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Seven Hills Appoints Matt Bolton As New Head of School

The Seven Hills School Board of Trustees announced today that they have chosen current Head of Seven Hills Upper School Dr. Matthew J. Bolton as the next Head of School. Bolton will succeed Head of School Chris Garten, who has served in the position for 14 years and will retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year. The transition will take place on July 1, 2024. Until that time, Bolton will continue as the Head of Upper School and assume the new title Head of School-Elect.

“I’m delighted to congratulate Matt on his appointment as the next Head of School,” said Seven Hills Board Chair Steve Baggott. “We were fortunate to have had a very strong field of finalists, and after an extremely comprehensive process, with engagement across the Seven Hills community, Matt emerged as the clear choice.”

The search committee recommended Bolton to the board after an extensive global search process, which began in September 2022 after Garten announced his plans to retire. The committee worked closely with RG175, a leading search firm for independent school heads and administrators, to review dozens of applications, interview 10 semi-finalists, and welcome four finalists to visit to the Seven Hills campuses in April.

“Matt brings an intimate understanding of Seven Hills, allowing for a seamless transition over the coming year,” said Lair Kennedy, search committee co-chair and board of trustee chair-elect. “This will allow Matt to continue the many successful initiatives and programs led by Chris Garten and his team, which have put the school in such a strong position.”

Bolton joined Seven Hills as the head of Upper School in 2014. Under his leadership, the school has expanded its STEM offerings, increased the experiential learning program, and added a learning support department. Bolton has worked with teachers and department chairs to establish more than 20 new courses, including engineering, entrepreneurship, and a Chinese language sequence.

Schoolwide, Bolton has been deeply involved in drafting an updated mission statement and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a new strategic plan, and assisting in a series of building projects.

“I am deeply honored to have been named Head of School. Seven Hills is a remarkable school that truly lives out its mission of engaging students’ hearts and minds. I’ve loved my time in the Upper School, and I’m excited to connect with students, teachers, and families in Doherty, Lotspeich, and Middle, as well as with our alumni and supporters. I’m likewise eager to partner with our Board of Trustees and leadership team in the valuable work they are doing on behalf of our school. We are an incredible community, and there are so many opportunities for learning and growth ahead of us,” Bolton said.

Before coming to Seven Hills, Bolton served as dean of academics, dean of students, and an English teacher at Loyola School in New York City for 15 years. He has a B.A. in English from Binghamton University, a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in English from The City University of New York, and two M.S.Ed. degrees from Fordham University, in English Education and Educational Administration and Supervision.

He has also taught sixth grade as part of Teach for America, English as a second language in Okayama, Japan, and collegiate level classes in English and literature at The City University of New York, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, and New York University. He has presented several times at the annual conferences of National Association of Independent Schools and Independent Schools Association of the Central States and has been published in a variety of academic and professional journals.

Search Committee Co-Chair Angie Apple said, in survey responses from various Seven Hills stakeholders, Bolton was the only candidate who met all the personal characteristics: warmth and empathy, intellect, communication skills, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and unquestioned integrity.

Garten echoed those sentiments, adding, “I am thrilled that, after such an extensive process, the board has aligned on Matt as Seven Hills’ next leader. In his nine years here, Matt has helped make Seven Hills the top college preparatory school in Ohio. He has a clear and compelling vision for the continuing evolution of this school and a deep respect for the unique and precious culture of the Seven Hills community.”