The Ruth Jenkins Award and the John D. Verdery Award are the National Association of Episcopal Schools’ highest honors and recognize and celebrate the outstanding service of individuals to Episcopal schools and NAES. The awards are bestowed at the discretion and by vote of the Governing Board and are presented during ceremonies at our Biennial Conference.

At Biennial Conference 2020, Ann Mellow will receive the Ruth Jenkins Award, and The Rev. John H. Finley IV will receive the John D. Verdery Award.

Ann Mellow is Associate Director of NAES and has served NAES with distinction since 2008. Ann is beloved for her expertise, wit, and dedication, and will be sorely missed when she retires from NAES in 2021.

The Ruth Jenkins Award honors a founder of NAES who was head of Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, Washington, and the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California. An advocate for women’s leadership in the Episcopal Church, Dr. Jenkins was elected in 1949 as a deputy to the Church’s General Convention but refused her seat. She subsequently participated in the “Joint Commission to Consider the Problems of Giving the Women of the Church a Voice in the Legislation of the General Convention” (1951), and later served as a deputy.

The Rev. John H. Finley IV is the co-founder and head of Epiphany School, a tuition-free independent Episcopal school for children from economically-disadvantaged families. He has been a key leader in the establishment of the Episcopal Urban School Alliance (EUSA) and has helped launch a number of other EUSA school startups. 

The John D. Verdery Award is named in honor of the long-term headmaster (1942–1976) of Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. A co-founder of NAES, Mr. Verdery, an Episcopal priest, was an articulate advocate for the value of Episcopal education and the religious identity of our schools. As president of the NAES Governing Board, he was instrumental in nurturing NAES as an organization through his hands-on leadership at critical points during the Association’s early years.