Girls learning, leading, succeeding
External Programs

Girls Summer Leadership Program

The Girls Summer Leadership Program seeks to cultivate in its participants Dana Hall School’s core values of integrity, leadership, diversity, and service, as well as respect for self and others. The program provides participants with a unique opportunity to prepare themselves for the challenges and choices they will face as high school students.
Whether participants will enter a co-ed or single-sex high school environment in the fall, the Girls Summer Leadership Program is designed to help girls find the tools they need to navigate this transition with confidence and self-awareness.


Over the week I have found great ways to be myself, but what really surprised me was that I was not judged. My peers were encouraging and helpful the whole time.
At Dana Hall, we understand that girls are different than boys. We know that each girl can lead in her own way. We encourage young women to take risks, find their strengths, and discover their voices. The Girls Summer Leadership Program provides a special setting for girls to work with high school and adult mentors to gain valuable skills and resources that they can take with them as they enter high school.

The Girls Summer Leadership Program is a 7-day/6-night residential program open to girls who have completed eighth grade and will enter high school in the fall. (Girls may be entering any high school; the program is not restricted to those entering Dana Hall.)


Knowing now that I can talk in front of people without being nervous or scared gives me so much more self-confidence then I had before I came. When I talk in front of people it makes me feel proud of myself.

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  • Program Details

    In specially-designed workshops and activities, girls build leadership skills, focusing on communication, decision making, collaboration, conflict resolution, anti-bullying and ally training, problem solving, and understanding differences. 
    Participants in the Girls Summer Leadership Program:
    • Examine different leadership styles/attributes and find their strengths
    • Participate in a local service project
    • Use technology to enhance connections and experience
    • Work with experts in the field of girls and adolescent development
    • Aspire to be a leader in their high school communities
    • Leave with a support network they can continue to connect with after the program ends
    • Experience dorm life
    • Have fun! 
    Under the direction of Dana Hall School’s Dean of Students Kristin Ryan, participants in the Girls Summer Leadership Program work with a network of high school mentors, young alumnae mentors, and adult mentors including Dana Hall faculty, community members, and Dana Hall alumnae.

    The program takes place on Dana Hall’s beautiful 52-acre campus in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

    Under the supervision of residential faculty members, girls live with roommates in Dana Hall dormitories. Participants have access to the School’s technology, fields, classrooms, Dining Center, and Shipley Center for Athletics, Health and Wellness, which includes an indoor pool, climbing wall, dance studio, and weight and fitness room.
  • Program Faculty

    Program Director
    B.A. Middlebury College
    M.Ed. Harvard University
    Kristin Ryan holds a Master’s in Education in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University and has been a part of the Dana Hall community since 2000. In her role as Dean of Students, Kristin leads the Student Affairs department at Dana Hall. Kristin has developed Dana Hall’s student leadership curriculum, which includes facilitating regular leadership workshops for 60 student leaders, and has presented on leadership education at a number of national conferences. As an on-campus faculty member, Kristin enjoys living alongside students and taking part in the various elements of boarding school life. “With training and support, I feel strongly that every girl has the ability to take on the challenges of high school with confidence and self-awareness. By focusing on each individual’s strengths and exposing participants to various leadership models, this program will leave each girl with a better understanding of herself, as well as her own aspirations for high school.”

    Assistant Head of School
    B.A. Cornell University
    M.Ed. Harvard University
    Rob Mather has been at Dana Hall since 1992. He served for many years as Dana Hall’s Director of Studies, and is a faculty member in the Social Studies Department. Rob works closely with the Academic Dean and Department Heads’ Committee to help foster academic growth and curriculum development across the disciplines. In various roles during his tenure at the School, Rob has served as a teacher, coach, class advisor, and administrator. He lives on campus with his wife and two daughters. “Dana Hall is a special place, and I’m delighted we’re able to welcome participants from across the country to our beautiful campus. More importantly, though, I’m excited by the opportunity to engage them with the exceptional leadership curriculum the School has developed over the years.”

    Program Faculty
    B.S. College of Engineering, Northeastern University
    Sarah Belliveau is a Dana Hall Upper School science teachers. She teaches a freshman course in conceptual physics and a junior and senior course in algebra-based physics. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Sarah oversees students’ academic transition to Dana Hall as the Academic Class Dean for the 9th grade. In this role, she works closely with students as they acclimate to the culture and customs of Dana Hall. 

