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Open Houses and Authenticity

This past Friday was Open House at St. Clement’s, and it was and always has been our intention at these times to provide our visitors with as authentic an experience as possible such that they can make an informed decision about the next phase of the educational journey for their daughters.

You see, authenticity is something about which we feel strongly, for none of us can truly reach our potential or feel content until we can be ourselves. We have great confidence and pride in our small Grades 1-12 girls’ school community, as we know it affords a place where we can work closely with our girls to support them in their educational and developmental journeys while also allowing them to be themselves.

St. Clement’s mission is to develop outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. This mission guides everything we do such that our girls leave our school as young women equipped with the ability to take risks, stumble, persevere and grow.

There are many important words contained in our mission statement. We see intellectual curiosity, courage and compassion as vital characteristics that stand our girls in great stead in a world that is dynamic and requires agility. However, beyond the development of these traits, it is key that I highlight the obvious: that our focus is on developing these characteristics in girls and women.

St. Clement’s School is, by choice, committed to girls’ education. We believe in providing an environment where learning, leading and play is focused on best practice such that our girls’ strengths are leveraged as individuals while they are also learning to work together with peers and across the ages. Building important skills for resilience and personal strength are just as important as ensuring our girls have been challenged academically. In providing this environment, we provide the opportunity for our girls to truly be themselves- to be authentic.

Earlier this week, I attended a talk by Kirstine Stewart, CEO of Twitter Canada, who spoke about the need for a new kind of leadership. Stewart indicated that more and more businesses are looking for leadership styles that she believes are more prevalent among women- those that reflect agility, encourage collaboration and are transformational. Stewart indicated that she feels that the opportunities exist now for women to push through the glass ceiling. She also commented that there is a need for ensuring environments where girls and women are understood, guided and developed such that they can become engaged and passionate leaders.  Finally Stewart talked about the need for aspiring female leaders to be able to share their personal capital; by that she meant that in order to lead successfully, leaders should be able to invest in a good team, invest in sharing credit and invest in sharing power. Fundamental to the ability to share one’s personal capital is the need to feel good about oneself. I felt pleased when hearing this, as our community affords our girls this opportunity- to feel good about who they are.

As I said to our visitors on Friday, we have confidence that what they see in the classrooms and halls is what they will get with a St. Clement’s School experience. From Grades 1-12, we had no doubt that they would find a group of girls and young women who are keen learners and leaders whilst staying true to who they are, and that they would see staff committed to supporting them in their journeys. That is St. Clement’s.

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