St. C's cross
From the Rector's Desk
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector, St. Columba's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
F rom Julia Berry, Head of the Nursery School

Dear families and friends,

Thirty-four years ago, I began my career as a newly hired teacher at St. Columba’s Nursery School. What a lucky thing for me! St. Columba’s taught me how to be a teacher and immersed me in a culture that nurtures and loves every member as a valued participant. And St. Columba’s taught me how to play! Thanks to St. Columba’s, I am who I am today – both as an educator and as a person.

At the end of this school year, I will retire having taken away so many blessings and lessons for life. My hope is that I will have many more years to do things that will give me as much joy as my years at St. Columba’s have. I have loved being here with your children, our excellent and committed teachers and staff, and you parents. 

I’ll be moving back near my hometown in western Michigan late in the summer, joining my mother in her lovely little house on the Rogue River. My mom is in great health and longs to do some traveling – Africa is on our joint bucket list. We also enjoy making art, gardening and road trips, so I expect we’ll have a grand time. All three of my children live on the West Coast and I am excited to imagine being able to visit them for extended periods of time and in any season, especially now that I have a grandchild on the way. 

The Board of Governors has begun the process of finding my replacement. There are many strong candidates out there and we currently have an extremely capable Assistant Head of School, Kathrin Gilbert, who will continue to be a guiding force as we move forward. The Board has hired a highly experienced search firm which specializes in independent schools, The Education Group , which will want input from you as they develop a profile for the new Head of School. They will be on campus to meet with parents, teachers and other valued constituencies on November 18 and 19. For you parents, The Education Group will be hosting sessions across the day on Tuesday, November 19 . Come for coffee after drop-off at 8:30 am , come for coffee in the afternoon before pick-up at 1:30 pm , or join them Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm in the Great Hall. I’ll send you more information later this week.

I would like to say to any of you who feel that St. Columba’s “won’t be the same” when I’m not here, the fact of the matter is that my presence isn’t what makes St. Columba’s what it is. This wonderful school and its staff will continue to embody our deeply embedded culture of valuing play, being outdoors, caring for children and families, and focusing on the strengths of each member of the school community long after I am gone. The teachers and our strong values are what create the special magic of St. Columba’s. 

Whomever is chosen for this next chapter at the school will be enriched by being here, and also differently wonderful in their leadership. I have every confidence that the next chapter at St. Columba’s Nursery School will be as filled with learning, discovery and joy as the past sixty years have been. I thank you for the privilege of being its head these fourteen years.

Sincerely,
Julia H. Berry
Head of School, St. Columba’s Nursery School
From Rev. Ledlie Laughlin and Kay Tatum

Dear Saint Columba’s Nursery School families and friends,

We are very happy for Julia to be able to retire, move back to her birthplace, and spend time with her mother doing together the things they love. What a blessing for mother and daughter. We will miss Julia. She has served as a classroom teacher, science teacher and Head of School so capably and lovingly. We want to express our gratitude to Julia whose expertise, wisdom and love have so greatly benefitted our children, their parents, teachers and staff. We will have a joyful community celebration in May or early June to say Godspeed with our love and gratitude. 
The search for the School’s new Head of School is already underway by the Board of Governors of the School and Vestry of the Church with the help of The Education Group, a search consulting firm highly recommended by the National Association of Episcopal Schools and several local schools that have used their services. Our consultants will visit the School on November 18 and 19. During that time, we want and need your input! Please attend any of three informational meetings for parents at Saint Columba’s, where representatives of the Board of Governors’ Search Committee and The Education Group will share details of the search process and hear from you what qualities you would value in the School’s next leader. The meetings will be held Tuesday, November 19 at the following times:
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The Education Group will meet with the Board of Governors and the Search Committee on Monday and with faculty and staff over the course of the two days they are on campus. 
Together we will find the next Head of School who will continue to nurture the values that have made Saint Columba’s Nursery School such a beloved school and community for the last 60 years.
 
Peace!
The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin
Rector
St. Columba's Episcopal Church
Kay Tatum
Board Chair
St. Columba's Nursery School