As someone looking at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School’s for the first time, I want to give you a little flavor of our school community by describing our fall semester. It has flown by with great achievements in all areas. Our parents and friends organization, Anchor Point, has been very busy supporting numerous school activities and successful fun-raising and fundraising events! Members of Anchor Point organized our Welcome Back/Meet the Teacher evening in August, and in September, they supported our third annual Golf Tournament. In October, Anchor Point sponsored the all-school Halloween Party and Dia de Los Muertos event. This year’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day and Book Fair were held in November along with a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch for the entire School community. This group of dedicated volunteers also coordinated a Kendra Scott Fundraiser; organized our display at the EmilyAnn Theatre’s Trail of Lights; hosted the Yule Log while our students sang a medley of Christmas carols; and helped with the Polar Express/PJ Day and hosted the individual classroom Christmas parties. Whew…what a fall!!
At St. Stephen’s, we believe in working hard but taking the opportunity to play hard, too. Our students have excelled in the classroom this fall while also taking their learning outside of the classroom: to the Sweet Berry Farm for pumpkin fun; to EmilyAnn Theatre for a performance; to Austin for a gem and mineral show; to Canyon Lake for dinosaur discovery; to the San Antonio Zoo and to the McKenna Children’s Museum in New Braunfels. The Wimberley Fire Department (and fire truck) came for a visit as did the exotic animals of Live Oak Preserve. Our 3rd – 5th Grade elementary archery team will be shooting in the State Archery Tournament in March. St. Stephen’s won First Place at the Texas National Archery in School’s Tournament in 2014 as the Best Elementary Team in the State, and we hope to repeat that success this year.
This school year, all of these activities have taken on a special significance for me personally because each will be my last at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. I announced to the School community last April that I would be retiring at the end of the 2017-2018 school year to spend more time with my family. This is my sixth year at the School, and each of them has brought such special memories of being present to witness not only the growth of individual children but the expansion of SSES programs and the student body. This is a wonderful time for a new leader to be called to serve this beautiful community, bringing new ideas, new approaches, and renewed enthusiasm for the next chapter of the School’s history.
With my announcement, the Board of Trustees began the process of securing a new Head of School who will begin on July 1, 2018. The consulting team of the Rev. David Madison, D.Min., J.D., Executive Director of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools and Laura Colangelo, BA & M.Ed, Executive Director of the Texas Private Schools Association are guiding the Head Search Committee through the search process and leadership transition. The selected candidates visit in early January and a new Head will be named soon thereafter.
Our School is very traditional. We still recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning along with our School Creed. We continue to teach handwriting through cursive writing in 3rd Grade with the Handwriting Without Tears program, and our fulltime students have both art and music at least twice a week. Kinder – 6th Grade students have PE every day. This website has a link to the St. Stephen's School Facebook page where you will see our youngest to our oldest students participating in all kinds of activities. Please don’t miss it!
Everything that I have described tells a bit of the St. Stephen’s “story,” but what I believe is the most important thing to leave you with are factors that other parents have reported to be the most important in choosing a private, Episcopal school for their children. First, parents want their school to be a place of emotional and social safety – a place where their children can be who they are; where children can make mistakes, can fail, yet still be whole-heartedly supported as “part of the family” that is their school. Secondly, parents value their children’s relationships with their teachers and the sense of community they feel at their school. That is exactly the school that I would describe St. Stephen’s to be. Please come see for yourself by calling the School Office for a campus tour!