Head of School Announcement

Dear Abiqua academy community,

Following a comprehensive, national search informed by the important feedback of faculty, staff, and parents, the board of trustees is delighted to announce the unanimous selection of Mr. Mark Novom as the next head of school of Abiqua Academy. We believe he is a great fit for the mission and culture of the school.

Mr. Novom comes to Abiqua from The Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania where he has been the Associate Head of School for six years. During his time at Kiski, Mr. Novom has been responsible for all aspects of day-to-day operations of the school.

Prior to Kiski, Mr. Novom was the Dean of Students at Brentwood School in Los Angeles. Prior to Brentwood, he was an English Teacher and Director of Theater at La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, Sierra Canyon in Los Angeles, and The Taft School in Connecticut.

Mr. Novom is originally from Los Angeles and is a graduate of Brentwood School. He holds a master’s degree from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego.

Mr. Novom and his wife, Brooke Szody-Novom, will be moving to Salem next summer with their three sons. Brooke is originally from Northern California and is excited to move back to the West coast. She is a Spanish teacher, runner, and avid baker. Their oldest son, Ezra, is currently in fourth grade; he is a baseball player and fan as well as a geography nut. Zeke, their second grader, loves Harry Potter, Legos, and the great outdoors. Rounding out their lineup is Solomon, currently in preschool, who loves Legos and playing with his older brothers.

Mr. Novom adds, “I am honored and humbled to be selected as Abiqua's next head of school. I would like to thank everyone on the search committee and the board for leading such a thoughtful hiring process. During my time on campus, I was able to speak with many members of the Abiqua community, and each person with whom I met spoke passionately about their love for the school. I am eager to join a dedicated and talented faculty and staff that cares deeply about each student's learning and growing. I am excited to meet and talk with and get to know our students' parents. And, of course, I cannot wait to meet all of the Abiqua students and, with our amazing faculty and staff, help them become lifelong learners and well-rounded young people. My family and I are eager to join Abiqua's community and call it home. We cannot wait to meet each and every one of you!”

Mr. Novom will visit Abiqua several times next semester in preparation for his July 1, 2022 start date. We will arrange opportunities for you to visit with him in a Covid-safe way during his visits. Please take advantage of the many opportunities to spend time with the Novom family and to welcome them into the community.

Abiqua owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Lily Driskill and Susan Cole for their leadership throughout this year. Their insights and support were an essential part of the Head of School search process. Mr. Novom and Ms. Cole will lead a great administrative team together.

Please join us in thanking the board of trustees for its dedicated service to Abiqua; the search committee for its extensive efforts to help the school find someone about whom they are truly excited; the faculty and staff of Abiqua for its tireless efforts on behalf of our children; the parents of Abiqua for their commitment to their children’s educations and to our community; and to Lydia Musher of Tradition Search Partners, the search consultant who ensured that the process was inclusive and thorough.

Our doors are always open to answer any questions you may have. We hope that you share our excitement about this next chapter for Abiqua.

Warm regards,


Mike Morrow

President, Board of Trustees


Pamela Abernethy

Search Committee Chair