Testimonials


CONFERENCES/ASSOCIATIONS

A workshop with Jennifer Bryan feels personal and small, despite the room being full of many people. She is a fantastic facilitator, using experience, humor, and empathy to connect to her audience quickly and meaningfully. She presents her material in a way that is accessible and relevant to classroom teachers and school leaders. Using video, case studies, research, and personal stories to foster a sense of shared exploration amongst the group, Jennifer emphasizes that working on topics of gender and sexuality diversity in our schools is a highly collaborative and human endeavor.

Eryn Hoffman, Los Angeles Program Director, California Teacher Development Collaborative (CATDC)

Jennifer Bryan’s honest and thought-provoking keynote sessions left many of our attendees wishing for more time with her! She is skilled in understanding that while each attendee may have different experiences and perspectives, everyone needs a framework to support personal and professional growth. As a facilitator, Jennifer was encouraging, respectful, and humorous when appropriate. Her energy helped set the tone of the room, encouraging all to fully participate. I highly recommend Jennifer and hope to work with her again in the future!

Heather Gerker, Director of Conferences, American Montessori Society, New York, New York

Jennifer Bryan has been the “go-to” professional for ISAS professional development sessions on gender and sexual diversity matters for a number of years. Each time, she has provided enlightening, thought-provoking, and inspiring sessions that have been well-received and appreciated. Intelligent, honorable, prepared, experienced, kind, and discerning, Jennifer employs careful listening and clinical knowledge to inform her respectful and caring engagement with people from wherever they are. She is dead-serious about the accuracy and importance of her subject matter even as she is accessible, open-minded, and refreshingly funny. Our educators have praised her ability to empower and equip them to grapple with hard topics in meaningful ways and to challenge them to view these diversity issues through the prism of their school missions. One ISAS Head had the following takeaway: “When I forget that these issues are about people, it is far too easy to get sidetracked by political, religious, historical baggage. I will remember the child’s words in the film Jennifer shared. “Love is love… don’t turn it into hate.”

Rhonda Durham Executive Director, Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Since 2009 Jennifer has been a plenary presenter at our Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) formally known as the Summer Diversity Institute (SDI). NAIS produces a wide range of professional development opportunities, and we are always looking for skilled and knowledgeable presenters on a variety of topics. I can honestly say that Jennifer is one of the best presenters with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. She never disappoints in delivering presentations that are well prepared, research based and experiential, all with a wonderful sense of humor. Jennifer helps her audience see gender and issues of sexuality through a different lens, one that is more objective and fact based. She opens up minds and creates a better understanding of sensitive issues that are often filled with emotion. In addition, she provides sound, practical advice to educators who are looking for concrete ideas to take back to their communities to help their students. I cannot say enough about Jennifer and the work she does. It has been an honor to know and work with her year after year.

Jay Rapp Senior Director of Programs, National Association of Independent Schools

The Northwest Association of Independent Schools has been honored to work with Jennifer Bryan in several capacities.  Dr. Bryan first worked with NWAIS as a featured speaker at the 2013 Fall Educators Conference.  Her sessions were standing room only and the feedback could be summarized as, “We are just scratching the surface.  We need more time with Jennifer!”
Through that session and her subsequent full-day workshops, she is helping NWAIS schools wrestle with the complexity of gender and sexuality diversity and how we can best serve all of our students. She is masterful in recognizing that each school’s approach will be rooted in their own unique mission, and she has provided a framework to support their growth, regardless of their starting place. Her approach is honest, thoughtful and thought-provoking. In light of such serious work, with such serious consequences for students, her humor supports an environment that welcomes mistakes and missteps, which we can all expect to make along the way.
I recommend her without reservation, and hope that you have the opportunity to work with her.  We look forward to engaging her services and expertise again in the future. Her work will continue to impact the work of the Association for many years to come.

Emily McGrath Director of Professional Development, Northwest Association of Independent Schools

Jennifer Bryan has been a presenter at NYSAIS workshops and conferences since 2002. Her honest delivery, engaging content, and timely anecdotes have made her a valuable professional development resource for our schools. With candid stories and disarming humor, she speaks the truth about difficult and sometimes awkward topics in a way that engages everyone. Her presentations have earned the highest praise among our attendees, and she has become a good friend of NYSAIS.

