In recent years, the world has exhibited a pattern of irregularity, and St. Martin’s is certainly not immune to these inconsistencies. At this time, the faculty makeup has changed, and Interim Head of School Ford Dieth Jr. and history teacher Arthur Stout reflected on the community around them, and what drew them back to campus.
After graduating from St. John’s College in Maryland, Stout found himself back in his home state preparing to attend law school at LSU.
“I went to LSU law school for one year, where I realized I don’t like to argue.” Stout said “I did okay in most of my classes but the career didn’t appeal to me once I had tried it a little bit. So, at that point I went across the quad to the history department.”
Stout finally received his doctorate in American history in 2015.
Dieth, however, had a definitive plan to get back into education. He began work on an MBA when he realized his passion was to work with children.
“I actually enrolled in graduate school immediately, and started working on my MBA, and realized that I didn’t want to get my MBA,” Dieth said. “I’d always worked with kids. I worked at St. Martin’s summer camp from the time I was a junior in high school until 2001, so like 1988 through2001 I worked. I kind of started beginning to think I wanted to become a teacher.”
While Stout only has teaching experience at St. Martin’s, Dieth found himself at a number of different schools before returning as the Head of Lower School.
“I taught for a period of time at Haynes,” Dieth said. “Then I taught at Holy Rosary Academy. Then, I taught at Christian Brothers for a very long time, for 11 years.”
Stout, however, walked a very different path back to St. Martin’s.
“I had always intended on going back to education at some point, but the pandemic forced the issue,” Stout said. “But, maybe that’s a good thing. I needed a push. I was too comfortable.”
Before coming back to work at his alma mater, Stout was working on the Creole Queen running the Mississippi River cruises, whereas Dieth was already working in education, and had a dream of returning to work at his former school.
“I’ve always been connected to St. Martin’s,” Dieth said. “From me going here, my brother going here, my mom taught here for 31 years. So, I always had this connection. [...] And St. Martin’s is such a unique, special, family oriented type of place.”
With that passion fueling his educational and professional goals, Dieth began to apply for a job at St. Martin’s.
“So, I submitted my resume and cover letter, and started going through the process. And, I was asked to have a couple of interviews. I became a finalist, and then I was offered the job as Head of Lower School, which was a really, really special day for me.”
Both of these men are passionate about St. Martin’s, but for both of them, what makes St. Martin’s so special is the people that make up the community.
“The people here are just great, both students and administrators and coworkers,” Stout commented. “When I was looking at schools for work, I did a lot of research and I met some teachers and asked them about their experiences. And it’s not always this nice.”
There’s just something special about this campus, and Dieth is passionate about that indistinguishable trait. It’s what draws alumni back to work at St. Martin’s, to send their children there, and to continuously come home to the place they gained their foundations.
“St. Martin’s has always been home,” Dieth said. “I’ve been at other schools that have a really, really strong community, supporting, loving, Christian, very important to me. But there’s just something different.I don’t know that I could put my finger on what it is. [...] It’s just this feeling. It almost permeates every aspect of St. Martin’s. It’s not just in the Lower School, or the Middle School, or the Upper School, or just in the chapel. But it really is everywhere.”