Head of School Search

Canterbury School of Florida’s Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Hollis Amley as the ninth Head School

After a thorough national search, both the Search Committee recommendation and Board decision were unanimous in the appointment of Hollis Amley as Canterbury's next Head of School, effective July 1, 2022.

Hollis comes to Canterbury from the St. John’s School in Houston, TX, widely regarded as a top 20 independent school in the United States. As a lifetime independent school student and educator, Hollis learned and worked in a variety of educational settings. 

Raised in St. Petersburg, FL she graduated from Shorecrest Preparatory School in 1991. Hollis received a B.A. in History from Davidson College in 1995, an M.A in History from North Carolina State University in 2005, and an M.A in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University in 2011.

Her teaching career began at St. David’s School, an Episcopal day school in Raleigh, NC where she progressed from teacher to Department Chair while also serving as Head Coach of the school’s inaugural swim team. Later Hollis took her talents to The Browning School, an all-boys school in NYC, where she served as a History teacher and a Student Advisor. In 2011, she returned to St. David’s School where she gained experience as Dean of Faculty and Assistant Headmaster of Academics and Student Life. Since 2014, Hollis has been responsible for day-to-day operations for the Upper Division at St. John’s School. 

Hollis’ intellect, integrity, confidence, humility, and sense of humor are a unique combination. When combined with her local roots, these traits make her the perfect choice to be Canterbury’s next Head of School. At her core, Hollis identifies as a teacher who is committed to academic excellence and the student experience. She recognizes that a student is more than a GPA or test score and the importance spirituality plays in the development of the whole child. She seeks to bring out the best in others by investing heartily in their development and helping them realize their full potential.  

She is a deep thinker, excellent listener and clear communicator who demonstrates empathy while being decisive.  Hollis has a reputation for her tremendous instinct, wisdom, and unflappable courage in addressing tough situations. She is an authentic, approachable, and highly visible leader that is beloved by students, faculty, and the community. She knows when to push and when to nurture. Hollis also values the importance of diversity and inclusion, both in the student body and in the faculty and administration. Put most simply, Hollis is a special leader with the vision and skillset to confidently lead Canterbury into the future. 

The Search Committee is very grateful for the community’s help and support throughout the search process. With excellent guidance from the consultants at Carney, Sandoe & Associates the Search Committee relied heavily on the input and feedback received from the Canterbury community, including faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents, alumni, and donors to formulate the Position Description that guided the search. 

The Board of Trustees and the entire community are greatly appreciative of Mac Hall’s inspiring, seventeen-year legacy. We are excited about Hollis' leadership and the work ahead, as we aspire to prepare our students for a rapidly changing world.

Please join us in welcoming Hollis to the Canterbury School of Florida.  We look forward to opportunities over the next year for Hollis to further connect and introduce herself to the entire community.


“Hollis will be my thirteenth leader that has gone on to become a Head of School. By far, Hollis is the most impressive and prepared of all of them. She is best in class with lots of experience. Hollis is very authentic. What you see is what you get. She is strong in her faith, intelligent, and a servant leader that is focused on the students.”
- Dr. Mark Desjardins, Headmaster - St. John’s School

“On a scale of 1 through 10, Hollis is a 25. She is a quick study.”
- Kevin Lockerbie, Former Headmaster, St. David’s School

“Ms. Amley’s experience matches well with the direction Canterbury is headed. She seems to have an understanding of teachers and their needs, has built programs that enhance student life, and strikes me as an insightful listener and innovative thinker that can move our community forward.”
- Anonymous, Member of Faculty and Staff, Canterbury School of Florida

“She brought so much innovation to hiring, building design, and academics throughout our Upper School. The results have all been impressive.”
- Dr. Gene Batiste, Director of Community & Inclusion, St. John’s School

“I think Hollis is the person for the job. She has the correct background and experience to be a successful Head of School. I like that she is from St. Petersburg, is familiar with our school, and that she chose Canterbury. I think Hollis will be a great and fair leader.”
- Anonymous, Parent of a Current Student, Canterbury School of Florida

portrait of head of school

Hollis Amley,
9th Head of School

Search Process

In January of 2021, the Canterbury School of Florida announced a search for the ninth Head of School.  The search was the result of a thoughtful, intentional and mutually agreed upon succession plan between the Board of Trustees and Mac Hall who is retiring after 17 years as the longest tenured Head of School since the school’s founding in 1968.

A seven-person search committee consisting of current trustees was tasked with the duty of leading a thoughtful and transparent search process and ultimately recommended Hollis Amley to the Board of Trustees as the ninth Head of School.

The Head of School search required that community members engage and share feedback. Through official forums and surveys, this feedback was gathered and used to construct the position description and inform the search process.

With the help of our consultants at the executive search firm of Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a comprehensive national search attracted a talented pool of diverse candidates from peer institutions across the United States.

Seventy-five individuals showed interest in the position at Canterbury.  Our consultants interviewed thirty, shortlisted eighteen and presented ten to the search committee for consideration.  The search committee invited all ten candidates to the first round of interviews, five to the second round and ultimately three to the in-person, on campus, final round of interviews.

Based upon the community feedback and position description, Hollis Amley has been selected as the next Head of School, starting in the 2022-23 school year.

A special thank you to the Canterbury Community for your participation in the search.

Community Messages

Search Committee Members

Jim Donatelli, Co-Chair
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Parent ‘20

Tony Linguanti, Co-Chair
Parent ‘16

Marion Hale
Incoming Chair, Board of Trustees
Parent ‘01, ‘04, ‘10

Robb Hough
Former Chairman, Board of Trustees
Parent ‘06, ‘08, ‘12, ‘14

Andy Klymenko
Secretary, Board of Trustees
Parent ‘26

Steve McMullen
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Parent ‘14, ‘16

Susan Ochstein
Parent ‘30, ‘32

Frequently Asked Questions