Empowering Students to Pursue Lives of Significance

Leaders are individuals, both titled and untitled, who move their communities forward in a positive direction. The Ethical Leadership program at The Masters School cultivates an environment in which students, faculty and staff engage in activities that develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the impacts they have on their communities. Teaching integral components of leadership and mentoring students in meaningful leadership experiences, the program empowers students to choose positive action and pursue lives of significance.
At Masters, we understand that tomorrow’s leaders will need not only the basic skills of leadership, but also a deep understanding of who they are and what they value. A key component of leadership is learning strategies for holding true to those values when encountering challenges. The Ethical Leadership program was designed with these aspects in mind. Our goal for the program is that all members of the community can engage in a common exploration to become a power for good in our communities and our world.

Leadership Programs and Activities

List of 6 items.

  • Ethical Leadership in the Curriculum

    Using a variety of approaches, including self-reflection, film viewing, current event discussions, case study analysis, leadership-style exercises and team-building activities, students begin the deep work of figuring out who they are and where they fit in the context of the communities in which they exist.
    Our work evolves through the upper school years.
    • We work with all eighth grade students in an introductory unit that focuses on Social-Emotional Learning skills.
    • In the Ninth Grade Seminar we work with all students on vocabulary introductory concepts, and applications to their world.
    • In tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades, students can opt to take one of the Seminars in Ethical Leadership (see description below).
    • Individual coaching and mentoring is available to all students.
  • Leadership in Co-Curricular Activities

    The following programs take place outside the traditional classroom:
    • Captain’s Training: assists varsity captains in their leadership roles. Working to recognize common challenges and potential solutions, these meetings result in cross-team collaboration that we like to refer to as “a team of captains."  These meetings take place every other week at lunch.
    • Student Leader Training: assists and mentors elected leaders in their service to the community.  
    • Peer Leader Program: trains current students to welcome our new upper school students and assists them in their transition to Masters.
  • Seminars in Ethical Leadership

    The Seminars in Ethical Leadership are offered as electives — Ethical Leadership I for sophomores and juniors, and Ethical Leadership II for juniors and seniors.

    The classes focus first on the notion of “leading self” focusing on values, purpose, goal-setting, leadership styles, and communication.  We incorporate intentional collaboration to help us explore “leading others," and then the classes propose projects to improve the communities they exist in.

    Ethical Leadership II students also engage in an interview project, where students interview community leaders, alumnae/i and parents about their own life’s journey, including the challenges, failures and learning moments along the way. Both classes focus on real life ethical dilemmas through examination of current events and ethical dilemmas from daily life.

    We intentionally focus the lens forward in their lives, helping them think about the challenges they may face as they move on into adulthood, and what they need to do to prepare for those situations. Throughout the year, students write reflections on topics covered in class in the form of readings, films, and group activities. Students have told us that they’ve learned more about themselves, and also learned to appreciate the perspectives of those who may feel differently than they do.  
  • Faculty Engagement

    Masters recognizes the influence teachers have on their students and strives for alignment in developing leadership skills and ethical values through our core curriculum. Faculty are invited to monthly leadership lunches to discuss best practices, ethical dilemmas and current issues in the field. These lunches have been well attended and have included faculty from all departments. Recent topics have included incorporating leadership style exercises into group work in classes; building empathy, intrinsic motivation, and self-regulation in students through autonomy-oriented practices; preserving the inner life of teachers; and building autonomy in the directed classroom. Our Ethical Leadership Council is comprised of faculty and staff and assist in furthering the goal of incorporating elements of ethical leadership into all aspects of the school community and greater connection to the core curriculum. In addition, Ethical Leadership hosts a Summer Institute for faculty to further the above-stated goals.
  • Summer Leadership Institute

    Our 3-day Summer Faculty Leadership Institute gives teachers an opportunity to explore new and successful ways of engaging students in the exploration of leadership, the dilemmas of daily life, and life choices. Faculty work on a personal project that focuses on one aspect of their work with students as teachers, coaches, advisors, or dorm parents. The institute is open to all educators.
  • FAQ

    What are the goals of the program?
    One of the main goals of the Ethical Leadership program is to reach as many Masters students as possible. Students have a chance to lead each and every day, whether in titled leadership positions, in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in the dorms, in performing groups, or through community service. By providing them with guidance and meaningful opportunities to practice leadership, we are confident that our students will gain valuable experience that they will carry forward to future endeavors. Additionally, through our work, we hope that every Masters graduate will be able to articulate and defend their answers to these six questions:
    1. What is leadership?
    2. Why should I lead?
    3. How do I find meaning in my life?
    4. What are the “goods” of a good life?
    5. What are the virtues of a good leader?
    6. Why should ethics be a part of leadership?
    Is this program only for students who hold elected office?
    The Ethical Leadership program's work is based on the understanding that all of us are called to be leaders in our lives, at different times and in different circumstances. As such, the work we do is intended to help all members of the community, not just titled leaders, grow in their understanding of themselves as leaders and to provide the skills necessary to effect positive change.
    Are all grades involved in the Ethical Leadership program?
    The Ethical Leadership program works with faculty and students at all levels. Some faculty members weave ethical leadership concepts into their classes, both in the Middle School and Upper School. In the Upper School, students are involved in all grades: ethical leadership is part of the curriculum in ninth grade seminar class; in tenth and eleventh grade, Ethical Leadership I is offered, while Ethical Leadership II is an option for juniors and seniors. The team and additional faculty meet with students in small groups and one-on-one to accomplish specific goals. Faculty also participate in the ethical leadership conversation through shared readings and discussion, and professional development that takes place both on and off campus.   
    How do I learn more about the program?
    Students can stop by the Rechtman Room (FC 123) to find out more about upcoming events. Parents and alumnae/i should feel free to contact Associate Dean for Ethical Leadership Meghan MacWilliams at meghan.macwilliams@mastersny.org.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Meghan MacWilliams

    Meghan MacWilliams 

    Associate Dean for Ethical Leadership