2/7/20—Executive Director Megan Murphy stood last week before the largest audience ever gathered at an NCGS Educating Girls Symposium to thank our generous host, The Hockaday School, recognize our talented partners at the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, and welcome the opening keynote speaker, Michelle Kinder. As is typical, Megan’s comments focused on the work of others—our host school, our strategic partner and sponsors, the keynote speaker.
Dropped in the midst of her generosity, Megan humbly issued a bold claim, “In the landscape of schools, I believe that ours have always been the most strategic. We’ve had to be. Each of our schools was established by a trailblazer with the singular purpose to advance the lives of girls.”
There you have it. Our charge was clear. The NCGS Board had arrived in Dallas, Texas, and it was time to think big. It was our moment to coalesce around a shared vision: to begin in earnest a process of strategic planning that reflects the best thinking of our schools and strives to match our schools’ aspirations with the Coalition’s assets. This is no small task.
We commence our work with the knowledge that our Coalition is operating from an unprecedented position of strength: the 2019-2020 membership roster includes greater diversity and more schools than ever before; attendance at NCGS conferences and symposiums and enrollment in online professional development offerings continues to surge; newly sponsored and recently released research informs our practice and advocacy efforts; and new ventures are on the horizon with our first cohort of Global Action Research Fellows hard at work.
And yet, still, it somehow seems like we are just getting started. There is such good and important work ahead for all of us.
Nearly thirty years ago, NCGS co-founders, Meg Moulton and Whitty Ransome, recognized that together our schools can do more.
NCGS members rise and fall on the collective coalition-wide belief that our schools do better for girls. NCGS, as an organization, takes our inspiration from our membership and believes that if we do better for our schools, then they can do better for girls. And if our schools do better for their girls, then those girls can in turn do better for their world. Our alumnae stand one million strong. That is a lot of better for our world.
Make no mistake that when we come together in shared vision, it matters. Only then can we have what Danielle Heard, Head of Nashoba Brooks School and Vice President of the NCGS Board, calls a “cascading effect where all benefit—students, teachers, parents, and alumnae.”
So how will we arrive at a shared vision for a Coalition of over 250 schools and our 115,000 students? We start with you.
In October, before we began the formal strategic planning, we poured over your thoughts as represented in last spring’s membership survey. According to our schools, we dove deeply into areas such as: Where does NCGS add the greatest value? What resources are most valuable to membership? What gives your school the best chance of reaching its own strategic goals? Where is the strength in numbers?
Beyond the member survey, the Board asked our own questions regarding the four NCGS pillars—advocacy, research, professional development, and networking. Does one lead to another? When creating new programming, what takes priority? What are the core issues that unite an exceptionally diverse set of girls’ schools? How can we lead nationally and contribute internationally when there are seemingly real regional differences? How can we create a meaningful 2020 vision that is inclusive of all of our schools despite their differences in access to resources? Finally, how can we assure that all of our voices are given equal weight? We are, after all, united in our belief that elevating girls’ voices is at our core.
Michelle Kinder picked up where Megan left off. She combined scholarship with narrative to share insights into leadership “from the inside out.” Per Michelle, “People who can navigate the inside will be superheroes because the outside world is so challenging. When we are trapped by stress, ego, and fear we do things that are small.” One of her recommendations? “Zoom out and illuminate something that interests you.”
Therein lies the task before the NCGS Board, for now at least. We zoom out, illuminate, and strategically plan for this most promising of ventures: girls who will change our world.
2/6/20—The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools is partnering with nine member schools in the Los Angeles area to host a Girls’ School Advantage advocacy outreach event. Prospective families and community-based organizations are invited to learn about the effectiveness and unique environment of all-girls schools. The program will feature remarks from Olivia Haas, Director of Strategic Communications & Media at NCGS, and a Q&A panel of student representatives from each of the participating schools followed by a school fair.
Girls’ School Advantage: Los Angeles
Sunday, April 26, 2020
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Mosher 1 Lecture Hall
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Participating schools include Alverno Heights Academy, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Girls Academic Leadership Academy, Marlborough School, Marymount High School, Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus, Ramona Convent Secondary School, Vivian Webb School, and Westridge School.
