Administrative Update - 07/10/2020

Dear Members of the Archmere Community:

This summer has been like no other I have ever experienced. As a result of the impact of COVID-19 on our lives, we are wearing masks on the beach and sitting in front of computer screens for several hours at a time in virtual meetings. It has been nearly four months since Governor John Carney issued stay at home orders and Archmere Academy’s academic program and school operations pivoted overnight to a virtual model. We are also engaged in important conversations about systemic racism, equity, and justice in our country that have not been at the forefront of our national dialog since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. We are called to acknowledge that our words and actions, conscious or unconscious, have substance and the power to hurt, but also heal. To make meaningful, progressive, and permanent change so that all members of our community feel valued, heard, and understood, we recognize the resource we have in our engaged extended school community. Your willingness to connect with Archmere’s administration out of love and commitment to our Academy, is deeply valued and appreciated.
Reopening of School Plans

As an administrative team, we recognize and respect the challenges but also the creative possibilities of the school year ahead. While we have surveyed students and parents for feedback and input, and have consulted with health and safety experts and government officials, we are preparing for changing conditions with multiple contingencies, ready to respond to the changing landscape of our community, based on the spread of COVID-19. Our Teaching and Learning Planning Team, led by Mrs. Thiel and Mr. Dougherty, has developed an academic schedule that has been shared with students and families. It allows us the flexibility to hold classes on campus, online, or in a hybrid delivery model. A more in depth conversation about the academic schedule is being held on Wednesday, July 22, from 6 to 7 PM with Mrs. Thiel and Mr. Dougherty.  Mr. Oswinkle, Director of Athletics, is keeping us informed about DIAA regulations regarding fall sports. Details are not finalized at the State level; however, fall sports practices are scheduled to begin on August 17. In the coming weeks, our Health and Safety Team will share information with our school community about the measures we are taking to ensure a safe campus environment.

Commitment to Equity and Justice

Over the 4th of July weekend, my family watched “Hamilton,” a recording of the June, 2016 performance of the original cast released through Disney+. It is an amazing work, and among the many relevant messages was the song phrase: “History has its eyes on you.” I believe that we are in another unique inflection point in our history when we must make systemic changes in our institutions to address racism and inequity. The murder of George Floyd is indicative of a larger systemic issue that we all must address within our own institutions and relationships. Our Academy’s mission statement concludes with the words of Saint Paul to Timothy, “prepared for every good work.” Implied in that statement is that our good works can be accomplished in all professions, ministries, and roles to which we are called. And while we do this, we will continue to respect law enforcement and all other professionals who work to support peaceable solutions and understanding among individuals. At Archmere, we are reaching out to our Black alumni, parents, and students to listen and to work together to make the Archmere experience all that it should be for everyone.  Our principal, Mrs. Katie Thiel and I have been in touch with a group of approximately thirty Black alumni who have formed the "Black Archmere Alumni Collective." We have scheduled an Open Conversation/Listening Session with the group. To join this ongoing conversation, you may go to alumni@archmereacademy.com. Initially, we want to hear about their personal experiences while they were Archmere students. We are looking forward to working collaboratively to develop concrete, transformative action steps as we spark positive change and advance Archmere as an equitable, just, and inclusive school community.

Staff Transitions

On behalf of the Archmere community, I thank Mr. John Jordan ‘80, for his thirty years of dedicated service and ministry.  For the last eight years, he has led our faculty as Principal with a deep sense of mission, faith, rigor, and compassion, always championing the cause for our students.  We know that he will always be an important part of our school community, and we wish him well in his new role as Headmaster of Saint Edmond’s Academy in Wilmington, Delaware.

I am delighted to be working with Mrs. Thiel, who has been an active and contributing member of the Archmere community since she joined the faculty in 2012.  From French teacher to Chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department, and now as Principal, Mrs. Thiel has earned the respect of her colleagues and students, embodying the strong work ethic and values that define Archmere.  She has been working with Mr. Dougherty, Director of Academics, and Department Chairs in recent weeks, to design a flexible and creative day schedule that promises to deliver the totality of the Archmere experience, while maximizing student, faculty, and staff safety. Mrs. Thiel has also been working with Mr. Carl Campion ‘76, Director of Operations, to ensure that our classrooms and instructional spaces are outfitted with high quality tools and technology to provide uninterrupted delivery of robust program, regardless of where students are learning. Additionally, Mrs. Thiel and Mrs. DiPietro, Academic Technology Coordinator, have designed a comprehensive professional development program for faculty to ensure that the full scope of digital tools and instructional strategies are available to our teaching staff.

Father John Zagarella, O.Praem. was appointed by Abbot Domenic Rossi, O.Praem. as Prior of Daylesford Abbey. Given the significant responsibilities of the position, Father Zagarella will no longer lead the Guidance Department.  He will still have a presence at Archmere by teaching the Norbertine Spiritually class each semester and by assisting Father McLaughlin with the chaplaincy responsibilities, including celebrating daily Masses. In addition, he will serve as the liaison between Norbertine schools and abbeys around the world, working with Mr. Dougherty in developing the Global Studies curriculum, and sustaining the biennial Norbertine Heritage Pilgrimages. We are currently accepting resumes for the guidance position, which has been expanded to Director of Guidance, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in response to the needs of the school community and current institutional priorities. Interested candidates can learn more about the position at https://www.archmereacademy.com/welcome/employment.
 
We are also pleased to announce that Elaine C. Reilly, an alumna of the Archmere Class of 1983, has been hired as Chief Advancement Officer at Archmere Academy effective July 1, 2020. Mrs. Reilly has had an extensive career as an attorney, during which she served as Vice President, Associate General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Office for The Chemours Company and Associate Corporate Counsel for E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company, both in Wilmington, DE.  After graduating from Archmere as Salutatorian of her class, Mrs. Reilly attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where she received a B.A. in Economics with High Honors and attended Harvard Law School, where she earned a J.D. degree, cum laude.

Mrs. Reilly, and her husband, Michael, have three children, all Archmere alumni - Patrick ‘13, Keelin ‘17, and Melina ‘20. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Archmere Academy and a Trustee of the Archmere Trust. In addition, she and her husband co-chaired the Comprehensive Campaign for Archmere, which included raising funds for the renovation of Saint Norbert Hall and endowment funds for scholarships and financial assistance.  She received the Norbert Award from Archmere in 2019. Mrs. Reilly is involved in community work and as a volunteer in her parish of Saint Ann in Wilmington, New Castle County Head Start and Ministry of Caring.  We are delighted to have Mrs. Reilly join our administrative staff and lead the advancement program.

Mrs. Ainsley Hertrich-Palladino ‘05, has assumed responsibility for the annual giving program in addition to her current alumni relations responsibilities. Already a part of the advancement team with her dual role in facilities events management and alumni relations, Mrs. Palladino’s role will be dedicated to alumni engagement and fundraising.
 
I am confident that our administrators, teachers, and staff are well positioned and prepared to deliver an engaging and enriched Archmere experience for our students and families as we look toward the new school year. I am grateful for the continued support of our current Archmere families, our alumni and their families, and our benefactors.  Now, more than ever, we rely on the collective resources of the members of the Archmere community to not just manage through, but to grow and innovate in this time of change.

Saint Matthew’s Gospel (MT 10:16-23) in today’s Mass includes the words, “For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Our changing times require us to be impeccable with our words and sincere in our actions. I pray that as we all continue to communicate with one another, the presence of God’s Spirit rests in our hearts so that the words we speak and the work that we do reflect an appreciation of God’s unique creations.

Sincerely,
Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. '76
Headmaster
Back

Pietate et Scientia

Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.