Suzanne Townsend, Chief Financial Officer

When I contemplate how much work lies ahead that sometimes seems daunting, I find inspiration in reflecting on the incredible amount of progress achieved at St. Mark’s over the past year. Due to the strength of this community and our shared commitment to the mission of the School, we are truly “St. Mark’s Strong.”

I am grateful to so many who have been instrumental in accomplishing that progress. Our Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, parent community, and our great professional partners have all leaned in and provided their support, leadership, and guidance.

Storm recovery and rebuilding continued throughout the 2020–2021 academic year. Significant landscaping progress was accomplished with trees replanted around the perimeter of campus and hundreds of hollies planted along the Orchid Lane fence. Planning and programming for a new athletic center progressed, and the School’s conceptual building plan/area was approved by the City of Dallas in June 2021.

In response to COVID-19, health and safety measures across campus included major modifications and upgrades to every building. HVAC equipment was enhanced to provide the highest level of air filtration and plumbing fixtures were retrofitted to touchless sinks and toilets. The Facilities Committee, chaired by Ryan Robinson ’86, provided oversight throughout the process as work on the physical plant and grounds progressed.

On a daily basis, COVID-19-related expenses were incurred by the School: disposable food containers for lunches and snacks, personal protection equipment (masks, etc.), and periodic COVID-19 testing of students and adults. In total, all of these expenditures – both infrastructure and daily costs – exceeded $1 million in FY2021. The Finance Committee, under the leadership of Chair David McAtee ’87, provided the budget oversight and direction that helped to ensure a year-end financial surplus.

The Investment Committee, led by John Rocchio, kept a diligent watch on financial markets and monitored the School’s endowment funds closely. As has been the case through all uncertain times in the past, this Committee maintained steady and disciplined management of the endowment, which is intended to support the School in perpetuity.

The past two years have presented many challenges and much work still lies ahead, but together we have not only persevered but flourished. Challenges always provide opportunities and St. Mark’s will grow even better as a result. I am inspired and incredibly grateful for the strength and commitment of this extraordinary community.
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