CHESTERTOWN — June 30 marked a turning point in Kent School’s board of trustee leadership.
Chris McClary, class of 1991, the first alumnus to hold the position and the longest-serving board president in Kent School history, stepped down after nine years in that role.
McClary also served as an active member of the board of trustees for nine years leading up to his loyal service as president. Megan Bramble Owings, class of 1993, the first alumna, took over as board president July 1.
In remarks recognizing McClary for his service to Kent School, Nancy Mugele, head of school said: ”Chris has been an incredible leader of the Board and a true partner for me. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Board operates strategically, to allow me to act operationally. I appreciate this more than words can say.”
Under McClary’s leadership, the school has grown in enrollment, financial sustainability has increased and a state of the art library was constructed, to name just a few highlights, a news release states.
However, the most meaningful work to McClary personally was the establishment of the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment and the Kudner Leyon Visiting Writers Program in 2000, the release states. Named for Ariana Kudner and Amanda Leyon, who graduated from Kent School in 1991 with McClary, the endowment was designed to memorialize their lives and their love of the literary arts, the release states.
“We are honored to host such a purposeful program at Kent School, one that Chris has been passionate about for nearly two decades. Today, I am pleased to announce that a group of former and current Trustees who served alongside Chris, as well as Chris and Ellen’s family, have given gifts to the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment in Chris’ honor,” Mugele said in the release. “Ariana Kudner’s sister and brother generously matched these gifts dollar for dollar with a grant from the Arthur H. Kudner, Jr. Fund at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. I am simply overwhelmed that this effort to honor Chris has grew the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment by 16%. This is truly a fitting tribute to Chris.”
“It has occurred to me often that with his caring and thoughtful approach, along with his positive can-do attitude, Chris demonstrates parts of what a Kent School education can provide to its students — the need for community responsibility and a sense of duty. In my view, Chris has been a fantastic board chair, and I count myself lucky to have served under his leadership,” a former trustee said of McClary’s service.
In further recognition of McClary’s contributions to Kent School, incoming board president, Owings announced the full board of trustees voted unanimously, effective immediately, to name McClary a trustee emeritus, a title reserved for a few extraordinarily loyal Kent School trustees, the release states.