Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to the many donors and volunteers who generously gave of their time, energy, and financial resources to advance the St. Mark’s mission and support the great work of our teachers and students. While this report reflects the 2018–2019 school year, it is hard not to acknowledge the impact of the tornado that struck campus on the evening of October 20, 2019. While the damage was extensive, the strength of our community is unwavering. And, thanks in large part to that strength and generosity, we were able to respond quickly to reopen the campus, missing only seven academic days. For the most part, normalcy has returned to campus. The coming months and years will be filled with new challenges as we work to restore our campus and facilities, but I have every confidence that our community will rise to the occasion and work to make St. Mark’s even better.
Much gratitude is owed to our larger team, including the tireless commitment of our Board President, Clark Hunt ’83. He has been a steadfast leader throughout the past year, overseeing the completion of The Science Center Project and the continued rollout of Goals for St. Mark’s IV. I also want to acknowledge the leadership of longtime Trustee Kathy Crow, who stepped in this year as Vice President and Chair of the Executive Committee. Throughout the 2018–2019 school year, our community programs were firing on all cylinders under the guidance of Parents’ Association President Natalie Siegel and Alumni Association President Jeff Genecov ’77. Thank you to both Natalie and Jeff for their leadership.
Last January, we witnessed the culmination of more than five years of planning and commitment with the opening of the Winn Science Center and, soon after, the completion of the newly renovated McDermott-Green Science Building. Both of these facilities are now abuzz with activity, inspiring boys to explore, innovate, test and perhaps ever break boundaries, and apply their creative and critical thinking skills. It is exciting to see our boys and our teachers working in partnership to stretch pre-existing assumptions in this forward-leaning facility.
Across campus, Goals for St. Mark’s IV continues to guide our progress. A major focus has been on strengthening our co-curricular programs and, with that goal in mind, we established a new administrative position, the Director of Physical and Experiential Education. Mark Sullivan, a nearly 40-year veteran of St. Mark’s, is now coordinating programs and activities that will challenge and develop Marksmen outside of the classroom and away from campus. The continuing expansion of our Character & Leadership Education and our Health & Wellness programs continue to be a priority as we strive to help boys become their best selves. In 2018–2019, we introduced Middle School Leadership Loops, the Path to Manhood Portfolio, and a growing library of teaching digests to help share our best practices. In addition, we introduced expanded opportunities for Upper School boys to learn about developing healthy and meaningful relationships. We are excited to see these programs grow in the coming years, as we help each Marksman become thoughtful, contributing members of their communities who advance the common good.
In tandem with Goals IV, we worked diligently to complete our 10-year reaccreditation with the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. A Visiting Committee spent several days on campus last fall and provided a number of commendations as well as recommendations for continued growth. Among their comments, the Visiting Committee observed that, “The boys at St. Mark’s are admirably articulate about their shared responsibility in creating a resoundingly positive school environment.”
Of course, the most gratifying highlights of the past year involved seeing our students thrive and contribute on and off campus. In the classrooms and laboratories, on the playing fields, in the arts studios, and on the stage, Marksmen in the Class of 2019 set an excellent example for boys across the School, constantly seeking to make a difference in the lives of others. Our littlest Lions in Lower School learned the values of empathy and compassion, while boys in the Middle and Upper Schools assumed greater responsibility for the well-being of the community at large. From community service initiatives like McDonald’s Week and the Holiday Gift Drive to our ongoing partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the construction of yet another house in west Dallas, boys continue to learn the importance of care and respect for others.
There are many challenges and opportunities as we look ahead, but your support will help us address them with thoughtfulness, determination, and confidence.
On behalf of all of my colleagues, thank you for your unwavering support. Please know what an important difference your generosity makes in the lives of each and every Marksman.