A Diverse Community

Statement of Purpose. St. Mark’s affirms its commitment to fostering a “diverse community of teachers and students who share a love of learning” with the ultimate goal of “preparing young men for assuming leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.” On campus, these ideals come to life as teachers expose students to new, unique points of view and open their eyes to the realities experienced by people across the world. Fostering an inclusive and diverse community is a crucial part of what makes St. Mark’s special. Around the Harkness table, in the art studio and on the playing field, boys share their own unique experiences and backgrounds, enriching the lives of everyone around them. 
Varying viewpoints. St. Mark’s teachers bring as many viewpoints as possible into their lessons, often challenging students’ assumptions and preexisting beliefs. Inclusion and diversity are fundamentally important to educating and helping every Marksman reach his full potential. Creating a sense of belonging, knowing and loving every boy and fostering a climate where respect, empathy and compassion are central to building and sustaining community.

Student-Driven Conversations

Hallmark. One of the hallmarks of the School’s focus on community, inclusion and diversity is the Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council, a student-driven group whose purpose is to foster inclusivity and celebrate diversity in the St. Mark’s community. 
Student-driven. Led by student co-chairs, this group fosters community and cultural understanding in a variety of ways and invites community members to speak to students on a wide variety of inclusion issues. 
Marksmen Multicultural Night. One important and meaningful school tradition is the annual Marksmen Multicultural Night. This is a one-night celebration of the community’s diversity and inclusion in which Spencer Gymnasium is transformed into a showcase for international performances, dance troupes and various cultural and historical celebrations. Food from a variety of cultures is offered by Sage Dining Services, and guests are entertained by mariachi band music, salsa dancing and African drum and dance ensembles. The event is planned each year by student leaders of the Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council. 
"We are certainly a diverse community, but I feel we should always keep striving toward becoming that cultural melting pot, where both teachers and students are learning from each other."
— Sal Hussain ’23
Student Council President (2022-2023)

Marksmen Multicultural Night

An important tradition. The St. Mark’s Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council (IDLC) plans and leads an annual community-wide event that showcases the varying cultures found at 10600 Preston Road. The event, a one-night celebration, hosts hundreds of community members to share their rich cultural identities and learn more about the cultures of others. Students are offered the opportunity to man tables with information about their cultures and customs. Participants can sample cuisines from around the world, including baklava (Middle East), feijoada (Brazil), peri peri prawns (Africa), gougeres (France), dal makhani (India) and tamale cake (Mexico). 
Performances. Guests are also treated to international musical performances. In recent years, guests have heard the Upper School Choir sing Tshotsholoza (Move Forward), a traditional South African work song. They were joined by special guest Tchlidzi Ndou, a vocal student from Johannesburg currently studying at SMU. The Chinese Lion Dance delighted the audience, and the Nu Phi Eta Sigma Step Team brought plenty of energy, as did the Grace Hula Dance Company. The most recent event offered music by Ernesto’s Music Mariachi Band and the St. Mark’s Jazz Band and Blues Club. 
Global food. In the Great Hall, volunteers set up tables showcasing the stories of their heritage, sharing histories and traditions. The SAGE Dining Services team cooked up a wide palette of offerings, including tamale cake (Mexico), pierogies (Poland), dal makhani (India) and chicken abodo (Philippines). 
Save the date! St. Mark's will celebrate its next Marksmen Multicultural Night on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. 
"We hope everyone who attended will learn the benefits of multiculturalism and learning about everyone else’s backgrounds. We want everyone to leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of everyone else’s culture."
— Enoch Ellis ’22

Community Perspectives

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  • Jack Jackson

    "Learning and adapting to new ideas and viewpoints are vital for change to occur. We must learn to listen and understand the opinions and perspectives of others, even if they go against our own. These skills will help with the cohesion and inclusion of our community and prepare students for the communities after St. Mark's."
    — Jack Jackson IV ’23

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  • Brian Ratcliff

    "Community, Inclusion and Diversity at St. Mark's means so much more than the simple definition of each word separately. I have witnessed firsthand the broad spectrum of students, teachers, administrators and parents that drive St. Marks to ensure every boy appreciates and understands the importance of their school and home communities, making every effort to ensure every boy feels included in all aspects of the incredible St. Marks experience, and embracing the concept that diversity brings new ideas and excitement to the learning and growing experience St. Mark’s offers."
    — Brian Ratcliff

