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WINTER 2018/2019

St. Anne’s Newsletter



14 | LAS POSADAS & THE HOLIDAY SING-ALONG DESIGN & LAYOUT | Zoet Design EDITOR | Lucy Murphy COPY EDITORS | Lori Frank, Adie Early CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHS| Patty Jordan, Anne Cosgriff, Lucy Murphy, John Dicker, Lori Frank, Julia Brown, Jennie Ruport, Trevor Brown, Bill Lane, Photo Archive CONTRIBUTING WRITERS | Lucy Murphy, Alan Smiley, Katherine Huamaní, Abby Alem, Hadley Rule, Julia Brown COVER PHOTO | John Dicker

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16 | BACK ON



Community Breakfast One St. Anne’s, the Diversity Committee of the Board of Trustees, hosted its annual pancake breakfast again this year! Since this was Mr. Smiley's final year flipping flapjacks, the One St. Anne’s committee awarded him a golden spatula and a special apron to honor his commitment to the amazing St. Anne's community!

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nfortunately, too few parents realize that by selecting St. Anne’s Episcopal School as a learning environment for their children, they were also selecting an Association of Colorado Independent School (ACIS) member school. Even fewer fully understand the unique value and benefits that this ACIS membership provides. A short list of some of these benefits to students, parents, teachers, and the school includes:

• Local and national access to speakers, workshops, and best

practices in the field of education and governance.

• An easily accessible collegial cohort of fellow educators and the benefit of pooled resources in areas such as staff benefits and various trainings.

• Membership in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and access to their data, best practices, research, and partnerships.

• Collective influence on matters that impact independent schools at the state and national level.

• Rigorous, ongoing, independent reaccreditation that verifies quality, school improvement, school health and stability, mission alignment and mission fulfillment. This accreditation process is based on over 50 association-shared and state standards.

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From a parent perspective, the last benefit regarding school accreditation is particularly important because it provides assurance that the school is regularly and rigorously evaluated internally and by external professionals to ensure mission alignment, student safety, educational quality, financial stability, good governance, and continued school improvement. After initial ACIS accreditation, which St. Anne’s received in the 1970s, all member schools embark on an ongoing, ten-year reaccreditation cycle. There are various checks, data submissions, and reports required along the way, and all of this material is reviewed by an independent ACIS Accreditation Committee and approved by the ACIS Board of Directors. And then the cycle begins anew. On this note, I am thrilled to report the great news that St. Anne’s Episcopal School received formal ACIS reaccreditation in January of this year! The first large step that led to this formal reaccreditation was the school’s completion of a comprehensive, 100+ page self-study report in 2017-2018. This self-study involved over 35 committees comprised of teachers, staff, parents, alumni, and trustees. Collectively, these committees examined virtually every aspect of the school’s operations and identified perceived strengths, challenges, and priorities for further school improvement. Parent, faculty, staff, and alumni survey data also helped inform these reports. The second step involved a group of external professionals from around the state and the nation visiting St. Anne’s in November 2018. This ACIS Visiting Team had previously read the school’s self-study report and then spent four intensive days on campus interviewing, researching, and observing to draw their own conclusions as to our current strengths and opportunities for

Winter 2018/19 Newsletter


continued improvement. Their 50+ page report was also reviewed by the ACIS Accreditation Committee and then accepted by the ACIS Board of Directors. Most of the Visiting Team’s report is comprised of Commendations and Recommendations. Over the course of the next 1-2 years, the school will be required to report back to ACIS on the status and progress in regards to each stated recommendation. Some of the high-level feedback from ACIS included the following:


• A Shared Sense of Community: The Visiting Team was stunned by the powerful, clearly visible shared sense of community among every constituency. They congratulated the school for dedicating the time, effort, resources, and focus to achieve this environment. They noted “…a very real sense of belonging to something greater than oneself…”

• The St. Anne’s Campus: The Visiting Team complimented the school on how well recent facilities enhancements blend with the school’s historical elements while also serving to enhance and strengthen programming, learning, and the community as a whole.

