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March 9, 2012
Dear Community Members,
We would like to extend an enormous THANK YOU to all of the students, faculty, alumni, parents, grandparents, parents of alumni, and other valued members of our community who participated in our community-wide survey. With well over 2,000 participants, our response rate was seven times the expected rate, with nearly 100 percent participation from our faculty and staff. What a powerful statement from our highly involved and caring community!
Your candor and the constructive nature of comments submitted are appreciated. It will be extremely helpful to the leadership team as they guide our school in the years ahead. Respondents helped define the qualities and experiences most valued in an ESD education, made good suggestions about potential changes, and applauded certain areas that are working well or improving.
A key theme throughout the survey was the community's strong belief in ESD’s mission and Founding Tenets. Answers underscored our commitment to daily worship, experiences in community, and service to others. In addition, our “whole child approach” was the top reason cited for choosing ESD over other independent schools.
Overwhelmingly, respondents expressed an appreciation for our talented and dedicated faculty:
* When asked, “Why have you chosen to enroll your child in an independent school?”, 64 percent of respondents cited high-quality teachers.
* When asked, “What are the best attributes of ESD?”, the #1 response was our faculty, followed closely by our sense of community.
Several key challenge areas were brought to light as well.
Two of the most commented-on challenges were communications and reputation management. This feedback is already playing a key role in leadership planning. Under the new umbrella of the Advancement Office, several initiatives are underway:
* An internal Communications Team has been formed to ensure consistent, accurate, and timely messaging, both internally and externally.
* Discussions regarding branding and repositioning ESD in the marketplace are taking place. Successfully communicating our message, specifically on what makes an ESD experience so meaningful, is a priority.
* An intensive, cross-constituent assessment of how to improve the effectiveness and user-friendliness of our website has begun.
The Search Committee particularly appreciates the important ideas shared with regard to the Head of School search. This information will help us identify those qualities and characteristics which you believe to be the most important in our next leader. Below are a few of the most articulated themes from the search component of the survey.
Must-have qualities in the next Head of School:
* Enthusiastic and wholehearted embrace of ESD's mission and core values and our whole-child philosophy
* Dynamic, articulate, and proven leadership
* High integrity and ability to be a spiritually-grounded role model for our students
* Experience, vision, and innovative ideas regarding education
Challenges and priorities for the next Head of School:
* Continuing to enrich our academic programs
* Enhancing team-building and professional development among our faculty
* Building upon ESD’s admission rates at highly-regarded colleges and universities
* Raising ESD’s reputation and image in the wider community
* Ensuring the financial strength and sustainability of ESD
Defining school values for stewardship by the next Head of School:
* Sense of mission, centered in our four Founding Tenets
* Spiritual element, captured in the form of daily chapel and our core principle of viewing every student as a child of God
* Commitment to our strong sense of community
* Distinctive approach to educating the whole child
These results, along with invaluable insight gleaned from Anne Coyle’s listening sessions with parents, faculty, staff, students, and alumni earlier this week, are being assimilated by the Head of School Search Committee. In the coming weeks, a Position Profile will be created and our search will continue to move forward. As requested and as appropriate, we will periodically keep you apprised of our progress.
Thank you for your continued commitment and dedication to the Episcopal School of Dallas.
Chief Advancement Officer
Chair, Communications Task Force for the ESD Board of Directors
Nancy Perot Mulford
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chair
Head of School Search Committee Co-Chair