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  • Nolan Marcus

    "St. Mark's does a great job of diversity in terms of race, culture and religion and I feel it does a decent job with financial diversity. I think that there could be improvements on the financial end of the spectrum, but if I were to describe the diversity at St. Mark's, I would say that no one on campus is left out. Having a diverse community is essential to developing students' worldviews and social awareness. It is also essential that we don't favor one kind of people so that everyone feels included."
    — Nolan Marcus ’24

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  • Matthew Hoffman

    "A diverse range of backgrounds allows students to look at and understand issues from different perspectives, allowing students to develop a complex understanding of the curriculum."
    — Matthew Hofmann ’25

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  • Chase fisher

    "I believe that while a decent percentage of the community is somewhat uninformed about many issues particularly related to LGBTQ+ inclusion, the general sentiment of the community is quite accepting of these issues in general. The student body has been open to engaging in conversations to learn more, and not only accepting, but appreciating the diversity we have on campus. The support for events like Marksmen Multicultural Night shows that the students are clearly receptive to building a more inclusive environment on campus for everyone, and while there is always more room for improvement, I think there has been quite a significant change in the last few years alone."
    — Chase Fisher ’23

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  • Gabriela Reed, Ph.D.

    "It is fundamental that our students learn and grow alongside other students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences. When we come to truly know and care for people who do not look like us or have the same opportunities we do, we understand each person as an individual. We challenge our own implicit biases and societal stereotypes. Our Health and Wellness curriculum creates opportunities for students to know and care for each other by building skills for civil discourse, developing healthy relationships and practicing perspective-taking."
    — Gabriela Reed, Ph.D.
    Director of Marksmen Wellness

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  • Marwin Brown

    "St. Mark’s prepares young men for servant leadership roles in the world across different fields. It is important to have as part of that leadership development exposure, education and experiences with people and in situations that reflect the diverse teams they will be charged with leading. More importantly, it’s imperative our boys are both taught the virtues of empathy and are empowered to advocate for equitable and equal treatment of others. As Dr. King proclaims, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'"
    — Marwin Brown ’90

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  • Shreyan D

    "The St. Mark’s community is a role model for inclusion and diversity. Throughout my 12 years here, I’m grateful to have always felt included in this welcoming community. I’m glad our chapel services are non-denominational; I enjoy learning about different cultures and religious beliefs. It’s important to have a wide range of perspectives in and out of the classroom to sustain a holistic education. If everyone in a classroom always agrees on certain topics, I’d say that’s slightly problematic. Disagreements foster class discussions."
    — Shreyan Daulat ’23

Community Conversations

Responsibility. Student journalists at St. Mark’s are given broad leeway and important responsibility to highlight and address topics for discussion that, while not always easy, are necessary for the community to consider. In addition to articles and opinion pieces printed in The ReMarker student newspaper, journalism students also produce a twice-yearly single-topic magazine, Focus, which delves deeper into a wide range of important issues and topics and offers opportunities for the St. Mark’s community to engage in conversation in response to these publications.  
Familial dynamics. In September 2022, the magazine explored the wide variety of family relationships represented at St. Mark’s. The families included adopted children, same-sex parents, mixed-raced parents, twins, separated parents and immigrant families. Several students even wrote editorials addressing common stereotypes associated with their respective families.  
Unique. "Our publications offer a unique channel for students to tackle topics not as socially acceptable to discuss freely in the classroom,” said Morgan Chow ’23, editor-in-chief of Focus (2021-2022) and managing editor of The ReMarker (2022-2023). "They allow for students to inform themselves about these more difficult topics while also hearing the perspectives of experts and others with firsthand experience.” 
Sensitive topics. Through the years, Focus magazines have tackled such topics as the legalization of gay marriage; the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol; a look at the Dallas of the future; gender identity; and homelessness, among others. In the midst of nationwide protests in response to racial injustice in the summer of 2020, the student journalists spent months working on a magazine that examined this important yet divisive issue.  
Student-chosen. "When we were working on Focus, we were worried the topics we were discussing would be too difficult for a school magazine,” said Cristian Pereira ’21, editor-in-chief of Focus magazine (2020-2021). "Because we can write about the issues we choose, students can get exposure to unique perspectives and ideas from their peers. That’s a really effective way to educate people, and it’s extremely valuable to the community.”
"School leadership is clear and transparent in its intention to keep all constituents involved in potentially challenging conversations—about race, sexual orientation, political activism, etc. [Student journalists] help to push these issues into the public consciousness of the School."
— 2018 ISAS Reaccreditation Visiting Committee final report

Voices from Campus Speakers

Students are offered the opportunity to hear a wide and diverse set of speakers from many backgrounds and perspectives, which challenge them and ask them to consider differing viewpoints. 

