Joining Our Board of Governors in 2021-2022

Joining Our Board of Governors in 2021-2022

Joining Our Board of Governors in 2021-2022

Oran Warder

“I am most impressed by and interested in the school’s engagement with the many challenging and potentially divisive issues that are facing our community, our nation and our world. This engagement does not seek uniformity of opinion but rather seeks to create an environment where genuine and respectful disagreement and perhaps deeper mutual understanding can occur.”

Oran has been the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Old Town Alexandria for 22 years. He and his wife, Barbara, have three sons, Zachary ’08 and Griffin ’12, and Wesley who graduated from Christchurch School in 2017. “I am pleased and honored to be able to give back to this community that has given so much and so generously to the Warder family over the years,” Oran said. 

Oran joins the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Board of Governors with a great deal of enthusiasm and experience with education and non-profit institutions. In addition to serving on the Board of Governors of the Church Schools of the Diocese of Virginia from 2003-2005, Oran served on the Board of Governors of Christchurch School from 2015-2021. He is a longtime trustee and current president of the Ivakota Foundation, which offers grants in support of organizations serving those in need in Alexandria (particularly women and children), and a member of the Compass Rose Society which supports the global mission of the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the Virginia Theological Seminary, he was an adjunct instructor of liturgics from 2001-2012, spent three years on the Alumni/Alumnae Executive Committee of the Virginia Theological Seminary, and recently served on the Capital Campaign Executive Committee of the Chapel of the Ages campaign and now the Bicentennial Campaign.

Looking at the SSSAS Strategic Plan, Oran is excited by the ability of the school’s leadership to plan and adapt to an ever-changing future, while staying true to our core mission and values. “The work of being a Saint is the formation of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, and to engage in this process not just for our own sake, but in service of making the world a better place for everyone,” Oran said. “We have been given many gifts and blessings and these gifts and blessings are meant to be shared. Saints understand themselves to be children of God and learn to recognize a child of God in every person they meet.”

Prior to coming to Alexandria, Oran served as the Canon to the Ordinary to the Bishop of Delaware for six years. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in education from Marshall University and a Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. He co-authored a textbook, “An Introduction to Ministry: A Primer for Renewed Life and Leadership in Mainline Protestant Congregations,” with Saints parent alumni and former Board of Governors member the Rev. Dr. Ian Markham, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2016). 

In his spare time, Oran likes to be outdoors, read, gather with family, and travel. In his daily life, a primary and most essential part of Oran’s life is community, something that gained even greater significance during the pandemic. “This challenging season in our common life has reminded us of the strength, importance, and necessity of community, something that we might have previously taken for granted,” Oran said. “We have learned so much, and have adapted many practices that will stay with us into the future, and yet all these point toward the primacy of human interaction and relationships.” He believes the greatest strength of SSSAS is the deep and abiding sense of community, particularly in an age of growing isolation and division. “Being an Episcopal school provides an expansive and inclusive expression of the Christian faith and instills a genuine openness and respect to every member of the community.”

Lizzie gives generously of her time and talents and has no fear of taking on small and large-scale volunteer activities. She has been a room parent multiple times, chaired the Spring Festival twice, and served for several years on the APT Spring Party committee. She has also served outside the school, sitting on the board of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and co-chairing their Children’s Christmas Concert for several years; volunteering to organize the summer Vacation Bible School at St. Paul’s Church; and helping with the 2018 Washington Winter Show. She is presently on the Development Committee of the Child and Family Network Center.

In addition to joining the Board of Governors at SSSAS, she is currently serving as co-chair of the building campaign—Saints Together, Our Campaign for Community. “I’m very excited about the campaign, which was born as a direct result of the Strategic Plan’s fifth pillar, Enhancing our Buildings and Grounds,” Lizzie said. “The reimagining of the Upper School campus will be transformational with large gathering spaces, a dining room that can accommodate all of our US students, bright art spaces, state-of-the-art science rooms, and opportunity for collaboration across the subjects.”

Lizzie and husband John have three children, Lucy ’21, Bo ’21, and Jack ’18. She believes a Saint’s education helped them to think independently, accept responsibility for their actions, form meaningful connections, be willing to take chances, and develop a strong moral compass. “I remember when my children were in Lower School, there were four character traits they would speak of: honesty, respect, compassion, and responsibility,” Lizzie said. “These words really helped me raise my children. When they would get in trouble, I would ask them ‘was that respectful? Were you being compassionate? Was that a responsible action?’” She thinks SSSAS excels at meeting the student where they are with a range of subjects, interests, activities and differentiated instruction. “Just looking at my three children,” she continued. “They are all at vastly different colleges now (Amherst, UVA and UCLA), but all products of 13 years of a Saints Education.”

As seniors in 2020-2021, Lucy and Bo saw many of the traditions they took for granted evaporate—the Shrine Mont retreat, Homecoming, and Sleepy Thompson—but she feels the foundation of the mission, to prepare students for a complex and changing world, helped them adapt. “One of my favorite expressions is ‘you learn what you’re taught,’ and these past 18 months, the staff, teachers and administrators have taught by example that when things are tough, you get out of bed, put one foot in front of the next, ask what is possible and find a way to do a great job!” Lizzie explained. “I was impressed by their ability to put out the fires while planting the seeds for the future.”

Elizabeth Siegel

“I love the school’s mission statement and it guides our leadership and decision making at every level. We are an Episcopal day school, and that grounding in Christian values allows us to open our minds and hearts to every person as a child of God.” 

Adrian Azer ’96

“To be a Saint and the attributes I hope are instilled are one in the same. Being a Saint means achieving academically, but also being a member of a community that gives back, understands and values different perspectives, and cherishes diversity and diverse thinking.”

Adrian joined the Board of Governors this year because he wants to give back to a school and community that allowed him so many opportunities to succeed. After graduating from SSSAS in 1996, Adrian received a bachelor’s in political science from Emory University and his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. 

Today he is a partner at Haynes Boone, LLP in Washington, D.C., where he represents corporate policyholders in a variety of complex insurance coverage matters. Fortune 500 companies seek Adrian’s representation in connection with insurance recovery for cybersecurity breaches and mass tort claims, disputes over general liability for toxic tort and environmental claims, and disputes over officers and directors’ coverage. 

Adrian has also worked on corporate bankruptcy and insolvency matters, complex commercial litigation, and complex claims resolution. As part of his bankruptcy work, he represented multiple creditors’ committees and various other financial institutions.

Adrian frequently writes about insurance topics and has been published in Inside Counsel Magazine, Law360, and the Claims Journal. His recent articles have been on the topics of issues related to COVID-19, how president Biden’s administration will affect the insurance industry, and cyber insurance.

Before joining Haynes Boone in 2017, Adrian worked for Gilbert, LLP in Washington, D.C., and the international law firms Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. 

Adrian is not the only Saint in his family. His sister, Vivien Azer, graduated in 1995, his cousin Nigel Azer graduated from St. Stephen’s in 1988, and another cousin, Tricia Chupkovich Karppi graduated from St. Agnes in 1984. Adrian and his wife, Brooke Adams, have two children in the school, Teddy ’28 and Cece ’34. In his down time, Adrian enjoys being with his family and playing tennis. 

Adrian feels the school’s greatest strengths are understanding, academics, working to nurture well-rounded children, and community. “The pandemic, although challenging, has made me, and I think the school, recognize how important being together really is,” Adrian said. As for the future, he is excited to see the growth of the Upper School through the new construction project, and enjoys seeing the reputation of the school continue to rise and expand.