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Member News

Check back regularly to see the latest news on what NCGS is up to, and all the incredible things happening at our member schools.

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Hamlin’s Admission Director Selected as Recipient of AISAP Leadership Award

9/20/17—Lisa Lau Aquino, Admission Director at The Hamlin School and member of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP), has been selected by AISAP as the inaugural recipient of the Andy Noel Leadership Award for Excellence in Advancing the Admission and Enrollment Management Profession.

Aquino’s demonstrated ability to lead by empowering students and admission professionals is why she was singled out as the recipient of the award. An alumna of Hamlin, Aquino began her career at Hamlin as a science teacher and later moved to Admissions after discovering how much she loved sharing the school’s innovative approach to learning, high academic standards, and supportive environment with prospective families.

Aquino is described as an admission leader “force,” able to inspire and build up those around her, whether it’s students, colleagues, or prospective families. “We all admire Lisa because of her deeply held and boldly lived ethical values, her tireless work ethic, and her steadfast commitment to access and inclusion,” shared Hamlin’s Head of School Wanda Holland Greene.

“At Hamlin, we educate our girls to meet the challenges of their times—it is part of our mission,” said Aquino. “We want our students to be the girl in the red dress; to stand out, step up, and take on issues that are important to them. Every decision we make is with our students in mind.”

The Girls' School of Austin Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Service Challenge

9/19/17—The Girls’ School of Austin (GSA) is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of a “15 Years, 15 Hours” challenge to their school community. Students, teachers, and parents are being challenged to complete fifteen hours of community service over the course of the 2017–2018 school year. Eligible service hours include volunteering for a non-profit, helping out a neighbor, caring for the environment, or completing a fundraiser for a charity. 

The challenge began with a school-wide service project benefiting victims of Hurricane Harvey. Students got together with their "school sisters" (multi-grade level groups they are a part of during their time at GSA) to make cards and banners welcoming evacuees displaced by the hurricane. Many students continued the volunteer work on their own by assembling “Welcome Kits” for the evacuated families. As a result, several students have already reached five or more hours.

"We wanted to celebrate our 15th anniversary in a way that is both meaningful to our students, and gives back to the greater Austin community,” shared Shanna Prewitt-Hines, Service-Learning Coordinator at GSA.

Annie Wright Capital Campaign Surpasses Goal

9/18/17—Annie Wright Schools’ capital campaign to enhance athletic facilities and grow the endowment recently surpassed its goal of $12 million by nearly 50 percent, fulfilling these essential strategic initiatives and enabling greater scholarship opportunities.

From Strength to Strength: The Campaign for Annie Wright Schools launched in 2014 to preserve and bolster the strength of the school and to make a transformative difference in the lives of its students. The campaign had exceeded its goal prior to the receipt of an estate gift from Suzanne Patrice Smith ’82. The alumna gift enhanced the campaign’s success and enabled the school to create its largest-ever endowed scholarships. The newly established Suzanne Patrice Smith Scholarship Fund will benefit students in Grades 9-12. The campaign’s success also enabled Annie Wright Schools to open a new all-weather athletics field this past spring, replacing the previous field built in 1923.

“Our donors’ leadership, philanthropy, and passion for Annie Wright Schools have been tremendous,” shared Head of Schools Christian Sullivan. “This exceptional community has come together to support students who will go on to make a lasting difference in the world.”

Saint Mary’s School Welcomes New Head of School

9/15/17—Saint Mary's School recently kicked off its 176th year of educating girls by welcoming new Head of School Brendan J. O’Shea to campus. O’Shea began his tenure in July 2017 and will serve as Saint Mary’s 14th Head of School.

A seasoned independent school educator and leader, O’Shea began his educational career at Woodberry Forest School. During his 16-year tenure, O’Shea served in numerous senior administrative positions, including Director of Admission; Assistant Headmaster for Admission, Marketing, and Financial Aid; and Assistant Headmaster and Dean of Academic Affairs. In 2004, O’Shea was appointed Headmaster of Charleston Day School, where he designed and managed a successful capital campaign resulting in the construction of a new Student Academic Center. He also led two successful accreditations for Charleston Day School and has served on numerous SAIS/SACS accreditation teams.

