Alumnae Calendar

  • May 2017
    • ThuMay18 Distinguished Alumnae Dinner 6:15 PM
    • FriMay19 Alumnae Weekend
    • SatMay20 Alumnae Weekend
    • SatMay20 Alumnae Luncheon 11:30 AMLyman

Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz, a graduate of Yale, was recently interviewed by her friend and former classmate Ellen Gibson McGinnis for a Q&A in the March issue of YaleWomenIn the piece she talks about the role Yale played in her career (and how she first aspired to be an actress), the profound influence her early years of teaching in the housing project had on her, and her passion for educating girls, including teaching beyond academics and Laurel's Center for Research on Girls. When asked what her next challenge is, Ms. Klotz replied that she "wants to work on how best to teach our girls empathy. It gets back to diversity, and having a mix of voices in the room or 'at the table.' And it is so important for our society now." Click here to read the full interview.  

Outdoor Pre-Primary Teacher and Outdoor Education Specialist Audrey Elszasz and Abbie Bole, who teaches Kindergarten through Grade 4 science, are both included in a Cleveland Magazine article titled "The Benefits of Nature-based Learning", which looks at area early-childhood programs that use nature to help teach. Ms. Bole was quoted in the piece stating "The best way for children to learn is when they can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it, smell it. That's what makes an impression on their young minds." In the piece Mrs. Elszasz states, "We're answering questions with questions: 'What do you think?' Children interact with each other as they try to figure out the answers on their own." 

In addition to this feature story, Kathryn Marshall, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at Laurel, is featured as the expert in this month's "Ask the Experts" section, which also focuses on how students benefit from receiving an outdoor education. Click here for the story.

In a March Motherwell Magazine piece Lisa Damour, Ph.D., Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, participated in a Q&A on the topic of dress codes and girls, and the complexities of the cultural reaction to what girls wear. In the article Dr. Damour touches on the supposed benefits of a dress code versus the potential damage it might do to a girl's sense of control. She is quoted saying, "Many of the girls at Laurel School, where I work, use the word "love" to describe their attitude toward the school uniform. That said, many of the girls at Laurel had a hand in the choice to attend Laurel, so they knew what they were signing up for when they came. For students at schools that they did not choose, or schools that have no uniform but enforce a dress code, the situation is likely different, especially if the dress code is enforced in a mean-spirited way. But I would not assume that girls who follow a dress code necessarily feel that they are not in control of their bodies."

Click here to read the full interview. 

On the heels of their Scholastic Art Awards received earlier this year, Caroline Kahn '17 and Katie Dinner '17 each won the Herbert Ascherman Award for Photography, a regional award that is presented to two students each year. Caroline Kahn also received a Gold Key award for her photography and Katie Dinner received both a Silver Key and an honorable mention for her photography.

The Scholastic Arts & Writing Competition is an annual competition open to local students in Grades 7-12. The panel of judges is comprised of professional artists, art educators, writing and writing educators. More than 3,000 entries for both art and writing were submitted this year.

Congratulations to these students for this amazing honor.

On March 7, 2017 six Laurel students in Grades 9, 10 and 11 participated in the Northeastern Ohio Science & Engineering Fair (NEOSEF). Maryum Ali '18, Linnea Tyler '19, Katie Chen '20, and Katelyn Shakir '20 all earned 2nd place at the fair. Olivia Wenzel '20 received 3rd place. 

Grade 10 student Priya Khadilkhar earned an impressive 1st place in the regular judging and also walked away with four special awards: American Statistical Association, American Psychological Association, Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and Cleveland State University Department of Psychology.

Many of the students are in Laurel's STEM Research class and while there was no specific topic focus at the event, each of the students chose their own category and had about two months to put their presentations together. Congratulations to all the girls on these incredible achievements!



Crain's Cleveland Business publisher and editor Elizabeth McIntyre recently attended a panel discussion hosted by Laurel's Entrepreneurship Capstone Students on the documentary film, "Dream, Girl" - a celebration of female entrepreneurs. She highlights that "the young women at Laurel know the power of female leadership because it's front and center in the school's mission to inspire girls to fulfill their promise and better the world. To be living, breathing 'Fearless Girls.'" She goes on to state that Laurel's mission is "what prompted the school to launch its Capstone Experience program last year, which gives students the chance to explore real-world issues while further developing their leadership skills in one of four areas: civic engagement, entrepreneurship, global studies and STEAM (a twist on STEM, "science, technology, engineering and mathematics", that adds "arts" to the mix.)"

