It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Shelby Hammer to the Head of School position beginning July 1, 2018! Shelby’s appointment, by unanimous consent of the Board of Trustees, marks the culmination of a thorough, nationwide search conducted by Carney, Sandoe & Associates and overseen by the Head of School Search Committee. Vital to the success of our search was the input and engagement of the entire Trinity School community. Shelby rose to the top of our prospective candidate pool as a talented, skilled, and knowledgeable independent school leader with a strong philosophical alignment to Trinity School’s mission and core values. Her wealth of expertise, collaborative leadership style, and commitment to the school’s emphasis on nurturing the whole child in mind, body, and spirit, identified her as the candidate best equipped for the current and future needs of Trinity School.
Shelby comes to us from a fellow ISAS school, Houston’s River Oaks Baptist School, a private, Christian, co-educational day school for Pre-K through eighth grade students, where she currently serves as the Assistant Head of School for Special Projects. Shelby brings a substantial record of educational leadership to Trinity School. Previously, Shelby served as the Head of Middle School at River Oaks Baptist and the Head of Middle School at Highlands School in Birmingham, Alabama. Also, while residing in Birmingham, Shelby was employed at Indian Springs School as the Director of Financial Aid, Associate Director of Admission, Associate Dean of Faculty, and Director of External Affairs. Prior to her employment at Indian Springs School, Shelby was a Technical Writer and Online Communications Specialist at Computer Sciences Corporation in Birmingham. At the beginning of her career, she taught lower, middle, and upper school Social Studies, History, and English at the Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama. Shelby received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Duke University where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a Master of Arts in History from the University of Alabama and most recently received a Master of Education in Private School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University as a Klingenstein Leadership Academy Scholar. Shelby’s professional development includes experience as a Master Teacher at the ISAS Beginning Teacher Institute, participation on an ISAS Accreditation Team, serving as a presenter at the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Annual Conference and participation in the NAIS School Leadership Institute, as well as the NAIS Financial Aid Workshop. As a graduate of St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, Shelby has a lifelong history with independent school education.
Shelby believes passionately in academic excellence and in building a school climate that facilitates the best teaching, learning, and growing experiences. Her success as a skilled leader and educator is grounded in a deep belief that children thrive academically when they are being challenged intellectually and when they are joyfully engaged. Shelby also understands that academics are only part of the picture. She believes schools are better places when they embrace the diversity of each individual’s talents and that students need opportunities to develop interests in the arts, athletics, and service. She is committed to helping students find and develop their passions in all of these areas so that they can become well-rounded, interesting, and content adults. To her mentors and peers, she is a respected colleague and is highly valued for her exceptional intelligence, strong work ethic, love of community, and unwavering sense of integrity.
Shelby’s appointment to the Head of School position was the collaborative result of many months of thorough vetting by Bob Windham and Bill Christ of Carney, Sandoe & Associates, and the Search Committee. Prior to making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, the Committee extensively analyzed data from two community-wide surveys, completed comprehensive reference checks, conducted personal interviews, and reviewed input from three Support Groups made up of parents, Upper School students, and members of the faculty and administration.
We are grateful to Don North, our interim Head of School, for his support during this transitional year and for providing a foundation of stability that will ensure Shelby’s success in making the transition to Head of School next summer. Our gratitude extends far and wide to the Trinity School community for the partnership, trust, support, and enthusiasm displayed during our search process. Community input was critically important as we sought to identify a leader with the skillset, qualities, and character who could embrace our school’s culture and lead us forward by building on our history and strengths. We believe we have found that person in Shelby Hammer.
Shelby is married to Allen, a teacher of 11th grade U.S. history, and they have two children, David, 16, and Betsy, 12. In her spare time, Shelby likes to cook, read, travel, watch Duke basketball and Alabama football, coach the River Oaks Baptist School swim team, and spend time with her family and friends, playing games or just hanging out. The Hammers currently reside in Houston, Texas. While Shelby and her family will not arrive in Midland for several months, the work to ensure a smooth transition for her, Allen, David, and Betsy is already underway. We are looking forward to introducing Shelby to our extended community and treating the Hammer family to the welcoming Midland hospitality for which we are known. As Trinity School enters a new era, the Search Committee and Board of Trustees are confident that Shelby is the right choice as a Head of School who can expand on and refine the educational excellence that has defined our school in the past.
Head of School Search Committee
Vicki Donnell, Chair
Letter from Shelby Hammer
Dear Trinity Family,
I am thrilled and honored to be writing to you as Trinity’s next Head of School. From the moment I first set foot on campus, the joy of the students, the commitment of the faculty, and the investment of the parents helped me see that Trinity is a place where I – and my family – could thrive.
While I quickly fell in love with Trinity, two aspects of its culture are particularly appealing. First, Trinity is known in the Independent School Association of Southwest (ISAS) for its academic excellence. Trinity’s students complete challenging coursework throughout their time on campus and then go on to successful and fulfilling college and professional careers. Second, Trinity’s Episcopal heritage fits well with my conviction that students are more than their brains. To do their jobs well, schools must nurture students’ minds, bodies, spirits, and social consciences. Trinity’s mission to provide a college preparatory education that “enriches the mind, strengthens the body, enlivens the soul, and inspires servant leadership” demonstrates the School’s commitment to producing not only good students, but good people. What a privilege it is to be called to do this work in the Trinity community!
I am eager to spend time with students, faculty, parents, alumni, and the community as a whole in the months and years to come. While I enjoyed meeting many of you during the selection process, we have much more to learn about each other and an exciting future ahead. The Hammers look forward to making some visits to Midland during the spring semester – David and Betsy can’t wait to see their new school – and to moving to our new hometown this summer.
I am grateful to the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees for the confidence they have placed in me and to Don North for the work he is doing to prepare for my arrival. It can’t come soon enough!
Shelby S. Hammer