• A Healthy Management of Evolution as Part of the St. Anne’s Heritage: It was noted that the school has struck an artful balance between continuing to evolve and improve on behalf of the needs of today’s students while also holding true to our rich heritage and foundational values. The Visiting Team also reminded us that the Founding Sisters had their own knack for artful evolution, and they encouraged the school to continue its thoughtful, balanced path into the future. • St. Anne’s in the Hills: Earnest congratulations were expressed for realizing a long-term vision of SAITH that has been a conversation in the community for decades. The space and evolving program align beautifully with our historical commitment for learning beyond the classroom and appreciation for nature, and successful programmatic developments will both serve students and differentiate the school in powerful ways.

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Recommendations • Updated Science Facilities and Refined Medical Administration Procedures: Some improvements to our science facilities were recommended to better meet current codes and best practices. In addition, some broader training and clarified practices and procedures around medication administration, particularly in regards to expanded off-campus activities and the outdoor education program, were recommended. • Examination of the Preschool Configuration: As we had identified in our self-study, ACIS recommended careful consideration of potential new configurations for our Preschool program in the future, based on current demand and demographics. Finding ways to better meet this increased demand would benefit the students, the program and the school. • Continued Refinement of the SAITH Program: As the expanded programming at SAITH unfolds, refinement of risk management practices and procedures, program designs, and job descriptions and responsibilities was recommended as a way to further solidify the unique opportunities of this special gem. • Reexamination of the School Schedule: Also as identified in our self-study, ACIS agreed that a reexamination of the school’s daily schedule was recommended. As the school has evolved and new programs and priorities have emerged, taking the time to examine how time is allocated and configured during the day and school year is a “timely” effort at this juncture.

It was comforting to note that the vast majority of the Visiting Team’s recommendations throughout the report aligned with areas for improvement that the school identified during our own self-reflection. This reaccreditation process, along with our ACIS partnership, helps set the stage for continued growth in the years ahead and provides a road map for future strategic directions. It also reflects the powerful commitment to striving to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s students that truly sets St. Anne’s apart. In short, the present is rock solid, and the future is indeed bright.

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Upcoming Events APRIL

Founders & Trustees’ Day April 12 8:30 AM Join us for a special All-school Chapel to honor our heritage. The day will be filled with wonderful traditions to honor our Founding Sisters, to celebrate our amazing Board of Trustees, and to recognize longtime and retiring faculty and staff.

Spring Concert April 26 8:15 AM

Spring is here! Come watch our music department lead classes in the annual spring concert. Performances will include popular renditions performed by the LS and MS Jazz Bands, our strings group, Choir and the St. Anne's Singers.

MAY BINGO, sponsored by the Parents' Association May 3 5:00 PM This is the event everyone has been waiting for! Join the Parents' Association for some good old-fashioned bingo! More information on ticket sales and prizes will be available soon. Visit for the most up-to-date information.

May Day May 10 9:45 AM

A time-honored tradition in the Sunken Garden to welcome spring will be filled with singing and even dancing around the maypole. Join the P.A. for their spring reception in the Bird Bath Garden at 9:00 AM.

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Masoudi and Challenge Foundation Walk May 19 10:00 AM, Bible Park A community event in memory of Sam and Grace Masoudi. Money raised goes to benefit the Sam and Grace Masoudi Fund and Challenge Foundation Scholars. To learn more visit

Parents' Association Flower Sale Pickup May 17 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Order vibrant, beautiful flowers, herbs and combo pots for your patio and garden at the annual St. Anne's Flower Sale. Orders must be placed by April 25. Visit to order today!

A Farewell Party For Mr. Smiley May 31 4:30 PM After 13 incredible years as head of school, Mr. Smiley is handing over the keys to a new head of school. Please join St. Anne's parents, faculty, staff, alumni and alumni parents, friends and family as we celebrate the wonderful things Mr. Smiley has brought to our school. All St. Anne's community members 21+ are invited, but please RSVP by visiting