2/4/20—NCGS members, the Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) in Denver and Los Angeles, were featured among ten recently released case studies from the Chan Zuckerberg Institute (CZI). The profiles highlight schools expanding the definition of student success by going beyond academics to more fully encompass the developmental needs of the whole child. GALS, Inc. operates a network of public, single-gender middle and high schools with the holistic vision that “healthy bodies fuel healthy minds.”
“Student success is often defined in academic terms, alone. These schools are expanding that definition to include identity, physical, mental, and emotional factors that can have a profound impact on why—and whether—students thrive,” said Brooke Stafford-Brizard, CZI’s Director of Whole Child Development. CZI uses technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges from preventing and eradicating disease to improving learning experiences for children.
GALS leaders have a long-term comprehensive vision for student success. As one leader shared, “We talk a lot about a well-lived life, self-possession, and self-sufficiency. We want to prepare students to lead confidently, succeed academically, live boldly, and thrive physically. We want students to leave high school ready to approach the world the way they see fit. We want them to embrace embodied living and leading. We prepare students for innovative leadership in a global society.”
Click here to view CZI’s case study on the GALS, Inc. schools.
1/30/20—The Board of Trustees at Sacred Heart Greenwich have appointed Margaret “Meg” Frazier as the 34th Head of School, effective July 1, 2020.
Frazier currently serves as Headmistress of NCGS member Marymount International School of London, an all-girls independent Catholic day and boarding school in the U.K. A passionate advocate for all-girls education, Frazier has also served as the Head of Upper School at Sacred Heart Greenwich’s sister school and NCGS member Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I feel so privileged to be selected as the next Head of School at such an outstanding all-girls Catholic school, with a well-known history of preparing young women for lives of leadership and service to others,” shared Frazier. “Now in the third decade of the 21st century, the school’s mission is just as important today as it has been in the past and our care for each girl’s needs will drive our brave work together.”
1/29/20—Roland Park Country School (RPCS) received a $1.75 million pledge from alumna Holliday “Holly” Cross Heine, from the class of 1962, and her husband John “Jack” C. Heine. The gift will create three separate endowments to fund a new K-8 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Director role, the existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Director position, and the school’s signature STEM Institute.
Head of School Caroline Blatti said, “I am profoundly grateful to Holly and Jack for their generosity and enthusiastic support of our comprehensive STEM and STEAM curricula, which span every grade level and department. I am also so honored that as an alumna who has built such a successful career in this field, Holly shares our purpose of intentionally harnessing our students’ boundless imaginations and curiosity to give them the confidence, knowledge, and tools they need to build a solid foundation and deep understanding of these concepts.”
A graduate of MIT with a Ph.D. and from Suffolk University with a J.D., Holly turned her passion for the sciences into a thriving career as a patent attorney. She expressed, “My husband and I decided to make this commitment because we believe in the power of a STEAM/STEM education and in Roland Park Country School’s ability to equip more young women with the critical skills that are necessary to have a career in these fields, if they wish.”
1/15/20—Marlborough School received a $9 million bequest from the late Eunice Erb Goodan, an alumna from the Class of 1943, which is the largest gift in the school’s 132-year history. Eunice’s connection to Marlborough ran deep with her mother, sister-in-law, and daughter all be fellow alumnae. She served as a Trustee, Alumna Council Member, Board President, and benefactor who gave generously to the school’s annual fund and capital projects.
The gift will enhance the school’s endowment and impact students for many generations to come. Throughout her lifetime, Eunice’s support exemplified her desire for Marlborough to be, as she said, “the best school it can be.”
Head of School Dr. Priscilla Sands expressed, “We will forever hold Eunice’s words and generosity—both in service and in philanthropy—as an inspiration for our work.”
1/9/20—The Agnes Irwin School’s Board of Trustees has appointed Sally B. Keidel as the 14th Head of School, effective July 1, 2020.
Currently serving as Head of The Montgomery School in Chester Springs, PA, Keidel impressed the Board of Trustees with her clear vision for the future of Agnes Irwin and a love for the community that has never wavered. She previously served as Agnes Irwin’s Director of Admission and Financial Aid for seven years, including a two-year term as the Assistant Head of School. Keidel brings extensive educational experience and looks forward to reuniting with the Agnes Irwin community and leading them into the next 150 years.
