Meet Our Lower School Director

Donna Lindner
Lower School Director

B.S., University of Maryland
M.Ed., University of Pennsylvania

All-girls' schools provide an alternative narrative for our girls that opens their eyes to who they are and who they can be, beyond the messages they hear from television, books, media, social networks, and yes — in some cases, well-meaning people who care about them.

Donna Lindner

Donna Lindner has served as the Director of Agnes Irwin's Lower School since 2007, having previously served as Assistant Head of Lower School at The Haverford School. Under her leadership, the Lower School successfully implemented L3, a leadership development program created in partnership with our Center for the Advancement of Girls and Bryn Mawr College researchers. She has guided teachers through the development of thoughtful philosophies around topics such as technology use and homework in the Lower School, and worked with teachers to reimagine Agnes Irwin's early childhood education program — all through the lens of research and best practices for educating young girls.

A Letter from the Director

Lower school is where, in the words of Robert Fulghum, “The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why… (Girls) learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
Our Lower School is a place where the roots of learning take hold, allowing girls to thrive as they grow and change. The focus of every adult in our building is to educate young girls based on research, best practice and knowledge of how girls learn best. Instruction is informed by formal and informal assessments, designed to create an environment that meets the individual needs of each student no matter where she sits on the continuum of learning.
But learning doesn’t just happen sitting at a desk here. Our Lower Schoolers are gardeners, artists, scientists and musicians. Students play inside the classroom and outside on playgrounds designed specifically with girls and their brain development in mind. STEM learning begins in PreKindergarten, both in the classroom and our innovation center. Public speaking begins in kindergarten. The social and physical lives of girls are integrated into every aspect of their experience, and leadership skills and values are integrated into every aspect of their experience. Our students learn not only what qualities define good leadership, but how to be a leader and how to recognize good leadership in others.
Finally, our girls leave the Lower School beginning to understand that they are part of the Agnes Irwin School’s legacy of care for each other, the local community, and the broader global world. In the words of Jane Goodall, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Lower School students recognize that the future of our planet and ultimately, humankind, is within their power as young people to choose to positively impact. It is a responsibility they take very seriously.
But don’t take my word for it. Stop by and experience the wonder of the Lower School for yourself. I look forward to seeing you!
Donna Lindner,
Lower School Director