A letter from the Chair of Governors, Jo Storey.
It is with great delight that I write today to announce the appointment of our new Headmistress; exciting news that will undoubtedly shape the future of St Mary’s School. Following a rigorous, multi-stage process with a strong field of applicants, the Governors have appointed Mrs Hannah Helliar to succeed Ms Charlotte Avery for September 2024.
Hannah will be known to some of our community. She has occupied a variety of senior leadership posts including heading up both our admissions and marketing teams and, more latterly, working with our former Bursar on the successful partnership with Homerton College with regards to our sports ground as well as on other projects including international schools’ work. Moreover, she is an outstanding historian and indeed teacher of History who has taught many students over her time at St Mary’s. By way of further background, Hannah was educated at Woldingham School, where she was Head Girl, and Brasenose College, University of Oxford, where she read Ancient and Modern History. Subsequently, she has held a number of roles including Housemistress, Head of History and Head of Sixth Form, prior to joining St Mary's in 2012.
Hannah’s passion for education, leadership expertise, wealth of experience and commitment to fostering an environment where girls can thrive, align seamlessly with the values and ethos that define St Mary’s School. We have every reason to be excited about the bright future that awaits us under her expert leadership.
"I am delighted to have been appointed as the next Headmistress at St Mary’s School, Cambridge. I am excited about the opportunity to lead this wonderful school to continued success, building upon its already strong foundation. I eagerly anticipate meeting parents, students and staff over the rest of this academic year in my new capacity as we embark together on a journey towards a future as brilliant as the aspirations of our exceptional students." – Mrs Hannah Helliar, Headmistress Elect
Hannah is an inspired and accomplished educationalist. As a role model for the pupils in her care, she embodies the values and aspirations we hold dear at St Mary's. Our new Headmistress is set to become a true ambassador for our institution, dedicated to ensuring that the quality of education and holistic development of our pupils will be world-class. She is committed to equipping our students with the skills necessary for the workforce and instilling in them the confidence to make their voices heard in a dynamic world. We eagerly anticipate the contributions and guidance she will bring to our community.
On behalf of the Board of Governors, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to our current Headmistress, Charlotte Avery, who has led our School with unwavering dedication, passion, and enthusiasm for the past 16 and a half years. Charlotte has set high standards throughout her remarkable service to our school community, constantly inspiring our students to achieve their best. We appreciate her tireless commitment to St Mary’s and wish her great happiness and success as she takes up the challenge of her second headship at St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland, New Zealand.
"I am as delighted as the governors and Hannah are in her appointment as a perfect successor: someone who understands and appreciates our Christian ethos of enabling every girl to achieve her personal best in order to become curious, creative and compassionate young people. I am fully confident that her passion and expertise, along with her intellect and integrity, will further enrich the educational and personal journey of each of our students, offering both reassuring continuity as well as intelligent insight to promote ongoing change which is necessary to keep a community vibrant." – Ms Charlotte Avery, Headmistress
The appointment of Hannah Helliar inevitably marks a new chapter in the history of St Mary’s School as we move beyond our 125th anniversary year celebrations. As Chair of Governors, it has been a privilege to oversee the beginning of this promising future; one in which excellence will remain our unwavering compass, and our students' aspirations will continue to be given every opportunity to thrive.
Thank you for your ongoing support, dedication, and enthusiasm for the remarkable journey that lies ahead. We are committed to ensuring a positive and seamless transition for students, parents and staff and, together, we will ensure that the legacy of our Founder, Mary Ward, and St Mary’s School continues to shine brightly.