SMH Announces New Assistant Head of School for Academics and Dean of College Counseling

After the conclusion of a successful nationwide search, Saint Mary’s Hall is delighted to have named Ellen O’Neill Deitrich as Assistant Head of School for Academics and Dean of College Counseling.   

Ellen comes to Saint Mary’s Hall with years of experience at some of the nation’s top independent schools. She previously served at William Penn Charter School, Woodlynde School, and The Shipley School, where she taught, advised, led college counseling, created and directed an Academic Standards Committee, and served as Grade Dean, giving oversight to the student advisory program. She currently serves as Director of College Counseling at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA. During her time at Hill, Ellen has been instrumental in establishing a robust, informative, and comprehensive college counseling program for students and families. In addition, she is a thought leader in the ever-changing college admission landscape and has led several curricular initiatives to clarify and strengthen the student academic journey and outcomes. She is recognized for developing a nationally recognized Reverse Advisory Board to provide the most pertinent information to prospective colleges when reading student applications, which positively impacted decisions for students. 

Ellen received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work/School Counseling from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and her Master of Science in Education from The University of Pennsylvania. She is an engaged leader in the college counseling field, serving on the Advisory Boards of numerous universities, the College Board, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and The Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC). In 2015, she was awarded The Delwin K. Gustafson Recognition Award, the highest award given by PACAC. She also created and serves as Director of the College Counseling Leadership Institute, an annual conference to strengthen best practices through collaborative learning with college counseling professionals across the country.  

In this new position, Ellen will elevate our academic program, overseeing the vertically aligned, college-preparatory curriculum that serves as the road map for our students’ academic journey. Through her work, she will also help take our college counseling program to the next level, ensuring personalized and successful outcomes for every student. She will collaborate with our teachers, divisional academic leadership teams, and division heads to ensure that the scope and sequence of the curriculum is scaffolded within and across divisions.    

Ellen said, “My professional life mirrors SMH’s mission; I am dedicated to preparing students for success in college and fulfillment in life. The Assistant Head of School for Academics position will allow me to continue that work, to collaborate in impacting positive change and creating a school culture in which every member feels valued.” In accepting this position, Ellen added, “During my visit to Saint Mary’s Hall, I was deeply impressed by the dedicated faculty, engaged students, and rich history of the school. Learning about the innovative visions of the leadership team convinced me I wanted to be part of this forward-thinking school. I am honored and excited to join the SMH community.” 

Ellen and her husband Norm will join the Saint Mary’s Hall community on July 1, 2022. They also look forward to introducing their three sons, all of whom work in Independent Schools as teachers, coaches, and/or college counselors, to Saint Mary’s Hall and San Antonio this fall.