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Meet Harpeth Hall's new directors

Meet Harpeth Hall's new directors
Meet Harpeth Hall's new directors

Harpeth Hall welcomed two women to its leadership team to start the new school year. One is a beloved former director who returns to a position she previously held at Harpeth Hall, and the other is a welcomed new member of our community who is recognized for her previous roles in Nashville independent, charter, and public schools.

Mary Lea Gibson Bryant ’72, Interim Director of the Middle School

Mary Lea Bryant led Harpeth Hall’s middle school students and faculty with steady and thoughtful leadership for eight years from 2009 to 2015. This fall, she returns to the position as interim director of the middle school as she supports the nationwide search for the candidate who will lead the division in the coming years.

The breadth and depth of Mrs. Bryant’s commitment to Harpeth Hall is astounding. She is a devoted member of the school community as an alumna, a past parent, a past trustee, and a faculty member. A graduate of the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody college, Mrs. Bryant holds a master’s degree in human development counseling.

Mrs. Bryant is a leader who helps others shine. She believes deeply in the power of an all-girls school and draws upon her strong connection to Harpeth Hall’s mission to elevate her middle school students as they become their best selves. Mrs. Bryant is a deep listener, ready with support and counsel. Not seeking the spotlight, she is happiest when encouraging a student or faculty to grow and learn.

I am looking forward to returning to Harpeth Hall for so many reasons. Witnessing the process of girls growing into confident and brave young women is at the top of the list. Our students are able to be themselves in a safe and supportive environment that is all about girls. I saw so many girls transform in the all-girls environment — it is a powerful and gratifying place to be as both student and a member of the faculty. Being back on campus to be a part of that process is a privilege, and I cannot wait. — Mary Lea Bryant, interim director of the middle school

Jasmin Hopkins, Director of Equity and Inclusion

As a leader who thrives in environments that support individualism while sharing a collective purpose, Jasmin Hopkins will bring her energy and talents to Harpeth Hall as the director of equity and inclusion beginning the 2023-2024 school year.

Ms. Hopkins joins our school community from Harding Academy, where she worked since 2019 as the director of community engagement and a senior administrator. In that role, Ms. Hopkins framed and facilitated the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion for families, students, faculty, and staff, with a focus on establishing community connections.

Previously, Ms. Hopkins spent five years as the dean of culture at LEAD Public Schools. She also worked for six years at Metro Nashville Public Schools in roles that included classroom teacher, grade-level and department chairperson, and middle school behavior interventionist. Ms. Hopkins graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University with a Master of Arts in Education in 2012. She also holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fisk University.

When I was a young girl, I was told by my mother and grandmothers to always be brave, to be bold, and most importantly, to believe. Not only to believe in myself but to believe in the power of community. I am overjoyed with the opportunity to support the young women of Harpeth Hall while fostering these same values in this phenomenal school community. While spending time with students and faculty members, I felt an air of grace and confidence that seemed to permeate throughout the entire campus. I was instantly affirmed that Harpeth Hall, and its illustrious history, directly aligned with my professional core values. To the Harpeth Hall community, thank you for such a warm and heartfelt welcome. I look forward to building deep connections and embracing opportunities for growth. — Jasmin Hopkins, director of equity and inclusion

This article appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Hallways, Harpeth Hall's biannual publication. Read Hallways online.