Barbara Swanson Associate Director for Professional Development, New York State Association of Independent Schools

Dr. Jennifer Bryan has been a mainstay at the TABS Annual Conference for one reason: she’s superb. She consistently earns outstanding evaluations from conference attendees for both content and delivery. As a presenter, Jennifer achieves several rare unions: mastery and amiability, dynamism and insight, clarity and nuance. And as a facilitator and workshop leader, she brings uncommon intelligence and sensitivity to her work and to the people it touches. I recommend her enthusiastically.

Pete Upham Executive Director, The Association of Boarding Schools

Our association was thrilled to feature a workshop with Jennifer Bryan at a time when our member schools were clamoring for guidance on supporting students with gender differences. Needless to say, attendance at the workshop far exceeded our expectations, partly due to the compelling topic and partly due to some of our schools’ familiarity with Jennifer’s work. Jennifer is a powerhouse! Her extensive knowledge on the subject of gender and sexuality diversity – and her fabulous sense of humor — immediately put people at ease around a challenging topic. Many participants left the workshop feeling more adept about handling the range of issues surrounding gender diversity and some planned to invite Jennifer to speak directly with the various constituents in their schools. We felt fortunate to be able to bring Jennifer’s wisdom and humor to our AISGW community.

Lynn Maloney Director of Programs and Member Initiatives, Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington

As one of the most active independent school associations in the Country, AIMS presents as many as sixty speakers in various workshops and conferences every year. Among those many, many speakers we have come to know over the years, Jennifer Bryan is one of the very best. She is smart, engaging, and an invaluable resource to both students and teachers. At our day-long conference on Sexual and Gender Diversity, Jennifer served not only as the keynote, she also facilitated the various break-out group conversations throughout the day. Jennifer was tireless, inspiring, and deeply thoughtful as she helped both students and teachers reach higher levels of understanding and insight. That the conference was viewed as invaluable by all who attended was largely owing to Jennifer’s energy, good humor, dedication, and, above all, her expertise. Jennifer is, without a doubt, an extraordinary resource on a topic of urgent importance for schools whose mission it is to respect and keep safe every student and member of the community.

Ron Goldblatt, former Executive Director, Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools

ORGANIZATIONS

Jennifer Bryan is a skilled and energetic facilitator.  She is playful, lively and also highly attuned to the needs of participants.  Her deep understanding of group dynamics allows her to develop experiences that resonate with teams of all types. Jennifer’s flexibility in the moment and keen sense what “learners” need helps her successfully move teams to new understandings, habits and mindsets.  A great listener and collaborator, Jennifer models the “Yes, and . . .” spirit and champions a human-centered approach to working with audiences of all kinds.

Carla Silver Executive Director, Leadership and Design

Jennifer Bryan and Team Finch provided amazing support as we took first steps in our organization to update our language and thinking on gender-related issues. They were very professional and personable from start to finish – co-developing training proposals, dealing with multiple scheduling challenges, and in the delivery of a thoughtful, well-received workshop.  As a trainer myself, I particularly appreciated that they helped us think through how to achieve the most sustainable and longlasting impact from our training work together, and that they’ve made themselves available for follow-up as we needed it. And our participants talked about how much they liked the chance to talk about these issues in such a supportive environment, and how helpful they thought this was going to be towards strengthening our work in the community.

Debbie Lynangale, The Meditation & Training Collaborative, Greenfield Massachusetts

Jennifer Bryan’s work with our community was exactly what we needed to begin the important conversations around gender and parenting. As the co-chair of a community-based committee called Heard in Rye, I invited Jennifer to join our line-up of speakers for 2017-2018. Jennifer was engaged in the planning process, and through numerous conversations, she understood the concerns we had regarding this presentation as well as the great potential for this to be a true learning opportunity for parents and teachers in our town. 
On the evening of the event, Jennifer really nailed it. She incorporated humor and built a great rapport with our parents, setting the foundation for the conversation and allowing her to move the needle quite significantly on everyone’s understanding of her gender and sexuality continuum. Jennifer came armed with deep knowledge and endless examples, and her natural ability to tell stories and provide metaphors created entry points for parents of all ages and backgrounds.
Following her presentation, Jennifer participated in a panel with two other local professionals. She balanced her perspective with theirs and connected easily with them, as well. Overall, this evening exceeded our expectations and we have Jennifer to thank for that! Many parents have approached me since to say that it was the most thought-provoking Heard in Rye event they have attended, and they hope that we have the opportunity to bring Jennifer back to Rye, through the schools or the community. 
Alison Cupp Relyea, Heard in Rye, Rye NY

There is so much more to the concept of gender than having to check a box, male or female. Sure, there is one’s biological gender, but one’s emotional gender is ever-changing, developing, evolving. It is our role as adults, not just as parents, to support our children as they move through this maze of questioning and discovering.
Dr. Bryan’s warm and welcoming speaking style helped open our minds to the complexity of gender identification. By starting the conversation for us, identifying the issues and providing relatable experiences, she left us feeling more empowered to take the discussion further, to apply our new awareness.

