Peace is indeed a noble cause and a noble virtue worth pursuing. When we imagine what peace is, we should quickly come to some definitions and synonyms ...
I am a trusted guide of future leaders, a gifted sculptor of future artists, a generous planter of future sowers. - ESD Manifesto
The Episcopal School of Dallas is committed to developing an educated conscience in its students that will ignite in them lives of purpose. Our school’s dedication to this goal is what drew me to this place and energizes the work that all of us do here.
We believe every person is made in the image of a loving God. Therefore, we aspire to be an inclusive community, one in which every student feels comfortable to be who they are in the context of meaningful relationships with their classmates and teachers. These bonds are strengthened through our emphasis on community experiences, whether they be our group service projects, our daily divisional chapel services, our class-wide outdoor education trips, or even our circular lunch tables—an intentional design meant to foster a sense of camaraderie and equity during social time. We hope that when you come to ESD, no matter your background or experience, that you will discover the welcoming spirit that permeates.
Great teachers make great schools. Through our rigorous hiring process and robust professional development program, we believe that ESD is in a solid position to recruit, develop, and retain the best educators possible. Our teachers know that they will encounter an intellectually diverse group of students in their classrooms. And, we are united in our goal to optimally challenge each student to be the best version of themselves in all aspects of their lives. We are proud of our results so far.
Among my favorite experiences during my time as Head of School have been the daily interactions that I have with students in our classrooms, at lunch, on the playing fields, and in the rehearsal spaces. They bring enthusiasm and energy to our campus that reinforce the positive learning atmosphere. It is a joy to be here.
We invite you to consider being part of our community and look forward to meeting you when you visit.
Onward and upward,
David L. Baad
The Ann and Lee Hobson Family
Head of School
In this homily, Mr. Baad offers a perspective on the virtue of creativity. Open the post to watch a video of his presentation.
In this homily, Mr. Baad offers a perspective on the virtue of empathy.
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15.12
"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you." Matthew 7.12
David L. Baad, The Ann and Lee Hobson Family Head of School
As The Ann and Lee Hobson Family Head of School, David Baad is charged to oversee all operational aspects of the school, support the Mission and Founding Tenets, and serve as a visionary leader to the school community. He believes that "Episcopal schools like ours must wrap all that we do in the classroom and on the fields in the moral framework that a faith-based school provides." His goals are to help shape students' lives and to sustain an atmosphere in which teachers can create and excel.
Baad came to ESD from the St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., one of the oldest and most respected Episcopal schools in the country. He has operated on the front line throughout his more than three-decade career in virtually all aspects of the school, including strategic planning, admissions, budget management, technology, curriculum development, faculty recruitment, professional development, and board governance support for development and finance. His career started in the classroom and on the field as a history teacher and baseball coach.
Baad earned a Bachelor of Arts in History, was a member of the prestigious Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, and played varsity baseball for Rollins College in Florida. He received a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ruth Burke, ESDPA Associate Head of School
Ruth Burke is the ESDPA Associate Head of School at The Episcopal School of Dallas, overseeing Enrollment, Communications, Community Culture, Calendar Logistics, and Strategic Initiatives. Over the last several years, Ruth has led a number of key school initiatives including the design and construction of the Lower School building, our ISAS self-study and re-accreditation, and neighbor and community relations.
Burke’s experience in independent school administration spans over three decades, with more than 25 years in service to ESD, at three nationally-recognized schools in the roles of administrator, teacher, coach, advisor, and dean. She has served as conference chair for the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) Admission Conference and led numerous panel discussions and seminars for the Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and ISAS. From 2009-2012, she taught four-day seminars for Independent School Management (ISM), leading admission professionals from across the country in the application of best practices and admission trends.
Burke grew up in Maryland and earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master's in School Administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she played basketball and ran track and field.
Rebecca Brady, Chief Academic Officer
As the Chief Academic Officer of The Episcopal School of Dallas, Rebecca Brady promotes ESD’s mission as it relates to the development, delivery, and assessment of the school’s educational program. The CAO holds the primary responsibility for overseeing the curriculum grades PK3-12 to ensure the proper scaffolding of skill-building and content acquisition. Brady is charged with leading ESD’s learning and teaching priorities, developing targeted professional development, supporting a system of practice that attracts and retains exemplary educators, and implementing and refining a professional growth system for faculty.
Brady began her teaching career as a high school English teacher and cross country and soccer coach. Before ESD, she served as Academic Dean at The John Cooper School in The Woodland, TX, and at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX, where she oversaw the quality of instruction, professional growth, and academic policy.
Brady graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Loyola University in Maryland, where she played varsity soccer, and earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Towson University. She earned her Secondary School Administration/ Principalship Certification from The University of St. Thomas in Houston.
