News Release, St. Mary’s Ryken High School

Mary Joy Hurlburt has been a Trailblazer in Leading the St. Mary’s Ryken Community

On Monday, December 3, the Feast Day for Saint Francis Xavier, St. Mary’s Ryken joined the 12 other Xaverian Brother’s Sponsored Schools (XBSS) in a mass and honored our Theodore Ryken award recipient, SMR President Mary Joy Hurlburt. This is the highest award in the Xaverian Brother’s school community and was presented to President Hurlburt by school principal, Dr. Rick Wood. 

“Mary Joy Hurlburt has been a trailblazer in leading the St. Mary’s Ryken community since she began her tenure over 30 years ago,” said Principal Wood. “As an art teacher, dean of academics and principal, she was always focused on improving our school and preserving our heritage as a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School. In 2005, she was the first woman to become president of any of the 13 Xaverian Brothers schools,” Dr. Wood continued.

In Mrs. Hurlburt’s time at SMR, she has worked diligently to improve the campus, overseeing the construction of a turf field, track and stadium, creation of a Campus Ministry center with student meeting area, renovation of the fine arts spaces, installation of air conditioning in all buildings and, currently, the completion of a 48,000-square-foot Wellness Center as well as STEM Innovation labs.

From left: Mrs. Laura Roland (SMR Board Member), Principal Dr. Rick Wood, Fr. Scott Woods, President Mary Joy Hurlburt and Mr. George Hurlburt (Mary Joy’s Husband)

“Our school president, Mrs. Hurlburt, has lead our school closer to Christ not only by her words but also by her deeds,” said SMR School ChaplainFr.Scott Woods. “Only God and her husband will ever know how many countless hours she has worked and how much she has sacrificed for ourstudents, faculty, and staff. She has stood on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before us and has continued to build up this community.”

Additionally, Mrs. Hurlburt completed the school’s first comprehensive campaign for an endowment and annual fund. She introduced a 1:1 iPad program – the first of its kind in the state of Maryland; added performing arts classes; added Chinese to the world languages curriculum; and instituted summer camp programs on campus. As the most prolific fundraiser in the school’s history, Mrs. Hurlburt has raised over $16 million, including garnering scholarships for financial aid, raising over $4 million for the endowment fund and over $8.5 million dollars for the current construction projects.

She has always been a servant leader, being named to the board of directors at St. John’s Preparatory School, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School and her alma mater, Academy of the Holy Cross. She is a member of the Lexington Park Rotary Club, National Catholic Educational Association, St. Mary’s Chamber of Commerce, Washington Catholic High School President’s Association and the College Board. She has led the school through three strategic plans and four Middle States reaccreditation visits. She has been a lead presenter at national conferences and began a cross-curricular Holocaust education program that has been existence at SMR for over 15 years.

Afterreceivingthe award, President Hurlburt spoke to the students and staff.

“Through the years, I continually witness our teachers, counselors, campus ministry, our staff in the business office, development office, admissions, marketing and communications, athletics, facilities, technology, administrators and assistants, our chaplain and most especially you, our students – all of you give witness to a commitment of working together, to support each other, and to serve each other. That is part of our Xaverian charism. Each of you are strengthening a community that recognizes no matter who you are, at St. Mary’s Ryken you bring your individual talents to help all of us build a school community of learning, of faith and of service. Those are not just words,they are the living difference of our Christ centered community. So today is my opportunity to say thank you,to each and every one of you. This is a job that I love coming to. Today, this is not my award, this is your award.”

Mrs. Hurlburt received her Master of Arts in teaching and supervision from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a Bachelor of Science in studio art and education from Ladycliff College in New York. She has been blessed to be married to George Hurlburt for 45 years, have a wonderful son, Jimmy, and daughter-in-law, Carrie (both ’93 SMR alumni) and two beautiful grandchildren, Eli and Minah.

“There has not been one other person that has impacted the St. Mary’s Ryken community in such a profound way,” said Dr. Wood. “She exemplifies the Xaverian values of trust, compassion, humility, simplicity and zeal through her personal life, faith life and work life. I have unending gratitude for the mentorship she has personally provided to me over my 23 years at SMR.”