Head of School Search
We Welcome Our New Head of School
Maria Croley Madden
November 7, 2022
Dear Members of the St. Martin’s Episcopal School Community,
On behalf of the board of trustees, it is my great pleasure to announce that Maria Croley Madden has been appointed as St. Martin’s Episcopal School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2023. The board’s unanimous decision to select Maria followed the overwhelmingly enthusiastic recommendation of the search committee. Maria is a visionary and gifted leader who also has the heart of an educator.
Maria will succeed Michael Robinson, who is skillfully and artfully leading the SMES community for this transition year. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Michael for his exceptional efforts as interim head of school, placing Maria in a superb position to capitalize on our momentum.
Maria has been the middle school head at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, a toddler through 12th grade, 877 student, independent school in Columbia, S.C., since 2020. Prior to joining Heathwood Hall, Maria served as middle school assistant director, dean of student life, world language teacher, and coach at The Lovett School here in Atlanta for 13 years. Her teaching career began at her alma mater, The Walker School, also here in Atlanta.
Maria received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Furman University. She also earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership and an Ed. S. in Education Leadership from Kennesaw State University. Maria is passionate about upholding the school’s mission and the Episcopal faith’s values and will be a wise steward of resources. Maria and her husband James have three boys; Sanders, a rising fifth grader; Louis, a rising third grader; and Carter, who will be three in 2023.
In accepting the appointment, Maria said, “I was initially drawn to this opportunity because of the School’s mission and whole child approach. It aligns with my approach as an educator, a product of independent schools, and as a parent of independent school students. My husband and I felt an immediate connection to this learning community and are excited to be a part of the next chapter at SMES.”
Since last March, our search committee, co-chaired by myself and Board of Trustees vice chair Austin Jowers, has been working closely with our consultants at The Education Group to find a pool of exceptional candidates. The process brought forth a diverse and qualified group from across the nation. Of these candidates, three finalists were selected to visit the St. Martin’s Episcopal School campus and meet with our constituents. Austin and I are deeply grateful for each member of our community who participated in this important process, shared their thoughts and perspectives, and offered candidates a clear and thorough understanding of SMES’s unique culture and community.
Furthermore, the 11 members of the search committee deserve our utmost thanks for working so diligently to help us successfully complete the selection of the next head of school.
Our entire search committee noted Maria’s impressive leadership style and curricular innovations. In addition, her warmth, poise, passion, and authenticity, as well as her student-centered approach to learning, were all strong, right-fit qualities for our next head of school. As such, we welcome Maria, James, and their children to the Warrior family!
Over the coming months, Michael and the SMES leadership team will work closely with Maria to ensure a seamless transition. We are confident that our school community will thrive under Maria’s leadership and look forward to welcoming the Madden family back to Atlanta and to SMES in July 2023.
Chair, SMES Board of Trustees
November 7, 2022
Greetings to the St. Martin’s Family!
It is an honor and privilege to accept the position as Head of School at St. Martin’s Episcopal School. I was overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality the entire community showed my husband and I during our visit, and I cannot wait to be on campus to begin our journey together. From the parents, students, faculty, Board of Trustees, and the search committee, it is abundantly clear the passion and commitment for St. Martin’s among the community. During my visit, many of you shared with me your perspectives on where St. Martin’s is right now, and what direction you’d like to see it move toward in the future. I cannot thank you enough for your candor and honesty in that regard, and I can assure you I will hit the ground running to not only provide a stable transition, but position our entire community for success going forward.
I’ve spent my career in the independent school environment, the majority of that time in my hometown of Atlanta. If there is one thing I’ve learned through the years, it is that every child’s success starts with strong relationships and bonds between parents, students and faculty. I will continue to foster that strong communication with each and every one of you, and I want you to know my door is always open.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for granting me the opportunity to lead St. Martin’s in the years to come, and I look forward to seeing all of you on campus!
Maria Croley Madden