Neighbors

She’s speaking out for public education in Bolton Hill

Stacy, Nathaniel and Mary Anne on a mission for school funding in Annapolis

Stacy Wells is a cheerleader for public education, and especially for Mount Royal Elementary and Middle School on McMechen Street.  Both her children, now 12 and 13,  started there and the oldest, Nathaniel, is moving on to college-affiliated Bard School in the fall.

“We’ve always been partial to public schools,” she says.  Her former husband Bill, who grew up and still lives in the neighborhood, attended Bolton Hill Nursery and Mount Royal, as well.  “We volunteered at Mount Royal before our children were old enough to attend. “  She later served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and has been active in recruiting staff there.

As their first child and his playmates approached Kindergarten age, Stacy helped pull together several families over wine and cheese to discuss school options.  They toured Mount Royal: “The kids were adorable, and the building was nice.” Over time several families from Bolton Hill placed their young children there. 

Mount Royal Elementary is a zoned school, serving neighborhoods around it with kindergarten thru 5th grade.  The middle school is a citywide magnet school that draws from all over.  The school rating site www.Greatschools.org says Mount Royal ranks about average in school quality compared to other schools at its level statewide and above average for the academic progress of its students.  It outranks most similar public schools in the city. About 700 students attend altogether.

“We’ve had a very good experience,” Stacy says, and we’ve grown interest in the school.”  She valued especially her ability to walk the children to school before heading for the MARC train to D.C. and her job training inspectors for the Federal Aviation Administration.  More recently she has mostly worked from home, making engagement with the school and the neighborhood easier.

That coincided with a rediscovery of her fondness for the theater. Growing up on a Christmas tree farm near Westminster, she performed in plays in high school.  When her church, Memorial Episcopal, set up  auditions for a performance of The King and I, she and Nathaniel tried out.  “Everyone got a part, and it was a nice family experience, with my daughter, Mary Anne, sitting on the edge of the stage watching us.”

Now they are mainstays of the temporarily dark Memorial Players, which hopes to break out of the COVID cloud someday soon and lift the curtain on its production of Godspell, scheduled to open just as the pandemic shut down Baltimore in March 2020.  Stacy directed, Mary Anne was in the cast and Nathaniel was part of the stage crew in the 2019 production of The Wizard of Oz. “ It’s been great watching all  the kids bloom, seeing their growth,” she said.

The daughter of a career state employee, Stacy grew up thinking about public service, participating in programs such as Youth in Government and Model United Nations.  She got a degree in Economics and Public Administration at UMBC and a master’s at the Maxwell School of Public Administration at Syracuse University.  She worked in state government and consulting on government programs before joining the FAA nearly two decades ago.

She is a member of the vestry at Memorial Episcopal, which has been in the news lately for its announced intention to spend $500,000 in the coming years from a reparations fund.  She’s engaged with the church’s work with community organizations to offset the damage stemming from the church’s historic participation in and defense of slavery in the 19th century.  She now lives near Lion Park.  The kids split their time between Waxter Way and their dad’s home on John Street.

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