Andrea Bender, President Parent Communication Network, Edina, Minnesota

SCHOOL VISITS

I had the privilege of attending a workshop given by Jennifer Bryan on gender and sexuality diversity for young children.  I have never attended another all-day workshop where I was so completely engaged all day that I never checked my email.  The teachers at my school found the workshop equally engaging and informative.  I highly recommend Jennifer Bryan as a presenter on issues of gender and sexuality. 

Lydia Spinelli, Ed.D., Director of The Brick Church School, New York NY

It is my pleasure to write a testimonial for Jennifer Bryan and share how proud and grateful I am for the work she is doing with Dexter Southfield School. Jennifer was the right person at the perfect time to help our community. She met us with genuine openness (and good humor), and as a result, faculty and staff feel empowered to engage with timely, complex personal and professional questions related to gender. Ours is a unique school setting when it comes to gender, and through our collaboration with Jennifer, we are moving forward intentionally and effectively. 

Todd Vincent, Head of School, Dexter Southfield School, Brookline, MA

We loved having Dr. Bryan at Village School!  Through a year of on-going consultation regarding gender and sexuality diversity with our administration team, she utilized a multi-layered approach in which she guided each constituency at our school.  The faculty and staff appreciated her knowledge, passion and humor during her professional development inservices.  She mentored our teachers directly by working in our classrooms and presenting insightful and developmentally appropriate lessons to our students.  She also engaged our parent community through a well-received evening discussion group in which she discussed common questions and concerns parents have.  Dr. Bryan’s enthusiasm, energy, and ability to  “meet a school where they are at” with regard to gender and sexual diversity makes her contribution to a school community invaluable.

Eric Wlasak, Diversity and Equity Coordinator, Village School, Los Angeles, CA

We were thrilled to work with Jennifer Bryan. Our community has high-expectations, and can be somewhat suspicious of outside facilitators and in-service trainings. Yet, Jennifer garnered rave reviews from even the most cynical among us. She is a master teacher, funny, engaging, and intentional. Jennifer took time to tailor her presentation to our school community and made her content relevant to us. We also asked her to walk us through a few topics slightly outside the normal bounds of her work, and Jennifer was just as good with these new topics as she was with what she has done phenomenally well for years. Jennifer is a real pro! If you are looking for a facilitator to lead your community through an interactive day that feels relevant and fresh, not esoteric and route, then I could not recommend Jennifer highly enough. Our faculty and staff emerged from our work with her feeling energized and better prepared to support our students and each other through these complex times.

Danny O’Brien, Head of School, High Mountain Institute, Leadville CO

After nearly half of our faculty requested to attend Jennifer’s NWAIS workshop on Gender and Sexuality Diversity in schools, we decided we needed to bring her to Northwest to speak with our whole community. Fortunately for us, Jennifer was enthusiastic about being run ragged for a marathon of almost 72 hours. She did sessions for parents, for our full faculty, for all of our international students (about 90 kids from 12 countries), for upper school grade levels, for middle school classes, for 12th grade Humanities electives – Race & Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature – and managed throughout to be so brilliant, gracious, and so unflinchingly supportive and constructively critical that the whole community looks forward to her return!

Benjamin Lee, Ed.D., former Upper School Director, The Northwest School – Seattle, WA

Jennifer Bryan presented to our Shady Hill School Pre-K-8 community today. First she visited classes that included our youngest lower school children and then facilitated appropriate activities in middle school classes. It was crucial for us to maximize Dr. Bryan’s expertise and engage with as many of us as possible.  In order to raise the ever-changing topic of Gender & Sexuality Diversity to a mindset that is free from stereotypes, all constituents must hear the same message. This enables community members to share a common language and advance expectations of school respect. At the evening family presentation Jennifer poignantly integrated student schema, queries and depth of discussion from each grade. I had the privilege of guiding and observing Dr. Bryan deliver the same information in developmentally appropriate ways for each audience. She carefully flipped behavioral realities (usually thought of as abnormal) with a sense of humor that awakened us to actual normal human behavior.

