AcademicsNov 4, 2019

Donna Daigle: teaching students to be agents of change

As the School’s Science Department Chair, Donna Daigle sees her role as linking teaching with the Miss Hall’s mission.

“I see my role as linking best practices in teaching to positive outcomes for our students and working toward being the best teachers we can be for our students,” explains Ms. Daigle, who has long made girls’ and women’s leadership core tenets of her classroom pedagogy. “Additionally, my job is to have an ongoing conversation with the administration, so that the department’s vision and values are aligned with the School’s. I also see myself as a coach and team builder and fan of my department, and as someone to establish a culture of excellence in teaching.”

Since joining MHS in 2002, Ms. Daigle has taught numerous courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) and Hallmark Environmental Science and Women’s Health and Global Issues. She is a member of the Girls’ Leadership Project (GLP) Working Group, which guides the work of the GLP at Miss Hall’s, and she was a co-creator
of the School’s E.E. Ford Seminar, in which MHS faculty generated language and pedagogy around developing girls’ resilience and leadership as part of the MHS academic program. Additionally, for the academic years 2011- 2015, Ms. Daigle held the Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair, which recognizes an MHS faculty member who possesses the highest personal and professional ethics, who has made a life-long commitment to young people, whose skillful instruction enlivens the experience of learning, and whose wise counsel and guidance to students extend beyond the classroom.

Ms. Daigle leads students through an experiment in the pond on Miss Hall’s campus

In many ways, Ms. Daigle is a role model for students as an agent of change and as a lifelong learner who, not surprisingly, embraces the scientific method. “You are always looking for answers, and if those answers give you new questions, then you’re doing your job right,” she adds. “I am always seeking to enrich life and not just in my field or discipline.” So, in May, she attended the 2018 United State of Women Summit, a two-day conference centered on issues facing women. Ms. Daigle had attended the inaugural summit in 2016 and was invited back for the 2018 event. Additionally, she recently graduated from the graduate program in Leadership and Negotiation offered at Bay Path University.

“I am particularly interested in applying the principles outlined in the program to my work with students,” Ms. Daigle explains. “If I am to place such value in the art of leading and teaching, then it is essential to me to have a more clear and academic understanding of how leadership is defined. This is especially true since I teach in a single-sex setting, and leadership, it seems, is being redefined, particularly for young women as they become more invested in leadership positions and in becoming agents of change.”