Meet Our Head of School
Holton-Arms School’s eighth Head of School Penny B. Evins has an exceptional record of building strong, lasting relationships and motivating those around her to be the best versions of themselves. Mrs. Evins brings 25 years of independent school experience to her headship at Holton. Most recently, she served as Head of School for Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia, and St. Paul’s School for Girls in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mrs. Evins comes to Holton from Collegiate School where she led the School’s nearly 2,000 community members through its successful COVID reopening efforts, propelled record enrollment, and enhanced family, donor, and Board engagement. During her six-year tenure at St. Paul's School for Girls in Baltimore, which included an early childhood center and coordinate program with St Paul’s School, she successfully led the school's healthy growth in enrollment and curriculum development. The advent of experiential real-world opportunities for students through its SPIRITUS Scholars Program, a multi-year exploratory program, encouraged the application for and award of a prestigious E.E. Ford Foundation Grant for the school. Upon her departure as a beloved leader, the Board of Trustees at the St. Paul’s Schools established “The Penny B. Evins Fund,” which supports innovative endeavors, and the creation of a modern learning commons, named in her honor as “Penny B. Evins Learning Commons.”
Prior to her service in headships, she held a range of leadership positions, including division head of middle and lower schools, lower, middle, and upper school counselor posts, and admissions and strategic planning consultation. Currently serving as a Trustee to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as a member of the Executive Committee and The Heads Network, she formerly was a Trustee of the Association of Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS), the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE).
Penny is a professional mentor for aspiring heads and independent school leaders and a frequent presenter on emerging trends in independent schools.
A native of New Orleans, she attended Isidore Newman School and is a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Education in counselor education from the University of Virginia.
As she makes Holton her home, she will be joined by her husband Sam V, whom she met while they were both working at his alma mater, the Lovett School in Atlanta, her college-aged children Sam VI and June Friend, along with their cat Gumbo and dog GiGi. A lover of outdoor activities, she and Sam look forward to exploring the many opportunities in our neighboring trails and park systems. She is excited to immerse herself in the School’s welcoming community of students, families, alumnae, and graduates, and supportive friends. Most of all, she looks forward to honoring Mrs. Holton’s clarion call “that they who enter through the Open Door of Holton-Arms remember that they felt, in the friendliness of a home, the urge to learn and the joy of overcoming obstacles as the way to happiness and the fullest life.”
A joyful duty of Holton's Head of School each year is teaching Holton's youngest students about the 122 history of Holton-Arms.
Panthers new and old, parents/guardians, friends, and faculty and staff commemorated the beginning of the 2023-24 school year on Tuesday, September 5, with the time-honored tradition of convocation.
We are thrilled to welcome Penny B. Evins to the Holton-Arms community as of July 1, 2023. She was appointed by the Board of Trustees as Holton-Arms’ 8th Head of School in November 2022 to succeed Susanna A. Jones.
November 20, 2022
Dear Holton-Arms Community,
On behalf of the Holton Arms Board of Trustees and Head of School Search Committee, we are thrilled to announce that Penny B. Evins has been appointed by the Board of Trustees as Holton-Arms’ 8th Head of School. Penny was unanimously recommended by the Search Committee to the Board of Trustees who then unanimously approved her appointment to succeed Susanna A. Jones on July 1, 2023.
Penny is a seasoned school leader who brings deep experience working collaboratively with faculty, staff, trustees, families, students, and alums to strengthen school communities—always keeping the needs of the students front and center. With nearly a decade of experience serving as Head at two other prestigious independent schools–including Collegiate School in Richmond and St. Paul’s School for Girls in Baltimore–Penny has an exceptional record of building strong, lasting relationships and motivating those around her to be the best versions of themselves. In addition to her depth as a leader, she has a breadth of experience across school divisions and functional areas, including: division headships, admissions, counseling, and fundraising.
Perhaps a result of her New Orleans roots, Penny is a straightforward and warm communicator–a real connector and people person. In making this choice, we have selected a leader who fully shares our community’s strong commitment to–indeed, has dedicated her career to–nurturing a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive school. We are excited and energized by the promise and potential of Penny’s appointment as our next Head of School.
Selecting a new Head of School is perhaps the most consequential duty of the Board of Trustees. We extend our deepest gratitude to our fellow Search Committee members for the diligence, care and effort they have invested throughout this process. We are also appreciative of our alumni, faculty and staff, parents and guardians, and students who gave so generously of their time to engage with the finalists and share their many insights with the Search Committee along the way.
We look forward to welcoming Penny along with her husband, Sam, and two children to our community in July. We will share more details about opportunities to meet and greet them soon. In the meantime, as Susanna continues to lead the School through June, we look forward to celebrating her extraordinary legacy.
Stay tuned for updates on the many festivities ahead!
Cathy Johnson Butz ’87, P ’18, P ’21, Trustee, Search Committee Co-Chair
Mark Israel, P ’20, P ’22, Trustee, Search Committee Co-Chair