Overview and Conceptual Framework

The St. Mark’s approach to Character and Leadership Education is integrated in programs and curriculum across the school. We understand a boy’s growth toward leadership as a process that begins with positively engaging a community, grows into skillfully serving that community, and matures into leading the efforts of community members toward shared goals. To strengthen the character and leadership habits of our students, we introduce them to concepts and skills that we expect the boys to master in developmentally appropriate ways. We introduce, teach, and review these concepts according to a designed curricular sequence, so our students learn and practice skills that will help them thrive in boyhood and serve them well as men.

At St. Mark’s, we refer to a student’s Head, Heart, and Hands when referencing comprehensive Character and Leadership Education.

Our Approach

  • A School-wide effort to help every boy become a leader of character
  • Defining leadership as actions that move our communities forward sustainably from whatever roles we have in the community
  • A process consisting of three stages: positive engagement, responsive service, and skilled leadership
  • An approach seeking to develop in our boys wise heads, responsive hearts, and skilled hands
  • Preparing each boy to thrive as he helps his communities thrive

Head (Concepts)

Boys and men need wise heads:
A good man needs knowledge of concepts that help him thrive. He will need to understand a variety of important concepts such as community, virtue, character, and responsibility, and he will need to learn how these concepts relate to him and his community.

Heart (Virtues)

Boys and men need responsive hearts:
A good man needs to develop essential habits of thriving. Habits of fair play, resilience, generosity, self-control, empathy, and care. He will need to internalize the behaviors of the virtues and develop a habitual response to the needs around him.

Hands (Skills)

Boys and men need skilled hands:
A good man will need to care skillfully through many vital roles. Successfully giving care in these roles will require social skills, leadership skills, nurturing skills, and problem-solving skills.


    • Associate Headmaster John Ashton explains how Character & Leadership is fundamental to St. Mark’s mission.

© 2020 St. Mark’s School of Texas    |    10600 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75230    |    214.346.8000