Day and Boarding; Grades 6-12


Samantha Stern-Leaphart

"I've been here for nine years, and I teach tenth- and twelfth-grade English. I am the Assistant Dean of Students, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Class Dean of the Class of 2023!

I love Pennington because the students want to be here; they're excited to be here, they like learning, and they like challenging themselves. For a teacher who is passionate about her subject like I am, it's nice to be in a classroom with students who are interested in your passion. It feeds this really nice dynamic where everyone is happy to be learning.

I think Pennington is special because the kids have a really strong sense of community. They care about each other, they want to take care of each other, they want everyone to have the best experience they can possibly have here. It's definitely coming down from the top, from the administration, the teachers, the dorm parents, but the students themselves embody that in the way they are with each other in the classroom, on the field, at drama events, football games. The most special thing for me is that the kids want to take care of each other and build a strong community.

It makes me feel really proud and honored; one of the most important things to think about as a teacher is that you're teaching content and giving information, but you're also taking care of people's children. To be in a place where we really hold that dear, that we're taking care of children, that we're helping them become the best adults they can be--and that Pennington does that with its youngest students all the way up to its seniors--that makes me proud to be a part of a community that cares about making children into good people."