This article was originally published in the San Marino Tribune on for November 3, 2017.
“How Firm A Foundation, ye saints of the Lord” (Hymn #636, Episcopal Hymnal 1982) will ring out from the pews of many a parish this coming Sunday as we observe All Saints’ Day, the Sunday following the actual Feast Day on November 1st. The Feast of All Saints’ recalls our unity with those who have lived exemplary lives, and to whom we remain bound, even as they have passed into the eternal habitations. We are built upon the bones, the good foundation, of countless well-lived lives who established our thriving present.
‘Foundation stones,’ or ‘cornerstones,’ are essential architectural features for any building project. When you are erecting a parish Church or a diocesan Cathedral, the placement of the cornerstone is no small matter, as all the rest of the stones will be laid in reference to that stone, determining the composition of the entire structure. The cornerstone of St. Edmund’s, laid in 1951 by Bishop Francis Eric Bloy and by Mr. Robert Hadow, The British Consul General, comes from the ruins of the Cathedral of Bury St. Edmund’s in St. Edmundsbury, England, one of the largest in Europe and an important pilgrimage site. You can view the inscribed cornerstone of St. Edmund’s from our Close…it carries historic weight and heft, and allowed for the establishment of our Nursery School in 1957.
This autumn we are especially grateful for the legacy of St. Edmund’s Nursery School as we, on October 8th, installed our Fourth Head of School, Ms. Lizanne Marie Westphal. Our Head of School might be said to be a living cornerstone. All our teachers, the quality of administration, our curriculum, security, tone and public face, are established in reference to our Head of School.
We were extremely well-led in the previous twelve years by Ms. Darlene Porter. Ms. Porter upgraded our technology, established earthquake protocol and resources, continued the highest standards in early childhood education, and raised $100,000 annually for the school during each of her twelve years as our Director. Teachers, parents, kids and clergy hold her in great affection and high regard. None of us were very happy to learn of her retirement!
Last January the Vestry established a Search Committee to find our next Head of School, comprised of Diane McCracken, Chair; the Reverend Heather Blackstone, Parish Youth Ministries Director; Lisa Cloud, School Board Chair 2016 – 2017; Shigemi Pang, School Board; and Debra Spaulding, Vestry Representative. Following a nation-wide search, the committee landed right back on home court, unanimously commending Ms. Lizanne Marie Westphal. The Rector extended Ms. Westphal a call to this vocation in June 2017, and, upon acceptance, she and Ms. Porter worked through the summer to effect a seamless transition.
Ms. Westphal has a BA in Business Administration and enjoyed a career in business at Robinson-May, (where she was the first buyer to attain 4 million in sales of Waterford Crystal in the entire country). She is fully credentialed in early childhood education and administration, and she has taught at St. Edmund’s since 2007. Ms. Westphal is among one of the best organized people I know, and is a fine administrator. She is beloved by the teaching staff, the clergy, our parents, and the little children we strive to serve. Now, following her October 8th Installation, we present Ms. Westphal and news of our successful transition to the larger community.
“Let the little children come to me,” said Christ, and he blessed them. As we continue to make St. Edmund’s a place for intellectual, social and moral formation for children, we have a sure cornerstone, a firm foundation, and a long tradition of blessing the little children given into our care. Our campus is a place of joy and learning, a bright spot in an often fraught world, one of the many Episcopal Schools in our region offering a commitment to excellence, embracing inclusivity, and values and virtues rooted in the Anglican Faith Tradition. We feel so privileged to be, in this way, part of the strong foundation undergirding San Marino and our several surrounding communities.