Alumnae Calendar

  • November 2018
    • WedNov07 Alumnae/Senior Class Dinner 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
  • December 2018
    • FriDec21 Class Song Contest (Formal Uniform) 1:00 PM to 2:15 PMLyman: Tippit Gymnasium

Congratulations to these seven members of Laurel's class of 2019 who have received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, based on their Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test scores. More than 1.6 million juniors took the PSAT in 2017. Catherine Amaddio, Grace Cousens, Ria Desai, Meredith Hilkert, Cameron Kaye, Simran Surtani, and Daania Tahir all scored in the top 50,000 of those participants.

Early childhood education is just as rewarding for educators as it is for students. This was the theme in a recent Cleveland Jewish News article that featured interview excerpts from Laurel Prekindergarten teacher Kathryn Marshall. In the story Kathryn states that, "Children keep me in the moment and help me rediscover the joy of being in the moment. I get to have the same awe with children right there with them." She goes on to explain that she is "Always trying to find new, innovative ways to teach children. The sense of joy and wonder of living in the moment also translates into my life." Click here to read the full story, including the sage advice Kathryn would give her younger self.
Jami Morris '21, who competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals in Augusta earlier this year, recently conducted a Q&A with Cleveland Magazine where she talked golf, fashion, the perfect miniature golf hole design and her hobbies off the golf course. Her story was featured in the magazine's Private School Special Section. When asked what her favorite golf attire is she replied "I have these crazy bright pink shorts. If I had 20 pairs, I would wear them every day. They brighten my game and encourage me to be the best golfer I can be." She also touched on equality in her interview, stating that "Women should be able to play with the men, on the same courses and with the same yardages. That would be a big step up for women's golf, and we will rise to the challenge." 

Click here to read her full interview.  

Jackson to work together with Ann V. Klotz and Board members to maintain the Laurel School Mission

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – (August 22, 2018) Laurel School is pleased to announce Lynnette Jackson ’93 as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jackson, a Relationship Manager and Vice President at Key Private Bank, has been on the Board since 2012, most recently serving as Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Jackson held the role of Laurel Alumnae Board President from 2009-2012.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in this role as Board Chair,” said Lynnette Jackson. “It is an opportunity to give back to my alma mater who, through academic rigor, enriching experiences and leadership opportunities, has inspired me and my family to dream, dare and do. As Laurel embarks on its 125th Birthday, the work of this Board will certainly shape the next 25-50 years of the school.”

In her Relationship Manager role at Key Private Bank, Jackson delivers integrated strategies and forward-thinking, objective advice to her clients. These skills will continue to serve her well in her new role as Board Chair where Jackson will work closely with Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz and other Board members to continue to set and maintain a vision and strategy for the school. Together, they will ensure sound financial management, appropriate stewardship of resources, and accountability towards goals.

“I am so pleased to be working hand-in-hand with Lynnette and the entire Board of Trustees to continue living Laurel’s mission and building on our long-term vision,” said Ann V. Klotz, Laurel Headmistress. “The Board has been instrumental in the development of our Strategic Roadmap and it is an exciting time for us as we embark on our next goal. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”

Other updates to the Board include Kristine Swails Bryan ’80, who has been named Vice Chair. Bryan is an Equity Research Consultant with Private Harbour Investment Management, LLC, and has been a member of the Board since 2015, most recently serving as Chair of the Investment Committee. Megan Lum Mehalko ’83, Chaundra King Monday ’95, and Suzanne Schulze Taylor ’81, have all been newly elected to the Board with three-year terms commencing June 2018.


Founded in 1896, Laurel School is a nationally recognized school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 12, with a coeducational Pre-Primary School. Its mission is “to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”




Laurel's After School Coordinator, Tina Ohmart, was recently included in a Cleveland Jewish News article highlighting the importance of after-school programming and its benefits to kids. In the story she states that, "We have students who stay after school for supervised play and they hang out with their friends and develop emotional and social skills. And then there are structured activities where students can learn something specific as well. But across the board, there are social-emotional skills that can be learned. Everything else is a plus.”

