Ellie Gilbert Named Vice Principal of Academics

We are thrilled to announce that Ellie Gilbert has been named the Vice Principal of Academics. Ellie stepped into the Interim Vice Principal of Academics earlier this year and was selected to step into the role permanently after a nationwide search. While Ellie isn’t a new face at St. Mary’s Academy, we hope you will take a few moments to get to know her and her love of our illustrious, all-girls, Catholic institution.

Q: In 2-4 sentences introduced yourself and how you arrived at St. Mary’s Academy as your place of work.

A: Although the early years of my career had been in high school education, I went on to build a career working with adult learners as an instructional designer at Intel and later as an instructor and teaching intern supervisor for Lewis and Clark’s Graduate School of Education. In the spring of 2011, I learned that SMA was looking for an educator who could serve as a learning specialist and on the English faculty. St. Mary's mission of serving women spoke to my heart. The school's reputation for excellence was also a draw, and when I was hired it felt like I’d made the “varsity team” of teaching and learning.

Q:  What excites you most about your role as Vice Principal of Academics?

A: In my role as Vice Principal of Academics, I am thrilled to enrich the incredible teaching and learning that happens here by supporting our teachers with meaningful professional development opportunities and to partner with students as they make important decisions about their academic goals.

Q: Describe your perfect day at SMA.

A: My perfect SMA day begins in the front hall standing side-by-side with the administrative team, greeting our faculty and students as they enter the building. I spend the morning visiting classrooms, seeing first-hand the world-class teaching, and learning that SMA offers. During lunch I’m on cashier duty in the café, connecting with students as they take a break in their day to nourish themselves with food and friendship. Afterwards, I’m participating in an all-school prayer service where we get to gather in community for a spiritual respite and an uplifting performance by our incredible Marian Singers. That afternoon, I walk to a local coffee shop with a teacher to learn more about the exciting and innovative new learning strategy that they are implementing in their next unit. The day concludes with attending a sporting event with my daughter, Jensen ’24, where we cheer on our beloved Blues together.

Q: What is it about leading and educating young women that makes you most proud? Tell us about a time you felt proud or heroic.

A: Our community’s future teachers, school administrators, lawyers, judges, civil servants, church leaders, artists, physicians, mothers, construction managers, engineers, diplomats, lawmakers, journalists, pilots, neighbors, policy makers, and small business owners are currently being nurtured and educated in the halls of SMA. I am confident that because of the education and experience that our students are receiving today at St. Mary’s Academy, our collective future is hope-filled and bright.

Q: What do you find the most empowering about working with other female leaders and educators at SMA?

A: I find the wisdom, care, and strategic good sense of my fellow school leaders to be inspiring.

Q: If you were a student at SMA, what advice would you give yourself going into the new school year?

A: When given the choice of being a "knower" or a learner, choose learner. Say “yes”. Try out that new club, go out for that sport, join the choir, take the dance class, audition for the musical, speak out loud in your world languages class – even if you don’t get it right the first time.

Q: How does the mission of St. Mary’s resonate with you?

 A: The SNJM mission calls us to minister to the care and nurturing of the whole person. In doing so, we invest in young women who will, in turn, bring their whole selves into to their communities. We prepare our students not for the world as it is, but for the world as it CAN be- more just, more loving, more inclusive, more whole.