Wye River Upper School Prepares for Growth and Development

Wye River Upper School (WRUS) Board Chairman Greg Wannenwetsch has announced the school has begun a strategic planning process to prepare for important changes and development going forward. The core planning team is composed of eight volunteers who represent a cross section of the school’s stakeholders, including parents, Trustees and community members. John Devlin of Oxford, Maryland is facilitating the strategic plan process.

Founded in 2002, WRUS serves the strengths and needs of bright high school students who learn differently. The school utilizes schedules, such as morning athletics, and strategies that support the needs of teenagers. Since opening with nine students in 2002, enrollment has steadily increased each year. WRUS expects enrollment to reach one hundred students, grades 9-12, in the near future. In addition, WRUS is exploring options to relocate off the campus of Chesapeake College, where they have been located since their founding. Wannenwetsch reports the school is pleased with the options they are currently pursuing for their next, hopefully final, location.

A seasoned veteran of corporate and non-profit strategic planning, John Devlin is the Managing Director of Town Creek Analytics. Devlin founded Town Creek after a 28 year management consulting career with Ernst & Young consulting and its successor, Cap Gemini, retiring as Managing Partner for the firm’s North American Utility Industry Services. Town Creek helps organizations to improve performance through leadership development, leveraging internal skills, creating new opportunities and improving processes and the use of technology. A long time champion of excellence in education, Devlin is committed to supporting the success of learning options for deserving students. “One’s educational experience forms a critical foundation for life. WRUS uniquely provides a transformational experience for high school students who would struggle to succeed in the standard school environment. I am thrilled to help WRUS plan a well orchestrated growth and development program that will enable more of these children to succeed” said Devlin. Board Chairman Wannenwetsch emphasized the importance of this effort and Devlin’s contribution, saying that “This strategic planning effort is vital to the school at this juncture and we are indeed fortunate to be guided so adroitly by John Devlin. His years of experience are proving invaluable in guiding and challenging our incredible group of volunteers as we develop a broad, professional plan for the school. Our hope is that by developing and executing this plan, along with continuing strong financial support from committed friends and the community, we can make an education at Wye River Upper School affordable to any student who needs our help to overcome challenges or frustrations they may have experienced in more traditional educational settings. “

Wannenwetsch reports that the volunteers who were carefully recruited for this effort were selected based on their commitment to education as well as an appreciation for education for bright students who learn differently. In addition to Head of School Chrissy Aull and WRUS Trustee Jamie Foster, members include Beverly Tilghman of Easton, Joe Rabenstine, of Easton, Linnie Marshall of Queenstown and WRUS parent Laura Richardson of Ellicott City. “It was important that we have a range of opinions and perspectives for this critical process, “ reports Wannenwetsch. Tilghman has served as Trustee of several independent schools in Baltimore. Rabenstine is a former member of the WRUS faculty and is now employed in the corporate sector, in educational analysis.

Devlin indicates the team will meet regularly through the fall and can expect to complete fact-finding assignments in between planned meetings. “Our goal is to affirm the school’s mission, clarify what our stakeholders expect of us, spell out our long term goals and what we need to do to meet those goals. It will be a navigational tool as the school sets out to seize the many outstanding opportunities ahead.”

For more information regarding Wye River Upper School, contact Jeff Moran at 410-827-5822.