February 13, 2014 

A Message From Mariandl Hufford

Dear Friends of CAG,   

Despite the interruption of multiple snow days,  we at CAG are working with continued energy. We have lots to report, and so much to look forward to.

In the past few months, the entire CAG team has moved to new office space - and we are loving our new central location. Not only does this make us more accessible to teachers, parents and, of course, girls, but the space itself sends powerful messages. These messages have become metaphors for what CAG is and what it will still become.

When you first walk up to the new CAG office, you will be struck by the portraits on the wall that surrounds my doorway. These are all portraits of former heads of school, from our founder Agnes Irwin herself to Anne S. Lenox and Adele Sands; these women personify the tremendous vision and commitment that have shaped who we are today. When all of those portraits first went up, I must admit to thinking that I had a lot to live up to. Now, I hope we are making these women proud.

In the office itself, on one wall, I have collected framed photographs of women who were the “first” to do or become something. The first woman to receive an engineering degree in the United States (Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, 1905) shares space with the first African-American woman to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Ursula Burns, Xerox, 2009). They are there because we need to be reminded, from time to time, that we enjoy opportunities to grow and achieve because of the legacy of women like these. Women who were unafraid. Confident. Powerful. 

The opposing wall in the office is covered with whiteboard paint. More than a gimmick, we chose to do this in order to be completely transparent about what we are planning. Each new idea starts with a few words on the wall. My favorite part is when students or teachers comment on what we are working on and start to add their own thoughts. The write-on wall shows that the Center, indeed, belongs to all of us at Agnes Irwin.

Stop in some time. We want to know your ideas, too.


Mariandl Hufford, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Girls

International Women's Day Guest Speaker

We are excited to welcome Tererai Trent to Agnes Irwin on March 6 and 7 to celebrate International Women’s Day. Trent is a Zimbabwean-American who founded Tinogona (Shona for "It is achievable"), which builds and repairs schools in rural Zimbabwe. One of Oprah Winfrey's "all-time favorite guests," she will speak to the public in a program at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening and to AIS students on Friday morning. If you’d like to attend this event, please RSVP here

CAG Around the Campus of AIS

CAG Welcomes Dr. Sarah Anne Eckert: Dr. Sarah Anne Eckert joined the Center’s staff in August as a research analyst. Eckert holds a B.A. from New York University and a doctoral degree in educational theory and policy from the Pennsylvania State University.  Prior to working at Agnes Irwin, she was a professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her role as research analyst for CAG, Eckert teaches history and the new Global Health and the Girl Child course.

Global Health and the Girl Child: This one-semester senior elective course, which concluded in January 2014, is the result of a partnership between Agnes Irwin’s CAG and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  With a special focus on health inequities, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing professors and others have led discussions with the girls on a variety of health issues that affect girls all over the world. Read More

Wellness Day: In October, we welcomed over 30 guest speakers to address various topics that pertained to wellness with girls in grades 5-12. The girls attended a range of workshops aimed at getting them thinking about all the ways to be and stay well. Read More

Goldie Blox Study: Beginning in late October CAG began introducing Lower School students to Goldie Blox, an engineering toy built specifically for girls. The toy, which uses a story to teach girls about engineering, capitalizes on research that demonstrates girls’ strengths in written and spoken language. Read More

L3 Toolkit Introduction to LS Students: We introduced a leadership toolkit, which was created by a team of Lower School teachers and administrators, to our Lower School students. The team embraced the process of Participatory Action Research (PAR) last year and came up with an engaging and thoughtful way to continue leadership education for our youngest girls. Read More

CAG Beyond AIS

Leading for Change Conference: Last school year the Council for the Advancement of Girls, a student led organization that promotes the values and visions of the Center, dreamed up a leadership conference that would empower girls through education. Read More

Girls Empowerment Campaign: Stay tuned for an announcement about a partnership between Women's Way and CAG that will be launched during the Tererai Trent visit on Thursday, March 6.

The Real Deal: Real girls. Real voices. Real impact: The Real Deal summer leadership program will take place from July 14-18, 2014 at The Agnes Irwin School. This weeklong day camp for girls entering grades 7-9 is designed to encourage girls to discover their potential as leaders, both inside and outside of school. This year’s program will feature empowerment and leadership, problem-solving and skill-building skills. We are also excited to welcome Colleen Baratka, a child psychologist who will conduct a fun workshop using dramatization to illustrate concepts of wellness and self esteem. The Real Deal will also feature the founders of the Girls Justice League, who will speak to girls about how to start a movement. Finally, Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss how girls can develop gumption in a workshop entitled “How to get your ROAR on.” Sign up now to offer your daughter a chance to hone her leadership and empowerment skills.  She will carry these lessons back into the classroom and the real world! For more information or to register for this summer’s program, please visit our website. If you have any questions please contact us by email


NCGS Presentation: June 26
Mariandl Hufford and Donna Lindner, Director of the Lower School, presented Living Leadership in the Lower School (L3) at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools Conference in Wellesley, MA. 

Hillary Clinton: Sept. 10
Thanks to our wonderful friends at the National Constitution Center, 30 students and faculty attended the Liberty Medal Award ceremony at the National Constitution Center, where Hillary Clinton was the honored recipient. 

Dr. Ken Ginsburg: Oct. 17
At the request of our Challenge Success team, who heard him speak in Chicago in fall 2012, Dr. Ken Ginsburg addressed our Middle and Upper School students, staff and parent community about ways to reimagine and redefine notions of success in a talk entitled “Authentic Success: raising children and teens prepared to thrive through good and challenging times.” Dr. Ginsburg’s talks were met with enormous enthusiasm and appreciation from all constituents.

PROGRESS: Nov. 14-15
Fifth and sixth grade teachers and students participated in workshops lead by the founding executive director of PROGRESS, Ayana Ledford, from Carnegie Mellon University in negotiation skills. PROGRESS, Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society, was identified as a crucial program for girls to learn how to advocate for themselves by truly understanding their value. 

Liza Cartmell: Dec. 2
As a part of the Women’s Leadership Journeys speaker series, Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance, spoke to Upper School students about her career path and the lessons she learned along the way including how to “fail small.”

Rachel Simmons: Jan. 9
We welcomed over 500 parents from the AIS and Radnor School District community to hear author Rachel Simmons speak about the significance and complications of relationships for school aged children.

Renee Amoore: Jan. 17
Renee Amoore served as our second speaker of the Women's Leadership Journeys series this winter. In 1996 Amoore started her own company, which today consists of three divisions under the parent corporation, The Amoore Group (TAG). She spoke to the girls about the importance of recognizing your goals and finding confidence in your own abilities to see them through. 

Presenting at NCGE: Feb.7
Mariandl Hufford and Rachel Hansen '14 presented at the National Conference on Girls’ Education in Philadelphia this month. Their topic was the development and creation of the Leading for Change Conference hosted at AIS in September 2013.

The Agnes Irwin School
Ithan Avenue & Conestoga Road  •  Rosemont  •  PA 19010   •  Tel 610 525-8400

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