St. Margaret’s Guild was organized in the Fall of 1939 at All Saints’ Episcopal Chapel to interest young mothers of the parish in the spiritual welfare of their children.
First focused on Sunday School, in the fall of 1945 these ladies met at the home of the rector. After much discussion, they adopted as their major objective the establishment of a nursery day school.
They contacted faculty members of the University of Texas, people in the community known for their work with preschool children, and national association resources. Over six months of thorough investigation, the founders prepared to establish a nursery school unit of twenty students.
In January 1946, the parish elected a Board of Trustees at its annual meeting, charging the Board with the administration and policy making of the School.
St. Margaret’s Guild took responsibility of the financial obligations for the founding and operation of the School. Separately incorporated as a non-profit educational institution, in the beginning the School’s tuition payments were spent exclusively on Faculty salaries and operating expenses. Permanent improvements and equipment were supplied by the Guild.
The School opened with a short session, March through May of 1946, and that Fall the first full semester of school began, with two nursery units of ten students each.
According to William James Battle, author of The Story of All Saints’ Chapel Austin, Texas 1900 – 1950, “The school prospered from the start, due to the enthusiasm and sound sense of the Guild leaders.” In 1947, the Vestry of the Chapel approved the School’s expansion to Kindergarten and First Grade.
It was not long before parents were interested in their children continuing with an Episcopal school education, and so St. David’s Episcopal Church and Good Shepherd Episcopal Church joined All Saints’ Episcopal Church in the formation of a new lower school in 1952, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Also in 1952, the Guild that had been instrumental in establishing the School was dissolved, and the School became a ministry of All Saints’ Church. The Fall of 1955 saw the fulfillment of a dream: Space designed especially for preschool children in the beautiful new Gregg House.
Five women and two men are listed on the School’s Charter. Eleanor Gammon was a founder and life-long parishioner of All Saints’. Mrs. Gammon’s son Billy was one of the original group of students at the Day School.
Her great-granddaughter, Evelyn, and her great-grandson, William, were both students as well. Evelyn’s grandmother (Eleanor) and her father (Matt) also attended All Saints’ Episcopal Day School. Another founder was J.A. Eidson McKay, whose great-granddaughters Jali and Gabbie were also students.
The School was the first stand-alone preschool to be accredited by the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES), and the first to be awarded their Ken Bastian Award for outstanding community service.
The School is mission-driven and culturally sensitive. The essentials of the Christian faith are accurately and authentically taught at Chapel services and other programs, and lived out at the School: Respectful, inclusive and mindful of encouraging diversity.
Perhaps the reason the Church and School have continued their outstanding relationship over nearly 75 years is because the School has remained true to its founders’ mission when it opened in 1946.
The School community carefully studies any changes before implementing them, and make sure they’re to the benefit of all students. As a result, Parishioners and School Parents have offered the School a kind of support that is rarely seen.