JUNE Graduation June 5 8:45 AM Join us in celebrating the Class of 2019! The commencement ceremony will begin at 8:45 AM in the Sunken Garden. Family and friends of the graduating class are welcome to attend. Please RSVP at Follow us on Instagram @st.annesdenver Winter 2018/19 Newsletter




or many of us, home can be a place, a city, a group of people, and often just an intangible but confirmable feeling. It can be a roof over your head or people you love who love you back. At St. Anne’s, it is all of these things and more. Having recently joined this community, I can attest to St. Anne’s ability to make one feel at home. I often wonder what makes that possible: Is it the tenderly cared-for grounds? Maybe it is the smiling faces of students, faculty, and staff alike. Or perhaps it is the warm greetings from families in the morning and frequent opportunities to casually and caringly engage throughout the day. All of these would certainly make for a hearth-like daily experience, but they are the necessary yet insufficient components of what makes St. Anne’s a place we call home. When I visited the campus for the first time last spring, it was on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland tragedy. It had weighed heavily on my heart for weeks, and with the growing voices of the survivors resonating in my mind as an educator, I wondered how the school would honor the lives lost. Amid that day’s flurry of visits with different community stakeholders - parents, students, teachers, and administrators, the search committee had thoughtfully allotted time for me to witness how the community hoped to help each other heal. As is the practice at St. Anne’s, the school made space and time for students, parents, and alums to join in spirit and presence to mark the occasion and give each other strength. There was a simple yet elegant reading by Father Al and the lighting of candles by our empathetic students. It was a moment to wordlessly say: no matter where you are, St. Anne’s is here for you. Though more than 1,700 miles away from “home,” my heart was warmed to know that despite the heaviness of the occasion, this community came together to shine a beacon of hope for each other and even for me, a visitor at the time. It has been almost a year from that time, and as the inner workings of the school have revealed themselves, it is clear that the ingredients that create the warmth and safety of that palpably welcoming environment are manifold. The seeds that inspire a clear sense of belonging are intentionally and carefully sown by every member of the community. Like a family, everyone has a role to play in making this home not just functional, but thoroughly supportive.

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Our teachers, for example, develop classrooms that are equal parts nurture and challenge. They create spaces that make students feel safe to take risks in their learning. Sometimes it is through a lively Socratic seminar around a text, and other times it is through the seeming unpredictability of improvisational acting in drama class. That balance of high expectations and deliberate scaffolds allows students to be open, reflective, and persistent through shifting contexts. We are fortunate to have our scholastic domicile extend beyond our Denver grounds. In the Hills, we get to call nature home. While the look of the St. Anne’s classroom changes a bit, the feel is consistent. Through purposeful connections, students continue to explore curricular questions and practice community values. Making good choices is at the heart of the ways students learn at SAITH. Whether those choices revolve around our relationship to the Earth or to each other, students center their thinking and actions in compassion and curiosity. Teachers carefully craft opportunities for students to find the intersection of both and to navigate the inevitable tensions safely and courageously. Just as remarkable, our students are learning to recreate our environment everywhere they go. Through service-learning opportunities like Kindergarteners bringing holiday cheer at Julia Temple Healthcare Center or 5th graders sharing their passion for reading with 1st graders at Bishop Elementary, the spirit of St. Anne’s is embodied in and extended by each student. We would be remiss not to mention the critical role that parents play in the lower school both through modeling our values as well as by directly affirming them through a commitment to character education. As our first through fourth grade students can confirm, each month’s explorations into traits such as respect, honesty, and justice provide an indispensable bridge that clearly names why we come to St. Anne’s and how we share space and time together. Finally, one of the most cherished ways in which St. Anne’s creates that sense of community and unity is through the joys of time-honored traditions such as the Fall Carnival, Dads and Donuts, and Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day. If these celebrations are any indication, there is no doubt that the festivities of talent shows, Founders Days, and May Days to come will be similarly representative touchpoints of the St. Anne’s mission to educate minds, enrich hearts, and expand horizons. St. Anne’s has made our community an oasis of strength and stability perpetuated by the pillars of people who believe in the simple, yet powerful mission that harkens back to the very founders, the Sisters of St. Anne. The Sisters believed firmly that the intricate weaving of people, practice, places, and principles could overcome any challenge. No matter the distance traveled or the adversity faced, the first children to attend St. Anne’s, like our students today, found more than a school. They found a home.

