On December 13, 2018, the St. Teresa’s Academy community was enthusiastically introduced to its next President, Dr. Siabhan May-Washington. Dr. May-Washington will succeed Nan Bone, who will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year, her 12th year of dedicated service to St. Teresa’s Academy.
Extensive Educational Experience
Dr. May-Washington will bring to St. Teresa’s over 30 years of educational experience. She currently serves as the Assistant Principal of Faculty Development at Pembroke Hill Upper School. She has been an educator at Pembroke Hill since 2003, including working as Chair of the English Department for several years. In addition to her Pembroke responsibilities, she works as a part-time adjunct professor for Park University's Graduate Education School.
Siabhan graduated from UMKC with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She earned a Master’s in English Curriculum from UMKC (1991) and a Master’s in Education Administration from Park University (2006). She was awarded a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Baker University (2014). Siabhan is one of the few teachers in the Kansas City area to have received a National Board Certification in English.
Kevin Connor, Chairman of the President Search Committee and STA Board of Directors said, “We are excited that Siabhan will bring significant educational experience with her to STA. She is a life-long learner; in a sense she is a teacher’s teacher.”
Siabhan stated, “I feel I’m uniquely qualified because I’ve worked in so many different arenas, starting in public school, at the college level, and now working in an independent school. I’ve amassed a vast array of experience working with different students, teachers, and constituents. I bring all that expertise and that lens to the position.”
It was uniquely the perfect fit. I knew without hesitation that I would be able to help the STA community through my strengths. I am excited to work and evolve with St. Teresa’s Academy.
Faith and Family First
Siabhan’s parents valued Catholic education, working hard to send Siabhan and her six siblings to St. Joseph’s School in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated high school from Loretto Academy, where she was Salutatorian of her class. Siabhan and her husband, Rick Washington, are raising three children, and are active members of St. Francis Xavier Parish, where she volunteers as a lector.
A quote from Aristotle hangs in Siabhan’s office that reads, “Fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” Like the ancient philosopher, she believes that it’s critically important to prepare learners because they are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. She expressed, “All learners can learn. Everyone has strengths so we need to make sure that we empower students and work together to help them reach their maximum potential.”
Siabhan is exceptionally excited to work in single-sex education. She stated, “I want to encourage young women to be fearless. I want our students not to be afraid to speak up because they are powerful, smart, and society needs to hear from them. I can’t wait to help them understand how special they are.”
The STA President Search Committee and Board of Directors sought a candidate that would be a strong “faith leader” for STA. Siabhan expressed, “There are textures of faith and religion in the curriculum of St. Teresa’s, which brings great richness to everything we do. Ultimately, it’s a recipe for success.”
Vision for the Future
Siabhan considers vision and mission to be intertwined, and will continue embracing the mission established by the Sisters of St. Joseph – “Love the dear neighbor and the world in which we live.” She will strive to bolster St. Teresa’s Academy’s academic reputation of empowering students with a Catholic faith foundation, as well as emphasizing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) within the curriculum. Diversity and inclusion, which are important goals within STA’s current strategic plan, will continue to be a priority. Extracurricular activities, including the excellent athletics program in place, will be actively supported.
Siabhan said, “I can’t wait to get to know the talented faculty and staff at St. Teresa’s. I love research, so I’m going to continue to investigate best practices. I love talking to other schools that are doing good work (including top independent schools). Connecting with other organizations, schools, and experts, and growing with each other will help to strengthen us all.“
In Great Appreciation
The St. Teresa’s Academy community is grateful for the time, talents, and skills devoted to the national search by members of the President Search Committee, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the STA Board of Directors. The feedback received from survey respondents, including faculty/staff, alumnae, students, and supporters, was vital in helping to guide the Committee to their final selection. The counsel and insights from President Nan Bone were invaluable throughout the process.
President Search Committee Members:
Kevin Connor, Chairman
Michelle Wimes, Esq.
Kathy Teahan Jantsch (’76)
Beth Haden (’02)
Sister Rose McLarney, CSJ
Ann Tierney Prochnow (’84)