Tracey Shirey, Head of Lower School
As Head of Lower School, Tracey Shirey is responsible for orchestrating the school experience of ESD students from age three to fourth grade. This includes academics, enrichment and special programs, and community life. She serves on the Executive Leadership Team and collaborates closely with the Middle and Upper School Division Heads to ensure continuity of the ESD experience.
For the eight years prior to Shirey becoming an Eagle, she and Amy Cuccia co-founded Thinking Matters, a teacher coaching and curriculum development firm committed to helping teachers reach their full potential in the classroom for the benefit of each child. Her clients included ESD, Hockaday, St. John's Episcopal School, and Ft. Worth Country Day. Shirey spent the first 15 years of her career as an elementary classroom teacher. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she served at Hockaday as the PK-4 Language Arts Coordinator, co-founder and co-director of the Hockaday Writing Institute, Ten-year ISAS Evaluation Chair, and the Curriculum and Scheduling Coordinator. At Highland Park, she was the fourth-grade team leader, technology chairperson, a member of the systems alignment and math mapping team, and two-year nominee for Teacher of the Year.
Shirey holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Gifted and Talented Education from SMU.
Jonathan Chein, Head of Middle School
As Head of Middle School, Jonathan Chein is responsible for guiding the middle school experience, which encompasses academics, extracurriculars, and community life. He serves on the Executive Leadership Team and collaborates closely with the Middle and Upper School Division Heads to ensure continuity of the ESD experience.
Chein brings to ESD a track record of success as the Head of Upper School (grades 5 - 8) at Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut, for seven years. In addition to being Whitby's Head of Upper School, he immersed himself in school life, also teaching math, science, and life skills throughout his tenure. Other responsibilities have included Dean of Students, Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator, Interim Head of Lower School, Community Service Coordinator, and coach for girls' and boys' basketball, baseball, and softball. Chein is an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Accreditation Site Visitor and Workshop Leader.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College and a Master of Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Matt Peal, Clark Family Head of Upper School
As the Clark Family Head of Upper School, Matt Peal is responsible for guiding the upper school experience, which encompasses academics, extracurriculars, community life, and college placement. He also serves as the active voice for academics on the Executive Leadership Team, representing the Division Heads and Department Chairs.
Prior to joining ESD, Peal served as Head of Upper School at the O’Neal School in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Before that, he was the Director of Student Life at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, Rhode Island. He began his career as an AP US and World History teacher and has also coached baseball and football. He has extensive experience and expertise in both curriculum development and student life programming.
Peal, a native of Douglasville, Georgia, graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in History and earned an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Nate Bostian, Stemmons Family Senior Chaplain
As Senior Chaplain, Father Nate connects with children in all three divisions and is primarily responsible for leading upper school daily worship and ensuring our ministries align with our Episcopal Identity and the ideals set forth by the National Association of Episcopal Schools.
Father Nate comes to us from TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio, where he has served as head chaplain for 11 years. Before moving to San Antonio, Father Nate served at Saint Michael and All Angels in youth and adult ministries and as the college chaplain for Canterbury Episcopal Ministries at SMU. He also served as the family and student pastor at the Church of the Apostle. Interestingly, ESD grandfather, The Right Reverend James Stanton, ordained Father Nate to the Sacred Order of Deacons in 2008 and the Sacred Order of Priests in 2009.
He graduated magna cum laude from the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. He earned his bachelor of art in history with a minor in classical studies from Texas A&M University, where he was also a powerlifting team member. Additionally, he completed significant graduate coursework in counseling and social work and worked for several years as a counselor of abused children before becoming a priest. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Kim, who he met at Newman Smith in Carrollton.
Cara Holmes, Ph.D., Director of Emotional Wellness and Learning Support
As the Director of Emotional Wellness and Learning Support (EWLS), Dr. Holmes, a licensed psychologist, oversees a team of counselors and learning specialists who provide social-emotional guidance and academic support for the school community with the goal of creating an exceptional environment for learning, social responsibility, and child development.
Dr. Holmes is entering her 18th year at The Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD). She originally began at ESD in 2006 through an innovative partnership between ESD and Children’s Medical Center, in which clinical psychologists from Children’s provided psychological consultation and support on campus throughout the academic year. During that time, Dr. Holmes also served as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she taught graduate level courses in human development and supervised doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.
Dr. Holmes received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, after earning her undergraduate degree from Southwestern University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In addition to her clinical responsibilities at ESD, Dr. Holmes coaches Girls on the Run, a program that utilizes running to promote confidence and perseverance in girls, and serves as the secretary of the Cum Laude Society, the nation’s oldest secondary school scholastic honor society.
Elizabeth Goatley, Ph.D., Director of Diversity and Inclusion
As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Goatley is responsible for creating and maintaining an inclusive educational environment that celebrates the individuality of each student, faculty, and staff member. Dr. Goatley supports the inclusive culture of the school through student programming, professional development, and strategic forecasting.
