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Congratulations, Theodore James Ryken Awardees!


Diane Kestler and Brad Chamberlain were presented with the prestigious Theodore James Ryken Award during a schoolwide Mass on Dec. 8 to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 

The Theodore James Ryken Award recognizes an adult member of the school community who, by their commitment and dedication, lives the mission of the Xaverian charism of education and strives:

To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to participate in the school’s community of faith and to nurture members of the community, to be committed to academic excellence and to recognize the talents of individuals, to recognize the importance of educating the whole person, to fulfill the Gospel call to peace and justice.

Diane Kestler


Mrs. Diane Kestler with her husband Mark


Mrs. Kestler has served the St. Mary’s Ryken community for over 16 years as our chief financial officer. Before SMR, she served in the banking industry for 20 years. Notably, she was the CFO of Mercantile Southern Maryland Bank, where she orchestrated the merger of three banks without affecting daily business operations and managing investment portfolios, budgeting, audits, and financial forecasting. Mrs. Kestler is well respected in the St. Mary’s Ryken community and exemplifies our values as a Xaverian Sponsored School.

Sharon Mattingly, who has worked with Mrs. Kestler for over 20 years, says she “is the most compassionate person I know. She goes to great lengths to support her staff and our parents with compassion, zeal, trust and simplicity. Diane lives these values daily in her personal as well as her professional life.”

Leisa Barrett, who has worked with Mrs. Kestler for 11 years, says she “embodies the best characteristics of a leader. In addition to her exceptional work ethic, she is humble, patient, supportive, generous, and compassionate.”

President Emeritus Mary Joy Hurlburt said, “Diane was instrumental in helping to lay the groundwork for us to secure financial funding. Diane did incredible work in financial projections, data analysis and complex financial readiness for our transactions for the major campus revisions that were part of our strategic campus master plan. This work spanned from the MIL Family field stadium, Paschal Hall STEM renovations, and upgrades in Romuald Hall, Rupert Hall and Xavier Hall. She once again was back to the spreadsheets in making the Donnie Williams Center a reality. This work could not have been accomplished without her leadership.”

“Diane is a faith-centered person that has a heartbeat for the success of St. Mary’s Ryken. "She is someone that I have the utmost faith in making the right decisions for SMR," said SMR President Rick Wood. "Faith is the highest form of trust, and I have always put faith in Diane Kestler to steer the financial ship of St. Mary’s Ryken."

Brad Chamberlain


Mr. Brad Chamberlain with his daughters Sydney '21 and Eleanor and wife Melanie


Mr. Chamberlain has served the St. Mary's Ryken community for over eight years as the dean of academics. "Compassion, humility, simplicity, trust, zeal are our lived Xaverian values," said Principal Catherine Bowes. "In talking about one of our two Theodore James Ryken Award winners, I’m going to propose, that in his honor, we pencil in a sixth value – keep reading to learn what it is later on!"  
Student Cydnei Ivory said, “Dean Chamberlain was one of the most influential adults in my life during high school. He believed in me and always pushed me to do my best.”

Brian Loewe said, “Brad is a true professional in his role as dean of academics.  He is motivated daily by the academic challenges and successes of our SMR students.”
Math chairwoman Stephanie Robey says, “It has been a great comfort to know that he has my back and will offer every support he can to find solutions to myriad issues.”
School counseling chairwoman Christine Jaffurs describes him as fair, professional, kind and compassionate. 
School counselor David “Butch” Hamilton notes, “He can blend accountability and compassion that very few people can do and do authentically.”
Jason DeLucco, dean of faculty and student development, says, “He always makes you feel comfortable and at ease in any professional setting, but always maintains such a high level of professionalism while doing it.”

In discussions regarding the incorporation of a sixth value, Dean Chamberlain’s sense of humor emerged prominently. During interviews, individuals often highlighted his comedic nature, labeling him as "hilarious" and "entertaining," and even likened him to a stand-up comic. Mr. Hamilton went as far as to suggest that meetings served as a platform for Mr. Chamberlain to test his jokes on the attendees.

Considering the Xaverian Brothers' profound understanding of the daily triumphs and tribulations of human existence, and their reverence for the ordinary rhythm of everyday life, some propose the inclusion of "humor" as our sixth value. This proposition is a tribute to Dean Chamberlain’s legacy and his embodiment of this quality.


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