MAESA Matters February 2022


Greetings from MAESA!

The illustration pictured was created by a student at one of our MAESA elementary schools for our partner schools in Haiti. See more examples below of cards and letters created as part of the MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration service project.

As we begin Black History Month and continue to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we share this prayer attributed to him and adapted from an original prayer by Sir Francis Drake.

Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves 
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, 
because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess, 
we have lost our thirst for the water of life 
when, having fallen in love with time, 
we have ceased to dream of eternity 
and in our efforts to build a new earth, 
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas 
where storms show Thy mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes 
and invited the brave to follow.

This month, to kick off hearing from MAESA school leaders who are part of our history, we share a reflection from someone many of you know, Stuart Work. In his time with MAESA Stu was with National Cathedral School and then Washington Episcopal School, where he served as Head of School. Stu was among the very first MAESA board members in the early 2000s. He was committed to nurturing MAESA because he believed in the value of fellowship and service among Episcopal schools and their leaders. I know you will enjoy reading his recollections in this month's newsletter. We would love to hear from you if you have memories, images or stories to share from your time with MAESA. Help us as we commemorate more than 20 years of association! You can email maesaschools@gmail.com or use this form. Throughout the year MAESA will share these reflections, thank you.

Join us this Sunday for the MAESA Choral Evensong, February 6, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. at Washington National Cathedral. MAESA upper school choirs have been rehearsing the repertoire to participate as part of the MAESA Combined Choirs with the Cathedral Choir. MAESA will welcome The Reverend Sean Cavanaugh, Head Chaplain at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, in Alexandria, Virginia as our homilist and The Reverend Eva Cavaleri, Senior Chaplain at National Cathedral School as our Officiant. Can't be there in person? Watch the choral evensong service streaming at this link.
2022 MAESA Stewardship Award Nominations
The MAESA Stewardship Award is in its third year of being conferred. This award honors a person who has made a mark on their school community. The candidate embodies the qualities that MAESA and our Episcopal schools hold closely: integrity in daily life and work, respect for all people, equity and justice in words and actions and love and hospitality toward neighbors. Any adult who is a school employee is eligible to receive this award which is bestowed at the MAESA Annual Membership Meeting on Sept. 30, 2022.

MAESA is accepting nominations through Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Nomination forms will be emailed to heads of school in February, or you can submit a nomination using this link. Please share information about this award with your school leaders, and nominate one of the many outstanding members of your school's team!
Reflections on MAESA's History
By Stuart Work
AIMS Co-Director of Accreditation Services

A number of years ago NAES Executive Director Dan Heischman spoke to Episcopal educators gathered at National Cathedral School. As always, Dan’s remarks were thoughtful and erudite, but he admitted some hesitation when asked to come up with a succinct definition of Episcopal education. As he explained, there are so many aspects to consider.

When I became a school head and had to explain this distinction to prospective parents, I saw his dilemma. Realizing I had to say something, I landed on three characteristics shared by Episcopal schools; a commitment to academic excellence, an openness to all families and children, and a strong moral underpinning. 

Surely a fourth would be the willingness to reach out to other Episcopal schools and the fellowship and sense of shared purpose so often seen. And that fourth aspect, along with the first three and many others besides, is the backbone of MAESA.

I became involved with MAESA in 2001. Although it had been up and running for a number of years, it was just in the process of becoming a non-profit 501 (c)(3). I had just become head of Washington Episcopal School and my redoubtable predecessor, WES founder Isabelle Schuessler, explained matter-of-factly that I was now on the MAESA Board. This was more in the nature of a statement rather than a suggestion, but I quickly grew to appreciate Isabelle’s wise directive. The Board was full of veteran Episcopal educators and I learned much from them.

Many were from other PK-8 schools – Jane Pontius from Christ Episcopal, John Zurn from St. John’s Olney, Betty Legenhausen from St. James, Sharon Holsclaw from St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, and Judy Robbins from St. John’s Ellicott City. High school trustees included the Revs. John “JT” Thomas from St. Andrew’s and Sean Cavanaugh from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes. Those from schools for younger children included Janet Leishman from St. David’s in Wilmington, Delaware and Karen Falk from Beauvoir. All great folks, all great school people.

Our hard-working Coordinator (executive director) was Deedee Tinkham. Although many of her files were electronic, she still toted a formidable binder that bulged with paperwork on all aspects of the organization’s mission. Since I served as Treasurer, I can state with confidence that her many contributions far exceeded her compensation.

We were also blessed with the Rev. Preston Hannibal, the representative of the Diocese of Washington. Preston’s job description included both schools and college ministries, but he quickly saw the vitality of the school programs and was incredibly generous with his time and insights. I have no doubt he was responsible for making sure a school representative was included on the committee charged to select a new Bishop.

What events were on the calendar of the young MAESA? Interestingly, many of the same that are still popular today. The Early Childhood Educators Conference was a favorite, so popular that when we hosted it at WES we had to cancel school for certain grades in order to have enough space for our guests.

