Dear Episcopal School of Jacksonville and St. Mark’s Communities:
As Head of School for Episcopal School of Jacksonville (ESJ), Chairman of the Board of Trustees for St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School (SMEDS), and Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, we are pleased to share with you today that we have agreed to discuss the possibility of merging SMEDS into ESJ. We made this decision after prayerful, thoughtful and thorough discussions with our representative governing boards and The Right Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida.
ESJ and SMEDS have long had a close relationship and cultures that embrace our missions of providing exceptional and balanced education within the tenets of The Episcopal Church. The governing boards of both schools have agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will permit us to explore the possibility of a merger. A recommendation to proceed with a merger would need approval 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 Episcopal Diocese of Florida.
This discussion means that we will undertake a meticulous review of the impact of a merger on our students, families, faculty and staff, and our obligations regarding property, legal interests, and financial commitments. Should either school believe this next step extends beyond what is beneficial to their community, either party may discontinue the discussion.
We understand that the timing of this message comes over the summer, when many in our church and school communities may be out of town. However, we feel it is important to share this significant information at this time instead of waiting until we all return to our campuses in August.
This possibility of a long term partnership creates an exciting and promising future for our schools as well as for Episcopal education in the Diocese of Florida.
We are grateful for your support as we begin these discussions.
The Rev. Adam Greene, Head of School
Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Charles Gibbs, Chairman, Board of Trustees
St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School
The Rev. Tom Murray, Rector
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church