Time to Flourish

03 Mar 2022

Teaching girls the way girls learn

By Judy Royal

Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh offers a boarding alternative that appeals to female high school students all over the world, including right here in Wilmington, said Head of School Carol Killebrew.

She should know. A product of a girls’ school herself, Killebrew is quick to sing the praises of single-sex classrooms, including the confidence they instill in students.

“Girls are able to find their voice,” she says. “They are able to really explore their likes and even uncover talent without some of the social pressures that happen to today’s teenagers in different type of school. We teach girls the way girls learn. They’re a very collaborative group with their learning style.”

Saint Mary’s School serves 300 girls in grades 9-12. Half of the student body is comprised of day students, and the other half are boarding students who are both domestic and international.

“The only difference between day students and boarding is where they put their head on the pillow at night,” Killebrew says. Those who choose the boarding option are often seeking not only a unique educational experience but a place that will allow them to grow, she adds.

“I think it’s an opportunity to gain independence and become responsible in a very safe place where we are not judgmental,” Killebrew explains. “It is so important for this generation that has been isolated because of the pandemic and a generation that was almost self-isolating due to technology and social media to be in places and spaces with people who learn and ask questions and do things the same way they do, and that’s what we do at Saint Mary’s. We are very focused on how girls learn, and these last four years of high school can make a difference in confidence and being able to decide where interests and strengths lie.”

Killebrew says the “mean-girl atmosphere” that is so ubiquitous in teenage life does not exist at Saint Mary’s School.

“Everyone is a leader,” she says. “Girls are helping each other learn how to lead. It is a sisterhood. We are a very strong school, and there is a great college guidance program that helps them find support at the next level.”

Saint Mary’s School is now in the beginning stages of admissions for the next school year, which starts in mid-August. Those who are interested may begin an inquiry by going to sms.edu and clicking on the Admission tab.

More About Saint Mary’s School

Head of School: Carol Killebrew

Services: Private Episcopal college-prep boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12

Location: 900 Hillsborough St., Raleigh

Phone: 919-424-4000

Website: sms.edu

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