Who We Are

Mission and Core Values

The Mission of Marshall School...

The mission of Marshall School is to educate students to become global citizens who demonstrate strong academic habits, respect, compassion, integrity, self-discipline, and intellectual curiosity.

Becoming Global Citizens

Global citizens think critically, creatively, and compassionately about complex local and global issues. They understand what it means to be a member of an interconnected and rapidly-changing global community. They lead when necessary, adapt when appropriate, and employ a broad range of technological and communication skills to seek understanding and find solutions to real problems.

Marshall students emerge as global citizens with an ethic of service nurtured by their academic study of history, literature, arts, religion, languages, science, and the environment; meaningful relationships with peers and faculty from around the world; and rich extracurricular experiences, which foster humility, teamwork, and leadership.

Marshall students leave with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and independence to meet the challenges of the 21st century, wherever life takes them.

Core Values

Strong academic habits
Marshall is dedicated to teaching academic habits which will sustain lifelong learning in students. Learning how to learn -- whether it be taking notes, studying, or writing -- prepares students for success in college and in life. Our teachers nurture confident and critical thinkers who have mastered academic skills and competencies across a variety of disciplines.

Marshall offers a safe and inclusive school community where individuals are expected to respect themselves, each other, and their environment. Through personal relationships with diverse groups and individuals, students learn to understand themselves and others and work effectively as part of a team.

Marshall believes that the development of compassion –- and the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others -- is essential to being a productive member of a community. Through the study of multiple viewpoints and the act of service, students develop empathy for those around them.

Marshall encourages all members of its community to hold themselves to the highest code of conduct. Led by a commitment to the common good, we strive to do what is right -- even when nobody is looking.

Hard work and self-discipline are essential components for success. Marshall challenges students to develop a strong work ethic and the internal motivation to persevere through times of challenge.

Intellectual curiosity
Marshall encourages students’ natural inquisitiveness and wonder about the world. Asking questions and taking risks is as important as searching for the right answer. With the desire and courage to move confidently into the future, students can adapt to an ever-changing future in pursuit of their dreams.

Portrait of a Hilltopper

Marshall graduates will be …

Effective communicators

  • Students develop effective writing strategies, focused speaking techniques and active listening through curricular and extra-curricular activities.
  • Multiple opportunities to interact with people representing ideologies other than their own make graduates open to and appreciative of other points of view.
  • The comprehensive program of academic and social opportunities at Marshall places a strong emphasis on developing strong interpersonal skills.
  • Experience with and instruction in a variety of technologies make students proficient in communicating via current and emerging technologies.

Critical thinkers and problem solvers

  • Students recognize and adapt to different thinking styles.
  • Students learn to systematically analyze problems.
  • Students are able to present ideas clearly and concisely.
  • Students transform personal creativity into practical solutions.

Engaged and ethical citizens

  • International classmates, opportunities for study abroad, and a curriculum which emphasizes global awareness all make graduates uniquely equipped to live in and understand today’s world.
  • The Marshall community has well-articulated expectations regarding personal integrity and self-discipline.
  • Students understand their responsibilities as caretakers on individual, community, and global levels.
  • Personal and global events are noted and discussed - in good and bad times- instilling in students an understanding of the situations of others.
  • Opportunities to take initiative and expectations to meet obligations help students internalize a sense of personal responsibility.

Curious and creative

  • Students are encouraged through a philosophy of participation. They learn to set goals as a team and to maximize the special skills of each team member.
  • Students are free to develop their own personal interests within a community which places value on self-expression and participation.
  • Students are encouraged to step outside their personal comfort zones - to try a new class, club, or activity.
  • The Marshall School community - students and their families - strongly support and promote a culture and appreciation of study and learning.

Balanced and resilient

  • One-to-one and small-group encounters within the community offer students a variety of opportunities to practice and establish self-advocacy skills.
  • Through a comprehensive program offering significant investigation, support, and opportunity, students enjoy a well-balanced experience at Marshall.
  • Marshall students develop sound judgment skills by making choices, experimenting with new ideas or activities, discussing complex life topics, and experiencing success and failure – always within a safe and caring environment.
  • Students are intentionally offered opportunities to learn about different religions and to reflect on their own beliefs.


Marshall School is the Twin Ports flagship independent school and has served the Duluth area for more than a century. Founded in 1904 as Cathedral Senior High School, Marshall has adapted with Duluth as the educational needs of the community changed. The foundation of providing the highest-quality, college-preparatory educational experience to students in the area has always remained a part of the school's history.

Now a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), Marshall serves students in grades 4-12 with personalized attention, small class sizes, and advanced academic experiences.

