Members of the RPCS community played several leadership roles in designing and executing the event. Faculty member, Kelsey Twist Schroeder, 2001, served as Co-Chair of the conference and Assistant Athletic Director, Sean Donmoyer, served on the planning committee. Toni Woodlon, third grade homeroom teacher, presented a dynamic workshop entitled Fostering Leadership Through Global Citizenship: Community Action Education in a Lower School Classroom and Junior Kendall Ross co-presented in the workshop Building BRIDGES: Teaching Leadership through Community Outreach. Nine other RPCS employees attended the conference and over forty Upper School students joined the afternoon keynote address given by Baltimore Corps founder and CEO, Fagan Harris.
A Baltimore native and Rhodes Scholar, Harris told attendees how he learned about inclusive leadership through advocating for marriage equality. The child of an interracial couple who experienced discrimination, he felt a strong desire to fight for the right for all Marylanders to be able to marry the person they love. He told the story of being called by the head the NAACP and asked to interrupt his Rhodes Scholarship and leave Oxford to return to Maryland to work on the Question 6 campaign. Asked whether he finished his degree, Fagan said, “I was on a plane the morning after the bill passed. My mother wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Junior Sydney Saunders was in attendance and when asked what she learned from the lecture, she said, “We learned that it is a privilege to go to an independent school like RPCS, and that after we graduate we have to use our education to help those who are not as privileged. Fagan could have gone anywhere, but he came back to Baltimore. We have to follow his example and take care of our city.”
In reflecting on her experience, Elisha James, Middle School Dean of Students, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. Each workshop and small group discussion provided the opportunity to think deeply about leadership. A statement made by Harris is especially imprinted in my mind. Fagan said, ‘leadership is a choice not a title or position.’ I hope that as we encourage girls to ‘look within and beyond themselves to contribute to and serve as stewards and leaders of their communities’ we convey the message that leadership is about making a choice to do something that will positively impact others.”
Library Assistant, Kim Wilson, was moved by the many connections she made during the day between diversity work and leadership development. “When discussing inclusive leadership, the other attendees and I spoke about many of the same ideas and concepts that often come up during diversity work. I think there is a natural parallel between these two areas, both of which try to help students come to know themselves, understand one another, and work together toward common goals.”
This is the fourth year that AIMS has presented a conference on leadership education and RPCS community members have held leadership roles in the event every year. Standing on the shoulders of the visionary educators who have helped girls to realize their power and potential for generations, we remain committed to upholding this legacy of leadership.