Belonging

You Belong Here

St. Mary's welcomes girls of all faiths and walks of life. Through Chapel and our character education program, Bridge to Caring, all girls are encouraged to grow personally and spiritually. Fostering an environment of belonging is the top priority.

At St. Mary's, everyone takes on the responsibility of creating a community where girls are valued and welcomed as members of our school community. All girls are loved here, and their differences are celebrated and embraced. As a pillar of our episcopal identity, we value inclusiveness. Our course offerings and reading lists are intentionally designed with all girls in mind.  Additionally, we use Chapel to showcase our inclusiveness. From celebrating Black History Month to sharing family Passover traditions to welcoming alumnae speakers from all over the world, we introduce the girls to people, places, and ideas beyond their lived experiences.

St. Mary’s girls are as unique as they are brilliant, and all girls belong here. From St. Mary’s Place to the Upper School, we all work hard to ensure that SMS girls are seen, safe, supported, valued, and celebrated. We are preparing today’s young women and girls to be empathetic and intellectually curious global citizens. During my tenure and beyond, I hope every girl who steps foot on our campus can say with as much conviction as I do, “I belong at St. Mary’s.”

Shonda Wilson

Shonda Wilson

Shonda Wilson

Director of Belonging

I hope every girl who steps foot on our campus can say with as much conviction as I do, 'I belong at St. Mary’s.'

-Shonda Wilson, Director of belonging

FaST Belonging Committee

The Faculty, Administration, Staff, and Teacher Belonging Committee is a diverse group of St. Mary's employees who meet quarterly to identify opportunities to make St. Mary's a place where all girls belong. We believe that we teach, learn, and become the best version of ourselves when we work collaboratively to support, celebrate, and encourage diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. Members include:

Jeanine Akers, Director of Libraries
Angie Cooley, MS English Teacher
Miranda Cully*, Head Chaplain
Catherine Smith Denman ’06, North Campus Librarian
Ben Graunke*, MS History Teacher
Chrystal Hogan, US Math Teacher
Sherronda Johnson, Admission Coordinator & North Campus Registrar
Marcy Kueffner, MS Math Teacher
Sarah Kerst, US Spanish Teacher
Jenny Madden, Director of Auxiliary Programs
John Nichols, Global Education Director
Jessica Osias, 5th Grade English & Geography Teacher
Hilary Davis Robinson ‘90, Associate Head of School
Amber Stewart*, LS Spanish Teacher
Yari Torres*, MS Learning Specialist
Teila Walker, Senior Kindergarten Teacher
Shonda Wilson, Director of Belonging
*New members

Student Affinity Groups

At St. Mary’s, affinity groups serve as a vehicle to support ongoing efforts of belonging. The various groups provide a space for students to share common experiences, cultivate a sense of belonging, celebrate diversity, and educate others on historical and cultural contributions of women and men of a variety of backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. The overarching goal of our affinity groups ties into the Episcopal tenet of belonging. St. Mary's affinity groups currently include:

  • Asian Student Association
  • Association of Muslim Students
  • Black Student Alliance
  • Gender and Sexuality Alliance
  • Jewish Student Association
  • Middle Eastern/North African Student Association
  • Multi-Racial Club
  • Neurodiversity Club

News

Where I Belong

Being at St. Mary’s during the holiday season is simply magical. In countless ways, those celebrations, from the joyous lighting of the Christmas tree at the ECC to the solemn beauty of the Christmas Pageant, felt like God’s reminder to me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I say this often, and I mean it every time: I belong at St. Mary’s.

Jewish Student Alliance Welcomes Holocaust Survivor to Campus

St. Mary’s Jewish Student Alliance (JSA) hosted 102-year-old Mr. Sam Weinreich, one of the few living survivors of the Holocaust. JSA members Sydney Shanker and Lea Thomas helped introduce Mr. Weinreich to our Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff in Chapel.

More than a Month

This week, we wrapped up our Black History Month celebration. From the Early Childhood Center to the Upper School, classrooms across campus studied how Black Americans have contributed and continue to contribute to American history, society, and culture. There are dozens of highlights from this month’s celebrations.

You Belong at St. Mary's

Last November, we welcomed our new Director of Belonging, Shonda Keys. Ms. Keys' warm and welcoming spirit has already made an impression on our students, faculty, and staff. She has set an example of providing support, encouragement, and meeting people where they are.