Bert Bibens Named Head of the Mary K. Chapman Primary School

Posted on: Mar 27, 2015

Holland Hall is pleased to announce that longtime Primary and Middle School Chaplain Bert Bibens, has accepted our offer to become our next Primary School Head, effective July 1, 2015.

In response to the nationally published opportunity statement and after interviewing six semifinalists on campus, three finalists were selected to move forward in the process. The three finalists spent an intensive two days with faculty, students, administrators, and parents.  The field was strong and each finalist demonstrated varying skill sets and experiences with independent schools.  The total field included internal candidates, like Mr. Bibens, as well as rising stars, current division heads, and a sitting head of school. 

While Mr. Bibens’ responsibilities will focus on the day-to-day operations of the Mary K. Chapman Primary School, he will also work collaboratively to advance our One School approach, including cohesive curriculum integration across all school branches.  In concert with the Branch Heads and Assistant Head of School Richard Hart, he will oversee student assessment data to identify needs and implement strategies to grow areas of strength while addressing areas for improvement. He will also collaboratively work to oversee all matters regarding the Primary School, including professional development, faculty and student culture, and parent programming focused on primary school issues.

 A beloved 22-year member of the faculty and alumni parent, Mr. Bibens’ experience extends well beyond Holland Hall.  Prior to arriving here in 1993, he served in youth ministry and educational director capacities at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City and at Trinity Episcopal here in Tulsa, where he still serves as a deacon.  He also taught 5th and 6th graders while coaching several sports.  A graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Master of Education in Elementary Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma, Mr. Bibens also has extensive leadership experience, including founding and leading the Summer Leadership Academy for talented urban students from Tulsa and co-chairing the Oklahoma Diocese’s Bishop Search Committee. Having led chapel exercises and taught religious education over the last 22 years, he already knows every primary and middle school student and faculty member here at Holland Hall!

In response to news of the appointment, Mr. Bibens shared, “Holland Hall has been a second home for me and my family over the past 22 years.  I love this place and all of its people and cherish the opportunity to lead the Mary K. Chapman Primary School forward as we continue to embrace this 21st century, with all of its challenges, intricacies and promise.  Since I’ve spent my entire career as an educator, I’m excited to expand my role at the school beyond ministry and teaching religion and into forging an even more positive culture focused on relationships, academic excellence, and our students.”

A passage from his statement of educational philosophy that resonated with the search committee spoke clearly to our mission-driven focus on developing lifelong learners.  He wrote, “It would be my hope, that all educators would strive to be as animated as possible, while remaining true to their own personality types … the attention of a student is difficult to earn, and even more difficult to keep.  A sense of humor also serves an educator well, both in being able to laugh along with the students, as well as showing that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.  Finally, I would expect all, who consider themselves teachers, to never end their own pursuit of learning and growth.  We preach it to our students … we must live it out in our own lives.”

“I would like to thank the members of the Primary School Head Search Committee,” stated Head of School J.P. Culley, “and their leader Richard Hart: Andrea Turner, Paula Jackson, Patrice Cardiel, Sangeeta Panicker, Meredith Andrews, Brian Underwood and Ryan Myers, as well as Pam Herman, for their unwavering dedication to the process and for continuing to illuminate everything that is special about Holland Hall. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Bibens to his new position and wishing him well in the years to come!”