The Christ Episcopal Church Day School Legacy

By Deb Mowbray

Chances are if you’re a long time resident of the Island you or someone you know has attended Christ Episcopal Church Day School (CECDS). As the oldest day school in the area, the preschool has served generations of families since it opened in 1971. CECDS was started by the Episcopal Church Women as an extension of the Churches’ community outreach.

“I knew that’s where I wanted to send her,” says Sherry Valenti of daughter Olivia, who is in the pre-k class. Like many alumni of the school, Sherry is passionate about the programs at CECDS. “Even if I had not attended as a child, the reputation of the school is top notch,” she adds.

One only need witness the enrollment process to attest to the school’s popularity. Parents of preschoolers apply well in advance of their eligibility date to secure acceptance into the coveted program.

Director Lisa Oesterling credits the foundation provided by the school as a pivotal ingredient in their success. “Kids who have attended CECDS have gone on to do great things,” she notes. Lisa began as a teacher with the school approximately 20 years ago. “My association with Christ Episcopal goes back to when my oldest son was three- and he’s 28 now,” offers Lisa. Like most of the teachers at CECDS, all of Lisa’s children attended the program.

While being a parent is not a prerequisite of teaching at Christ Episcopal Church Day School, a college education is. The school takes its roll in preparing children seriously, requiring that all their teachers are qualified and possess knowledge of children’s development and growth. Considering that the majority of the staff members have been here for over 15 years and sent their own children to the school, their commitment is apparent. “We were all parents at one time,” says Lisa of the experienced staff.

Christ Episcopal Church Day School welcomes new families and students beginning at age 3 for nursery school and through pre- kindergarten. The school’s mission is to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment where Christian values are modeled and integrated into developmentally appropriate curriculum. Classes begin in September after Labor Day and run through May. Registration for fall 2012 is underway. The school is located at 830 Romancoke Road, Route 8 South in Stevensville. School hours are 9:15 am -3:15 pm Monday – Friday; Phone 410-643-8248 or visit online:

In photo, from left to right: Izzie Talbott, Sam Talbott, Sherry Valenti , Olivia Valenti