To the St. Thomas Community:
As I begin my second year as your Board Chair, I cannot help but feel a renewed sense of energy and excitement for the 2022-2023 school year. Last year we prioritized laying the foundation for key changes that will positively impact our School and help further our mission. Most notably, we welcomed Sarah Kemeness as our new Head of School. Ms. Kemeness has extensive experience as an educator and school administrator and has already shown unparalleled dedication to our mission and students in just a few short months.
In addition to Sarah, we also added two new members to the Board of Trustees, who will leverage their professional backgrounds and knowledge of St. Thomas to assist us with our strategic planning.
Please join me in welcoming Bruce Brosch and Gabi Souto to the Board. Bruce, joining the Board from our Facilities Committee, has spent over 40 years as an architect at Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe and currently serves as their Chief Operations Officer. Laura, his wife, taught Kindergarten and First Grade at St. Thomas for over 30 years! Gabi joins the Board after completing two terms as President of the Parents Association. She has a Masters in Education, has spent over a decade working in the classroom, and has shown her passion for outreach within our community. Welcome to the team, Bruce and Gabi!
This summer, we completed the year-long renovation of our kitchen. This was an important initiative in elevating our campus experience and brings a wonderful sense of community to our students, faculty, and staff. This effort was made possible through the hard work of our Facilities, Finance, and Advancement Committees, who were instrumental in bringing the vision of our generous donors, Board, and Vestry to life.
With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, the road ahead will be focused on updating the School’s strategic plan. We will be approaching this from various angles, including trends in education, the economy, diversity and inclusion, spirituality, and community, to mention a few. We will continue to evaluate our needs for spaces and places that can better support innovation and growth and will continue to emphasize the whole-child approach to ensure our students are not only becoming better learners but also better citizens.
St. Thomas will also undergo the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) re-accreditation and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) accreditation process this year. FCIS and SAIS will review and evaluate our academics/curriculum, governance, operations, funding, finance, compliance, ethics/integrity, parental involvement, faculty professional development, and leadership to ensure we are maintaining the highest standards. Accreditation is the cornerstone of St. Thomas’ reputation for excellence, and we are grateful for the leadership and support of our faculty and staff in this process.
As a proud parent of two St. Thomas alums, Anna (Class of 2012) and Matthew (Class of 2015), I have seen first-hand the importance of these elementary school years and the role that our educators play in shaping young minds. I want to express our deepest gratitude to our dedicated team of teachers, staff, and administrators who work tirelessly to provide our students with a safe, secure, and engaging learning environment. And to our new and returning families, we wish you a healthy, happy, and productive 2022-2023 school year.
Chair, Board of Trustees