Meet The Eads
Leila Eads '96 grew up in Nashville and went to Oak Hill School and Harpeth Hall. She met her husband, Matt, in college, and they settled in Nashville while Leila completed graduate school. When it was time, there was no question where they wanted to send their girls to school. Mae '25 and Lucy '28 both attended Oak Hill School where Leila teaches, and they are grateful to have them both now at Harpeth Hall.
As a parent, what influenced you to consider and enroll your daughter in Harpeth Hall?
Studies have shown that middle and high school is a tough time for all students but most especially for girls. In mixed gender settings, they are very often relegated to the sidelines, cast into the molds of well-worn stereotypes, and expected to be seen and not heard. They tend to be more risk-averse and less assertive with academic opinions. Harpeth Hall gives young women an opportunity to learn how to trust in themselves, become more confident, and create unique bonds with peers in a positive school setting. Gone are the distractions and petty grievances that prevent young minds from being able to achieve their full, true potential. There is also something to be said for seeing and understanding the strength and character associated with a female perspective when understanding history, the arts, and the modern world. There was no question where we wanted our girls to grow and develop into young women; we wanted them at Harpeth Hall.
What did you gain from Harpeth Hall that you hope your daughters will experience?
I began Harpeth Hall in 1990 as an eager 7th grader with limited experiences outside of my elementary school and family. I graduated in 1996 more confident, intrigued by the world around me, and supported by friends who I still hold dear today. Harpeth Hall’s mission extends beyond the academic opportunities it provides the young women of Nashville. It fosters a sense of belonging, of camaraderie, and a curiosity about the surrounding world that I hope both girls will carry with them into adulthood. Plenty of schools in the area can provide a stellar education, but I wanted Harpeth Hall for my girls because of the quality of its faculty, students, and curriculum. Nowhere else would Mae and Lucy be exposed to this particular combination of influential factors.
How have you seen Mae’s journey through Harpeth Hall help shape her growth?
Mae has grown in so many ways while at Harpeth Hall! She has been able to see how other young women interact and work together to form lasting bonds of friendship, grow academically, and expand their world view. She has participated in sports, danced on stage, presented work in art shows, and taken on leadership positions, where she has learned about the empathy, resilience, and courage needed to compete in a male-dominated workforce. As a sophomore, Mae is coming into her own and the confidence she has gained while being at Harpeth Hall is beginning to shine in her academics, her unique voice, her perseverance, and her friendships.
In what ways do you hope Harpeth Hall will encourage Lucy’s academic and extracurricular experiences?
Having seen the positive outcomes of belonging to Harpeth Hall’s community firsthand for Mae and myself, our family is excited for what the future holds for Lucy during her time at Harpeth Hall. Already in the few months she has been at Harpeth Hall, we have seen her grow both academically and socially. Lucy has become more confident and independent with her schoolwork and sought the advice of trusted teachers and advisors. We know during her time at Harpeth Hall, Lucy can explore her love of history and art with teachers and fellow students and be encouraged in her pursuit of athletics and the arts. We hope Lucy will continue to find her voice, develop new interests, and become a citizen of the world. We know she will benefit from the specific challenges of the school environment of Harpeth Hall and gain a network of like-minded, yet diverse, colleagues to face a future together, in sisterhood.
From your experience, do you have any advice for prospective families as they go through the admission process?
Breathe! It is stressful wanting something so much for your child, but it is important not to spend the admission year hoping for the future and missing the joys of where they currently attend. Even though it is hard to do, keeping your daughter grounded in their current experiences helps to ease the stress of the next school process for both parent and child.