“What is unique about Brendan is his intrinsic ability to make connections,” shared Saint Mary’s Board Chair Gloria Taft Becker. “I look forward to the connections he undoubtedly will make here at Saint Mary’s School—whether it is connecting our traditions with the innovative needs of a 21st century education, his personal connection with our girls, parents, faculty, staff, and alumnae, or building a stronger connection off our campus with the broader community, these are just some of the connections I am confident he will make that will benefit our culture and momentum of academic excellence.”


Ivette Náter Retires as Director of Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas

9/14/17—Ivette Náter recently retired as the Director of Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas (CPN), located in Puerto Rico. For over 38 years Náter led CPN, the island’s only all-girls school educating girls in PreK through 12th grades. “All of us here at CPN are eternally grateful for her excellent leadership and dedication to our beloved school,” shared Margarita Díaz, Development Officer at CPN.

Náter is succeeded by Cristina M. Dávila, who according to Díaz, is “a dynamic leader with a supreme knowledge in handling the responsibilities that she has now assumed.”

St. Mary’s Academy Student Recognized with President’s Volunteer Service Award

9/13/17—Camille M., a senior at St. Mary’s Academy (OR), has been honored for her exemplary community service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant time to serve their communities and their country and is granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

It was during her sophomore year at St. Mary’s when Camille first walked through the doors of St. Stephen's Parish in Portland to help serve food to the local homeless community. She immediately felt the intrinsic rewards of serving this community in a way that went beyond providing a warm meal. Those strong ties led Camille to say yes to running the Saturday Breakfasts with a friend, and she now oversees dedicated volunteers that provide 80 to 200 meals every Saturday morning, along with a place to come in from the cold, rest, and talk. “To some people, feeding the homeless may seem like an act of charity, but I believe that it is an opportunity for companionship with our friends who may be going through a tough time and need our support,” shared Camille.

In addition to her time at St. Stephen’s Parish, Camille has contributed more than 300 hours of community service to the Children’s Cancer Association and other organizations during her time at St. Mary’s.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace Hosted Hall of Fame Surfer Bethany Hamilton

9/12/17—The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) recently welcomed world-renowned surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton for a day of empowering events on campus.

The day commenced with a moderated Q&A session where Hamilton shared her story of choosing courage over fear and offered tips to students, faculty, and guests on how to thrive and achieve their dreams. Afterwards, there were several opportunities for students and guests to speak with Hamilton more personally. The day concluded with the Shine Forth Event, co-hosted with The Friends of Bethany Organization in support of the Beautifully Flawed Retreat, where the local community was encouraged to share their inspirational stories of choosing courage over fear.

“This partnership with Bethany supports our mission to empower young women,” shared Dr. Lauren Lek, Head of School at OLP. “She inspires, fosters community, and serves as an excellent role model of what it means to be a ‘woman of faith, courage, heart, and excellence.’ We are excited and enthusiastic to host this amazing ‘Unstoppable’ woman and ignite passion for others through her incredible example.”

Stoneleigh-Burnham School and Smith College Announce Equestrian Partnership

9/11/17—Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) recently announced that its Equestrian Center has been selected to become the new home base for Smith College’s equestrian program. The SBS Equestrian Center encompasses two indoor riding rings, a heated viewing room, a large outdoor facility, and two heated barns that can house a total of 55 horses. Smith equestrian students and teams will be able to ride and train from the barns at SBS. Additionally, Stoneleigh-Burnham will offer training and coaching in a wide range of disciplines, a number of which are not currently available to Smith students, such as dressage.

The partnership is likewise set to bring SBS students many new benefits, including eight new horses, an additional instructor, and a new connection to the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association. Young riders at SBS will also have the opportunity to connect with older mentors who can share with them the experience of being a rider at the college level.

