Dear SAES Community,
Congratulations on reopening your schools in this 2022 New Year! With two weeks successfully completed, I hope you take pride in your accomplishments in leading your schools in continued challenging and uncertain times. Those of you I have spoken with since we came back from the holiday season have given me the confidence that our SAES schools are starting the year well, and your students and families are fortunate to have you at the helm.
The Martin Luther King holiday has always been a welcome long weekend after getting schools reopened and well under way. Martin Luther King Day is also a good time for us to reflect on our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice. Black History Month is only two weeks away and I trust that we are all dedicated to doing good work helping ensure that our schools are committed to “the arc of the moral universe continuing to bend toward justice.” Next week at the New Heads University in San Antonio, I will be leading a session on DEI and hope that good conversations will flow. I am thrilled that many of you have registered for the upcoming collaborative webinar: SAES/NAES - Diversity/Equity/Inclusion In Episcopal Schools: Jan 27, 2022, 02:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada). There is still time to register, and all are welcome.
A closing story: Yesterday a school head gave me the first book I have seen that is published in 2022, Ain’t Burned all the Bright, by Reynolds and Griffin. It is one of those rare books that is appropriate for readers 12 years of age and up. It is grounded in the year 2020, and for me as a school head then, that means COVID and BLM. The story is in three sections, the past, now, the future, and the book ends in hope. The authors in their afterwards put it this way, “this book is for everyone who endured 2020…this was the two of us taking three deep breaths. Maybe three breaths for 2020, but also maybe three different breaths—one for the past, one for right now, and one for the future.” It is an unusual book. It is a 300 page “graphic novel” with scant text and can be “consumed” in 30 minutes; also, unusual that a book based on 2020 ends with hope and inspiration (literally and figuratively). As one reviewer wrote, “a heartbreaking-heart-making manifesto on what it means not to be able to breathe, and how the people and things at your fingertips are actually the oxygen you most need.” As we move forward in this 2022, “second semester,” together, I do believe we have in our Episcopal schools the oxygen, the people, and the faith we need, and we will continue our most important work of helping young people realize their best selves.
Wishing you the best in this New Year,
Interim Executive Director