Cindy LaPorte Receives 2016 Ruth Jenkins Award

Cindy LaPorte and Ned SherrillAlong with the John D. Verdery Award, the Ruth Jenkins Award is the National Association of Episcopal Schools’ highest honor that recognizes and celebrates the outstanding service of individuals to Episcopal schools and NAES.

Cindy LaPorte was honored with this award at Biennial Conference 2016.

A distinguished early childhood educator, Cindy has served a Head of School at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School in Austin, Texas, since 2000. Prior to that she was a teacher and division head at St. James Episcopal School in Corpus Christi, Texas and a professor of education.

In presenting the award, Connie Wootton, former Executive Director of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools and past NAES Governing Board member noted:

When I first met Cindy LaPorte at St. James Episcopal School in Corpus Christi, Texas, more than twenty years ago, I quickly identified her as an enthusiastic champion of the youngest ones in our schools. However, as I have worked with her as the long-term and exceptionally effective head of school at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School in Austin, as both a board member and a Standards Committee member, including countless accreditation visiting teams for the Southwestern Association Episcopal Schools, it has become apparent that Cindy truly is a champion of all people.

The fact that she collects hearts of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and that she makes a point of sending a pewter heart, along with a kind note written in her signature block printing, to those experiencing sad or challenging situations, is indicative of the larger than life heart she herself possesses. An invitation to her home in the Texas Hill Country is a coveted experience, both because she is a gourmet chef of the highest order, and because she naturally exudes hospitality that is beyond warm and inviting.

Her sincere respect for the dignity of every human being has enabled her to deal effectively with not two, but three separate entities during her tenure as head of All Saints’ Episcopal Day School. All Saints’ Episcopal Church, All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, and the Episcopal ministry on the campus of the University of Texas all share very limited space and parking. So, in addition to her other attributes, Cindy is an effective juggler of time and space.

On one random visit to All Saints’, I was puzzled about numerous grocery bags filled with almost everything one would need to bake a birthday cake. The bags were destined to be distributed to children in the Austin area who had not likely ever had a birthday cake or cupcakes.The receiving children could not have been more excited than the students in Cindy’s school who were involved in the project. What a wonderful way to model having a heart for others, even for three, four and five year olds.

When administrators, board members, or rectors associated with early childhood programs request samples of recommended operational policies and procedures, Cindy has long been regarded as a primary “go-to” person for both NAES and SAES, partly because she can be counted to be on top of best practice in all areas of school life, but also because she will follow through as a generous mentor for those making the request.

Finally, a favorite part of our Episcopal liturgy is when we thank God for the company of faithful people, and in my opinion, faithfulness is Cindy’s most outstanding attribute.  When things are going well, she is quick to thank God for His bountiful blessings, and in the face of adversity and challenge, her belief is unwavering that God’s redeeming Light will indeed flood the darkness that would otherwise be overwhelming.