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Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day

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Although it was a warm day, St. Anne’s got in the holiday spirit this year by celebrating some wonderful traditions. The middle school participated in Las Posadas to honor Mexican heritage, and as a community, we started the holiday break with a holiday sing-along. Parents, alumni and even grandparents attended to join in the holiday cheer!


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Young Alum Holiday Party


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Alum Mums' Tea

The Community Wine Tasting

The Alumni Association would love to see you on campus too! Come visit us and see all the amazing things that are happening around campus. For more information, contact Julia Brown, Development and Alumni Coordinator at

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AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MR. SMILEY The following interview with

Alan Smiley was conducted by eighth-grade student council members Abby Alem and Hadley Rule. Questions were adopted from the Proust Questionnaire, created by Marcel Proust, French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

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What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being knee deep in a trout stream with my Alaskan malamute at my side, the bright sunshine off in the horizon, a deer or elk taking a drink from the river in front of me, and having a three-pound rainbow on my line.

What is the quality you most like in a person?

A sense of humor; being a person of integrity; someone you can depend on for standing by their word; kindness and acceptance.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Does that make sense?” “Make smart choices.” “You're doing what?” (Mostly said to my children).

When and where were you happiest? At my wife’s

side at the birth of our children; at the altar marrying my wife; being able to hand my children a St. Anne’s graduation diploma as the Head of School. Which talent would you most like to have? To type better. I’m currently a three-finger typist, which isn’t very efficient in this job.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a father; making a positive difference in the lives of some children; making it to 54 years old.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? A wolf in the Montana wilderness.

Where would you most like to live?


What is your fondest memory of being the Head of School? Handing my

up to Eamon McEneaney, who played for Cornell and tragically died in the 1993 bombing on the World Trade Center in NYC.

...nothing about being the Head of School is about one person, but if I was to say what I am proudest of, it’s the group of faculty and staff that are part of the school today.

Colorado. I’ve lived in other places in my life; and some have been wonderful; others, not so much. Colorado is pretty wonderful. I might also say Virginia. We lived in Charlottesville when I was doing my graduate work, and the horse country there is pretty fabulous.

What do you most value in your friends? A sense of

humor and sense of enthusiasm. A sense of fun; folks who want to “do” things. I like being active – fishing, skiing, going to a football game. Sitting around “chatting” is not high on my list. I am too hyperactive.

What is your motto?

“Make smart choices” but personally, my motto is, “Do your best and accept your best.”


What is your greatest accomplishment as the Head of School at St. Anne’s? That’s an easy one as I

have been asked that a few times this year. Looking around at the team of people that I’ve been a part of hiring and supporting to create the group of faculty and staff we have here now. It wasn’t all me; nothing about being the Head of School is about one Who are your favorite writers? I was an English major, person, but if I was to say what I so I have a lot of favorites – Robert am proudest of, it’s the group of Frost, D.H. Lawrence, Hemingway, faculty and staff that are part of the school today. Shakespeare. I also love a good thriller, especially those by John When was the last time you Grisham.

laughed uncontrollably?

Who are your heroes in real Two nights ago. My son was in life? Teddy Roosevelt. My father town, and he was telling us stories and older brother. Lacrosse was a big part of my youth, and I looked

of what he’s been up to recently that were pretty hilarious.

kids their 8th grade graduation diplomas; celebrating the school’s 65th anniversary; breaking ground for the facilities renovations that we are all getting to enjoy today. That’s all pretty special.

What has been the hardest part of being the Head of School?

Early in my tenure, we had some really tragic losses of important members of our community. Having to come to grips with that and try and play my part in helping the community go through the grieving process was really hard and not something you can take a class for – no one has a class on how to grieve. Without question, that has been the hardest part of my time at St. Anne’s. And it still is – trying to find ways to help members of your community through loss is very hard.

What is your advice to future St. Anne’s students? Find whatever

ways you can to get passionately involved in the community here. Don’t be an apathetic bystander in your educational experience. If you can find your passion, you will enjoy the process and benefit from this school a whole lot more. Treasure the relationships that you are able to develop here. You will never have the same length and depth of relationships that you have with your St. Anne’s classmates and teachers at any other place ever again.

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Winter Newsletter  

Winter Newsletter