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Sullens, McRady to share 2023 Frere Grant

Sullens, McRady to share 2023 Frere Grant
Rita Mitchell

Dr. Tabetha Sullens ’94, assistant head of school, and Andrew McRady ’86, History Department faculty member, will complete professional development this summer sharing the 2023 Jon Frere Professional Development Grant.

Photo of Dr Sullens and Andrew McRady

A strong interest in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion led Sullens to apply for the grant, and she will use it to attain a graduate certificate from Yale University, completing a program titled, Fostering Inclusion and Diversity.

The program curriculum and the experience have a direct correlation with a segment of Sullens’ responsibilities at Webb as she serves as the lead for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, leads the middle school and upper school diversity councils and chairs the DEI work within the Strategic Plan 2022.

“As I consider the diversity work being done, I am inspired, but know we have much work ahead to be as inclusive as possible,” said Sullens. “I specifically want to establish affinity groups among our students and continue to foster a deeper sense of belonging among the student body. Completion of this program would directly impact our faculty and students alike.”

She added, “My experience at Webb consistently affords me opportunities to evolve and flourish in an ever-changing educational setting. It is important that leaders model professional development. This program would allow me to utilize current best practices, research, and learn alongside other individuals who believe strongly in DEI work.”

In her application for the grant, Sullens noted that while at Webb, she has completed a Master of Science degree in Education Leadership, a graduate certification in Mindfulness, an Educational Specialist degree in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process, a doctoral degree in Leadership, and most recently, a yoga teaching certification, “all of which were to serve our community. I personally appreciate this opportunity to use funds in Jon Frere’s honor, as he was the headmaster while I was a student at Webb.”

Sullens joined Webb in 2015 as middle school head and was named to her current position in 2020. Her daughter Lexis graduated from Webb in 2018 and her son London is a rising senior.

McRady plans to travel with his daughter, Siree McRady, Class of 2018, to Egypt, Turkey, and Thailand with goal of discovering new ways to expand his students’ perspectives on historical events, various cultures and religions, and their global impact and significance. In traveling to three different continents, McRady explained that in Egypt, he will travel with a professional Egyptologist from Abu Simbel to Luxor, visiting major historical sites of the Pharaonic Eras. In Cairo, he will visit the National Museum, Coptic Churches, Mosques, the Pyramids of Giza, and other sites of cultural and historical significance. 

Noting that Istanbul, one of the earliest “cradles of civilization”, has a unique history as one of the major endpoints of the Silk Road, the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, and the meeting point of European and Asian cultures, McRady will spend half of his time on the European side of the Bosporus Strait, visiting the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern. The other half will be spent on the Asian side of the Bosporus Strait, visiting historical sites dating back to the Copper Age (5500 - 3500 B.C.E.). 

“While in Istanbul, I will also be spending several days with three former ASSIST students from the 2017 academic year: Tabea Schwarz from Germany, Miriam Robledo Vega from Spain, and Rali Stoimenova from Bulgaria. We have kept in touch since they returned home, and they are coming to meet with me and travel with me while I am in Istanbul. It will be a fantastic Webb reunion.” 

McRady will then travel to Thailand, where he previously lived for many years. “While there, I plan to spend time visiting temples, schools, bookstores, and several of the universities to collect materials and resources for teaching. I will also be meeting with Dr. Brooke Schedneck of Rhodes College to discuss the role of Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia, and Dr. Mark Ritchie of the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute, to look at sustainable development in Southeast Asia.” 

Overall, he said he will broaden his cultural sensitivities, further enhancing his abilities to relate and communicate with the international Webb community, and as an interesting aside, he said, “I will be traveling East from my departure point in Washington, D.C., and continuing eastward until I return to that departure point, thus circumnavigating the globe.”

The Jon Frere Professional Development Grant provides funds each year for opportunities for intellectual enrichment, career enhancement and professional expertise and/or classroom excellence. Grants are funded by the James R. Meadows Foundation, which created an endowment in 2014.