Dear SAES Community,
August is the month for school leaders to write their “Welcome Back” letters and outline school opening protocols. I am mightily impressed by these letters that I have been sampling over the last few days. Our school heads are demonstrating courage, intelligence, resiliency, and determination that I find profoundly inspiring. Who among us suspected on March 15, 2020, that we would still be struggling with COVID as we head into the third school year under the pandemic? But you are demonstrating hopeful optimism; one head put it this way, “Our Episcopal identity is exemplified through joyous embrace of the world’s complicated problems.” The faith and courage that is found in your thinking and writing gives us strong reason for hope and confidence in our schools’ futures. We at SAES also know that our school leaders are carrying a heavy load this month, and we are here to provide our schools and school leaders support as we launch ourselves into the 2021-2022 school year. Please let us know how we can serve and support you.
Before leaving the topic of leading in challenging times, I highly recommend both David Madison’s and Dan Heischman’s letters in the NAES August newsletter. David describes well what I have been feeling: that it is our faith and our schools’ Episcopal identity that will help us lead through another year of challenge. David put it this way, “We are coming out of a year and a half of challenges and struggles the likes of which many of us have never experienced before. Considering that reality, I remain excited and encouraged because I know that our Episcopal identity prepares us for whatever challenge we may find ourselves facing today and tomorrow.” And, though the slog has been long and slow, we all know so much more about running a school in this pandemic than we did a year ago, and your opening plans and COVID protocols are a testament to your competence, commitment, and your selfless leadership.
In a board governance workshop that I facilitated recently, I acknowledged that we were fortunate to be in Episcopal schools--particularly in these times. Our Episcopal identity is the school leader’s navigational aid. Being a sailor, I know what it is like to be at the helm, offshore, and in a storm. But Dan assures us that “Episcopal schools, by their nature and mission, possess a unique framework for dealing with…traps of leadership.” Dan goes on to say, “Keeping one’s eyes on the stars may well be one of the crucial elements of maintaining the ship’s course.” Steer toward your school’s mission and vision and with the bearing of your Episcopal identity. 
At SAES this summer, Pat Blevins, Mary Katherine Duffy, Jeanie Stark, and I have kept the tiller steady. Thanks to our able professional colleagues, our Biennial is planned, and registration is open on the SAES website. We will be live in Houston, and we will also stream much of the content. The registration brochure has the details. Our accreditation campus visits start early in September and are spread out into May. Numerous professional development opportunities are well under way and will continue throughout the school year. My thanks to Pat, Mary Katherine, and Jeanie for their excellent leadership. The SAES website holds the depth and breadth of this work ahead.
In closing, I have been reflecting on the relationship between the SAES organization and our member schools. It seems to me that we benefit from each other. Each webinar I participate in, or each campus I visit makes me a better association interim executive director and we at SAES learn from school leadership in every conversation. I trust that the work that SAES leadership—both our professional staff and our board--provides in professional development, school visits, and accreditation helps schools in their self-reflection, growth, and improvement. In a recent novel, Ghosts of New York, a character describes it this way:
"She’s going to remember it well: the scent in the air, the luxury of the campus, the pride of the dean and the affection of the professor. She’ll be sitting in a comfortable wooden chair, …when it’ll all come back to her, all at once...she’s been thinking this: They say the butterfly evolved so that its wings would resemble the petals of the flowers; but what if it’s the flowers that evolved to look like the butterfly’s wings?” 
The author’s point seems clear; together we make each other better. Together we grow and evolve and there is something transformative in this blessed process.

Andrew Wooden 
Best Practices for
Board Presidents

August 19, 2021
2:00 pm CST

As the leader of the school board, you are uniquely positioned to set the school community up for success. This webinar will share some tips and strategies that will make the your school year the best it can be.

Best Practices for
High Performing Boards

September 7, 2021
5:30 pm CST

High performing boards understand their role in a school and it's success. Join us as we explore the characteristics of these types of boards in Episcopal schools.

Best Practices of the Business Office

September 10, 2021
10:00 am CST

A strong Business office is critical to the success of a school. This webinar will explore the best practices of the business office and offer tangible advice for both large and small schools.

OCTOBER 21-22, 2021
Come and support the Connie Wootton Excellence in Teaching Award Nominees!!

Winners to be announced Friday, October 22, 2021.


David is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the bestseller The Sports Gene. He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. His thesis explores how students prepared to be generalists as opposed to specialists are primed to excel.

Yvonne Adams is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, a 6th-12th grade boarding/day school located in Austin, Texas, where she has worked for over 25 years. In addition to overseeing diversity and equity initiatives at St. Stephen’s, Yvonne is an academic advisor, advisor of Unapologetic (Black Affinity Space), teaches health and wellness courses, leads diversity seminars and peer leadership classes for middle and upper school students, and enjoys being a houseparent for upper school girls. She is an educator, school senior administrator, diversity practitioner and activist, a strong advocate for the disadvantaged and underrepresented, a presenter/facilitator at national and local conferences, community forums, and at schools across the country, and works with students, faculty, administrators, and board members to understand the institutional, cultural, and systemic processes that impact the ways in which people live and work together.


Ken Bastian Community Service Award
This award is presented each year to a member school of the Association that has established an exemplary means of encouraging students to give of themselves in some form of community service or service learning. Winners to be announced at the 2021 Biennial Conference. Application deadline is October 1, 2021.


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