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St. Luke’s Educators Spread the Wealth

Head of Upper School Liz Perry and Director of College Counseling Sonia Bell share their expertise and a bit of St. Luke’s culture through FORGE and One Schoolhouse.

FORGE: Building Leadership Capacity

Liz Perry serves as a facilitator at FORGE, a yearlong learning experience created by the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

In this role, Perry coaches school leaders looking to make meaningful changes at their institutions. Each participant brings a problem or challenge to FORGE and works with peers to brainstorm solutions. “The magic of FORGE is that it employs small groups called Guilds,” said Perry. “The initial four-day workshop takes place over the summer, and the Guilds continue to meet regularly throughout the school year. This means participants have built-in accountability and support. When you know your Guild members expect a progress update, it provides positive motivation to keep working to accomplish your goal. Throughout the process, we celebrate small experiments and help school leaders see that change is possible.” 

Perry credits her St. Luke’s professional development work and 16 years as a Lead Teacher at the Klingenstein Summer Institute for preparing her for this mentorship role: “St. Luke’s philosophy is that nobody grows in isolation. Our Faculty Growth and Renewal Program is all about collaboration, goal setting, checking in, and creating regular feedback opportunities. We’ve seen the benefits of this approach, and it’s exciting to share something that works with other schools. The Klingenstein Summer Institute also gave me a wealth of experience in how to help new teachers hone their skills, and, along the way, build their confidence.” 

“I absolutely get back more than I give,” said Perry. “It’s meaningful not just to see people come up with ways to improve their schools, but also to see them experience the joy of putting yourself out there.” 

One Schoolhouse Advisory Council

Perry was also invited, along with St. Luke’s Director of College Counseling Sonia Bell, to work with One Schoolhouse, an online learning organization. Both have joined the Advisory Council, a group of master educators who advise One Schoolhouse’s leadership about professional competencies and programming for their Association for Academic Leaders

Perry and Bell join an accomplished group of educators from outstanding schools. St. Luke’s is one of only two schools with two members serving on the council. 

“I appreciate that these organizations recognize St. Luke’s as an innovative school. It’s always rewarding when others see the value in what we do. It’s also wonderful to be connected to networks that promote professional generosity. That’s why St. Luke’s created its own Teaching Institutes, which provide support and professional development for educators at every stage of their careers. Few things are more satisfying than working with peers toward the common goal of making education exceptionally good.” 

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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.