Lorry Perry ’01, Boarding School Assistant Head of School/Dean of Faculty, Blairstown, NJ

Lorry

While I was at Wellesley, my coming out process had a big effect on my college experience and on what came after; it strained my relationship with my family, and I found myself needing to pay for college and of needing to find housing when Wellesley wasn’t in session; it required me to make choices about what courses I could take while I was also working to support my education. Many professors, most notably Margery Sabin and Maud Chaplin, were so helpful to me as I tried to imagine a path forward for myself. They recommended that I take part in the education program, and I got connected with The Dana Hall School, where I started my teaching career; in the summers, I continued my work at boarding schools and ultimately spent fourteen summers with Phillips Exeter Academy’s program; we Wellesley women had a healthy-sized cohort there over the years, and it was wonderful to get to develop myself as a teacher alongside them. I entered a doctoral program in English at the University of Iowa in order to expand and deepen my experience of literature; after a handful of years there, I realized that, though I loved literature, research and even teaching college students, what I really wanted to do was work with high school students full-time. I missed their openness and energy, their playfulness as well as their earnestness; I also missed the community that boarding schools foster, so I started working at Scattergood Friends School, a wonderful, tiny Quaker boarding school, in order to continue working with students in a residential setting. From there, I moved to The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey where I happily stayed for a decade; I filled a variety of roles while I was there, including dorm head, mentor teacher, English Department Chair and founding director of a boarding summer school. Two years ago, I was asked to interview for an Assistant Head of School position at Blair Academy in New Jersey, and I am pleased with how much I am learning and growing from this new challenge as a full-time administrator. When students ask me how I became a teacher, I’m quick to credit serendipity; I didn’t intend to spend my career in education when I took my first teaching job, but I couldn’t be more grateful to have landed here.