Originally located in downtown Duluth on the corner of 4th Street and 2nd Avenue, the school began as a Catholic high school. In the early 1960s, the school moved to its current location in Duluth on Rice Lake Road. It became an all-faith institution in the early 1970s, which led to a name change to Marshall School in 1987.

Marshall School expanded to include grades 7 and 8 in the early 1990s. Most recently, Marshall has added grades 4, 5, and 6 in the past two decades.

Along with always being known as the Hilltoppers, Marshall's unique history has consistently upheld the values of exhibiting strong academic habits, integrity, respect, and compassion.

Board of Trustees

President, Stephanie Ball ’81

Vice President, Dean Fox

Secretary, Laura Budd

Treasurer, Dave Gunnarson

Deb Amberg

Jon Aamodt

Pascha Apter

Michelle Buria ’89

Erin Dungan ’94

Marty Espe

Jacelyn Govender

Kjell Knudsen

Doug Lewis

Lai La Lunde

Nels Ojard ’95

David Pollard ’92

Phil Rolle

Regina Seabrook ’92

Fred Shusterich

Anthony Yung

*Kevin Breen

* Ex officio

Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan was completed in the spring of 2015 after an intensive year-long process to explore how Marshall could most effectively accomplish its mission over the next 3-5 years. Led by an outside consultant with extensive independent school experience and working closely with the Board of Trustees, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee gathered information from all constituencies of the school to establish the areas of school life requiring the greatest focus and then set to work identifying the specific objectives necessary for progress in each. The resulting document captures the most important work of the school's faculty, administration and staff that will guide all major decisions and shape school initiatives between 2016 and 2020.


  • Respect, integrity and compassion guide us in everything we do.
  • Self-discipline enables us to take responsibility for ourselves and our community, working at becoming better every day.
  • The combination of strong academic habits with intellectual curiosity promotes personal growth and academic success.

Goal 1: Provide all students with an ambitious intellectual experience embedded within an ethic of responsibility and character.

  1. Create a culture that engages students in exploration and inquiry;
  1. Encourage intellectual risk-taking and experimentation including meaningful assessment practices;
  2. Articulate high expectations for self-directed learning, while providing guidance and support;
  3. Broaden and deepen curricular choices;
  4. Incorporate our expectations for living our values—strong academic habits, respect, compassion, integrity, self-discipline, and intellectual curiosity—into the entire student experience.

Goal 2: Fund the program we aspire to offer.

  1. Provide a vibrant, engaging and rewarding workplace to attract and retain effective teachers, coaches and staff;
  2. Diversify revenue through increased philanthropic and auxiliary activities to support programmatic imperatives, sustain financial aid, and plan for exingencies.
  3. Invest in facilities to support the mission and goals.

Goal 3: Engage Marshall with the local, regional, and alumni community in more meaningful and visible ways.

  1. Enhance opportunities for students to work, learn, and serve in the community;
  2. Create new bridges between Marshall and the community by leveraging parent, faculty, staff, and alumni connections.

Adopted by Marshall Board of Trustees

May 21, 2015

Topper Tunnels

One of our traditions is to send state bound students off to their competition with a "topper tunnel." where all students line the front hallway and cheer for their classmates. Some of the teams and activities honored recently include:

  • Math League
  • Dance
  • Robotics
  • All State Music
  • Tennis
  • CyberPatriots



There might be plenty of paths from Korea to New York City's theater stages, but Paul Yoon may have taken one of the longer routes. The 2016 Marshall graduate started his journey in our Fregeau Auditorium and now finds himself at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Click below to learn more about Paul's journey from the Korea to the Big Apple with a critical layover in the Twin Ports!

Many people feel this is the best time of the year because of all the holidays, celebrations, and cheer as we wrap up another trip around the sun. More than a few others celebrate lists this time of year. Top moments of 2017, top movies of 2017, top sports plays of 2017 ... all those year-end lists give us chances to compare, contrast, debate and delve into a year's worth of memories. We're lucky at Marshall to have Kim Kosmatka as our photographer. She's talented, she's the best at capturing those "Marshall moments," and she knows our school and students so well! We've asked Ms. Kosmatka to put together her 17 best photos from 2017, and we'll be unveiling one per day leading up to 2018. The first photo, along with a bit of insider info from Ms. Kosmatka, will be on our Facebook page December 15. Be sure to head there each day to see this list unfold. And, since it is the giving season, be sure to give our Marshall School page a "like" and a "follow" if you haven't yet. Let's also spread the cheer to those outside of the Marshall community (and, in turn, give Ms. Kosmatka some much-deserved love) by hitting the "share" button on these fantastic photos images for which we are so thankful!