05/23/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

“You Can” Faculty Feature: Lori and Gabriella

Lori Strauss and Gabriella Rowe Stay connected with CS&A
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We’re just over two weeks away from our Women’s Institute, the theme of which is “You Can: Striving For Progress, Not Perfection.” Two weeks! We can’t believe it. Anticipation is building as we work to finalize all the details that are going into this second-annual event, including working closely with our faculty leaders on the professional development sessions that will fill the day. And after hearing a preview of her address, we are even more excited to welcome our keynote speaker, Shabana Basij-Rasikh from the School of Leadership Afghanistan (check out this Q&A with Shabana!).

This week, two more faculty leaders share their perspective on everything from the #metoo movement to advice they would offer their younger selves. If you’re feeling inspired after reading about these empowering women in education, register for our Institute today! All educators or allies of women in education are welcome.

Lori StraussLori Strauss

-Associate Head of School, Wildwood School (CA)
-Former Assistant Head of School for Program, K-12 and Upper School Director at Wildwood
-Lori’s commitment to whole child education was solidified in the years she worked as Director of Student Support Services overseeing counseling and academic support at Milken Community School (CA)

What are your thoughts on the state of women’s right and the #metoo movement in the U.S.?

Once a month on Thursdays, our students engage in a Current Multicultural Issue (CMI) discussion. Adults in our community offer topics and students sign up to attend based on interest. In April, I offered a middle school CMI on how an idea becomes a movement and how a movement becomes policy change. Our case study was the #metoo and Time’s Up movements. One particularly passionate student asked, “Can you outline the steps? How does an idea become a law?” We proceeded to brainstorm the types of political, social, and cultural steps necessary.

We talked about the fallacy of there being one pathway to social change. A student asked what it means for “the personal to be political.” When I explained that this was the rallying cry of second wave feminism, students grew curious about the waves of feminism. The passion and interest of these 12- and 13-year-olds who all knew the story of Harvey Weinstein and the names of those involved, but were hard pressed to name the women responsible for popularizing #metoo and Time’s Up, reminded me that we need to tell more stories that hold brave, strong, empowered women at the center of the narrative.

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

If your concern is your career and not a job, never stay too long in a position where you don’t respect the person you are working for or believe in the larger mission of the school. Meaning and relevancy is necessary to be professionally fulfilled. Therefore, find what matters to you and pursue that. Don’t hyper focus on the job description; just do the work, be of service, and create meaning.

What about the Institute are you most excited about?

Dedicated space to be in community and conversation with women in our profession. It is a wonderful opportunity to be both mentee and mentor. My hope is to develop relationships that will extend beyond the Institute, strengthening my network of powerful and passionate educators.

Gabriella RoweGabriella Rowe

-Head of School, The Village School (TX)
-Former Head of School at The Mandell School (NY)
-Board member for The First Tee of Greater Houston, Economic Development and Trade Committee, and chairperson of the education subcommittee at Houston Exponential

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

I’m a lover of big ideas. I enjoy pushing ideas outside the limit of what is possible. A very wise person once said to me, “Don’t forget when you come up with great ideas, somebody else has to execute them.” Essentially the message was, the ideas are great, but you have to pace it. Ideas take time to execute; it’s messy, and at times frustrating. The glory isn’t in the idea, but in the execution.

What advice would you give your younger self?

In the world I was in, I imagined the road to my end goal was through competing with those around and seeing who was left standing. Work was more of a battle than a joint exercise. I viewed myself as an island and that it was each woman for herself. It was like a light bulb went off. After that I realized my intuitive side and that the parts of me that had been nurtured growing up were actually some of my greatest talents. By setting those aside I wasn’t bringing my best self to the work environment. And it reminded me that work has to be purposeful.

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Goldsmith, my sixth grade teacher. She was the toughest bird ever. But, she was incredibly gifted at understanding each and every one of her students. I’m severely dyslexic and she was the first teacher that openly acknowledged she had high expectations for me, even though I had a learning disability. She was there to support me with tricks and tools and help, but she also pushed me. Because of her, I realized I was the only person who was creating intellectual limits for myself. And conversely, I was the only person who could take those limits away. That is the gift she gave me and I will always remember it.


Read about some of the other faculty members here and here, or see the full list of faculty members.

And don’t forget to reserve your spot at our Institute today–last year’s event sold out!

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