Tahira Wilson Guillermo former Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shady Hill School Cambridge, MA

Jennifer’s work with our school on Gender and Sexuality Diversity has been tremendous. She not only brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, but more importantly, she has connected with our various constituencies in a thoughtful, humorous, and non-threatening way. The change Jennifer’s work will affect at our school is sure to be incremental. Many people in our community feel they have gained new understanding from their work with Jennifer, yet we know that changes in our community – if they are to be institutionalized effectively – will come over time as faculty and parents start to approach issues of gender and sexuality from a new perspective. As this process of change continues to unfold, our school community will be a better place because of the guidance Jennifer Bryan is providing for us.

Dominique M. Gerard, former Tri-Campus Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

In two workshops with our faculty, Jennifer Bryan has done a superb job of demystifying issues of gender and sexuality and helping our elementary teachers begin to wrestle with the practical sexuality challenges confronting them on a daily basis in the classroom. Like many independent school communities, DCD has miles to go before we can comfortably accommodate these issues, and we look forward to Dr. Bryan’s continuing stewardship throughout our institutional journey. Her down-to-earth, healthy, non-anxious, witty advice and assistance have been invaluable thus far.

Nicholas Thacher former Head of School, Dedham Country Day School, MA

WORKING WITH MANY CONSTITUENTS

Jennifer Bryan’s PK-12 Gender and Sexuality Diversity [GSD] framework and language offers our school a dynamic, research-based platform for designing developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction. We recently hosted Dr. Bryan for a set of workshops for parents, faculty and administrators from private, public,and parochial school across the Twin Cities in an effort to disseminate best practice and build a peer set of schools that share our commitment to GSD work PK-12. Dr. Bryan was the perfect catalyst for pulling that remarkably diverse group of schools and districts together. Across two days and nine different events, she provided compelling, interactive presentations, carefully tailored to each audience that featured warm humor and terrific anecdotes. The result was a set of wildly enthusiastic reviews from parents, teachers, and administrators who remarked about how much they learned and how much more committed they are to doing GSD work moving forward!

Scott Flemming, former Director Office of Equity and Community Engagement, Blake School, Minneapolis, MN

Jennifer’s ability to authentically and warmly engage a wide range of audiences, from teachers to parents to students, from experts to novices, is a wonder to witness. Jennifer creates a safe space in which all questions and curiosities are welcome, and in which all audience members are heard and respected. Whether you are seeking basic knowledge on gender and sexuality diversity or your community is engaged in high level policy discussions, Jennifer’s expertise and compassion will be instrumental in shaping your school’s future. And, From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom is a must read for anyone working with students in a Prek-12 school setting.

Lisa Spengler, Assistant Director of Upper School for Student Life & Leadership, Katherine Delmar Burke School Oakland, CA

Jennifer Bryan’s visit to our school was of extraordinary value for students, faculty and parents alike. Her open and authentic presentation style lends itself well to a topic that needs better understanding, particularly as schools strive to be safe and inclusive places for students and families. Through spending time with Dr. Bryan, faculty gained a better understanding of and confidence in their abilities to help students navigate the complexities of gender and sexuality. Parents who attended Dr. Bryan’s talk described her as riveting and spot-on fabulous, and left the discussion feeling that it is a wonderful time to be raising children! All constituents at our school–students, parents, and faculty–eagerly await Jennifer’s next visit.

Melanie Battistone, Assistant Head of School for Program and Philosophy, McGillis School, SLC, Utah

Jennifer’s capacity to engage a faculty is outstanding. She is so clearly a teacher herself. Her ideas are presented in both an accessible and substantive fashion. She is acutely sensitive to where each teacher is in his or her own growth and, at the same time, keeps everyone’s focus trained on the essential work of developing the skills to make a school safe for ALL children. A day with Jennifer is one that will fill you up with knowledge, provoke your self-awareness, and propel you in your own learning. In our school, Jennifer’s work has been on-going, spanning several years. Her ability to work with all constituencies – parents, trustees, faculty and students – and to generate an evolving process of both individual and institutional growth is impressive.

Ralph Wales Head of School, Gordon School, East Providence, RI

As a school psychologist in a mainstream independent school, I attended two of Jennifer Bryan’s trainings for the sake of my own education about gender and sexual diversity in schools. I was then delighted to bring her to my current school for K-8 youngsters with learning disabilities, in response to our faculty’s desire for training. Dr. Bryan first educated herself about our population, school culture, and history of diversity training, via faculty questionnaires and review of school materials. Then she provided us with an informative, challenging, exciting day tailored to our needs. Faculty feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and a large committee formed in order to carry the work forward. We look forward to her return.