“Stoneleigh-Burnham's equestrian center is widely recognized as being one of the best in the country,” shared Smith College Athletics Director Kristin Hughes. “Having toured it with the team, we are confident that this new arrangement will provide interested students with top-quality riding opportunities.”


St. Mary's Academy Appoints New Principal

7/14/17— St. Mary's Academy has announced that Nicole Foran has been named to lead the school as the next Principal.

Foran brings distinct perspective and experience from her 15 years with St. Mary’s Academy as an English teacher and the department chair, and most recently as Assistant Principal of Student Life. She is also the proud parent of a Class of 2012 alumna.

“Nicole demonstrates her deep commitment to an all-girls Catholic college-preparatory education, her passion for St. Mary’s students and her appreciation of the mission of our founders, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, in every relationship, decision and act of leadership,” said Christina Friedhoff, St. Mary’s Academy President. “Nicole has been, and will continue to be, an exemplary leader for our staff, faculty, students and community.”

Girls Prep Celebrates Two Graduating Classes

7/10/17—Nearly 1,500 family members, friends, past and current faculty, alumnae, and scholars attended Girls Prep’s first-ever unified ceremony. Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx came together to celebrate the graduation of this year’s 8th grade scholars, and honored the inaugural Girls Prep cohort that graduated from 8th grade in 2013.

The Girls Prep inaugural cohort have now completed 12th grade and are pursuing post-secondary plans. Ninety percent of the students received an average of five acceptances from top colleges and universities, and cumulatively received more than $5 million in scholarship funds.

There is no better way to sum up the celebration than with the words of one of the 8th grade valedictorians:

Taking our core values of sisterhood, scholarship, merit, and responsibility with me to my high school St. George Academy and to eventually college and med school, I hope to become a successful female doctor. As having been in an all-girls school for my entire life, I am not intimidated by attending a coed high school. Following along this path as a strong, independent woman of color, I am not a voice to be silenced. I am a force to be reckoned with – WITH ATTITUDE. As my dad always told my sisters and me, "Reach for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars," and luckily for us, the stars are our sisters.

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy Receives National Award

6/26/17—Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) was recently honored as one of four schools in the United States to receive a 2017 School Innovation and Change Award from the National Principals Leadership Institute (NPLI), which recognizes exemplary schools that have been transformed through innovative educational practices.

Presented by Dr. Jill Berkowicz, NPLI associate and co-author of The STEM Shift, the award includes a $10,000 prize and the opportunity for CGLA Principal Maryo Beck to attend a weeklong principal development program in New York during the summer of 2017.

Having spent two days learning about CGLA, Dr. Berkowicz commended the school for its impressive gains on standardized test scores, strong community partnerships, and ability to provide students with the support they need to be successful. "I have never had the honor of being in the company of so many selfless people who care so deeply about giving children a chance,” said Dr. Berkowicz.

Click here to read more about this story.

Stone Ridge Student Selected as Girl Up Teen Advisor

6/8/17—Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart student Mary D. ’20 was recently selected as a Girl Up Teen Advisor. The campaign selected 21 young women to serve as 2017-2018 Teen Advisors—representing Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, and 14 different U.S. states—from more than 400 applications.

Teen Advisors serve a full year helping carry out campaign-wide goals, including championing new legislation and energizing others to take action in support of United Nations programs that will better the world for girls. In order to be authentically “by girls, for girls,” Teen Advisors also act as Girl Up representatives at official events and work alongside Girl Up staff to share their perspective and feedback.   

“As a two-year teen board member and the Community Service Group Leader, my team and I work to find and organize community service projects and meet monthly to come together and share ideas. We also hold a summer camp for girls where they do various activities to develop their confidence through their journey to self-discovery in the hardest parts of their lives,” shared Mary. “I am very excited to be working in such an amazing program and am honored to be able to help other girls get an education like mine.”

Click here to watch a video featuring all of Girl Up’s Teen Advisors.