New Endowed Chairs Focus on Worship and Faith; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

June 22, 2021 | Chris Casazza

It is a great joy to announce that Mustard Seed School has received two new endowed chairs: the Postema Chair for Worship and Faith Formation and the Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Both chairs reflect deeply-held commitments of the school: 

  • Providing developmentally appropriate worship and faith formation experiences for students so that they know without a doubt that they are beloved children of God. 
  • Building a safe and beautiful school community that creates unity while embracing diversity. A school where all students, families, faculty, and staff from different backgrounds feel a sense of belonging and being known and celebrated for their identities. 
  • Equipping students to go out in the world as change makers, compassionate advocates, people who make a difference in their communities.

In place since the founding of the school, these commitments are a key part of our mission to inspire minds, cultivate hearts, and remove barriers. Both chairs establish endowments that will provide ongoing funding for teaching materials, professional development, and experiences related to worship and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Spearheaded by Terry Battaglia, joined by other generous donors, the Postema Chair for Worship and Faith Formation honors Tom Postema for his contributions as head of school. It ensures that the important work of tending to the spiritual lives of children will continue to remain a central part of a Mustard Seed School education.  

The Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a gift from an anonymous donor who says, “The chair was created to support some of the shared values that have been evident since Mustard Seed School opened: treating each other fairly, with kindness and respect, always. This work asks many things of us, including recognizing the ways in which we are different, listening to each other about the things we each need, and making sure every member of the community is included, equally.”

Mustard Seed School’s endowed chair program began in 2006 when Coleman Fung established the Coleman Fung Chair for Music and the Coleman Fung Chair for Mathematics. Other endowed chairs include the Steenland Chair for Professional Development, and the Coleman Fung Chair for Creativity and Design.

On behalf of everyone at Mustard Seed School, I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to establishing these new chairs and to all the donors who choose to make Mustard Seed a part of their philanthropy. You make this extraordinary education possible. 

Chris Casazza

Director of Development

Chris Casazza was born and raised in Union City, NJ. He earned his bachelor’s degree in art history at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City. His professional career began in Cincinnati, OH, as the school coordinator at The Children’s Theatre. While at the Children’s Theatre, he co-wrote works for the main stage and the company’s touring arm, including an adaptation of the tv classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. For nine years he worked at Saint Peter’s Prep, his alma mater, first as director of alumni relations and annual giving, and then as vice president and chief advancement officer. Most recently he has been the director of the annual fund at the Speyer Legacy School in New York City. His whole career has been in support of education, and he is so excited to be part of the Mustard Seed community, doing his best to help it grow and flourish.

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