St. John’s Episcopal School was founded in 1961. The school was created as an outreach to the greater Olney community by Reverend James Valliant “to send forth well-balanced individuals - disciplined, courteous, and self-reliant - generously equipped with academic knowledge." He believed that the power of knowledge should be “imparted within the climate of a warm, Christian experience.”
St. John’s School was originally housed in the basement of St. John’s Church. It was funded with monies from the St. John’s Church Vestry. In September 1961, the school opened with four teachers, 26 students, and a secretary. A Board of Trustees was appointed by the church vestry to govern the school and to ensure its educational, financial, and spiritual success.
The School Board of Trustees was closely connected to the Church Vestry from the earliest days of the school. The Reverend James Valliant served as Chair of the Board of Trustees. When the Reverend Jack Scott succeeded Jim Valliant as Rector, he originally served as Chair of the Board of Trustees. As the expectations for the Chair increased, the Reverend Scott assumed the role of Vice-Chair, handing over the Chairmanship to an elected Board member.
The St. John’s Episcopal School Board of Trustees serves as the governing body of St. John’s School, and in that function, acts within the parameters of similar independent school Boards across the country. Policies and procedures are developed along guidelines provided by national (National Association of Independent Schools-NAIS), regional (Association of Independent Maryland Schools-AIMS), independent school organizations, and the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES).
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the general well-being of the school, for the financial integrity of the school, and for hiring and supervising the Head of the school. The Head of School is responsible for implementing policies and for running the day-to-day operations.
The Board of Trustees are elected by the board and approved by the Vestry of St. John’s Church which ultimately holds responsibility for all school decisions and policies. The Church Vestry, as the solely incorporated entity, holds all legal and fiscal responsibility for the school. The Vestry, in turn, is responsible to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
The Vestry appoints two of its members to serve on the Board. Additionally, the Rector of the Church serves as Vice-Chair of the Board. The Vestry approves the school’s yearly budget. Trustees serve one, three-year term, but are eligible to serve a second three-year term.