    "My favorite part of every year is the 9th grade class retreat,” says Belliveau. “Students are getting to know one another, while working on leadership challenges on a high ropes course. Like these 9th grade students, I am looking forward to working with the GSLP participants as they get to know their own strengths and challenge themselves to push beyond their comfort zone.”
    Sarah has also been a part of many diversity initiatives, including the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) Diversity Workshop and Diversity Directions. For the 2016-17 school year, Sarah will be the faculty advisor to Bridge (Dana's Gay-Straight Alliance). She has served as the Educational Technology Facilitator for the Science Department, working with teachers and students to navigate the implementation of 21st-century skills in the classroom. The past four years, Sarah has also coached a variety of sports at Dana Hall, including ice hockey, softball, field hockey and personal fitness.

    Program Faculty
    B.A. Wellesley College
    Lindsay White is Dana Hall’s Coordinator of Diversity Programs. In this role, she advises SHADES, the student multicultural group; she also heads the Diversity Committee, composed of students, faculty, and administrators, which engages in thoughtful dialogue about issues of diversity within the school and greater community. Lindsay also serves as a Class Advisor to Dana Hall’s sophomore class and has developed curriculum for tenth grade health and character education, which explores the theme of community service with education and discussion around topics of national and global justice. In addition to her various roles supporting student programs, Lindsay coaches Middle School soccer and lacrosse, as well as Varsity Basketball, which she began coaching during her senior year at Wellesley College. She is an on-campus faculty member and has organized and led various community service projects and trips since she began at Dana Hall in 2005. “At Dana Hall we believe that the qualities of empathy and service are central to our students’ experiences. Acting on these values provides a context from which students can learn more about themselves, their core values, and the ways they seek to impact the world around them.”

    Program Assistant
    B.A. St. Lawrence University
    M.S. Regis College (MA) 
    Margie Bailey is the Shipley Center Program Coordinator at Dana Hall School. In addition to her duties in the Athletic Department, Margie is an advisor for the Peer Education Program, multi-season coach, and fitness instructor. Before arriving at Dana Hall, Margie was a four-year Varsity Lacrosse starter at St. Lawrence University and was formerly the Assistant Lacrosse Coach at Regis College. Outside of Dana Hall, Margie currently is a Central Mass. Club Lacrosse Coach.

    Professional Mentor Coordinator
    B.A. Union College 
    M.Ed. Boston College
    Guida Mattison '98, worked at Dana Hall from 2003 -2014, and holds a Master's in Education Administration with a focus in secondary schools. Guida worked primarily in the area of Health and Wellness. In this role she developed health curriculum, organized programs and taught classes to grades 7-12. In addition, she has advised, coached and lived in the dormitories. Guida is a Dana Hall alumna, attending from seventh through 12th grade. "My time at Dana Hall has made me realize the benefits of single sex education and the environment it creates to support and encourage all girls. I am very excited to be a part of this program, which I feel is a great representation of all that the school stands for." Guida is currently a Health and Wellness teacher at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord, Mass. 

    Young Alumna Mentor
    What Danielle hopes to gain from the GSLP: I hope to make a difference in someone's life as my GSLP mentors made in mine. From my experience working with Heading Home Inc. and being a student at Dana, I've learned that the smallest action can have a big impact on someone's life. I hope that, as a mentor, I can attempt to make someone's high school experience better. Danielle is currently a rising junior at Wellesley College majoring in neuroscience.

    B.F.A. Ohio State University
    Young Alumna Mentor 
    What Maddie hopes to gain from the GSLP: Working as a mentor, I look forward to the opportunity to help GSLP students gain the self-confidence and acceptance I found while at Dana Hall, which has helped shape who I am today.

  • Meet The High School Mentors

    The Girls Summer Leadership Program calls upon Dana Hall's own "resident experts" to help develop the program curriculum and also to mentor the participants during the week of the program.

    The High School Mentors are current 11th and 12th grade student leaders who have been significantly involved in leadership, diversity and/or service at Dana Hall and elsewhere.

    GSLP High School Mentors 

    Name: Campbell ’17
    Hometown: Wellesley
    Campbell wishes she knew then:
    "One of the most important lessons I have learned thus far in high school, which I wish I knew in 8th grade, is that every single person must make her own path and ther own identity in correlation with her own success. You cannot expect that the girl who sits next to you at morning meeting or the girl in your advisory will have the exact same experiences in high school. You cannot expect to take all the same classes as other people in your grade, because success is individual. Being able to step away from what others expect of you and what others are doing is a crucial skill that directly influences one’s success and one’s satisfaction levels. Furthermore, I wish I knew that identity changes and shifts with each new experience. In the past, I never considered myself to be a math or business or science person. However, after completing Dana's Girls Summer Entrepreneurship Program last summer, I found that I have a true passion for business, including both the mathematical and marketing aspects. In addition, through my course load this year, I have experienced greater levels of enjoyment in both my math and science classes. At first this change was striking to me, but I now realize that this is simply a part of learning more about myself."

