An Update on the School History Working Group

Throughout March, the School History Working Group — established earlier this year by Head of School Charley Stillwell and Chair of the Board of Trustees Lee Ainslie ’82 P’14 ’17 — met with various members of the Episcopal community to discuss the research being undertaken and the group’s advisory role as the Board seeks to develop a thoughtful path forward to acknowledge the role enslaved people played in the School’s early years.

The engagement and support of the community in sharing their perspectives with the working group has been inspiring. Conversations shed light not only on the complexity of this work but also on the importance our community is placing on a thoughtful process. 

The Working Group offers its heartfelt thanks to all who gave of their time to participate in these important sessions. The group discussions have included alumni volunteers, former trustees and trustees emeriti, founding members of Episcopal’s Black Alumni Network, and students. Faculty and staff had the opportunity to meet with Billy Peebles '73 on campus in February, and there have been many individual conversations with members of the Episcopal family who have reached out directly to Mr. Peebles and other members of the Working Group

Former EHS faculty member Mike Reynolds has continued his support of this effort and members of the Working Group have now spoken with more than 20 scholars and educational leaders nationwide, garnering insight from their respective experiences undertaking similar research. 

Having conducted the group sessions and a significant amount of research, the working group met with the Board of Trustees in late March for a preliminary discussion of their report on acknowledging the School’s history, continuing the research, and addressing the implications of our past in relation to the School today and in the future. A formal report will be presented to the Board in the Spring of 2022. 

Upon review and discussion, Episcopal’s Board of Trustees will share next steps with the community later this Spring. Given the complexity of the research and the School’s commitment to a thorough and comprehensive process, it is anticipated that some of the work may extend into the following year.

As always, people should not hesitate to reach out to members of the Working Group, listed below, with any thoughts or questions.
  • Billy Peebles ’73, Trustee 2015-2021, Working Group Chair
  • Jonathan Beane ’88 P’24 ’24, Trustee and Chair of the Racism, Understanding, and Belonging Task Force
  • Lenora Gant P’96, Trustee 1996-2002
  • Bailey Patrick ’79 P’11 ’12 ’14, Trustee 2004-10, Board Chair 2011-17
  • Louis Smith P’19, ’22, ’23, Director of the Office of Community and Equity
  • Bobby Watts P’98 ’00, faculty member 1992-2014