2022 Women & Girls Fund Award Recipient

Chrissy Aull received the 2022 Women & Girls Fund Award for her efforts in co-founding the Wye River Upper School (WRUS) to educate bright high school students with learning differences.  Based on a shared personal need for an appropriate high school experience for their young adult sons, she and co-founder Patricia McGlannan, of Tilghman, opened the school in 2002 with nine students, three teachers, and two staff members on the campus of Chesapeake College.

Establishing the school was not without challenges, and Beth Spurry, former WRUS board member and current Women & Girls Fund board member, recalled, “At every point in the founding and development of WRUS, when it appeared there was ‘no way this will work’, Chrissy did impossible things through her positive attitude and compassion.  She never took no for an answer.  It’s a remarkable story and look where the school is now!”

Wye River Upper School grew to 57 students from as many as nine Maryland counties and Delaware while Mrs. Aull’s served as Founding Head of School from 2002 until her retirement in 2020.  The school offers a wide range of curricular options, including an impressive digital and mechanical tools space, and extra-curricular offerings including interscholastic sports, theater, and off-campus experiential learning.  

In 2010 the school purchased the Centreville Maryland National Guard Armory as its permanent campus.  Mrs. Aull led a successful capital campaign to raise over $5 million dollars to complete a total renovation of the historic structure.  During her tenure, the school awarded an average of $150,000 annual financial aid to enable deserving students to attend.  

The Women & Girls Fund Award was established by the board in 2004 to recognize a community member who, through his or her body of professional work or volunteer experience, exemplifies the Fund’s mission.  The shared traits among recipients are vision, integrity, compassion, and generosity of time and talent, which demonstrates a commitment to improving the lives and opportunities of women, girls, and families.  This award is publicized in all five counties, and nominations are accepted from the public.   

Previous recipients of the award are the following women of distinction:  Lois S. Duffey, Harriet S. Critchlow, Sandra W. King, Maria Boria, M.D., Sr. Patricia Gamgort, OSB, Tracy Davenport, Sandra Redd, Sara Jane Davidson, The Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen, Kathleen Francis, Maureen Jacobs, Janet Pfeffer, Joy Price, Nancy Wilson, Mary Lou McAllister, Diana Mautz, Kathy Weaver, Ellen Rajacich, Susan Stockman, Krista Pettit, Carlene Wilson, and Julie Lowe.