowment from $15 million to over $50 million, the largest among independent schools in North Carolina—signaling our leadership and our ambition;
- Innovation and entrepreneurship amplified and integrated across the school, including the Externship and Internship Programs, the Summer Science Outreach Programs, and the Science Symposium in the Upper School;
- Implementing the 1:1 technology initiative and becoming the first area school to be named a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School.
On behalf of the entire Country Day community, I extend heartfelt gratitude to Mark for his exceptional service. There is no doubt that his remarkable body of work, coupled with the collective strength of Charlotte Country Day School, will put his successor in an excellent position to continue the extraordinary momentum that Country Day has enjoyed for more than a decade.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
From Mark Reed, Head of School
Dear Charlotte Country Day School community,
Many of you have heard me say it is my belief that the best schools are led with the head and the heart. Today I am writing to you with both my head and my heart.
For almost 12 years, I have been privileged to serve as Charlotte Country Day School's Head of School and be a part of this extraordinary school community. So, it is only after a tremendous amount of deep reflection that I write to convey the news that the 2020–21 school year will be my last as Head of School. As I look ahead to the next step in my educational career, I know that our school is exceptionally strong and well-positioned for continued success.
First and foremost, I am deeply grateful to our faculty and staff, the administrative team, and the Board of Trustees past and present; parents, grandparents, and alumni; and, of course, our students, for the tremendous support I have experienced over these years. When I arrived at Country Day in 2009, I had no idea how my journey would unfold or the number of wonderful relationships I would build here. There are many people to personally thank for their support, and I intend to do my very best in the coming weeks and months to express my gratitude to them individually.
I have written to you many times about the sense of community at our school and its impact on our students. I haven't often stated how impactful it's been on me; this community has helped shape my leadership, and I will be forever grateful. Country Day is rightfully characterized by the same compassion, optimism, and ambition that was so evident when I first visited the school as a candidate, and I hope that I have made it even stronger during my tenure. I believe that this community's strength, confidence, and trust in each other and our school has sustained Country Day well beyond any individual leader. And, I have every confidence that our Board of Trustees will find the right leader to take our school to yet another level of success in service to our mission and students. We still have the remainder of our year ahead, and I will work energetically on behalf of the school to build the best possible foundation for my successor.
Please know that education remains my top priority. As such, I will be serving our community and the state of North Carolina as the Managing Director of the John M. Belk Endowment. This endowment is deeply committed to education, specifically post-secondary education with a focus on college accessibility and completion. Impacting and improving our state’s college entrance and graduation rates for a wide diversity of students will be an exciting and new challenge for me. As an educator with a passion for students, I found this new role to be an opportunity that is nearly impossible to refuse at this point in my career. The fact that this moment coincided with the completion of a number of important projects at Country Day only made the possibility more compelling. While I am excited about this next chapter professionally, I am equally excited to remain a member of this vibrant community as a parent and look forward to the day when I get to watch my daughter, Olivia, walk across the stage as a Country Day graduate.
Thank you for your continued passion, trust, and support in all that we are doing here at Country Day. It will always be the commitment of our faculty and staff and our community’s spirit that helps us best serve our students.
With great appreciation,