New strategic plan makes a renewed commitment to Trinity’s strong mission of helping students discover their paths
“What I’m most proud of is that it's very much focused on people,” says Chris Ellis ’81
, chair of the Trinity board of trustees, when asked about the launch of “Ever Onward,” a five-year strategic plan for Trinity
. “Our school is about people and about community. This strategic plan really speaks to that. I think it nailed it in terms of speaking to who Trinity is.”
Over the past two years, Trinity stakeholders including faculty, parents, alumni and a team of school leaders have honed a plan for the next five years that reaffirms the strength of the school’s identity. With the guidance of Katherine Whitney, a Richmond-area professional consultant for schools and nonprofits with Warren Whitney Management Consulting, the Ever Onward plan, built on a 50-year foundation, will guide Trinity as it steps boldly into the next half century.
“We have the confidence and the self awareness to know what we do really well, combined with the eagerness to do even better. We’ve seen the challenges, know the foundations, are still savvy and dynamic. We see where the school needs to go, and we have the energy to make it happen,” says Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement and Special Projects. “Coupled with the infusion of new leadership and new faculty, this plan gives us the tools to continue to respond to the changing nature of education and student needs, which is something we’ve always done well. It’s an opportune combination of factors that allow this plan to be special.”
Clearly affirmed in this plan is the strength of Trinity’s mission — which was encapsulated two decades ago in a three-word tagline that still guides the school community as an informal motto: Discover Your Path. Now 20 years on, this new strategic plan helps reinterpret what discovering your path will mean to the next generation of Trinity students.
In the classroom, that means balancing the teaching of content and skills with the goal of achieving relevance and preparing students for meaningful life experiences. Looking ahead toward an increasingly complex world, students will be equipped to handle difficult situations and make meaningful connections — both digital and face to face. Addressing the role of families, the plan will guide parents on how to best support their students while giving them the space to make and learn from their own mistakes.
“I am especially proud and excited to announce the launch of this plan,” says Head of School Rob Short
. “In particular, the section entitled ‘Navigating Complexities
’ deals with challenges that require complex thought and frameworks to help guide students toward the future. From daily well-being, to media literacy, design and invention, we aspire to help each Trinity student take a robust approach to daily problem solving and look holistically at life.”
In bringing the Ever Onward plan
together, Trinity stakeholders recognized the benefits of retaining the current student census (approximately 510 students) for the foreseeable future. With the addition of Dawson Commons in 2023 and the planned Morgan Hall expansion of the lower level in 2024, campus spaces become appropriate for the school's needs and size
. This allows the school’s fundraising focus to turn toward growing an endowment to help sustain the school for the next 50 years and beyond. “Growing an endowment is a big step for Trinity, but one we hear the community is ready for,” says Alyssa McBride
, director of development and alumni relations. “As we continue to build annual giving — now the newly named Trailblazer Fund
— and raise capital support for the Morgan Hall expansion, we are preparing for an Ever Onward campaign to build an endowment worthy of Trinity’s mission and aspiring future.”
Putting the plan into action involves all stakeholders, from the Head of School and the Board of Trustees to faculty and staff to alumni and the current students with their own ideas about how to continue to keep Trinity a special place. In her role with special projects, Weiler will shepherd the plan through collaboration with all constituents and looks forward to the energy each group will bring. “One of the best parts of “Discover Your Path” is the variety of experiences that result from students’ interests and passions. Harnessing the energy within the five pillars of the plan is a rewarding challenge.”
This roadmap for nurturing the school's growth and development Weiler likens to a fruit orchard. “Trees need constant maintenance. We’ve gotten through the growing season. The first couple of years are the most difficult. We’ve borne thriving fruit and we are so proud of our community. We want to continue to bear fruit and celebrate the sweetness while recognizing that the trees are also fragile. We can’t take for granted that we've succeeded in the past. The weather and the soil continually change, and we must adapt with these changes.”
“We’ve never had a clearer picture of what we want to do,” says Weiler “Now it's up to us as a Trinity community to lend its full support in guiding Trinity toward its next 50 years.”
“This plan is a result of two years of work and if you are reading it, it is likely that you had a part in its formation through our surveys or small group sessions,” says Short. “Thank you! Thanks as well to everyone who participated including our trustees, parents, students, alums, faculty and staff. As we look to the horizon, we can take great encouragement from the dedication and shared excitement in the future of our school.”READ THE COMPLETE "EVER ONWARD" PLAN HERE >>