“One would be the sense of community,” he said. “Two would be the dedicated and talented faculty and staff. Three would be the school’s child-centered approach to education. Four would be my impression of the graduates.
“Part of my interview was with the sixth-graders. They interviewed me. They were so proud and confident. Through working with sixth-graders for 30-plus years, I was just blown away [by Trinity’s]. I keep hearing great things about their graduates.”
Marshall was hired in November to replace Stephen G. Kennedy, who retired in June after leading the school for 11 years. Born and raised in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., on the north shore of Long Island, Marshall spent the past 13 years as head of The Orchard School in Indianapolis, Ind., where he worked for 16 years overall.
Marshall was selected from a search that started in spring 2012 with 135 applicants, who were narrowed down to the 24 who had elementary school teaching experience and then to the eight who had previously worked as the head of an elementary school, said Trinity board Chairman Weldon Baird, who put together the search committee and sat in on its meetings.
“Of the eight, seven were in the U.S. and one was a head of school in India and we interviewed her via Skype,” Baird said. “From those eight, we took that down to three finalists, who had a daylong experience at Trinity, meeting with the board of directors, parent leadership teams and the teachers and staff. Based on that, we picked Joe Marshall.”
Baird said there were several reasons why Marshall was chosen.
“His depth of experience was one of the things,” he said. “He gave strong, stable leadership.
“I was attending a function in East Tennessee and ran into somebody [from Indianapolis]. I told them I was from Atlanta and they asked if I knew about Trinity. I told them but did not say what my role with the school was. They said, ‘You stole our head from us. We love Joe.’ Everyone [talked about] his outstanding experience, his wonderful personal nature and his strong elementary school [education] structure. He was the most outstanding candidate.”
Marshall said he plans to “build upon the success of the school. … The school prides itself upon building on that tradition and success.”
He and his wife Maria, who now live in Buckhead, have two grown sons: Blake, 25, who is studying electrical engineering in the PhD program at Georgia Tech in Midtown, and Austin, 23, who works in the insurance industry in Indianapolis. They had made several trips to Atlanta to visit Blake before the Trinity job opened.
Marshall’s main challenge at Trinity will be fundraising, he said.
“In any school, a challenge is developing or find alternative revenue streams beyond tuition,” Marshall said. “For a lot of schools, a head of school’s responsibility is to grow its endowments and [increase] its faculty salaries, professional and program development.”