Marion Chenault, who has served as director of St. Stephen's Preschool since 2001, has announced her plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.
"Marion's love of children and her expertise in their nurture and care are well known," said the Rev. Gary D. Jones, the rector of St. Stephen's Church.
"Although Marion rightly points out that the church's preschool is great because of its teachers and families, the fact is that Marion is the one who attracted such fabulous teachers and families. Caring for children and helping them to grow up thriving, with joy and wonder, are central to the mission of St. Stephen's Church, and we are all grateful for Marion's expert guidance."
Marion is highly regarded among early childhood educators, and during her tenure, the preschool received national accreditation.
Prior to joining St. Stephen's Preschool, Marion was the director of Richmond Child Development Center's Ellwood House, which she co-founded in 1982.
The Randolph-Macon Woman's College graduate founded Educational Associates, a tutoring agency, in 1976 and taught middle school science for seven years before that. Marion and her husband Cabell, who have two adult children and two grandchildren, are active members of St. Stephen's. Marion volunteers for the church and has served on the boards of other schools in the area.
Marion said, "It has been my privilege and my joy to spend the last eighteen and a half years as director of St. Stephen's Preschool. I have loved my roles as mentor to scores of teachers, sounding board to parents, and teacher to the children who have come to St. Stephen's Preschool. It is time, however, to change my focus and pass along this wonderful school to new leadership."
Acting on Marion's expert advice, the rector has called Jan Locher to serve as director beginning with the 2019-20 academic year. Jan, who is employed by Henrico County Public Schools at Maybeury Elementary School, is a former St. Stephen's Preschool teacher who was mentored by Marion. She and her family are also active members of St. Stephen's Church, where Jan has served as lead catechist in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the spiritual formation program St. Stephen's uses with young children. Jan and her husband Mike's own children attended the preschool.
"I feel so honored to follow Marion Chenault in this role," said Jan. "She is a great leader and has had such an influence in our community. I was fortunate enough to work with her for several years and am excited to re-join St. Stephen's Preschool. My passion is learning side-by-side with the children I teach. Staying curious and mindful of the present is so important in our daily learning, and children help remind us of this effortlessly."
St. Stephen’s Church will honor and thank Marion during a celebration on the evening Wednesday, May 1 (details TBA).
The church and the school’s Parents’ Council will host a meet-and-greet to introduce Jan to current and prospective parents and students on Tuesday, March 19, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. No RSVP is needed. This event will take place in the Lounge, located on the first floor near the May Fair House.