Prior to her work at The Episcopal School of Dallas, Dr. Goatley served as an Assistant Professor at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University in Waco, TX. While at Baylor, Dr. Goatley’s research and scholarship focused on includes community interventions in addressing human trafficking and communal social justice responses through empowerment modeling. Dr. Goatley’s research resulted in the first research faculty grant from The Dallas Women’s Foundation, now known as, The Texas Women’s Foundation, and a Big XII University Faculty Fellowship.
Dr. Goatley’s practical experience includes serving as the Program Director and Victims Advocate for Commercial Sexual Exploitation Unit of the Sandy Springs Police Department and as a Family Specialist for the Intensive Family Intervention team in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Goatley has extensive experience working for social justice and community mental health in several states across the southern United States.
Dr. Goatley received a BA in Psychology from Spelman College, a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Administration in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University.
Thad Lepcio, Director of Athletics
As the Athletic Director at The Episcopal School of Dallas, Thad Lepcio is responsible for sustaining and enhancing the excellence of our athletic programs and infrastructure. Coach Lepcio is building on ESD’s rich athletic history and will continue to move our athletic programming forward in tandem with ESD's Mission and core values of honor, respect, and integrity.
Coach Lepcio came to ESD after serving as the Peddie School's Director of Athletics for three years. Before Peddie, he worked at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serving his last 12 years there as Athletic Director. He began his service at Peddie teaching Latin, acting as the faculty liaison to the student-run Honor Council, and coaching their nationally ranked boys and girls golf programs. He boasts five members of the PGA and LPGA tours among his former students. His career started at Wofford College, where he served as both the Head Women’s Golf Coach and Associate Athletic Director for almost a decade.
A graduate of Amherst College, Coach Lepcio majored in American History and the Classics and was a member of their golf team. He earned his M.S. in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts.
Mary Hernandez, Chief Financial Officer
As the Chief Financial Officer for The Episcopal School of Dallas, Mary Hernandez oversees all accounting, business operations, facilities, technology, campus safety, and food service functions.
Hernandez is a CPA who received her BBA from SMU in 1997 and MBA from Baylor University in 2016. She has worked in the business office at ESD for 12 years, most recently as the Director of Finance. Working closely with the Board’s Finance Committee and Endowment Trust, she played a key role in developing the school’s financial strategy.
Denis Stokes, Chief Advancement Officer
As Chief Advancement Officer for The Episcopal School of Dallas, Denis Stokes oversees The ESD Fund, Alumni Relations, and leads all campaigns, endowment, capital and comprehensive.
Appointed in November 2017, Stokes joined ESD from Christ School, an Episcopal boarding and day school for boys located in Asheville, North Carolina. With more than 30 years in school administration, he has extensive experience in admission and development work, which has included travel domestically and internationally. In addition to almost 15 years at Christ School as Admission Director and then as Advancement Director, administrative assignments have included time at his undergraduate alma mater, Belmont Abbey College, as Vice President for Enrollment, Providence Day School, and Tulane University. He holds an MBA from The McColl School of Business, Queens University, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bernadette Gerace, Chief Human Resources Officer
As the Chief Human Resources Officer for The Episcopal School of Dallas, Bernadette Gerace oversees the recruitment, development, and retention for all faculty and staff.
Gerace was previously the Executive Director of Human Resources at Prosper ISD. In that role, she oversaw the recruitment, development, and retention of over 2,700 employees, including the annual hiring of approximately 650 teachers and staff. During her time in Prosper, she founded the District’s Human Resources Office and built out multiple best-in-class programs. Among them were the First Year Teacher Induction Program, the District Leadership Cohort, and “stay interviews” that focus on how to keep excellent teachers. Gerace was honored for her work by being selected as the 2021 American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) Herb Salinger National HR Administrator of the Year. Gerace brings the heart of a teacher to her human resources work. She started her career in the classroom, teaching both Spanish and Psychology for 15 years as well as serving as a department chair. She was selected Prosper ISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2012.
Gerace was born in the Philippines but grew up in Lake Highlands and went on to earn a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in Educational Administration from Concordia University. She is currently a Dallas Baptist University candidate for an EdD in Educational Administration.
2023-24 Board of Directors
Mary Adair Dockery, Chair
Chris Elliston ‘88, Chair-elect
Kit Sawers, Vice Chair
Brendon Riley, Secretary
Jim Skochdopole, Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee
Stephen Swann ‘93, Chair, Advancement Committee
Collin Comer ‘94, Chair, Buildings and Grounds Committee
Suku Nair, PhD, Chair, Education and Student Life Committee
Jay Lipscomb, Chair, Episcopal Identity Committee
J. Puckett, Chair, Human Resources and Compensation Committee
Margaret Spellings, Chair, Nominating and Governance Committee
* ex officio