Recognizing Courage & Honor

The Lee S. Smith ’65 Courage & Honor Award

Award. This award honors the School’s first Black graduate and is presented at the Annual Alumni Dinner each spring during Alumni Weekend. 
Voices and actions. The award recognizes members of the St. Mark’s community “who demonstrate courage, perseverance, honor and justice in the community to affect measurable change that elevates humanity” and honors Smith, who in 1964 became the first Black student to enroll at St. Mark’s. Nominees should be members of the School community who “make the  world better through their voices and actions even when others try to stand in their way.” 
Courage. Smith demonstrated courage and honor simply by coming to St. Mark’s in 1964 as the School’s first Black student. Smith caught the eye of St. Mark’s faculty at the School’s advanced chemistry summer program and he was encouraged to apply. St. Mark’s decided to start its integration process with Lee, becoming one of the earliest schools in Dallas to desegregate. This process involved discussions with the Board and an anonymous donor who would cover Lee’s tuition. 
Harvard. Lee would go on to attend Harvard University — one of only about 30 Black students in his class — before earning his law degree at the University of Washington in 1974. He has held numerous positions throughout his career, including associate vice president for legal affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
"This award is not about me. It is about the virtue of honor—a personal virtue for which I am eternally indebted to those on whose shoulders I stand. I am proud beyond words to pay the virtues of courage and honor forward with my inspiration for this award."
— Lee S. Smith ’65

Introducing the Award

Chapel Talk: Lee Smith ’65

Lower School Leadership Wall

Respectful listening. Learning to discuss tough topics and learning to listen respectfully begins with even our youngest Marksmen.  
Leadership Wall. Each spring, Lower School Marksmen engage in a process of selecting one more name to be added to its noted “Leadership Wall,” an area “front and center” in the Lower School lobby that highlights notable leaders — all of whom were selected by student vote after student nominations and rigorous classroom discussions. 
Gallery. In the lobby of the Fojtasek Lower School is a wall of portraits featuring many notable figures, including Harriet Tubman, Malala Yousafzai, Norman Borlaug and George Washington, among others. But the Lower School Leadership Wall is more than just a gallery of individuals who exemplify character and leadership; it is also an opportunity for boys to put into practice the lessons of independent thoughts and civil discourse. 
Voting. Each year, boys nominate new historical leaders for the wall and the entire Lower School votes for the final selection after discussing that year’s finalists in each of the four grade levels. 
Respect. “Respect is key here. The way the boys express opposing views is important,” former Lower School head Sherri Darver said. “They learn to be upstanders, and they must be able to qualify their thoughts and opinions with facts and reasoning. Everyone’s opinion is welcomed and encouraged, and though there may be opposing viewpoints, all substantiated thoughts and comments must be respected.” 

Leadership Wall Honorees

2008 – George Washington
2009 – Abraham Lincoln
2010 – Martin Luther King, Jr.
2011 – Harriet Tubman 
2012 – John F. Kennedy
2013 – Mahatma Gandhi
2014 – Nelson Mandela     
2015 – Dr. Norman Borlaug
2016 – Mother Teresa
2017 – Malala Yousafzai
2018 – Jackie Robinson 
2019 – Rosa Parks 
2020 – Alexander Hamilton
2021 – Barack Obama
2022 – Neil Armstrong
2023 – Benjamin Franklin
    • Students introduce the 2023 inductee, Benjamin Franklin.

    • Inductees to the Leadership Wall are displayed in the Lower School lobby.

Meet the Team

Lorre Allen
Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Human Resources

"Embracing inclusion and diversity in our community is not a task for one, but a journey for all. Faculty, staff, students and families are the co-authors of a story where every voice matters, every perspective enriches and every step forward is a testament to our shared commitment that reflects the true spectrum of humanity."
Jennifer Scott
Administrative Assistant

“St. Mark’s is an exceptional place to work. I love being a part of a place dedicated to having intentional conversations around inclusion, community and diversity. I am excited to continue supporting our students, colleagues and families."

St. Mark’s School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230

About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.