ESJ, SMEDS Will Merge July 1, 2020
Dear St. Mark’s and Episcopal School of Jacksonville Communities:
We are pleased to share with you today that after much contemplative and prayerful deliberation, together our organizations have reached a decision to merge St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School (SMEDS) into Episcopal School of Jacksonville (ESJ), effective on July 1, 2020. A Mission Advancement Agreement governing the terms of the merger (subject to the customary conditions including the approval of the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Florida) was signed on October 11.
The decision to proceed with a merger has been approved by the ESJ and SMEDS Boards of Trustees, the Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Foundation Board of Trustees, and The Right Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida, and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida.
This decision was made after many thoughtful discussions with our boards and members of our communities. All of those in leadership considered the feedback and questions received, input from counsel, and exploration of the legal and financial impacts on both organizations, before reaching this conclusion. We are deeply grateful for the selflessness, hard work, and time of all of those who dedicated themselves to the due diligence process.
We firmly believe that the joining of the two schools creates an opportunity for both to strengthen quality Episcopal education in the Diocese of Florida, for our programs to grow in depth and breadth, and for our students, faculty, staff, and families to be enriched by the expansion of our schools’ communities. This partnership between the schools and the church ensures the continuation of spiritual formation in the lives of our students.
SMEDS will continue to operate as an independent school through June 30, 2020, after which time it will be merged into ESJ. An information meeting for SMEDS parents to learn more about this union with ESJ will be held on Wednesday, October 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Leatherbury Hall at St. Mark’s Church.
Following in the spirit of our schools’ founders and our missions, ESJ and SMEDS will continue to provide our students with an exceptional education within a Christian environment that encourages them to follow their passions and to develop into leaders in our community and the greater world.
Together we will work to ensure that the spiritual and moral tenets of our Episcopal tradition are evident in all that we do going forward. Trusting in God’s guidance, we look forward to an exciting future as one school.
The Rev. Adam Greene, Head of School
Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Alex Graham, Chairman, Board of Trustees
St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School
The Rev. Thomas P. Murray, Rector
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church