Welcome to the third digital edition of The Cortile!
Greetings, St. Stephen's Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of St. Stephens, I would like to share our excitement about the upcoming arrival of Jill Muti, our Head-Elect, to the school community. It is a rare moment when the ethos of a school is matched so perfectly with an individual selected to lead it, but that is the case with Jill. Her commitment to exceptional education, her familiarity with and love of Italy, her dedication to community-centric leadership, and her passion for music, the arts, classical scholarship, and an integrated curriculum highlighting the sciences and math all resonate deeply with what we, as an educational institution, strive to achieve on a daily basis.
Ms. Muti is already actively engaged in the transition process, and you will be hearing from her directly over the course of the months ahead. We welcome her, we look forward to her leadership, and we can't wait for her to officially get started on August 1st, 2022.
I want to express our gratitude to Acting Head Deborah Dostert for her leadership of St. Stephen’s during one of the most critical transitions in the School’s history. With her four decades of experience, she has not only brought that wisdom to her relationships with faculty, students, and parents but has applied that to guiding the School at an important time.
I am also pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees approved the School’s fourth Strategic Plan (SP4). A strategic plan establishes what the school wants to achieve in the future and how it intends to get there. Strategic Plan 4: Pillars of Excellence charts a five-year, high-level course of action for St. Stephen’s School, based on emerging priorities and abiding institutional values targeted to meet this moment in the School’s development effectively.
The School is fundamentally healthy and thriving. Pillars of Excellence addresses some challenges the School faces as it moves to maintain its competitive edge as a global destination of choice in a new era. It is an overall adaptive strategy that can be adjusted or amended along the way as circumstances dictate and according to the programming needs and priorities determined by the incoming Head of School.
The four overarching objectives and thirteen initiatives in Pillars of Excellence address student boarding, academic excellence, facilities, and financial health. Some items will entail significant expenditures, but in each case, funds will be set aside in the School’s annual budget to cover those costs.
Strategic Plan 4: Pillars of Excellence builds upon its predecessor plan (SP3), adopts a multidimensional yet synergistic approach, and is shaped in part by its timing on the cusp of a Head of School transition.
The report, which includes the exciting initiatives Head Elect Jill Muti will carry out over the next five years, will be available soon online.
Now without further ado, we hope you enjoy this issue of The Cortile magazine.
Chair of the Board, Libby Morris
2-D and IB Art Teacher
Rohit Aggarwala ‘89
Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Varun Baker ‘01
Co-Founder & Managing Director Farm Credibly
Rachel Nicholson ‘06
Director, Visitor Engagement and Research at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Brian McKenna ‘00
Visiting Sully Plantation, Visiting Family Secrets
I stood in the thick green grass, looking at a slave dwelling at Sully Plantation, Chantilly, Virginia.
The cabin was built to replicate one that had housed the people my ancestors enslaved. It was a hot August day in 2021, 95 degrees with Virginia’s drenching humidity. I heard the loud chorus of crickets, the leaves shifting in the nearby copse, felt the heat in the breeze.
Science Stories for Grown-Ups
Everything ended with a book.
Everything started with a book.
The Small World of Serendipity
This story is equal parts chance, serendipity, a small world, and the St Stephen’s community.
I am a musician and young entrepreneur, and when I was based in London, I was searching for ways to build connections.