Single-sex Education: A History of the Future

Elizabeth English, Head of School, The Archer School for Girls, has served as a leader in both independent and public schools with a focus on improving instruction, school culture, and teacher leadership through research based professional development. Before joining the Archer School for Girls, an independent girls’ school in West Los Angeles, grades 6 through 12, she served as the Upper School Director and Academic Dean at Atlanta Girls School. Prior to that she helped to establish Sturgis Charter School, an International Baccalaureate School on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and served as its Associate Principal. During her time there, the school became one of the highest achieving high schools in the state. She is a recipient of the Massachusetts Charter School Fellowship and has presented on building ethical school culture and on improving teaching and learning through data-driven teacher supervision and evaluation. Ms. English holds a B.A. in English from Skidmore College, an M.A.T. from Tufts University, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University.

Nancy Coonis began her career as a teacher at St. Matthias High School, a Catholic high school for young women located in Huntington Park. For the next twenty-five years she served in various capacities at St. Matthias, including seventeen years as principal. In 2000 she was named Superintendent of Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In 2008, she left the Archdiocese to become the President of Notre Dame Academy and Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in West Los Angeles. Ms. Coonis is a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, the Education Committee of the California Conference of Catholic Bishops, and is active in the WASC accreditation process, chairing numerous visiting teams in the western United States and Asia.

Elizabeth J. McGregor is head of school at Westridge School in Pasadena, California. Appointed as the 11th head of Westridge in July 2009, Elizabeth (“Liz”) is leading the independent day school into its next century of educating college-bound girls in grades four through 12. Born and raised in England, Liz earned a Bachelor of Education degree and Certificate in Education from the University of London. Upon graduation, she taught in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in 1980 moved to the United States, where she completed her Master of Education degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her career has encompassed teaching students from kindergarten through 12th grade in South Africa, New York, Connecticut, and Southern California. Liz has held several administrative leadership positions most recently at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. A proponent of single-sex education, Liz’s first-hand experiences have shaped her understanding of, and advocacy for, all-girls education. Based in research about how girls learn best, she coaches teachers on how to create the optimal learning environment for female students. In such a setting, girls learn the essential skills of critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, while developing an understanding of cultural competence. Liz also firmly believes that women should embrace the opportunity to mentor other women.

Frank Kozakowski is the principal of Loyola High School of Los Angeles, the oldest secondary school is Southern California. Mr. Kozakowski has worked as an administrator in secondary education for three decades, most of them at Loyola, where he began as a mathematics instructor in 1978. Over the course of his career, he has held numerous posts in academic, athletic and student affairs – with an emphasis in the field of curriculum development and scheduling. Mr. Kozakowski credits Robert Greenleaf’s philosophy of servant leadership as his administrative model. Mr. Kozakowski holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of California in Los Angeles. Loyola High School of Los Angeles is an academically rigorous Jesuit college preparatory located just west of downtown Los Angeles. Loyola has a unique program which helps form their graduates as “men for and with others.” In addition to community service requirements at each grade level, seniors, during three weeks in January, do not attend classes but serve a full time internship in community service. This service learning is an integral part of the Loyola education. “The Jesuits truly refined the idea of an integrated curriculum,” Mr. Kozakowski says. “At Loyola, we continue to examine and refine our curriculum based on the core principles that have served us for 147 years. This is the reason for our continued success.”