05/02/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

“You Can” Faculty Feature: Chap and Lorry

Headshots of Chap Chapman and Lorry Perry Stay connected with CS&A

Our second-annual Women’s Institute is just over a month away. Last year, we decided to host an event designed specifically to support women and their allies who are navigating their careers in the education community. The Institute created a trusted space for personal and professional advancement and mentorship–and was a sold-out event!

This year, the theme of the Institute is “You Can: Striving for Progress, Not Perfection” and will focus on professional skill development and career advancement for women in all stages of their journeys. A group of incredible educational leaders from across the country will be coming together to lead a series of panel sessions that will leave attendees with a toolkit for achieving goals in work and life. Last year, much of the positive feedback we received was around our faculty members, so we are excited to bring a new and inspiring group of women to the conversation.

From now until the event on June 8, we’ll be taking a closer look at the honorary faculty members who will be joining us. To start, let’s learn more about Dr. Sandra (Chap) Chapman and Lorry Perry.

Sandra Chap ChapmanDr. Sandra (Chap) Chapman

-Director of Equity and Community, The Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School (NY)
-28 years of experience in NYC independent schools, including Manhattan Country School and the Bank Street School for Children
-Regularly presents workshops on race, gender and LGBTQ+ issues, microaggressions, stereotype threat, and narrative as racial healing for outside organizations

What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by women working in education?

While I belong to a collective of people called women, who share various qualities and traits, I am struck by how different we are based on past experiences and our multiple identities. For example, I work with women who connect around the challenges we face balancing work and family or share similar struggles in the workplace around our management styles compared to men. However, the social identities we hold can sometimes divide us. Women of color and white women, transgender women and cisgender women, women in administration and women who are staff. These differences can sometimes get in the way of female educators supporting each other.

Describe a key moment, person, or other event that was critical in getting you to where you are now, whether personally or professionally.

I was born on my mother’s birthday and she then died on our birthday. That day, almost 20 years later, forever changed me personally. I hold a sacred space and memory for my mother. She taught me to always put family first, to return to the familiar when life is overwhelming, and to give to others of your time, attention, and care. In addition to applying these lessons to my family, as an educator I am equally able to give my time, attention, and care to children, parents, and colleagues in order to sustain our school community.

What advice would you give your younger self?

From my vantage point now as a queer woman of color raising three children and working in the educational field, I would tell my younger self that my aspirations are possible because of my many identities, and not in spite of them. The experiences I had, both the setbacks and the joys, positively informed my outlook on life, developed my resiliency in the face of challenges, and informed my future passions. I would advise my younger self to be more humble about any accomplishments and to remember the collective to which she belongs.

Why do you think it’s important we host a Women’s Institute?

Women make up the majority of roles in the field of education and yet we are often still silenced and/or serving within a system that does not always honor the ways in which women work.

Lorry PerryLorry Perry

-Assistant Head of School & Dean of Faculty, Blair Academy (NJ)
-Has worked in independent secondary education at schools including The Lawrenceville School, Scattergood Friends School and Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School
-At Lawrenceville, served as English department chair, founding director of the school’s summer academics boarding program, inaugural director of the winter co-curricular program, housemaster, coach, and mentor teacher

What advice would you give a woman who is trying to advance her career in education?

Don’t wait until you are comfortable performing all of the responsibilities of a role you’re interested in before applying for it. Make the very most of the responsibilities you’re given; aim to be known as much as someone who has great follow-through and who gets things done with strong attention to detail as someone who works productively with others. Form a strong network of female educational leaders at other schools who can mentor you.

Describe a key moment, person, or other event that was critical in getting you to where you are now, whether personally or professionally.

I feel so grateful to The Lawrenceville School as well as to CS&A for propelling me in my career. Because of the way the department chair role is structured at Lawrenceville, I gained quite a lot of management experience and had strong mentoring from other department chairs and the dean of faculty; then, because of my very active approach to chairing the English department, especially when it came to our hiring process, a Carney Sandoe team member thought to recommend me in Blair Academy’s search for assistant head of school/dean of faculty. I had only dreamt of serving a school in this capacity, and hadn’t imagined a way forward for myself and certainly hadn’t developed the chutzpah actively to seek out such a position.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to diversify my friend group. I am grateful to have had really excellent and supportive close friends throughout my early career; while I would never wish away how they affirmed and bolstered me, I wish now that I had sought out more opportunities to connect and collaborate with people whose experiences and opinions were more different from my own.

What about the Institute are you most excited about?

I’m so excited to get to know the other faculty members and all of the women who will attend this event. Connecting with mentors and networks is so valuable in sustaining us in our current work and in enlivening our creativity around what could be. It is hard to find time to make these connections and not to get insular and kind of root-bound, so it is wonderful to have this forum to attend.

Check back each week as we feature the rest of our talented Women's Institute faculty members who will be joining us in June.

Want to learn more about the Institute, read a recap from last year, or reserve your spot today? Click here!

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