Panelists at the event included Heather Ettinger '79, managing partner at Fairport Asset Management; Stephanie Silverman, publisher and owner of Your Teen Media; Nichelle McCall '01, CEO of Bold Startups; and Laura Bennett, COO and co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance, each of whom shared their experiences in creating and running their own businesses. 

The editor goes on to highlight many of the inspiring messages shared during the panel discussion. "Persistence is one of the most valuable things," and "shatter stereotypes whenever you can," were just a few.

Click here to read the full story in Crain's Cleveland Business

Kathryn Purcell, Associate Head of School and Director of Enrollment Management at Laurel was recently featured in a Cleveland Jewish News story highlighting the importance of school culture and how it plays a crucial role in school selection.

Many factors can determine which school a child attends. Class size, programs, location and extracurricular activities can impact a parent's willingness to send a child to a particular school. But, parents should also consider a more abstract notion that exists within a school. School culture focuses on how staff members interact and uphold a shared set of values and beliefs and the school’s effect on students – like teaching practices, diversity and relationships within the school. When it comes to school choice, local educators say school culture should impact their choices as well. 

Kathryn is quoted saying, “(A school’s culture) allows a child to feel visible. You don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks,” Purcell said. “The sense of community kind of dictates how valuable a child feels at a school.”

She goes on to say that even though culture is an intangible factor when choosing a school, it’s just as crucial as anything else. A school’s culture encompasses not only the how the school feels, but also how it interacts with itself. These interactions should be a big part of deciding which school is the right fit.

Click here to read the full story.

Congratulations to the Laurel girls from Grades 5 and 6 who competed in the Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GCCTM) math competition on February 18, 2017! Laurel sent three teams of four this year--two from Grade 5 and one from Grade 6--and all received Blue Champion ribbons. The competition included 18 Fifth Grade teams and seven Sixth Grade teams. Similarly, teams from Laurel's Seventh and Eighth Grades competed on March 5 where they received the Champion Award and Medal Award respectively. 

The competition was comprised of four events, each roughly 15 minutes in length. Teams were tasked with working together to problem solve and work through mental math, construction and mixed application problems. Laurel students have been preparing since December to compete and their performance did not disappoint! 

Congratulations to all of the girls on their hard earned achievements!


Laurel School's eleventh annual Gator Bash took place on Saturday, February 11 at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. The theme of the evening was "For the Love of Laurel" and it was clear the more than 500 attendees hold the school close to their hearts. The evening raised a total of $215,000 with $107,000 of that raised during the Call to the Heart paddle raise to support Laurel's new Innovation Fund. This fund will align with the School's new five-year Strategic Roadmap and provide some of the necessary resources to fund innovative education happening throughout Laurel. Highlights from this spectacular evening were included in the Cleveland Jewish NewsCurrents MagazineCleveland Magazine and

Featured in the photo above is Dan Angelino and Beth Embrescia, Chair of the Laurel Board of Trustees.

Summer at Laurel was recently highlighted in a roundup piece in Cleveland Magazine titled "Summer Camp Guide: Get Out and About." The story included feedback from Summer at Laurel Director Dr. Karen Edwards, who discusses a partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), which opens doors for students to explore drawing, painting, sculpting and printing. CMA and Summer at Laurel will also offer a printmaking camp, where students in Grades 8-12 spend a half-day working with teachers at the museum and the other half at Laurel's Lyman Campus. Dr. Edwards is quoted in the story saying, "The key is to find something that meets your child's interests or passions, and also challenges them."

Click here for the full story. 

  • April 2017
    • MonApr24 Dare Week
    • TueApr25 Senior Parent Breakfast 8:00 AM
    • TueApr25 Grades 5-7 Parent-Student Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
    • ThuApr27 US Spring Concert 7:00 PMLyman
    • FriApr28 All-School Assembly (Formal Uniform) Lyman, Tippit Gymnasium
    • FriApr28 Speech and Debate Year-End Celebration 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • May 2017
    • MonMay01 AP Exams
    • MonMay01 Dream Week
    • MonMay01 Senior Exam Week
    • TueMay02 AP Exams
    • TueMay02 Senior Exam Week
    • TueMay02 Primary Parents "Looking Ahead" 6:30 PM
    • WedMay03 AP Exams

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.

