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Dieth named Interim Head of School through 2023

Interim Head of School Ford Dieth Jr. welcomes families with a smiling face during morning carpool. | Photo by Maddie McDaniel

Prior to the beginning of this school year, Ford Dieth Jr. was promoted to the position of Interim Head of School. For the last two years at the school, Dieth worked as Assistant Head of School, which prepared him for his new current position.

“I worked with all of the faculty, all of the staff, ran our leadership team meetings,” Dieth said. “I think because I was heavily involved in the leadership of the school, when it came time for Mrs. Sorrells to retire, the board asked me if I would want to be the Interim Head of School while they look for a permanent Head of School.”

For Dieth, some of his current responsibilities are similar to his previous position as Head of Lower School, but they differ in more ways than one.

“Some of the work is the same, some of the types of things that I was doing are the same, but there are other responsibilities that affect the entire school,” Dieth said. “Meetings, reports, events, that don’t just affect a portion of the school, but all of the school, but there are a lot of things that are exactly the same too.”

Ashley Bozeman, first grade teacher, explained that Dieth’s cheerful presence will be missed as he moves on from Head of Lower School. Bozeman has been working at St. Martin’s for 23 years, and has worked with Dieth in the Lower School for the past eight years. Dieth and Bozeman worked together at St. Martin’s summer camp before either of their jobs in Lower School.

“When he told us he was going to become the [Interim] Head of School we really struggled, but he does try to make his presence quite often down here at the Lower School as much as possible,” Bozeman stated.

Dieth attended St. Martin’s throughout his adolescence, graduating in 1989. Before beginning his teaching career, he attended Shenandoah University with a major in arts management. Although he originally went to college on a voice performing scholarship, Dieth explained that switching to arts management gave him a business background.

“I majored in arts management, which really prepares someone to work in a non-profit or at a non-profit, and so oddly enough many of those things have helped me with this position,” Dieth said. “It also allowed me to continue to sing, and that was a good thing.”

Dieth explained that he attended such a small university because he searched for a school that could match his experience at St. Martin’s.

“It was also a very small school which I sought out specifically because of my experience at St. Martin’s,” Dieth said. “I liked the smaller classrooms, the individualized instruction.”

In his new position, Dieth aims to improve school spirit. Dieth also plans to find a permanent Upper School head.

“I see people living ‘Faith, Scholarship, and Service,’ and I just want to promote that,” Dieth said. “I want everybody, I want our whole community to see that. I know what an amazing place this is, and what amazing kids we have, and I just want everybody to feel what I feel. I've been feeling it this year.”

With his dependable work ethic, Bozeman enthused that he will accomplish this task.

“I think we can always count on him,” Bozeman explained. “He will stop whatever he's doing whenever we need him. I guess I'd say his availability is always there for his teachers, and he really respects our time.”

Bozeman looks forward to how Dieth will continue to uphold an atmosphere conducive to learning.

“I think Mr Dieth is gonna bring structure and discipline you know, but in a loving way,” Bozeman said. “I think he gets our school probably more than anyone else could, as a graduate, as a parent, as a leader.”

With Dieth’s long history here, he has a deep understanding of St. Martin’s. This year, he truly aspires to set students up for success.

“We are in the business of putting kids in the most successful situations possible,” Dieth stated. “Division to division, going to college, and beyond, just like our mission says.

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