The Dunham School hosted the inaugural Founders Dinner on Friday, April 29, as part of the yearlong celebration of the school’s 40th anniversary. In addition to honoring 2022 distinguished award recipients, Dadie and Princeton Bardwell, Tracy Shean Jantzi ’90, and Stephen Emery ’96, the evening paid tribute to the school’s founders, former and current trustees, volunteer leaders, and Liz Peters Master Teachers.
Also in attendance were Lisa and Gary Gilbert, the first members of the Dunham Legacy Society, and Paul Jenkins ’94 who was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame along with fellow alumnus Ryan Darling ’08 earlier in the week.
The Founders Dinner will become an annual event designed to celebrate God’s continued faithfulness and express gratitude to members of the Dunham community for their service, generosity, and dedication to the school’s mission.
Dadie and Princeton Bardwell have been a part of The Dunham School since its founding in 1981 when they enrolled their son, Scott, in the very first class. For the past four decades, the Bardwells have served as parents, trustees, advisors, prayer warriors, donors, and now grandparents. Throughout their long history with Dunham, they have remained steadfast champions of its financial security, often giving of their own resources and working with others to secure donations to sustain the school and its mission.
Dadie and Princeton have made prayer a top priority when seeking God's guidance and wisdom on how they can best serve the school. Princeton served two terms on the board of trustees, from 1982 to 1988 and from 2018 to 2021. Both he and Dadie have used their voices and shared their wisdom to help guide the school at critical points during its 40-year history. Most recently, they provided strong counsel in the quest to eliminate current debt.
The legacy that the Bardwells are leaving is most readily visible through the lives of their children, Scott Bardwell ’91 and Emily Bardwell Guillory ’03, and their four grandchildren, Caroline ’20, Michael ’22, and Andrew Bardwell ’26, and Hazel Guillory ’33. For the many ways that Dadie and Princeton Bardwell have led through sacrifice, encouraged others to give, and supported The Dunham School, it is our honor to recognize them as the first recipients of the Katharine O. Dunham Philanthropy Award.
The Katharine O. Dunham Philanthropy Award was established to recognize donors who have demonstrated, through direct financial support, outstanding charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles at The Dunham School. Motivated and dedicated to seeing The Dunham School succeed, they have championed fundraising for the school. Recipients exemplify the same heart of giving demonstrated by Mrs. Dunham, a heart of thoughtfulness and sacrifice grounded in a desire to see The Dunham School’s mission endure.
Tracy Shean Jantzi graduated from Dunham, then known as The Chapel Trafton School, in 1990. After attending Louisiana State University, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Southeastern School of Nursing. Tracy has worked in labor and delivery at Woman’s Hospital for 24 years.
Tracy’s unwavering passion for giving back is not only evident in her career, but also in her volunteer efforts as a Dunham alumna and parent. For more than a decade, she has been an active member of the Alumni Council and numerous other volunteer committees, including Breakfast with Santa. The leadership she has displayed as chair of the Dunham Carnival committee has turned the annual event into one of the largest fundraisers for the school. While Tracy will tell you she is not an official committee member for Jubilee, Teacher Appreciation Week, Field Day, and numerous other events, she has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure their success.
Faithfully serving the school has been a family affair for Tracy, her husband Charles, and their three children, Miles ’18, Reed ’22, and Jackson ’27. In addition to opening their home as a host family for Dunham’s foreign exchange students, Tracy and Charles have served together on the Annual Giving Parent Cabinet and as swimming liaisons for Pawbackers for many years.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of serving on a committee with her will tell you that Tracy does not merely get the job done; she goes above and beyond to make everything she touches better than it was. Tracy’s leadership, humility, and encouragement have left a lasting mark on The Dunham School.
The Tabb Family Distinguished Service Award recognizes and celebrates an outstanding volunteer who has gone above and beyond by using his or her time and talents to better The Dunham School. So many volunteers have made such an amazing impact on our community but perhaps none more so than Mary and the late Donald Tabb. Without their influence, prayers, sacrifice, and determination The Dunham School would not be here today.
James Stephen Emery, Jr., graduated in 1996 as part of the last class to graduate as The Chapel Trafton School. He continued his academic success at Southern Methodist University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis on finance and economics in 2000. He later studied real estate finance at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Stephen’s passion for economics, real estate, and investing has resulted in more than two decades of professional success. During his career, he has taken great pride in helping others achieve their goals through portfolio management and advisement. He joined Mission Capital Advisors in 2002 and served as a managing director of sales and trading for a number of years. During that time, he managed and closed in excess of $6 billion in consumer loans, commercial and residential real estate loans, bankruptcy claims, and commercial and municipal equipment lease sales.
Prior to joining Mission Capital Advisors, he worked in the retail and consumer investment banking group at Bank of America Securities, LLC., where he was instrumental in raising capital in excess of $850 million for clients such as Nordstrom Department Stores, Brinker International, and Electronics Boutique. Most recently, Stephen applied his financial knowledge and expertise to grow and support his sister Hollie's growing SPF company, Supergoop!, by helping to secure the first round of capital investment and overseeing the recent purchase of the company.
Stephen continues to support Dunham with donations of SuperGoop! to the Dunham Cup Golf Classic. In 2021, he served as a challenge gift donor on Alumni Giving Day when he and other members of the Class of 1996 challenged other alumni to make a donation to the school in honor of longtime faculty member Mike Jenkins’ retirement.
The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes a graduate who has made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the mission and legacy of The Dunham School.