By Meade Davis, Randolph School's Director of Advancement Outreach
The Drake campus houses the School’s oldest buildings, making them rich in memories of happy students, parents, grandparents, faculty, and alumni. Visitors familiar with our Drake campus, always share stories about what the classrooms and spaces used to be. These stories make us smile and remind us that Randolph has been a meaningful part of the Huntsville community for over 60 years. There is no family who understands this more than the Penney family.
Jean and Jerre Penney have been part of the Randolph School community since 1986, when they enrolled their oldest daughter in fifth grade. They decided on Randolph because they wanted the very best academic experience for their children, and their leadership and commitment to the school has never wavered.
Jean first joined the Board of Trustees in 1989 when the school was experiencing rapid growth and quickly outgrowing the Drake campus. She was integral to the construction of the 7th and 8th grade building, and with an eye for design, she even picked out the color pallets.
In 2017, Jean joined the Board again, but this time as a grandparent. In conversations about how to improve campus, Jean stated, “I think we just need to start getting stuff done,” and committed to the installation of a new K-2 playground. She had a vision for a more welcoming courtyard where visitors could immediately see what Randolph was all about, happy students who love school. The Penney Playground opened in 2020, a year that outdoor spaces would be used more than ever.
With some pressure from their grandchildren, Jean and Jerre then decided to give the 3rd and 4th grade playground a redo. They wanted it to be bright and welcoming to students, neighbors, and visitors. They chose the name Raider Park to highlight this. Raider Park opened in 2021, and that area of the school has never looked better.
Adam Dubé, Randolph’s Head of School states, “Creating a transformational learning experience for students requires the commitment of a community that values and invests in this experience. Jerre and Jean's exceptional commitment and vision to create safe spaces for imaginative play and physical activity will support the learning and social/emotional development of our lower school students for years to come. I couldn't be more grateful for their leadership and generosity and the example they have set for all of us to follow!”
Jean and Jerre are exemplary philanthropic leaders and are fiercely dedicated to the mission of the School. It is likely that you’ll see Jerre in a wagon when our fourth graders do the Oregon Trail simulation, or you will see Jean show up dressed as a witch for Halloween. We can always count on the Penneys to make our school a brighter and happier place, and we are so thankful for their support.
If you are interested in supporting a special project on campus please contact Meade Davis email@example.com 256-799-6173.