She also highlights how after-school programming can be a great avenue for personal growth. Click here to read the full story.

According to the Cleveland Jewish News, "Advancements in technology have made their way into the classroom and influence the way students learn."

Daniel McGee, Laurel's director of technology and library services, was recently interviewed for a piece focused on technology in the classroom and how its use affects how students learn. In the story Daniel agreed that technology’s influence is largely for the better. "Technology is kind of boundless, it has no boundaries, so it can be used for any discipline. It allows you to do something transformative and it allows you to find ways to express yourself in unique ways that you wouldn’t be able to do without using those tools."

Daniel also touched on Laurel's one-to-one laptop program where a laptop is provided to each student and the use of G Suite so students and teachers can utilize Google apps, such as Docs, Sheets and Classroom to engage with the learning material. 3D printers are also incorporated into the curriculum at Laurel.

Click here to read the full story.

Laurel's Capstone Experience was recently featured in Currents Magazine. Capstone, a three-and-a-half-year program that promotes research, mentorship, peer collaboration and relationships, internships, leadership and peer travel, had 86 Upper School students participate during the 2017/2018 school year. What makes the Capstone Experience unique is its focus on students' drive and interest in participating in something extracurricular versus their transcripts. If accepted, girls participate in group projects and collaborative seminars through the end of Grade Ten and then go on to choose an area of inquiry that falls under one of four lenses: Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Studies, or STEAM. 

The Currents piece highlights Morgan Goldstein '18 who, as part of her Capstone Experience, authored a cookbook where adolescents are the intended audience. Morgan worked closely with her project mentor Steve Trattner, who has worked with many notable chefs on their own cookbooks, to make her dream become a reality. The article highlights another former Capstone student, Maddy Massey '18, who chose the STEAM lens for her research and comprised a seven-song album. To achieve this, Maddy worked with her mentor, local singer/songwriter Jennifer Chittester, who played at LaureLive in 2016. 

Trey Wilson, Laurel's Director of Strategic Partnerships, was interviewed for this story. Click here to read the full piece.

In her latest New York Times Well Adolescence column, Dr. Lisa Damour, Executive Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, focuses on consent and what it truly means to want to engage in a sexual behavior. In her column, Lisa states that, "So long as discussions of consent crowd out discussions of basic interpersonal sensitivity, we should not be surprised by reports of young men who (more often than the other way around) badger young women for sexual favors. It may be legal to wear someone down, but doing so is not the basis for healthy relationships between any two people, be they of the opposite or same sex."

"And so long as we normalize mere consent as an acceptable standard for sexual engagement, it will remain commonplace for young women (and sometimes, young men) to harbor feelings of confusion and regret after participating in sexual activity for which they technically gave consent, but only when pressured."

She goes on to highlight that, "Sexual encounters ought to be pleasurable, mutual endeavors. They should advance as partners earnestly and happily agree, not because one party merely grants permission to the other. Too often, our advice to young people trains their attention on consent, the lowest possible bar for lawful sexual activity. We routinely spell out precisely what does, and doesn’t, constitute acquiescence but say little or nothing about tuning in to one’s partner’s desires. To put a very fine point on it, we essentially communicate, 'When it comes to your sex life, don’t assault or rape anyone.'"

Dr. Tori Cordiano, a clinical psychologist and Research Director for Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, served as the expert in a recent Your Teen Magazine Q&A about how parents can communicate with their teen about dating and issues that can arise.

In the piece Dr. Cordiano states that, "Though it can be tough to think about teenage relationships, dating during adolescence serves as good practice for future relationships and allows teens to consider what qualities matter to them in a relationship. One key to navigating this issue is frequent, open-ended conversations with your daughter or son. If your teenager is like most, he will balk at the idea of discussing his dating life with you, but don’t let that stop you from jumping on the chance to discuss the topic with him when you can. And expect to have numerous conversations—your son may be more open to talking about it if he knows it will be brief and low-key and that he doesn’t have to settle in for a lecture."

