Each school year is an exercise in re-constituting the Episcopal School community. Volunteer leadership in Parents’ Guild, Squires, and other organizations changes year-to-year. Each year, some members of the Board finish their terms and others join the Board. Admission of students is certainly the most significant activity in our annual community building, including welcoming the parents who come with the student! This letter is all about the other critical element: Faculty and Staff.
The quality of a school’s faculty and staff is essential for any success. We know that. But, as with other truths and axioms, they can be easily taken for granted. Over the past few years, the Faculty and Staff at Episcopal has not been taken for granted. While we all focus first on the number of changes in faculty members, there is much more to the story. Over the last few years, we have reviewed and improved employee benefits for all full time employees at Episcopal, in compliance with relatively new requirements of the Episcopal Church. Salaries, along with benefits, have been reviewed in a more thoughtful and thorough manner and, in general, have been conformed to relevant compensation standards. With the Chief Business Officer, I have worked toward fairness within the school’s compensation system. We have worked diligently and sincerely to create a feeling of respect for great teaching and for great teachers, dedicated to putting students first. Teacher voices are heard by administrators in our purposefully decentralized environment. Chef Pat certainly does his part to keep up morale! Voluntary attrition among Episcopal’s teachers is enviably low.
In survey after survey, teachers rank “support by the administration” as the number one factor in job satisfaction and willingness to return year after year to a particular school. No one who speaks of “support” in this context is referring to “blind support,” but logical and reasonable support when called for. Some of my most satisfying days at Episcopal so far involve resolutions of issues that threaten the critical relationship among teachers and parents. Reasoned dialogue among people of goodwill goes a long way toward resolving the issues that do arise. Where this kind of atmosphere is reinforced daily, teachers are prone to stay and to dedicate themselves in ways the traditions of this school compel. A supported teacher will help support other teachers.
There is an attractive balance in this group. The experience level is impressive, as are the credentials of these dedicated educators. While most have been on campus for a while already, on Monday, August 3, they will experience their first official day here. On Tuesday, August 4, they will be introduced to their colleagues and join in the opening experiences and exercises planned for In-Service for all faculty and staff. It is my pleasure to make their introductions. Please welcome them. You will enjoy, as I have, getting to know them.
Head of School