The Board, in partnership with the Head of School, provides leadership and support to help the School achieve its mission and provide students with an excellent education.
The School is governed by the Board of Trustees. The Board is comprised of alumni and current or former parents, teachers, and administrators, among others; it consists of up to 32 members, of which six are residents in Italy, including some in an ex officio capacity, such as the Head of School and parent and teacher representatives. Trustees serve in their roles without compensation and volunteer their time because of their dedication to the School.
The Board of Trustees manages the affairs, property, and funds of the School. In this regard, the Board provides oversight of the School’s programs and operations. The Board’s primary responsibility is to hire and evaluate the Head of School, determine the School’s direction and major policies, approve annual budgets, donate to and fundraise for the School, and generally promote and support the School. The Board, however, does not direct the School's day-to-day administration, which falls within the purview of the Head and their administration.
The School had a profound impact on each Trustee, whether as a student, a parent, a faculty member, or an administrator. Trustees commit both time and financial resources on behalf of the School. The School has been fortunate over the years to have exceptional Trustees dedicated to furthering the success of the School.
The Board of Trustees meets several times during the year, including plenary meetings in Rome and New York. In support of more immediate ordinary School business, the Board has delegated authority to the Rome Committee, comprised of Italian-based Trustees, to act where full Board participation is unnecessary. The School is recognized under Italian law and is a branch of a non-profit, tax-exempt institution incorporated in the State of Connecticut.
"As a parent, it is an amazing gift when your child, at any age or moment in their life, finds community. A place where they are welcomed, challenged, encouraged, and valued for who they are. A place to grow, explore, question, take risks, succeed, fail, and find solace. St. Stephen’s offered this to our children and so much more.."
And it wasn’t because it was easy; quite the contrary, it was academically rigorous and demanding, complex and multi-lingual, local and international–a unique educational institution, a world unto itself.
In the classroom, in the lunchroom, in the cortile, and throughout the School, the dynamism of St Stephens provided a rich environment to learn from others–from teachers, from classmates, from school leaders. Over the years, our children had attended a myriad of educational institutions. St. Stephen’s stands alone in its richness, depth, challenges, and commitment to excellence.
My own engagement with SSS began the same year as my son, Cole. I was elected the President of the Parent’s Association not long after school started in the fall of 2002. As a result, I served as the ex officio parent representative to the Board of Trustees. That same year the Board began its first strategic planning initiative – SP1. I participated in committee work examining faculty salaries, development, and, honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed the work and became more personally connected to the school.
We moved to Zurich, Switzerland, in the fall of 2003, and, as a result, I was elected to serve as a trustee for a three-year term. Since then, I have served six terms on the Board on various board committees. In 2010, I became Chair of the Governance Committee and contributed to the work of the Board in that capacity for nine years. In 2019, I was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees.
In 2020 covid hit the scene, and it’s been a dance ever since.
That was two years ago, and the educational landscape has changed irrevocably. And yet, the School is thriving. The dedicated team of leadership, faculty, key administrators, and staff, the commitment and support of parents, the loyalty of our alumni, and the perseverance and fortitude of our students have kept us afloat. We have weathered the current tsunami of global and local challenges and are moving toward our future with energy. Last year, the Board released its fourth strategic plan, SP4: Pillars of Excellence, which outlines the School’s long-term goals and objectives.
We have a new Head of School, Jill Muti, who joined us in August 2022. Under her leadership, every student and, subsequently, I hope every parent will share in the transformative educational life that is St. Stephen’s School.
A gift to us all.
Chair of the Board of Trustees