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An Announcement from the Chair of the Board of Trustees on the Retirement of Head of School Peter A. Barrett


December 14, 2020

Dear Members of the St. Patrick’s Community,

First, I want to thank Peter for his letter, indicating that he has decided to retire from St. Patrick’s at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.  As current Chair of the Board of Trustees, I am one of 11 people to have worked closely with Peter in that role and have a front-row seat to his thoughtful leadership. Peter’s name has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School across his 27 years of service. I look forward to many moments celebrating Peter’s distinguished tenure during the next year and a half, but please allow this letter to serve as a first step in that process. 

Peter has been an exemplary steward of the Day School’s mission, unwavering in his belief that every child has infinite value. While Peter will leave an indelible mark on St. Patrick’s in countless ways, his commitment to promoting exceptional literacy as the basis for developing character, advancing human understanding, and promoting academic excellence remains a hallmark, nourishing a culture that puts the individual child squarely at the center of the teaching and learning process. Further, he has worked to create a diverse, inclusive, and joyful community, where children quickly realize that they are welcome, where they come to recognize that they are known, loved, and respected. These ideals have been embraced by the tremendously talented faculty and staff that Peter and his team have assembled, a group in which he takes great pride and that remains at the heart of the St. Patrick’s experience. 

Peter will leave St. Patrick’s a much stronger and different institution than when he arrived in 1994. During that time, St. Patrick’s added the Grades 7 and 8 program to the existing Nursery to Grade 6 school and ultimately reconfigured that program as a Grades 6 to 8 Middle School on the new MacArthur Campus, named in his honor. He oversaw the renovation and expansion of the main Day School building on the Whitehaven Campus, adding the Elementary School Library and academic wing. Given the importance of play and physical activity at St. Patrick’s, it is perhaps no surprise that his accomplishments include building the Gymnasium & Performance Center on the Whitehaven Campus and the regulation-size turf field and stadium complex on the Foxhall Campus and completing the first phase of the Outdoor Spaces Master Plan with the redeveloped Primary Grades Playground and Kindergarten Playground and the ever-popular Sports Deck. These accomplishments and more are the result of his strong leadership and vision for a thriving school. 

As we prepare to hire St. Patrick’s fourth Head of School, we have convened a Search Committee to be chaired by Trustee Rebecca Kim P ’24, an active leader in our community and a St. Patrick’s parishioner. Supporting the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees will be the highly regarded search firm of Spencer Stuart. In a subsequent letter, I will report more to you about the process, which we hope will enable us to announce an appointment in the fall of 2021 for a July 1, 2022 start.

As Peter said, we are fortunate to be conducting this search from a position of strength. As a result, I am confident in our ability to attract a dynamic and committed leader who will continue to uphold our Episcopal values and our mission of shaping young people of integrity, empathy, and purpose.  As I contemplate the school that a new leader will see, I share Peter’s pride in what we have accomplished together. I commend our remarkable students and alumni who have brought such life and vitality to St. Patrick’s. I am in awe of our dedicated teachers who continue to reach their students and teach in new ways during a global pandemic. I feel pride in our beautiful facilities, so clearly designed with young people in mind, and I am grateful for the families who made them a reality. It is collective work that makes us strong, and a vibrant community is one of the many legacies of Peter’s time.

Finally, at least for now, I want to thank Peter for exemplifying character, resilience, and humility as we have faced the challenges of recent months. It has been my privilege to work alongside him. I look forward to working with our Board of Trustees, our faculty and staff, and the broader community to keep St. Patrick’s the best it can be until we pass the Light of St. Patrick’s on to our next leader. And now, as Peter said, let’s get back to work. 

In faith and gratitude,

Mia Bass
Chair, Board of Trustees, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

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