President Gordon McNeill has been instrumental in shaping the culture of Sage Hill School since he first joined the administration as Dean of School Life in 2001. After seven years as Dean, he was appointed Head of School in 2008 and named President in 2014.
Under Mr. McNeill’s leadership, Sage Hill School has established a reputation as a pioneer in innovative teaching and learning. His goal as President is to continue to build awareness of Sage Hill as the premier independent high school in Orange County and to keep the School on the leading edge of education. Having joined Sage Hill just one year after its founding, Mr. McNeill has played key roles in numerous aspects of its growth, development, and success, including:
- Spearheading the vision and fundraising for the reimagination of the Johnson Family Library and Hamoui Family Sage Center in 2018 along with creation of the Lightning Locker Student Store in 2018 and expansion of the Sage Café in 2019.
- Spearheading the vision and fundraising for the Sage Hill Athletics Complex, comprised of the Brett Connor Jordan & Family Tennis Center, which opened in March 2016 and the Aquatics Center at Sage Hill, which opened in April 2017, to complete the School’s Master Plan as envisioned by our Founders in the mid-1990’s
- Spearheading the vision and fundraising for the Lisa Argyros and Family Science Center, which opened in 2014 to complete the school’s academic building plan.
- Directing final phase of fundraising and community outreach that allowed the completion of the 30,000 square foot Studio at Sage Hill in 2009.
- Helping to launch supplemental fundraising initiatives such as Thunder Club to support athletics and Patrons of the Arts to support performing and fine arts
- Overseeing the 2010-11 launch of Spring at Sage, our signature program offering unique seminars and global experiences during the final days of the school year
- Directing the expansion of the College Counseling program to include a Dean of Ninth and Tenth Grade College Counseling
- Guiding the creation of the Sage Hill Internship Program (SHIP), offering hands-on summer work experience and job shadow opportunities exclusively to Sage Hill students
- Overseeing the enhancement of our acclaimed Service Learning Program to include structured ninth and tenth grade experiences with partner schools and independent project options for upperclassmen
- Revamping our approach to marketing and communications to develop a consistent message and appealing branding, as well as promoting media coverage of the school
- Engaging directly with families and working with the Parent Association to find more ways to involve parents in the school
- Creating the position of Dean of Faculty & Curriculum and growing the professional development program by 100%
Mr. McNeill collaborates with the Board of Trustees to maintain a position of financial strength and stability at Sage Hill.
In recent years they:
- Implemented policies for the investment of the School’s endowment
- Developed new policies for financial aid to help ensure socioeconomic diversity
- Helped achieve a balanced budget that allows for plant renewal and future growth
During his years as Dean of School Life, Mr. McNeill drafted the school's first handbook. He also worked with a group of students in 2004 to develop Sage Hill's Honor Code, which stands as a defining feature of the school today.
Mr. McNeill's national reputation as an educational leader continues to grow. He is a Trustee for the National Network of Schools in Partnership, which fosters public/private school collaborations. A dynamic speaker, he frequently presents at national conferences, including the 2014 Society for College and University Planning Pacific Regional Conference. Mr. McNeill was formerly a member of the University of California, Irvine Department of Education Advisory Board and previously served as a Trustee at The Children’s School in La Jolla, California. He has also led Sage Hill community service and cultural immersion trips to Fiji, Peru, Argentina, China, Ireland and Scotland, and Vietnam.
Prior to his tenure at Sage Hill, Mr. McNeill taught social sciences and coached basketball at Corona del Mar High School. Before beginning his career in education he played professional basketball in Australia and was the general manager of Pacific Business Systems in Irvine.
Mr. McNeill holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, San Diego, and was inducted into the UCSD Ring of Honor in recognition of his outstanding college basketball career. He also holds a master’s degree in Independent School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. McNeill resides in Newport Beach with his wife, Anne Marie McNeill, M.D., a practicing dermatologist, and their five children.