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Mike Roberts. Courtesy | Mike Roberts

Hillsdale Academy will welcome Assistant Head­master Mike Roberts as its new head­master on July 1, 2022, replacing David Diener after four years in the position. 

“Mike Roberts is more pre­pared than anybody could be to run that school,” said Kenneth Calvert, former head­master of the Academy, pro­fessor of history, and director of the Oxford program at Hillsdale College.

Beginning Jan. 1, Roberts received some of the respon­si­bil­ities as head­master in order to best prepare him for the transition. 

After grad­u­ating from the college in 1998, Roberts joined the Academy in 2002 as assistant head­master and ath­letic director. 

“He has been part of the college, and here at the Academy for 20 years,” Calvert said. “He knows what the school is about and what its influence is.”

Roberts said the new position sur­prised him, but he is grateful to serve the school in this capacity. 

“I am glad to help the school in whatever max­i­mizes car­rying out its mission,” Roberts said.

The motto of Hillsdale academy is virtus et sapi­entiae: virtue and wisdom. 

“Every­thing we do at the Academy is striving toward cul­ti­vating our stu­dents into people of virtue through clas­sical edu­cation,” said David Diener, current head­master at the Academy until the end of the 2022 spring semester. “We provide an aca­d­e­m­i­cally excellent clas­sical Christian education.”

Calvert spoke of the headmaster’s primary role in upholding this mission. 

“The head­master is the one who sets the tone and who estab­lishes the culture of the school,” Calvert said. “He has to make sure that every decision he makes begins with con­sid­ering the mission of the school.” 

Calvert also spoke of the need for a head­master to sur­round himself with other faculty who will con­tinue to carry out and support the mission. 

“Hiring people is your most important expression of what your mission is and Mike Roberts has done exactly what he needs to do,” Calvert said. “He has hired exactly the right people to uphold the mission. That’s job one and every­thing comes out of that.”

Roberts said one of the main chal­lenges he will face will be con­tinuing to maintain the culture of the school as it expands. 

“We are at a point where the culture and edu­cation of the school is excellent,” Roberts said. “The chal­lenge is gauging the appro­priate amount of growth.” 

Calvert said another chal­lenge will be bal­ancing the greater presence of the Academy at the national level while still main­taining the key prin­ciples upon which the school was founded. 

“The more famous you are, the easier it is to become jaded,” Calvert said. 

Diener said being a head­master requires com­mitment to the mission of the school and the problem-solving skills Roberts models. 

“As a head­master, you need to have an under­standing of the stu­dents,” Calvert said. “You need to be able to walk down the hall, see a face, and know who it is.” 

Roberts will oversee teachers and dis­ci­plinary mea­sures at the Academy, as well as work in con­junction with the clas­sical school ini­tiative led by Assistant Provost for K‑12 Edu­cation Kathleen O’Toole. 

“The head­master is the face of the Academy for the sur­rounding school com­mu­nities,” Calvert said. 

Diener pointed out Robert’s lead­ership at the Academy. 

“Mike Roberts is one of the best admin­is­trators that I’ve had the priv­ilege of working with over my 11 years in clas­sical school admin­is­tration,” Diener said. “He has been an integral part of the devel­opment of HIllsdale Academy over the past several years, and will con­tinue to lead it well in the future.” 

Diener said Roberts is capable, well-respected, and trusted by the entire Academy community.

“I look forward to this last semester as the head­master and have full con­fi­dence in Mike Roberts’ abil­ities as I pass off some of the respon­si­bil­ities to him,” Diener said. 

Roberts spoke to the quality of not only the edu­cation and faculty, but also the fam­ilies at the school. He said having such a strong com­munity sur­rounding him will help him to con­tinue to grow the school in this new role. 

“I am over­joyed for him,” Calvert said. “I am over­joyed for Dr. Diener to come out to the edu­cation department. There is nothing bad about this tran­sition. It is wonderful.”