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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

St. Andrew’s welcomes trustees for campus planning
Tara Lennon

A recap of the September 2023 Trustee Weekend

The last weekend of September marked Trustee Weekend at St. Andrew’s, which brought together an essential group of volunteers, alumni, and parents who are committed to working together to shape the future of the school. Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 welcomed trustees to the campus with a packed agenda: the trustees considered long-range plans and discussed matters related to student and faculty excellence, the future of financial aid, capital planning and St. Andrew’s carbon footprint, and the financial sustainability of the school, with a particular focus on the necessity of increasing philanthropic support for St. Andrew’s to continue to flourish. “After grounding herself in the school of today during her first two years, this meeting was time for Joy and the board to consider big questions regarding the future of the school, and how to engage the full community in that future,” said Scott Sipprelle ’81, whose service as board chair will conclude in June 2024. 

“St. Andrew’s exists to educate young people from all backgrounds and every corner of society so that they can be the capable and courageous people the world needs. We have always been a school out of step with the norm: we are committed to remaining an Episcopal school that is small, all-boarding, and open to all regardless of their family’s means. These principles are precious to me and the board. Like many precious things, they are also costly. We are aligned in our desire to sustain the school and its values that serve our students–and society–so well,” commented McGrath. 

The group immersed itself into the culture and the pulse of the school by attending a chapel service featuring a talk from trustee Sis Johnson P’11 on Sept. 29. (On trustee weekends, a board member gives a chapel talk to the full school after Friday lunch.) Johnson discussed her personal history of attending a rural high school where she was not well prepared for college, and how when she reached college, she had to use her curiosity, eventually relying on resources like the university library and her professors. Because the day was the feast of St. Michael and all angels in the Episcopal Church, Johnson urged students to be on the “lookout for angels,” which helps us cope with the infinite and uncertain nature of reality. 

“You may not know who the angels are in your own life until long after the time of their impact,” said Johnson. “Right now, you probably have a teacher or a friend here at St. Andrew’s who will prove to be an angel.” Johnson reflected on the angels in her own life: her mother, husband, daughters, and more. “Even when you are pressed for time and eager to simply get the assignment done, I encourage you to indulge your curiosity,” Johnson said of letting your angels guide you.

The trustees also spent time with students at a family-style lunch with the full school community. 

Considering the history of past Saints, the 50th anniversary of coeducation at St. Andrew’s was also on the minds of the trustees as they pored over archival materials from this essential part of the school’s history.

With new members and new leadership of the board, the dialogue this past weekend brought fresh perspectives in service to the school. 

“Clearly, there are many headwinds facing a school like ours, but with clever, creative and thoughtful planning and adequate resources, Joy and her remarkable team are poised to navigate these challenges and to even elevate the school to new, loftier heights,” noted Dr. Michael Atalay ’84 P’17,’19,’23, who joined the board a year ago. “We are in very good hands.”

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