Meet Melanie Slezak
What do you enjoy most about being interim Lower School Director?
I took on my new role in July of 2023 after over 36 years of serving in faculty and leadership positions at Agnes Irwin. I am still constantly energized by the excitement, curiosity, and wonder that our lower school students have for learning. Year after year, the girls enjoy coming to school and consistently give their best efforts. This place is my calling – I have immense joy and pride in all of my students and our school.
Through a professional growth grant, you spent a summer developing curriculum for the Leadership Toolkit© for the Lower School. What was the result?
I worked to create activities for each of the nine traits in the Leadership Toolkit. The toolkit, and the symbols inside, are the foundation of our leadership lessons. The activities I compiled are ways to enhance and deepen the girls' understanding. They are hands-on, fun, and can be used with individuals or small groups. We know our girls are leaders, and these activities give them intentional opportunities to practice and demonstrate their growing leadership identities. I worked with Dr. Lisa Dissinger, our Lower School psychologist, to align the 4Cs of our Let's Care curriculum with the Leadership Toolkit. It has been a wonderful collaboration and the girls are learning important vocabulary and skills that connect friendship and social skills with leadership.
What fun fact about you would surprise people?
I was an exchange student in Honduras in 1976. I took several years of French in high school and didn't know one word of Spanish when I was assigned to Central America. I truly learned Spanish by immersion. While there, I went to an all-girls school, learned to care for coffee bean and mango plants, and got used to seeing tarantulas on a regular basis.