    Name: Laura ’17
    Hometown: Chestnut Hill
    Laura reflects on leadership, one of the four pillars of the GSLP
    "Leadership is a word that I would not have necessarily used before I came to Dana, as I was shy and timid and would often not contribute in group activities. Having been at Dana since 7th grade, I would now consider myself a more confident leader. Being in the all-girls environment at Dana has benefited my life in so many ways. I believe that every girl should experience an all-girls camp or go to an all-girls school because those environment teach girls that it is okay to stand up for yourself, you are not a 'bossy,' and that you can be a leader. Dana creates a comfortable space where girls can step out of their comfort zones in order to grow and learn."
    Name: McKenna '17
    Hometown: Wellesley
    What McKenna wishes she knew then:
    "One thing that I’ve learned in high school that I wish I knew in 8th grade is that there is no set style for leadership, that different people can be leaders in different ways. When I was younger, I thought that there was only one clear style of leadership: the strong-willed and outspoken person. But as I’ve gotten older, I think my view of leadership has definitely changed. A leader might not always be the loudest or most outspoken person in the classroom, but the person who has something important to say and has the courage to say it. You don’t have to be a particularly vocal or involved leader, but you can be a leader by simply being respected and speaking up when it truly counts."

    Name: Raya ’16
    Hometown: Wellesley
    Why Raya thinks that GSLP is a particularly important program: "I think that an all-girls environment is extremely important for leadership training. The girls that come to the program learn and grow together. No one is an expert or completely experienced, but by the end of the program, they are much closer than they were at the beginning of the program. Every girl, even the mentors, find her strengths and weakness in a safe, judgment-free environment. By the end of the program, they’re equipped with proper leadership tools and, most importantly, confidence. I want to help girls grow like I did when I was in GSLP." 

    Name: Amanda ’16
    Hometown: Winchester
    Why Amanda thinks that GSLP is an important program: "Being able to harness your leadership skills at a young age is very beneficial for life. This program gives participants the chance to discover who they are as individuals, while opening them up to new opportunities and encouraging them to take healthy risks. GSLP is important because it provides girls with the chance to obtain these skills for the first time, and for girls to further improve their pre-existing skills. It also builds confidence in girls. Before participants can understand what type of leader they are or who they want to be, they need to be confident in themselves and GSLP allows them to discover that confidence. Being confident when entering high school can dramatically change a girl’s experience in a positive way because it helps a girl live more comfortably in her own skin."

    Name: Grace ’17
    Hometown: Wellesley
    Why Grace thinks that GSLP is an important program:
    "As a GSLP alumna, I know first hand the importance of this program. It teaches girls at a young age what a female leader looks like by having strong women as mentors as well as taking time to educate them about what one needs to be a leader. At GSLP, I learned a lot through the interesting lectures as well as team activities that taught me how to be a leader in a group setting."

    Name: Kathryn ’17
    Hometown: Natick
    Why Kathryn thinks that GSLP is an important program:
    "I think this is an important program because it offers girls, from many different backgrounds and with varied leadership skills, the opportunity to learn important leadership skills and gain the confidence they need to succeed through high school, college and beyond. Being in an all-girls environment will allow this group of girls to take risks, discover their voices, and find their strengths through the many leadership courses packed into the camp’s agenda. Not only will leadership skills be found through these workshops, but the collaboration and conflict resolutions that the girls will face will help them in the future and provide lasting friendships."

    Name: Sophie ’17
    Hometown: Weston
    Sophie reflects on leadership, one of the four pillars of the GSLP
    "Leadership is significant to me; it is something that I have found and pursued at my time at Dana because of the amazing role models and mentors that I have had. While attending Dana, I have fine-tuned my leadership skills and learned how to use them effectively. It is because of my amazing peers, teachers and role models within the community that I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and been encouraged to expand on my passions. Now I aim to be a role model to the GSLP students; I hope to be able to mentor these girls so that they can one day find the leader within themselves like I did."

    Name: Madelon ’17
    Hometown: Wellesley
    Why Madelon thinks that GSLP is an important program:
    "I believe the Girls Summer Leadership Program is an extremely important program, as it strives to empower young girls to learn to voice their opinions and take control. From my own personal experiences at Dana Hall, I have learned how important it is have leadership qualities, because they can contribute to all aspects of life including: class work, sports, family life, relationships and many more places. I urge all girls to find leadership characteristics, not only to better their own lives, but to empower other girls as well."

