The Governing Board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) is pleased to announce that Laura C. Walker (far left) and the Rev. Peter G. Cheney (left) are the recipients of the association’s 2014 Ruth Jenkins Award and John D. Verdery Award, respectively. They will be honored at the Awards Luncheon during the NAES Biennial Conference 2014 this November 20–22 in Anaheim, California.
The Ruth Jenkins and John D. Verdery Awards are NAES’ highest honors and recognize exemplary and dedicated service to Episcopal schools and/or the association. They are bestowed at the discretion of the Governing Board.
Laura C. Walker
Laura Walker, recipient of the Ruth Jenkins Award, is a long-term Episcopal and independent schools leader in Florida and on a national level. She began her work in Episcopal schools in 1983 as a teacher at St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School, Coral Gables, where she rose to become Head of School (1988-1995). From 1995 through 2003, she was Head of School and President of Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay, an Episcopal school serving grades 6–12. She also has served as the Interim Head of School (2004-2005) at Saint Joseph’s Episcopal School in Boynton Beach. Beginning in 1995, she was a ten-year member of the NAES Governing Board, serving as chair of Biennial Conference 1998, Advancement Committee Chair (2000-2002) and Governing Board President (2002-2005). She has also served on the boards of the Florida Council of Independent Schools, the Dade County Association of Academic Non-Public Schools, and a number of philanthropic and cultural institutions in greater Miami. She is currently the principal of Walker & Associates, LLC, a consulting firm to Episcopal schools.
The Rev. Peter G. Cheney
The Rev. Peter G. Cheney, recipient of the John D. Verdery Award, was executive director of NAES from July 1998 through June 2007. Under his leadership, the association inaugurated its Principles of Good Practice series; established the Outreach Fund Grants program; wrote and implemented two strategic plans (2001 and 2006); revamped its communication, technology, and staffing infrastructure; grew its membership to an all-time high of 500 schools; and instituted a fiscal plan that enabled it to create a significant reserve fund. Ordained to the priesthood in 1976, he served a number of parishes before joining the faculty and staff of St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire, in 1983. At St. Paul’s, he served as chaplain, counselor, teacher, coach, and director of admissions during his nine years there. He returned to parish ministry before coming to NAES. Since departure from NAES, he has served on the boards of Imago Dei Middle School and St. Michael’s Parish Day School, Tucson, Arizona and St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire. He is recently retired from his work as a senior search consultant at Carney, Sandoe & Associates.