Change Font Size:   A A A

Aug 29, 2016

St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Austin, Kicks Off New Academic Year

St. Stephen’s supports diversity as an essential component of a quality education that encourages respect for and empowerment of the individual.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School welcomed students back to campus this week for the 2016–17 academic year. Boarding students from across the country and around the world moved into the school’s residential halls before joining day students on The Hill for the first day of classes on Aug. 23.


A college preparatory school serving grades 6 through 12, St. Stephen’s is a diverse coeducational boarding and day school of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The school’s diverse student body comprises 685 students from numerous cities across Texas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Colorado, Maryland and Connecticut. International students represent more than 15 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil, Cameroon, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Vietnam, Finland and Thailand.


Among the 484 students in Upper School and 201 in Middle School, 507 are day students and 178 are boarders. A commitment to economic, geographic, ethnic and religious diversity is a hallmark of St. Stephen’s and guides the school’s charge to provide financial support to qualified families. In keeping with the school’s mission of ensuring a wide range of students have access to a St. Stephen’s education, 14 percent of its students received need-based financial aid this year.


No doubt, the beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time. For St. Stephen's, the new academic year brought an additional level of excitement, as a new head of school and his family joined the campus community. Christopher L. Gunnin took the reins from retiring head Bob Kirkpatrick in July. Gunnin will be installed as St. Stephen's 12th head of school at a special ceremony on Oct. 7.


Gunnin joined St. Stephen’s after having served as head of the Upper School at Trinity Valley in Fort Worth since 2009. “I was initially drawn to this opportunity because of St. Stephen’s strong mission, Episcopal identity, impressive boarding program and global student body,” Gunnin explained. “St. Stephen’s is clearly a school devoted to developing students of substance interested in making a difference in the world.”


Founded in 1950, St. Stephen’s is a school rooted in progressive, yet resolute, principles — provide rigorous academics, build a diverse community, develop creative thinkers, support social justice, shape global leaders, nourish the spirit, look beyond ourselves to serve others, and promote equity within our school walls and beyond.


“I am excited to lead this extraordinary school,” Gunnin said. “For the last few weeks, I have watched our world-class faculty and staff work tirelessly and thoughtfully to prepare for the start of the new school year. I know that the students we welcomed to campus this week will grow, learn, discover, lead and serve in a multitude of ways in the coming months. And I know that these experiences will serve as a strong foundation for them so that they will live lives of significance and meaning well beyond their time on our campus.”




What Makes St. Stephen’s Unique?

The foundation of the St. Stephen’s experience is the school’s highly rigorous academic program. Long acknowledged as one of the region’s pre-eminent college-preparatory schools, St. Stephen's stands as a national leader in preparatory education, and its graduates consistently go on to study at the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities.


St. Stephen’s immerses students in the fundamentals of a classic liberal arts education, including English, history, math, science, languages, theology and an array of electives, including visual and performing arts, theater and film, computer science and coding, graphic arts and more. Small class sizes and personal interaction with faculty, both in and outside the classroom, help ensure that students develop in mind, body and spirit to their fullest potential.


Last year, 26 St. Stephen’s seniors were recognized for distinguished academic achievement by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. Among them, seven were named National Merit Finalists. In addition, two seniors were named National Hispanic Recognition Program award honorees.


In addition to academics, St. Stephen’s students excel in arts and athletics. During the 2015-16 school year, 16 student-artists were honored by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Program for exceptional artistic and literary talent. In addition, a record-breaking 24 senior student-athletes were recruited to play sports at the college level — approximately 20 percent of the graduating class.


In fact, St. Stephen’s athletic program is an integral part of character development at the school. Offerings include football, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming, crew, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, golf and a wilderness program. Students interested in more intensive programs can enroll in the school’s world-class, year-round soccer and tennis academies.


If you would like to learn more about St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, you are invited to attend the fall Open House for prospective families on Sunday, Dec. 4. For more information, please contact the Admission Office at 512-327-1213 x210 or visit