To facilitate the reopening of its campus and its ongoing curricular and extracurricular programs, St. Mark's has hired a group of qualified people to serve as Leaders for Educational and Operational Support (LEOS).
Thirteen different individuals, including an alumnus of the School and two current staffers are now assisting students and faculty during the academic day in classes and activities conducted synchronously or asynchronously, including helping to manage virtual and hybrid classroom transitions, supporting students who cannot be physically present, providing supervision for students during meals and traveling between classes and activities, and other support responsibilities as needed.
St. Mark's alumnus Luke Chiasson '15, a 2019 graduate of Virginia Wesleyan University, is one of the new LEOS. He was an assistant baseball coach at St. Mark's last spring, and earlier this year he served as interim assistant athletic director and a dorm parent in Coe House. St. Mark's athletic equipment manager Stefan Giegucz and veteran strength coach Patrick Hagerty have also signed on as LEOS, along with ten others: Matthew Droney, Gary Hodgraf, Meghan Lewis, Tierney McCue, Andrew McGowan, Danielle Montepeque, Harrison Mullen, Justin Perron, Benjamin Riley, and Denis Tobin.
According to Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Samantha Brennan, the LEOS are "organized and flexible." They are interested in being part of a team and working alongside the students and faculty, and they see this as a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the practice of independent school education. They play a key role in supporting the routines and behavioral expectations set by the mentoring teachers. They may also participate in and support special (live and/or virtual) events and activities, observe classes, assist on-site with the implementation of student projects, and facilitate lessons.
With health and safety the number one priority at a reopened St. Mark's campus, LEOS are helping to ensure the safety and well-being of all students, including establishing clear boundaries with students and reinforcing expectations regarding social distancing and other COVID-specific health protocols. They may monitor snacks and meals, assist academic department teachers in organizing inventory and set-up and breakdown materials, and take on House, day student, and residential life duties as assigned. And, like all members of the St. Mark's community, they will work to recognize and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are emphasized as central to the School's mission.
"Their energy and support have been a tremendous help to all of us," says Ms. Brennan regarding the LEOS and their contributions to the St. Mark's experience so far this unique school year.