Episcopal Schools Day at the Cathedral was well liked as well. To the outer world it must have looked like a school uniform exhibition, with a rainbow of tartans displayed on kilts and ties. To the students, it was a chance to have the Cathedral and its welcoming staff all to themselves, and to worship and perform in that incredible space.

Also popular with the students was the AIMS Fair, now known as the Scholar’s Fair, with its many categories and the opportunity to interact with kids from a number of schools.

The older students had a Choral Festival, though I remember that finding a time when all these busy high schoolers could rehearse was challenge.

After WES I worked in two other Episcopal schools, one in Los Angeles and one in Tampa. Though the Diocese of Los Angeles had Serena Beeks, a former school head and a stalwart in the Haiti Partnership Program, doing important work as the Executive Director of the Commission on Schools, I missed the signature events that meant so much to MAESA schools.

The dozen Episcopal schools of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, spread all up and down the lower Gulf Coast, were congenial but had not yet evolved a cooperative organization.

I’m grateful to still be part of the Episcopal school world, serving as a Trustee of St. John’s Parish Day School in Ellicott City, Maryland, whose head, Lori Dembo, is herself a member of the MAESA Board of Governors.

It’s been fun looking back and remembering so many friends and experiences with MAESA. It sounds like the Board of Governors and Executive Director Katherine Murphy are making sure the organization continues to unite and further the work of the Episcopal school community.

Letters to Haiti
Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service
In October, as part of the MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration we offered a service project to the schools participating in the worship service. Our thanks to The Rev. Dr. Lisa Barrowclough, MAESA Board member and Chaplain at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, who coordinated this service project in conjunction the Haiti Partnership Program.

In total, 230 cards and notes were written, illustrated, and colored in expressions of love and encouragement from students within MAESA to families in Haiti. The following MAESA schools sent letters and cards: St Alban’s School, Beauvoir, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, Grace Episcopal School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School. A partner in Haiti, Père Kesner and his Boy Scout Troup, will be delivering to neighbors in need of cheer.
MAESA 2022 Spring & Fall Events
Mark Your Calendars Now
MAESA Choral Evensong, February 6, 2022 at Washington National Cathedral. MAESA Upper school choirs have been rehearsing the repertoire and planning to participate as part of the MAESA combined choirs at the Cathedral Choral Evensong. MAESA will welcome The Reverend Sean Cavanaugh, Head Chaplain at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, in Alexandria, Virginia as our homilist.

MAESA Scholars' Fair April 29, 2022 hosted with St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School: Earlier this month MAESA shared the 2022 Scholars Fair event rubrics and guidelines with our elementary schools that bring 4th - 8th grade students together for scholastic competition and fellowship. We are excited to introduce a new category, the Math Challenge. Event guidelines can be found on the MAESA Scholars Fair page of our website. We know that many elementary school students look to this scholastic event as a way to build skills and demonstrate their knowledge as they develop as students and leaders. We are working hard to provide a great experience this year, and are working with our schools to plan a responsible and successful gathering. Event registration will open in March. Please direct any questions to maesaschools@gmail.com

MAESA Fall Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon, September 30, 2022 at the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys: Save the date and mark your calendars! MAESA welcomes our keynote speaker, Executive Director-Elect of NAES, The Rev. David A. Madison, D. Min. MAESA is excited to partner with our host, the Bishop Walker School and Head of School Michael Molina, for our 2022 Annual Meeting where we will have the chance to showcase the outstanding work taking place in this school. Please plan to join us and bring your colleagues!

MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service, Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at Washington National Cathedral: Each fall MAESA welcomes elementary school students to worship together and celebrate the blessing of being in an Episcopal school community. Please note date Oct. 4th is a Tuesday, rather than Wednesday when Yom Kippur is observed. MAESA is working to plan the Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service, in Richmond, Va. for October 2022 also, and will share the date as soon as it is confirmed.

MAESA Early Childhood Educators' Conference November 4, 2022 at Washington Episcopal School: Please add this date to your school's calendar for early childhood professional development and training. This year MAESA will welcome a number of developmental professionals to offer workshops in various tracks including social, emotional and spiritual development, emerging literacy and math fluency, early intervention and more. If you have a recommendation for a workshop presenter that has spoken at your school you'd like to share, please email us maesaschools@gmail.com.

The Mission of MAESA

The purpose of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Schools Association (MAESA) is to strengthen the community, enhance the missions and promote the witness of Episcopal schools in the Mid-Atlantic region.

We seek to do this by providing opportunities for Heads of school, administrators and chaplains to meet regularly with colleagues from other Episcopal schools to explore areas of common concern and interest.

We also promote programs for teachers and students which enhance learning in our schools and encourage service to our surrounding communities.

Finally, in association with the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), we advocate for our needs as schools within our several diocese and within the National Church.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director