Pilot Program Encourages Students to Become Leaders for Change

Ten Oak Knoll School seniors and seven members of the junior class are fostering skills and gaining confidence to become effective leaders of today in a globalized world.

The new pilot program, Emerging Leaders of a Globalized World, is a virtual program designed by Orgwell Global that equips students with the tools they need to effectively lead and collaborate in an inclusive world.

After Oak Knoll pilots the program this year, the school plans to roll it out as the official leadership training program for its Peer Leader Program.

The Emerging Leaders of a Globalized World program is facilitated by Dr. Rebecca Stilwell, Ph.D., an Organizational Psychologist who consults with schools, districts, and other for- and nonprofit organizations. She teaches Applied Research for Organizational Change, Practicum in Leading Organizational Change, Organizational Psychology and Understanding Behavioral Research at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Stilwell’s current research focuses on leader behaviors that support effective change and approaches to change in education.

Students who joined the program began their work in November. Students will work on virtual program components once a month for two hours during normal school hours through May 2021.

Oak Knoll Social Council President Brooke Monti ’21 joined the Emerging Leaders pilot program to improve upon her leadership skills in high school and beyond.

“I believe that this program will help my career and future in the aspects of public speaking, mediating situations, and gaining more confidence as a woman in the workforce,” said Monti. “As social council president, I need to be open-minded, optimistic, approachable, respectful, and an overall role model. In these classes, I hope to gain more knowledge about how to physically and mentally be a leader by attaining these traits.”

Sarah Duttenhofer ’21, head coordinator of Oak Knoll’s Peer Leaders, said she hopes the program will help her become more confident working both independently and with a group.

“The lessons that I am learning are lessons that I will forever be using to better myself and my future team,” said Duttenhofer.

Student leaders enrolled in the program will also take part in a one-hour, personally customized executive coaching session three times throughout the academic year as well as a Learning Team Project component.

“My hope is that our students discover their leadership styles and learn new leadership styles along the way,” said Zohra Ismail, Upper School Dean, Grades 10-12. “The program is great for our seniors to be equipped with this as they enter their next phase and transition to college. The loudest person in the room isn’t necessarily the leader. In an ever-changing interconnective world, we need to listen and be open to ideas.”