Ethical Leadership Project
Leaders are individuals, both titled and untitled, who move their communities forward in a positive direction. The Ethical Leadership Project 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 project 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 Project 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, Activities & More
Using a variety of approaches, including self-reflection, film viewing, current event discussions, role-model exercises, 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. In the 9th grade Freshman Seminar where we work with all Masters students on vocabulary and introductory concepts; in the 10th grade we work with students on a voluntary basis in monthly lunches where they expand their work on self-discovery; in the 11th and 12th grades we work in small groups and individual coaching sessions and get to hone in on particular skills and problem-solving. We also mentor peer leaders in one period each week during the fall, and conducted peer leader training in coordination with the Director of Residential Life and the Director of Equity and Inclusion during the fall and spring semesters.
The Seminar in Ethical Leadership class as an elective open to juniors and seniors that is divided into two main projects. The first is an interview project in which students interview community leaders, alumnae/i and parents about their own life’s journey, including the challenges, failures and learning moments along the way. The second project involves students choosing one of their communities (e.g., school, church, family) and setting one specific goal to make that community better and stronger. Students keep a journal of their experience and progress and meet regularly with the faculty to discuss their work. Throughout the year, students write reflections on topics covered in class in the form of readings, films, and growth exercises. Students have told us that they’ve learned more about who they are and what they value, how to set goals and anticipate what obstacles and choices they might face in the future, and how to go about resolving dilemmas including who best to seek out for advice and counsel.
This spring, The Masters School will host a student-run ethical leadership conference with others students and faculty from area private schools. This year’s conference will be on the topic of “Dishonesty” within the school environment. Why do people lie or cheat? Does an honor code work? What is our individual and collective responsibility to quell dishonest behavior?
Masters recognizes the influence teachers have on their students and strives for alignment in leadership skills and ethical values. Faculty hold 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 and from CITYterm. 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 to further the goal of incorporating elements of ethical leadership into all aspects of the school community and to have a greater connection to the curriculum.
Our 3-day Summer Faculty Leadership Institute gives teachers an opportunity to explore new and successful ways of engaging students in the exploration of the dilemmas of daily life, and to engage them in the meaningful practice of making good choices. The institute is open to all educators.
What are the goals of the program?
One of the main goals of the Ethical Leadership Project is to reach as many Masters students as possible in order to provide opportunities to learn about ethical leadership. Students have a chance to lead each and every day, whether through titled leadership positions, in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in the dorms, 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 elective office?
The Ethical Leadership Project’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 Project?
The co-directors work 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 the freshman seminar class; special sophomore lunches are held throughout the year to continue discussion and skill development; and in the junior and senior years, the co-directors 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 on and off campus professional development. We hope to expand our work to provide opportunities for parents to participate as well.
Has the Ethical Leadership Project sponsored any additional programs?
In the spring of 2015, the Ethical Leadership Project hosted the annual Developing Student Leaders conference for the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education. This annual conference draws educators from around the country to share best practices and learn about current research findings.
Project Co-Directors Eileen Dieck, M.D. and Matt Kammrath also led the third annual Masters Faculty Leadership Institute in June 2015. During the three-day workshop, teachers collaborated on ideas that would enable them to incorporate ethical leadership elements into their courses.
How do I learn more about the program?
Students can stop by the Leadership Lab to find out more about upcoming events. Parents and alumnae/i should feel free to contact either of the co-directors, Lee Dieck or Matt Kammrath, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt began his career at Masters in 2003 after spending three years as a hedge fund trader on Wall Street. A graduate of Northwestern University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, Matt decided to leave the fast-paced world of stock trading to pursue his true passion: working with high school students. He continued to develop his interest in business at Masters by creating the Business and Finance senior elective that gives students hands-on entrepreneurial experience and an introduction to stock trading. While in college, Matt was a member of Northwestern’s Varsity Basketball team, which competes in the Big Ten Conference. Needless to say, one of his great enjoyments comes from coaching our own Boys Varsity Basketball team each winter. Matt is dedicated to the growth and development of our future leaders, which he focuses on as the Co-Director of Ethical Leadership. Matt’s wife, Brooke, is a Professor of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven, and they have two children. In his free time, Matt enjoys playing golf, fixing up their house, and seeking out the world’s tallest and fastest roller-coasters.
Eileen Dieck, M.D.
Eileen (Lee) Dieck came to Masters in 2004 after retiring from a career in Internal Medicine. At Masters, she has played numerous roles: developing courses in World Health, Physiology, and Ethical Leadership; coordinating the general chemistry curriculum, costuming for the Theater Department, and serving on/co-chairing various school committees including the Littleford committee on Salary Systems. In her role as co-director of Ethical Leadership, Lee has served as a presenter and consultant for the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and more recently presented on the topic of Ethical Leadership at a gathering of ethical education leaders in June, 2016 sponsored by the Grab The Torch foundation. Lee continues to research and collaborate in this area with colleagues from around the country. Having just completed a year’s sabbatical during which she continued to research best practices for our Ethical Leadership program, Lee has returned to the classroom this fall, grateful to have the opportunity to work with the students at Masters. In her community, Lee has served on the Medical Board and Board of Trustees of Northern Westchester Hospital, the Alumni Board of Governors of New York Medical College, and currently is starting her second term as chair of the board of Professional Children’s School. When not fulfilling her professional obligations, Lee loves to spend time with husband of 36 years and best friend, Bill, and her three adult children, the youngest of which, Chelsea is a Masters alumnae (’09). She is an avid reader, tennis player and gardener.