Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Hill announces new faculty appointments

Media: Sarah Bender
From top, Mark Pearson was named the new Elizabeth B Blossom Chair of Humanities and the Rev. Anne Confer Martens will serve as the Director of Spiritual Life and Firestone Endowment Chaplain. From bottom, Chris Bala will be the new head boys varsity ice hockey coach and Ari Baum will take on the role of Associate Head of School.

Over spring break, Hill announced new faculty appointments in preparation for the next academic year.  

Dr Mark Pearson ’78  

Mark Pearson will undertake the position of Elizabeth B. Blossom Chair of Humanities following Kathryn Malone, the current Chair who is stepping down after 12 years in the role. He looks forward to taking on the role after 8 years of teaching in the humanities department and being the head of the department. “It is interesting and exciting because there have only been five chairs of the humanities department since it started more than 75 years ago.”  

With the department expanding from the current two people department to a four people department, in the short term, Pearson is focused on “getting the new teachers acclimated to the humanities program and getting a good working relationship with the new teachers” and “as a group, starting to talk about the curriculum”.  

Regarding the curriculum, Pearson plans on maintaining a majority of the current Humanities curriculum while “thinking about things that we can do a little differently going forward.” “We will be thinking about texts, different texts to use going forward,” said Pearson. One aspect of the Humanities curriculum that Pearson plans on keeping is project-based learning as “students enjoy them a lot”.  

Pearson is excited to undertake the different roles associated with the position. “Being the chair is exciting. I get to guide the program in a way that I am excited about. I made suggestions before, but now I get to guide it and I get to work with other teachers. That is going to be a lot of fun.” 

Reverend Anne Confer Martens ’02 

After 12 years as the Warner Associate Chaplain, Anne Confer Marten ’02 will step up to serve as the Director of Spiritual Life and Firestone Endowment Chaplain. Due to the length of time Confer Martens served in the associate position, she did not hesitate taking up the promotion, especially since she feels that “the offer really came at a good and right time”.  

In terms of her goals, Confer Martens wants to “provide programming for students in their particular faith communities, but also have opportunities for interfaith cooperation and learning and growth and reflection.With all her planning and goals for the new role, Confer Martens always keeps in mind the opening line of the job description: “Chaplains are to love and serve the community of the Hill. 

“No matter what I’m doing, I always keep that at the forefront of my mind.” Confer Martens said. “We are here to love and care and support and serve our students, our faculty, everybody who’s on, who’s on this campus. We talk about Hill as home and Hill as family and part of your life and your family is Hill.”  

Looking forward to the next school year, Confer Martens is excited “to return to the chapel and to settle into that space and to be in that space as a whole school again.” Confer Martens is also excited “to partner with a new person and always asking the question and making sure that our spiritual life programming is serving and meeting the needs of our students”.  

“Being part of the leadership of the school and being part of where we are heading is something that I’m really excited about.” Confer Martens concluded. “I feel like in this role as the Director of Spiritual Life, and in this role as the Firestone Chaplain, it brings me into those conversations and gives me more of that kind of voice and influence to really be part of what we are doing right now and into our future.”  

Chris Bala ’97  

Chris Bala, who currently serves at the Hill boys’ JV ice hockey team, has been appointed head boys varsity ice hockey coach. Bala previously served as the varsity head coach from 2013-2021.  

Although Bala has previously served in the role 3 years ago, he will “need to familiarise himself with it all again” as “the landscape of prep hockey has continued to shift and change. As a part of his transition into the role of head coach, he has prioritised getting to know the returning players and their families which has “always been the top priority from the start.Bala said that he will mostly lean on past experience to help prepare for the role. 

Being in this role is especially special for Bala because he will work side-by-side with his cousin Ben Bala ’16, the assistant coach of the program.  

“It will be special to work with Coach Bala – obviously because he is my cousin — but I also coached him for his three years at Hill so it is a life-coming-full-circle type of moment,” Chris Bala said. “He brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience with him, but more importantly we are aligned on how impactful the experience of being a Hill Hockey player can be.” 

Ariel L. Baum  

Ari Baum, the current Assistant Head of School for Community Life, will be appointed as Associate Head of School following the departure of Associate Head of School Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas.  

Baum believes that the transition from assistant head to associate head is like “an evolution in responsibilities.” Describing his new responsibilities, Baum noted that “I will no longer have any role directly in the Deans’ Office, but I will supervise the Dean of Students whoever that person is as part of my responsibilities as associate head.” 

“My responsibilities as associate head will be the day to day, week to week of the school, that includes the dean’s office, but also academic team, the dean of faculty, co-curricular, athletics, college counselling, and some of the other areas that students probably associate to be the life of the school on a week to week basis,” Baum said.  

As part of his transition into the role, Baum plans on having more direct contact with students so that students are able to “express their experiences positively or otherwise in general, not just like related to like the dean’s office, but in general of how they experience the school so that I can have a more direct understanding of how they experience life here”. 

Baum is excited to be in closer and more regular contact in most if not all areas of school life. “The most exciting part of it is that you have more of an established relationship with all areas of the school, and I am equally passionate about all areas of the school,” Baum said. “I am excited to be able to have more of a working relationship with athletics, with residential, with the employees and their experience with the academic program in no particular order.”  

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Kiern Lim '25
Kiern Lim '25, Website Editor

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