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 2022, Karan A. Merry will receive the Ruth Jenkins Award, and Robert G. Devlin Jr. will receive the John D. Verdery Award.
A longtime friend of Episcopal schools, Karan A. Merry served as Head of School at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, CA for 14 years. She has served on the boards of NAES and NAIS, the latter as Chair of the Board of Directors—the first person of color to serve in that capacity. In 2012, she was one of 20 heads of color and one head-elect to be recognized for their service at the 25th anniversary celebration of the NAIS People of Color Conference.
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.
Rob Devlin is Executive Director of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools. Prior to joining SAES, Rob had been Head of School at St. George Episcopal Day School in San Antonio, TX for the prior 17 years. Rob has worked in and led independent schools for over 30 years, and has a deep and abiding love for Episcopal schools—mirrored in his dedication and service.
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.