Communications and Events Manager David Schnabel has announced that he will retire as of June 30, 2017 after 21 years at NAES. To recognize and celebrate his outstanding service to Episcopal schools, at Biennial Conference 2016 David was awarded the John D. Verdery Award, one of the Association’s highest honors.
David arrived at the Association in 1996. A lifelong Episcopalian and graduate of Dartmouth College with a background in art history, publishing, and museum research, David brought to NAES a deep understanding of The Episcopal Church, keen analytical skills, systems thinking, and a well-honed eye for design and detail.
During his career at NAES, David was responsible for developing and implementing an increasingly sophisticated database and association management software system, migrating the Association from print to electronic communication, developing and managing multiple iterations of the NAES website, organizing and supporting Association conferences, including eleven Biennial conferences, and, perhaps most importantly, responding to member needs and inquiries with the grace, warmth, and responsiveness so appreciated by all who encountered him.
Professionally, David has been an active member of the American Society of Association Executives. He earned his CAE (Certified Association Executive) credential in 2009 and has presented webinars and workshops, including at the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting and the upcoming Online Conference for Small Staff Associations in February.
In presenting David the John D. Verdery Award at Biennial Conference 2016 in New Orleans, NAES Executive Director Dan Heischman commented,
When David Schnabel shared with us the news that he would be retiring in June of 2017, the NAES staff and Governing Board immediately felt the gap that he would soon leave. What a challenge it would be to replace him; what a challenge to imagine this organization without him. For twenty-one years, David has worked with three different Executive Directors, assumed a variety of roles for the good of the Association, and remained its principal thread of continuity.
In so many ways, he has been the collective memory of this association. Few people know more about schools—both their current makeup and history—than David. Through his years of working with so many individuals, David has amassed a vast reservoir of information that we as a staff draw upon daily, and that those seeking out his help encounter when they come calling upon him.
This knowledge extends to his vast understanding of The Episcopal Church, born out of both his work experience as well as being a devoted church person himself. He is both the son of an Episcopal priest as well as an individual who has given ample time and talent to the Church.
It is fitting that we honor David in this context—the Biennial Conference—as David has been responsible for so much of the organization behind this event. Through the years David has learned how to do large conferences, be responsive to the needs of those who attend, and envision how things can be done in particular spaces. You may come into a conference room, ballroom, or hotel lobby and see four walls, tables and chairs, and a ceiling.David sees much more—traffic flow, logistical concerns, sound issues, to name a few.
Through David’s work in the association world, he has developed a keen eye to member needs. He is always thinking about ways to serve our constituents better, and the work he has done, through the years, on enhancing our website presence is a testimony to the way he blends time-honored values of service and responsiveness with pursuing new platforms for bringing people together. No assumed way of doing things goes unquestioned, for David, save the core dedication of serving our membership.
In short, David has embodied the mission of this association: a mission that includes a personal knowledge of the people we serve, a commitment to the interplay of church and school, and a dedication to the highest level of service that can be provided.
As David’s own career at NAES moves toward a conclusion, we in the office at 815 Second Avenue know we have big shoes to fill. But today we celebrate and give thanks for all that David has done for us; more importantly, we honor a man who lives out the mission of Episcopal schools every single day. What more fitting tribute could we make to David than to present him with the John Verdery Award for outstanding service to the National Association of Episcopal Schools?
David will join his husband, James Minter, in retirement, himself having concluded a distinguished 30-year career in the undergraduate admissions office at Columbia University eighteen months ago
Please join us in thanking David for his dedication and service to Episcopal schools and NAES.