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Lee Hark joins DA as Upper School director on July 1

Lee J. Hark has been named director of Durham Academy’s Upper School, joining the DA community on July 1. He comes from Providence Day School in Charlotte, where he is assistant director of the upper school, dean of students, AP coordinator and also an English teacher and tennis coach.

He succeeds Michael Ulku-Steiner, who has resigned after five years as DA Upper School director to become head of The American School in Lugano, Switzerland.

"DA is a school I’ve had my eye on for some time,” said Lee. “The day I heard the Upper School director position at DA had been posted — long before I had any direct contact with the school — I called my wife Marianne and said, ‘This is the one we want.’

“I was hoping that DA would prove to have an enthusiastic faculty and student body, thoughtful leadership and a strong community feeling. When I visited the school, I was energized by the conversations I had with students and faculty about the importance of increasing diversity and building community. Ed Costello is a great ambassador for DA, and I felt instinctively that we would work well together.

“It was also very important to Marianne and me that we find a school that would be appropriate for our children. After five minutes with Sheppy [Vann, director of the DA Preschool], I was ready to move to Durham and get them enrolled! I’m thrilled to have been offered the position, and I cannot wait to get started this summer.”

Ben Hark is four and will attend DA Preschool soon, but 18-month-old Jane will have to wait a few years!

A 1992 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Lee earned a B.A. in English with honors. He holds a M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Georgia and has completed coursework for his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. With the emphasis on community at DA Upper School, it’s fitting that Lee’s dissertation topic is “A study of administrative programming on building community in schools.”

Lee has been at Providence Day School since 2004. Prior to that, he was a doctoral intern in office of the dean of students at UVa; director of student activities, teacher and coach at Choate Rosemary Hall; and an administrator, teacher and coach at Darlington School, where he received a distinguished teaching award.