Along with the Ruth Jenkins Award, the John D. Verdery Award is the National Association of Episcopal Schools’ highest honor and recognizes and celebrates the outstanding service of individuals to Episcopal schools and NAES.
David H. Charlton, Ed.D., was honored with this award at Biennial Conference 2016.
Dr. Charlton is President of the Church Schools of Virginia, a corporation of six Episcopal schools in the Diocese of Virginia: Christchurch School, St. Catherine’s School, St. Christopher’s School, St. Margaret’s School, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, and Stuart Hall School. He had served as a member and president of the NAES Governing Board, an Episcopal school head and trustee, and a valued counselor and mentor to countless Episcopal school and Episcopal Church leaders.
In presenting the award, NAES Executive Director Dan Heischman noted:
Few people navigate the worlds of church and school as aptly and wisely as David Charlton. Perhaps more than any other person, he has worked directly, intensely, with both institutions, making him the ideal person to have led the Church Schools of the Diocese of Virginia for 28 years.
During his time as the Church Schools President, David has shown intense drive and dedication, but also great patience and forbearance. In guiding six institutions in that remarkable coalition of schools, David displays an exemplary devotion to a very basic principle—that together we can do far more than what can be done on our own. That “far more” includes the capacity, at any given time, to help out those schools that may need more attention than the others.
His commitment to the idea of a community of schools, and all that this involves, made him a natural to serve on the Governing Board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools. For eight years on our board, David was Secretary, Vice President, and President. During his three years as President, David led this association in a strategic planning process, through a significant increase in membership, as well as a major transition in leadership. All the while he had other fish to fry—not the least being head of the search committee to find a new dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary.
I was blessed, in my first years as Executive Director of NAES, to learn so much from David. His avenues of expertise straddled a great many domains—business acumen, institutional savviness, godly compassion.What most influenced me was what I would regard as one of David’s greatest gifts, his wise capacity to sense the occasion—for example, when to exert authority and when to support others in taking initiative and responsibility on their own, a capacity he embodies daily in his work with his schools. It was also my great honor to get to know his wife, Wendy, during this time, and we are blessed by her presence today.
David’s commitment to NAES continued beyond his time as Board President. His leadership was clearly felt in our recent anniversary campaign, as he provided the inspiration and impetus for the “over the top” challenge grant which allowed us to exceed our campaign goal. He remains today someone I know I can always call upon for a seasoned yet humane reading of the situation at hand, and I know many others count on him for that accessibility.
Today we are fortunate to have with us a strong representation from the Church Schools of the Diocese of Virginia. They join us in celebrating, and thanking, David Charlton for his many years of outstanding service to Episcopal schools. As a trustee of that organization, myself, I know how highly and widely David is regarded. Along with his considerable expertise and know-how, he remains at heart a lover of all that is accomplished, day after day, in our schools.
On behalf of the Governing Board, staff, and member schools of NAES, I am privileged to present to David Charlton the John Verdery Award for Outstanding Service to Episcopal Schools.