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A Letter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees


December 14, 2020

Dear Mia,

For more than a quarter of a century, I have had the best job in Washington. Since 1994, I have had the privilege of sharing work that I love with an amazing group of young people, their wonderfully supportive families, and a faculty and staff that couldn’t be more talented or dedicated to their craft. I will always treasure these relationships. However, there does come a moment, in the life of an individual and in the life of an institution, when it is time to turn toward what is next. Confident that time is now, I will make the 2021-2022 school year my final one as Head of School at St. Patrick’s.

Together, we have accomplished much during the last 27 years in imagining, creating, and animating exceptional settings for teaching and learning. St. Patrick’s has grown to become a thriving Nursery to Grade 8 school, one that has earned a stellar reputation well beyond the Washington area that it has served so well since 1956. Interest in the Day School is brisk. Our finances are strong. A generous community has supported superb facilities, real estate acquisitions, and endowment growth that offer a range of exciting options for the future. Even during a global pandemic, our campuses are alive with the intellectual, social and emotional, moral and spiritual, and physical activity necessary for young people to grow in healthy ways, reach for their full potential, and take their thoughtful places in a world that, while often confusing and sometimes even harsh, is nonetheless filled with beauty and possibility. Together, we have strived to educate those young people to be able to seize those possibilities in ways that engage and express their unique and vibrant selves yet always embrace the other. One of the many gifts of an education in the Episcopal tradition is the gathering recognition that we are all part of something much larger than ourselves. That theme weaves its way, purposefully and joyfully, through a St. Patrick’s education. 

Just as we have accomplished much, there is also much to accomplish across the next 18 months. I am making this announcement at an almost unimaginably difficult time for our city, for our country, and for so many others with whom we share this fragile planet. Justifiably proud of the faculty and staff who have made St. Patrick’s their school-home, I have never been more proud of them, and of our wider community, than I have been during the last ten months. Together, we have worked to meet the challenges before us by always returning to our touchstone, the infinite value of every individual. Our faculty and staff have long demonstrated, but in particular abundance in recent months, their knowledge of craft, their commitment to the healthy growth of young people, their resilience in the face of challenge, and their courage in deploying those critical forces.

Mia, neither you nor I anticipated the challenges that were awaiting us when you became Board Chair a year and a half ago. You were stepping into a role that, to my good fortune and that of the institution, had been filled by a succession of truly remarkable individuals, a legacy that you have vigorously upheld. I am deeply grateful to you, to your predecessors as Board Chair, and to the current Board of Trustees and those with whom I have worked in the past for your support of me personally, for the opportunities for growth you have offered me and, even more important, for your support of the special place we call St. Patrick’s.

So, there is work now to be done. I look forward to engaging in it with you, with my faculty and staff colleagues, and with the broader community to keep St. Patrick’s fresh and vibrant before I hand this role over to another fortunate soul on July 1, 2022.

With gratitude,

Peter A. Barrett
Head of School

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