Click here to read the full piece.

In May a reporter from Quartz at Work, a global business news organization owned by The Atlanticvisited Laurel's Butler Campus to observe students in Grades Three through Seven who are part of the school's Adventure Girls program as they participated in their long awaited overnight, representing the culmination of a year of adventures together. The article states that "While this may sound like a run-of-the-mill after-school program or summer camp, there’s an element that sets it apart: Adventure Girls is borne out of research on how girls can build resilience. The program aims to create stress-inducing situations and equip young girls with the tools to get through them. Girls get started young so that they’ll be prepared to handle the pressures of high school, college, and life beyond."

Adventure Girl leaders Shannon Lukz and Chuck Allen are both highlighted in the story, as is Dr. Lisa Damour, Executive Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, who highlights the research initiative Laurel has embarked on in the last eight years to examine the relationship girls have with stress and how to build resilience—the ability to adapt well to adversity. 

The article states that "The research findings that Damour uncovered have been crucial for the framework that underpins Adventure Girls and the broader culture at Laurel School. This framework outlines five elements of resilience: creativity, purpose, growth-mindset, relationships, and self-care. Adventure Girls learn these tools in a variety of ways, often through more subtle cues, including the way the adults structure activities and discussions before and after."

The Adventure Girls program is year-round, and meets 12 times each semester. Girls take two to three field trips that involve adventurous activities like kayaking, climbing, or snowshoeing. The program works hard to get parents and teachers on the same page to work toward the same goal—fostering language and behaviors that teach these girls how to handle adversity.

Click here to read the full story.

  • October 2018
    • WedOct17 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • ThuOct18 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • ThuOct18 Grades 10 and 11 Class Trips
    • FriOct19 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • FriOct19 Grades 10 and 11 Class Trips
    • SatOct20 Fall Festival 6:00 PM to 9:00 PMButler
    • MonOct22 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • MonOct22 Middle School Swimming Begins
    • MonOct22 Middle School Swimming Parent Meeting 6:30 PMLower University School
    • TueOct23 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • TueOct23 Grades 7 and 8 Advisory Parent Breakfast 8:00 AM to 8:30 AMLyman
    • TueOct23 Grades 7 and 8 Parent Coffee 8:30 AM to 9:15 AMLyman
    • WedOct24 Grade 4 Power and Purpose Butler
    • WedOct24 Upper School Basketball and Swimming Parent Meeting 6:00 PM to 7:30 PMLyman

Alumnae Spotlight

alumnae spotlight banner

Alumnae Spotlight showcases amazing Laurel women and the paths they have charted since graduation. Whether they are doctors, designers, artists, authors, scientists, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, pharmacists, or civic activists or volunteers, Laurel women inhabit nearly all careers and corners of the world helping to make it a better place. Our alumnae and the journeys that they have taken speak to the essence of a Laurel education and what makes this School and the community of women who call it their own distinctive. This space highlights their fascinating lives and the mountains they continue to move.

If you would like to be featured in our Alumnae Spotlight, or know of an alumna who might, please email Megan Findling.

October 2018 Alumnae Spotlight

Arnelle Martin ’84

For proud Green Team member Arnelle Martin ’84, life is about following your passions. She went to business school at a time when there were only a few female CEOs and established herself as a branding and marketing innovator. After decades in corporate America, she recently decided to take a break to focus on personal endeavors. Arnelle shares, “Walking away, even temporarily, from a career path is not always easy and sometimes requires strength, courage and resilience but it’s worth it in the end. An unconventional path or decision may be exactly what’s required to stay true to yourself and your passions.”