Keidel expressed, “I am incredibly honored to return to Agnes Irwin as your next Head of School. In every conversation I had throughout the search process, I was struck both by this community’s profound commitment to what is best for girls, and its tremendous passion for this school—and I am eager to meet students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae as I begin to transition into my new role. My previous service to this outstanding educational institution created within me a deep belief in the school’s mission to empower girls to learn, to lead, and to live a legacy.”
1/7/20—Emily M., a student at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, won first place in a citywide novel writing contest called Kids Write Now! The program challenged kids between the ages of 10 and 14 to write as much as they could during the month of November. Inspired by writing advice she received from author Katherine Rundell during her recent visit to campus, Emily relished this opportunity and worked diligently drafting pages daily for a book. She completed a total of 106 pages in a month and hopes to finish the book by the start of the new year.
11/20/19—The Annie Wright Schools’ Board of Trustees have announced Jake Guadnola as the next Head of Schools. Guadnola will succeed Christian G. Sullivan, who will step down in June 2020 as Head of Annie Wright Schools, after serving in the role for ten years.
Guadnola graduated among the first class of boys to attend Annie Wright Middle School. In his 20-year career at Annie Wright Schools, Guadnola has served in a range of roles including English & Humanities Teacher, Basketball Coach, Director of College Counseling, Interim Director of Admissions, and most recently Director of Upper School for Girls.
“Annie Wright Schools have played a profound role in my life, both personally and professionally, and it is a sincere honor to be named Head of Schools,” reflected Guadnola. “Working with this dedicated faculty and inspired Board of Trustees, I will ensure we remain a student-centered institution, one that positively impacts the lives of children. Together we will move Annie Wright Schools from strength to strength.”
“We are thrilled that in Jake, Annie Wright Schools will be served by an experienced educator and visionary leader with a proven track record, and a passionate and committed member of the Annie Wright and South Sound communities,” said Michele Bessler, Chair of the Annie Wright Schools’ Board of Trustees.
11/13/19—Ashley Hall students recently sailed hundreds of miles as part of the school’s Offshore Leadership Program. The annual voyage for girls between the ages of 15 to 18 teaches these students not only how to run the ship and navigate waters, but how to collaborate as a team to safely reach their destination. The girls successfully sailed the Liberty Clipper, a 150-ton tall ship, down the Atlantic Coast more than 400 miles from Norfolk, Virginia.
“The ultimate goal is to really develop their leadership style and to help them understand that there are different leadership styles out there and they’re each bringing something different to the table,” said Alison Parks, an instructor who was on board the ship.
An Ashley Hall student, who had no long-distance sailing experience before boarding the Liberty Clipper, expressed her feelings following the voyage, “I think it is really a confidence-building thing.”
11/11/19—Students at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy, Dr. Michelle King School for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (GALA) recently came to school early in the morning to watch NASA astronauts Jessica Mier and Christina Koch make history as they completed the first all-female spacewalk. The astronauts were dispatched from the International Space Station to replace a faulty lithium-ion battery, which the students watched live on NASA TV.
Samuel C. Gilstrap, the Los Angeles Unified School District public information officer, noted, “This is particularly meaningful to them as they are a STEM-focused school for girls.” The students were eager and excited to watch such a monumental moment in STEM history for women.
11/5/19—To honor the International Day of the Girl on October 11, The Girls’ School of Austin (GSA) held a Personal Care Supply Drive benefiting women and girls in the Austin area. Students, faculty, and staff donated baby supplies, sanitary products, and hair care during the one-day drive.
Most of the collected donations went to Posada Esperanza, a sister shelter to Casa Marianella for women and children serving displaced immigrants escaping from violence. GSA’s 8th grade is currently partnered with Posada Esperanza for a year-long service-learning project, so students delivered the supplies during their monthly volunteer visit. The students’ passion for giving back to their community will impact many women and girls throughout Austin, and their collective kindness will continue to benefit their school.