    Name: Meghan '17
    Hometown: Wellesley
    Meghan reflects on integrity, one of the four pillars of the GSLP
    "While thinking about the four pillars of GSLP, integrity stands out as being significant to me because I am a strong believer in staying true to yourself. I’ve always thought that through growing up we learn what is right and wrong, but sometimes there can be a gray area too, and it takes a lot of integrity to do the right thing when a situation is not black and white. With this, integrity is something that needs to be practiced, and eventually, having a strong sense of integrity can be worked into an everyday lifestyle. Being honest towards oneself and those around you is something that can take a great deal of integrity because with temptations and external opinions, strong integrity is extremely important."

    Name: Wendy '17
    Hometown: East Boston
    What Wendy hopes to gain from this experience as a mentor:
    "Going to GSLP made me see that I had the potential to be a leader, and I want other girls to see their potential. As I have grown older I have seen how important leadership is, and I want to be reminded of the tools GSLP provides, which I think will continue to benefit me in college."

  • Week In The Life

    The Girls Summer Leadership Program is curriculum is based on six pillars for the development of strong leaders. These are themes we focus on throughout the week at GSLP within our various activities and workshops.

    Here are some examples of activities the girls will engage in:


    The girls...
    • Discuss the qualities of an effective leader
    • Participate in hands-on activities (both in the classroom and outdoors) to help them discover, develop and hone the various leadership skills they each possess 


    The girls...
    • Define integrity and reflect on dilemmas and personal conflicts they have face to explore the role integrity played in its resolution
    • Reflect on relationships with parents and the ways to develop strong lines of trust and communication within these relationships 


    The girls...
    • Participate in workshops that develop networking skills
    • Reflect on a spectrum of personal comfort for communicating in different situations
    • Interact with peers in fun off-campus excursions 


    The girls...
    • Envision the type of leader they want to be and set goals to achieve this ideal
    • Share their goals with the group and make a commitment to achieve these goals 


    The girls...
    • Engage in discussions surrounding identity and diversity
    • Explore the issues surrounding bullying and develop ways to be an ally 


    The girls...
    • Reflect on the importance of service and on their own experiences of giving back to their own communities
    • Organize and engage in a day of community service related activities
  • Information for Accepted Participants

    Congratulations!  We are happy to welcome you to the Girls Summer Leadership Program!
    In order to reserve your place for GSLP 2017, please return the following as soon as possible:
    Registration form (to be completed by a parent/guardian)
    - $200 deposit
    The following required forms are due by June 1:
    Release of Liability form (to be completed by a parent/guardian)
    Health History form (to be completed by a parent/guardian)
    Authorization to Administer Medication form (to be completed by a parent/guardian)
    Physical & Immunization form (to be completed by a licensed physician)
    - Tuition balance of $775
     All fees must be paid by check (payable to Dana Hall School).
    For your planning purposes:
    Participants should be dropped off* at on Saturday, June 24 between 1:00-2:00 p.m. 
    Participants should be picked up* on Friday, June 30 at 2:00 p.m.
    * Participants needing transportation to/from the airport or train should contact Program Assistant, Margie Bailey ( in advance to make the appropriate arrangements.
    More details, including a packing list and what to expect for the week, will be posted as soon as it is available.
    Completed forms can be mailed to:
    Girls Summer Leadership Program
    Dana Hall School
    45 Dana Road 
    P.O. Box 9010
    Wellesley, MA 02482
    Or scanned and emailed to
    Questions? E-mail or call 781-489-1880.

2017 Program

June 24-30, 2017
Application Deadline
We have a few spaces left! We are still accepting applications on a rolling basis.
Rising 9th graders

If You Want to Learn More

Phone: 781-489-1880

GSLP Photos


Interested applicants should download, print, complete and return the four part application (below). 

Completed applications can be mailed to:
Girls Summer Leadership Program
Dana Hall School
45 Dana Road
Wellesley, MA 02482

Prospective applicants can also email applications to 

The four part application includes:
Please note: Applicants must be US residents.

List of 3 items.

  • Blue Key

    Favorite Activity
  • Solar Car Races

    Favorite Assignment
  • Western Civilization

    Favorite Dana Class

List of 1 items.

  • Nicole Text

    "In Western Civilization, we learn the material in interesting ways and the teachers incorporate different projects that make the information easier to understand."
    -Nicole '16