A strategic leader for Laurel School through her service on the Board of Trustees, Arnelle encourages alumnae to stay involved with Laurel, wherever they live. “Laurel women live around the country and around the world,” she notes. “Just reach out to the Alumnae Office to find a community of alums near you!”

Why did you choose to come to Laurel starting in Eighth Grade?

Prior to attending Laurel, I participated in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s “Major Work” gifted education program. It was a great experience that prepared me for my time at Laurel, and I am forever grateful for the enriching educational opportunities it provided me. With that said, by middle school, I had begun to outgrow the program and yearned for a more advanced learning curriculum. I considered many local and out-of-state schools but, ultimately, selected Laurel for its unique ability to embrace and excel in math, science and the arts. It was clear to me that Laurel was a nurturing environment where I could continue to grow intellectually and artistically while honing many of my passions.

What’s your fondest memory of Laurel?

My fondest memory at Laurel is my time spent learning Latin with Mrs. Pyle the summer prior to the start of Eighth Grade. She made learning Latin fun at a time when I would have normally been enjoying my summer vacation. She instilled in me a love of the classics and romance languages and it’s because of her that I went on to study classical Greek and Italian at Laurel and Skidmore College. I greatly appreciated the time she took out of her personal schedule to help ensure I had the best chance for success as a new Laurel student.

How do you think your time at One Lyman Circle influenced the years since graduation?

Ann V. Klotz’s “The Offer of Laurel School”, which was inspired by President of Bowdoin College (1885-1917) William DeWitt Hyde’s “Offer of the College,” eloquently articulates how my time at Laurel influenced my years since graduation. It aligns with my values and captures the skills I use to be the innovator I am today.

The Offer of Laurel School:
To retain your integrity in a world that too often doesn’t.
To choose what is good over what is easy.
To balance tradition with an appetite for innovation.

To think critically and to ask important questions.
To be unafraid of adventure in all forms.
To act with courage more often than from fear.

To listen carefully to those both like and unlike yourself, offering respect and dignity to all you meet,
Forging connections that are authentic and enduring.
To contribute to, to sustain and to improve the communities in which you live;
To reject man’s inhumanity to man, even as you practice resilience in all your endeavors.

To be curious;
To permit the wonder and beauty of the natural world to inspire you
And to steward landscapes, both known and unfamiliar.

To express yourself with confidence and grace in writing, language and the arts.
To value the satisfaction precise endeavors offer, while relishing, too, ambiguity.
To discover what you love and to pursue those interests purposefully.
To be curious and learn forever.

To be the agent of your own education.

This is the offer of Laurel for your time in these dear walls.

After Laurel, you studied business at Skidmore College and then went on to earn your MBA from Case Western Reserve University in 1995. How was the business field different for women in the 1990s than today?

One of the biggest differences between then and now would be the number of female CEOs who existed in the 1990s versus today. Although female CEOs are still quite rare, with Fortune reporting that the 2018 Fortune 500 companies have just 24 female CEOs, the numbers have improved since the 1990s.

You’ve spent the last decade being involved with the development and marketing of products from Sour Patch Extremes to FiberChoice Fruity Bites. Can you tell us a little about all the work that goes into the creation and marketing of a new product?

At its most basic level, innovation is about identifying and validating a product offering, service or process that addresses the unmet wants and needs of a consumer while also meeting the strategic and financial objectives of the business. It requires a comprehensive business analysis that looks at the category, consumer, competition, customer and the company. The marketing of a new product is generally focused on determining & managing the 4Ps (product, price, placement and promotion) in order to drive growth, while always keeping an eye on the consumer’s wants and needs. It is important to note, however, that in today’s fast and ever-evolving market there is no “one size fits all” approach.  

What are the most important skills to have to be a successful innovator?

The ability to influence and be strategic, to glean insights and connect the dots are important skills to have as you look for opportunities to drive growth within an organization.

What was involved in your job as the Senior Product Manager: Innovation at Gerber?

