By Nick Stoneman, President of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota began with the courageous and visionary leadership of James Lloyd Breck and Bishop Henry Whipple. They forged westward into uncertain territory with a passionate zeal to help spread the mission of the Episcopal Church through schools and churches.
More than 150 years later, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, which was founded by Breck and nurtured by Whipple, has undertaken a global expansion program that reflects the same bold spirit. Shattuck-St. Mary’s has steadily grown its enrollment during the past decade through its Center of Excellence model.
However, the capacity for significant enrollment growth beyond the current enrollment of 482 students has its challenges in terms of campus infrastructure and more importantly, preserving the strong sense of community that exists in a school our current size.
While we are committed to being good stewards of our resources and securing long-term financial sustainability for our School, like Bishop Whipple we are also eager to share the Shattuck-St. Mary’s experience. It is in this spirit that we believe we can successfully reproduce what we have created at SSM-Faribault for students and families in other parts of the world.
Why expand? Our expansion efforts generate opportunities including the ability to share faculty and staff members, offer students a wider choice of educational settings, share best practices, and learn from each other. A student in Faribault could spend a term abroad at another SSM campus without missing an academic beat and gaining all the benefits of that cultural immersion. Likewise, a network of campuses offers SSM faculty and staff an exciting array of possibilities in terms of destinations. Basically, Shattuck-St. Mary’s-Faribault serves as the “mother ship” from which a network of satellite campuses can be planted and nurtured.
Plans are underway to open Shattuck-St. Mary’s-Forest City in Malaysia in 2018. A Head of School has been hired and the leadership team for this school will be in place by this summer so that we can be ready to open the PreK-12 boarding and day school in August 2018.
There are also plans to establish schools in Shenzhen and Suzhou, China. In addition, for the past several years, we have been actively working with top officials in Chicago on their vision to develop a 46-acre site on the City’s near south side, which was the former Michael Reese Hospital site. Working closely with the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, we hope to be selected as the educational partner to develop a PreK-12 school for this site, which would not only meet part of the burgeoning independent school demand from Chicago but also offer life-changing scholarship opportunities to deserving students.
The list of potential expansion campuses and locations ebbs and flows based on finding like-minded partners and assessing the viability of each new market. That is both the challenge and the fun. Twenty years from now, it’s exciting to consider Shattuck-St. Mary’s reach around the globe. Essentially, what Breck and Whipple did on a local basis, we are doing globally.