March 2017 Alumnae Spotlight

Erin Dowling Brosch ‘99

Laurel School alumna Erin Dowling Brosch '99 in-uniform photo

Captain Erin Dowling Brosch ’99, United States Army Reserve, defines trailblazer. A Chesterfield County volunteer firefighter for five years, three of them while getting her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Richmond, she subsequently followed a call to service that had been with her since childhood and joined the Reserve in 2007.

But, before walking into that recruitment office, she worked as an analyst for a financial institution in Cleveland and New York City and then spent three years in Washington, DC, and Seoul, Korea, as an associate with a professional services and investment management company. There she consulted on military housing ventures including the feasibility of a $1.3 billion dollar public-private housing development for U.S. Army forces stationed in the Republic of Korea and co-managed an Air Force public-private real estate initiative.

A master at juggling her work and Reserve duties, she returned to school and received her MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2014. Twice called up for active duty, Erin, who returned from a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan last fall, and her sister, Jen Dowling Keller ’97, are proud members of the White Team.

You entered Laurel in the Ninth Grade. What is the most important thing you learned at Laurel?

Confidence. Laurel set no boundaries, challenged my insecurities, encouraged independence, and facilitated an education that I never would have received if I stayed at public school. To this day, I credit Laurel with instilling in me the drive and confidence that has gotten me where I am today.

What are the hallmarks of a Laurel education?

Individual growth and collective learning through shared experience.

You’ve had an interesting journey, graduating from the Univ. of Richmond with a degree in economics and then from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an MBA. When and why did you decide to join the Army Reserve?

Military service runs in my family blood— my father was in the Air Force and my grandfathers in the Army and Navy. Ever since I was a kid, climbing around the giant cargo planes and fighters my dad would take us to see, I knew I wanted to serve in the military. By 2007, four years out of college and into my second job, I knew it was time. I walked into a recruiting station and said I wanted to join. Two months later, I took a leave of absence from my job and late on a warm summer night, I was climbing out of a government van at Fort Jackson, SC, getting yelled at by a drill sergeant for not moving fast enough. I received my commission as a Second Lieutenant through Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, in January 2009. I’m now a Captain—and fingers crossed —hope to be selected for Major next year.

Tell us, as much as you can, about where you have served and what you have done?

I’ve held a number of positions in my nearly ten years in the Reserve, though the majority of my assignments have been in my Army career field of communications. I was a platoon leader for combat camera and expeditionary signal companies, a battalion-level staff officer in the human resources/personnel area, and a brigade staff officer in communications. Now I’m a Commander for a small signal company with on-the-move, long-range communication capabilities. I deployed to Afghanistan with the 518th Sustainment Brigade, a Reserve unit near Raleigh, NC. The Brigade’s mission was to provide logistics support and manage the movement of troops and cargo (food, water, ammunition, vehicles, mail, repair parts, etc.) throughout all of Afghanistan. I served as the Brigade’s senior signal officer, responsible for my team of 16 Soldiers and all aspects of communications and computer automations for the Brigade’s staff and subordinate units. I was based at Bagram Airfield, about 20 miles north of Kabul, but visited Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Gardez to execute my duties.

What would surprise most civilians about life in the military?

The military has nearly every job imaginable. You name it, the military probably has it: doctors, lawyers, infantrymen, engineers, cyber defense experts, cooks, scientists, veterinarians, drivers, mechanics, intelligence analysts, pilots, fuel handlers, meteorologists, construction workers. The list is endless.

You are taking command of a signal company. Have you ever encountered issues questioning your leadership authority as a woman?

This is my first command, and it’s already a lot of work!  I’ve been in leadership positions since I was commissioned as an officer, and my levels of responsibility have grown with my rank and experience.  I’ve been fortunate in my Reserve career that I haven’t encountered authority issues related to gender from my Soldiers.  In my personal experience, I’ve found that as long as leaders meet Army standards, make firm but fair decisions, and demonstrate competence and confidence, Soldiers will follow, regardless of that leader’s gender.

You recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Did you interact with any girls/young women there? What were your observations, if so?

I did not interact with any local national women or girls. The days of patrolling and interacting with the locals outside of our bases have ceased; conventional American forces are mostly confined to Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and travel between them only by rotary (helicopters) and fixed wing (planes) air movements to limit risk. So, my only interaction with Afghans were those that worked on our FOBs. The jobs available for local nationals on the American and NATO bases are held by men. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how much progress is made, religious and cultural norms still limit the opportunities for women outside cities like Kabul.

When you are called up for a tour of duty (how often does that happen?), your civilian life gets put on hold.  What are the biggest challenges?

For the first five years, I wasn’t called up for active duty. I’ve been called up twice now in the past three years —once for an 8-month stateside mobilization at Fort Dix, NJ, and once for a 12-month mobilization with 9 months on the ground in Afghanistan. Rotations for Guard and Reserve Soldiers used to be more stable, but with the military’s operating environment requiring a more flexible, readily-deployable force, mobilizations are becoming a bit less predictable.

My civilian employer is highly supportive of my service obligations, so I’ve never faced issues related to taking a military leave of absence from work. Not every Soldier is that fortunate, though. Employers, landlords, college administrators, etc., can sometimes make it tough for Soldiers as they prepare to fulfill their military obligations.

Stateside mobilizations are pretty easy, but overseas deployments are a different animal. Missing holidays, birthdays, seeing family and friends, births, deaths, etc., is by far the most difficult part of being deployed overseas. Life goes on while we are gone, and we have to play catch up for the 9+ months of being away from our jobs, friends and families.

Having a strong support system can help mitigate those challenges. I personally was lucky in that my family— especially my sister, Jen Dowling Keller ’97— would keep in touch regularly via email and the occasional phone call, as well as send plenty of care packages and photos. My young nephews would send cards and artwork for me to decorate my living quarters. My favorite and most inspiring— a note from my 5-year-old nephew written in large, uneven block letters:
Dear Auntie Erin,
Thank you for saving the world.
Love, Dax

What do you love most about your service in the Reserves?

I am proud to be among the 0.4% of Americans who currently serve in the military, and it is an honor to wear the same uniform as some of the most selfless, brave, and humble veterans that the world has ever seen, particularly those from the World War II and Korean War eras.

I also love the camaraderie within the services and the bonds that are forged among Reservists from the most diverse backgrounds you can imagine. In what other job can I work hand-in-hand with a U.S. Marshal, college professors, a pastor, state troopers, a semi-pro archer, a Microsoft executive, a Home Depot store manager, insurance salesmen, college students, etc.?

What is your civilian job now?Laurel School alumna Erin Dowling Brosch '99 civilian photo

I am an instructor at a small firm, Training The Street (TTS), that teaches corporate finance, valuation and financial modeling to banking, corporate, consulting and academic clients. I joined TTS in 2008 after 1.5 years at KeyBank and 3.5 years at Jones Lang LaSalle. I travel a fair amount for this job, but when I’m not in front of clients, I get to work from home in Columbia, SC. When I returned from Afghanistan in October, I went back to work right away and was all over the map—New Orleans, San Francisco, Dallas, Tokyo, Charlotte. The first quarter of 2017 has been a lot more manageable so far, though.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time . . . what’s that?! I just bought a house, so I feel like any free time I do have goes to repair or decorating work. I’m so appreciative that my dad roped me into his home improvement projects when I was in high school . . . all those lessons are really paying off now. I like to read, fish, hang out with my dog and spend time with my family as much as possible, though.

What advice would you give to current Laurel girls, especially those who might be interested in serving their country via the armed forces?

Blaze your own trail. Do not be afraid to make decisions that your family and friends might not make themselves. The military needs intelligent, confident leaders like you!

What has been the most surprising life lesson you have learned so far?

Every person who comes into your life teaches you something. Regardless of whether they are those you love or those you can barely tolerate, you will learn from them. Some of the most important things I’ve learned about leadership, work ethic and loyalty were learned from people I disliked or had difficulty working for. Often learning how not to be is just as important as learning how to be.

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

There is good in everyone. Spend the time to find it.


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. 


All-School Open House

October 2017
exact date and time coming soon
Lyman Campus

"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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