I led the front-end innovation process, identified white space opportunities, developed the innovation strategy and defined the long-term innovation pipeline. I also developed Gerber’s Clean Field Farming™ positioning and communication content which created a sustainable consumer-centric platform for Gerber to engage and connect with their consumers in a relevant way.

How have Millennial (and even Generation Z) demographic groups changed the way businesses connect and interact with their consumers?

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are looking for transparency: they want to be engaged and a part of the conversation. They embrace experiences and enjoy connecting with others via social media. Digital marketing allows businesses to connect with them in a way that is convenient and easily accessible. They have the flexibility to opt in and opt out at their leisure and to share content that resonates with them. Businesses have the ability to tell a story and vary the content through short stories or video vignettes. Millennials and Gen Z consumers have changed the rules of engagement and the speed with which information is disseminated, digested and shared. It’s no longer about marketers telling consumers what they want them to know. It’s about businesses being active listeners and responding in a way that addresses their consumers’ needs.

At the moment you’re taking a break from corporate America to recharge and focus on personal endeavors. How has that been? What have you gained from this time away from work?

It has been refreshing and inspiring. I’ve been able to participate in other activities that fulfill me, which makes me a better innovator and a better person. Professionally, I’m able to approach organizational brainteasers from a different lens and with a renewed focus: making them easier to solve. And personally, I’m able to partake in experiences that enrich my life. I think it’s beneficial to have interests outside of work, to try something new and to give yourself the opportunity to grow—whether it’s taking one day out of a weekend to indulge in a passion or taking an extended period of time to embark on a new adventure. At the end of the day, it’s about allowing yourself the time to explore and smell the roses. There are some companies, such as Clif Bar, that even offer work sabbaticals as a perk. If you’re lucky enough to work for one of them, I urge you to take full advantage of the benefit!

You also volunteer your time and talents by serving on the Laurel School Board of Trustees. Thank you!! What are you most excited for in Laurel’s future?

I look forward to seeing Laurel’s progress towards the development and implementation of initiatives that address the priorities of the Strategic Roadmap. [See also: Strategic Roadmap Progress.]

What do you wish more alums knew about the Laurel School of today?

What a great resource Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls is for those currently at Laurel School as well as the Laurel community—in and out of state.

On a typical weekend, where would we likely find you? Do you have any hobbies or interests you’re passionate about?

You might find me at the museum, the theater, the orchestra, baking, knitting at one of my favorite yarn spots or grabbing a bite to eat with my “foodie” friends. I’m passionate about learning and experiencing all the wonderful things that life has to offer. If an activity can inspire me or ignite my creative juices, I’m all over it! Life is a journey that’s meant to be lived . . . so why not live it?!

If you could write your life’s philosophy as a message in a fortune cookie, what would it be?

Leverage your passions and stay true to yourself!

An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus

Laurel's Mission Statement:

To inspire each girl to
fulfill her promise and
to better the world. 


Open House

Saturday, October 27, 2018
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Lyman Campus

More information


"Laurel transforms students into strong women through an exemplary education and an atmosphere built on growth." Caitlin Cronin '16

"During my time at Laurel, I developed the mental aspect of my tennis game -- staying focused and staying in every match. The support that I've gotten from my team and my coaches has really helped me to do that." Danielle Buchinsky '15

"Laurel encourages its girls to try things they think they can do, things they don't think they can do, and even things they never thought about doing." Jazlynn Baker '16

"Laurel is a place where almost every girl can find a home. The community here is extremely accepting and diverse, and every student has her own ideas and opinions that are valued by everyone."Rebecca Brichacek '16

"Confident, independent, open-minded, fearless. That's what comes to mind when I think of what Laurel has given to my daughters." Laurel Parent


“The greatest gift Laurel gave me was the gift of lifelong friendships with classmates, teachers and parents of classmates. We have a special bond based on our shared experiences.” 
Betsy Sweeney Backes ‘78

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