Valerie M. Raymond, Ph.D.School Psychologist, The Gateway Schools, New York, NY

CLASSROOM TEACHERS/SCHOOL COUNSELORS

Jennifer Bryan’s workshop not only inspired my colleagues and me; it also armed us with new tools to take action in our classrooms. Jennifer’s expertise and professional voice, combined with her superb facilitation skills, make the hours I have spent with her some of the most valuable time of my teaching career. Jennifer takes the huge topic of Gender and Sexuality Diversity and provides a clear framework and a practical approach for educators. She has inspired me, in turn, to strive to make concrete for my young students their own evolving identities. One of the biggest lessons for me in applying my work with Jennifer in my own classroom has been that I am not teaching my students new things, but rather creating opportunities for them to express the ideas and feelings that are already inside them.

Julia Smith, Elementary School Teacher, Brooklyn Friends School, Brooklyn, NY

I have had the pleasure of learning from Jennifer Bryan in a number of ways. She was a professor of mine at the Smith College School for Social Work; I’ve attended two NYSAIS conferences at which she presented, and most recently she came to give a day-long presentation to the faculty and staff of The Churchill School and Center, where I am the Middle School Social Worker.

Jennifer first came to Churchill a few years ago to speak with the Mental Health team, to discuss what we were doing to teach Gender and Sexuality Diversity, and how we could improve. She sent us questionnaires before her visit, to assess the state of our curriculum and to glean what we identified as our most pressing needs. She spent half a day with our team of six, answering our questions in a thoughtful and thorough way, and provided us with helpful materials as well as offering to follow up with each of us on an as-needed basis.
That led to her coming back to Churchill for a full-day professional development presentation with our entire staff. Her presentation helped all faculty and staff see the validity of addressing issues related to GSD in a classroom setting. She gave us tools to engage with realistic situations in our own community.

In each of these settings, I have found Jennifer to be a most inspiring teacher. She demonstrates an incredible ability to connect with each person in the room and helps them feel comfortable with their level of knowledge and awareness of the given topic. She is amazingly thoughtful and reflective, with an ability to process a range of questions and comments, and respond fully in the moment.
I would enthusiastically recommend her to any school or organization interested in learning more about GSD.

Janah Boccio, LCSWMiddle School Social Worker, The Churchill School and Center, New York, NY

By May the seniors in my Humanities class are accomplished readers, thinkers and writers. With graduation just weeks away, I shift the focus to a different kind of “college readiness,” one that will help my students distill the potent, sensitive and nuanced ideas surrounding gender and sexuality diversity. We read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and a selection of contemporary articles about gender and sexuality, and inevitably, the seniors are full of questions about the literature, themselves and the world. At this juncture I invite my former teaching colleague Jennifer Bryan in to talk with the class because I know that even if she can’t answer all of their questions, she will give them tools and language with which to think about these complex issues. In addition to offering developmental theories and defining relevant terms, Jennifer demonstrates various aspects of identity via popular media and lets those images speak for themselves. This blend of theory, film clips and personal anecdotes offers students a compelling experience, confirming what they already suspect to be the truth about gender and sexuality diversity but may not yet have been able to articulate.

Nancy Henderson former Chair, Humanities Department, Academy at Charlemont, MA

Dr. Jennifer Bryan is simply the best workshop presenter I have encountered in 28 years of teaching. I teach in a conservative area and the issues of gender and sexual diversity are very challenging for many on our staff. What Jennifer was able to accomplish with them in a three-hour workshop was simply astounding. People who had voiced extreme fear of gay and transgender students were smiling and nodding by the end of the workshop. Dr. Bryan’s empathy and insight made her a perfect fit for our staff and we have grown so much as a school since meeting her.

Anne Stebinger, Remedial Reading Teacher/Diversity Club Faculty Adviser, Rondout Valley Intermediate School, NY

Since attending several of Jennifer Bryan’s workshops, I have become a collector of anecdotes from my Kindergarten students. My eyes are open! Evidence of gender and sexuality identity – fact and opinion – swirls around the classroom! Because of Jennifer’s guidance, I am better prepared to engage children in conversation, ask pertinent questions, respond with appropriate information and weave this aspect of social curriculum into the school day. Not only do I look and listen more carefully, but I have more language to use and approaches to apply. Jennifer’s counsel has helped me find openings and create exciting partnerships with parents. I am light years ahead in my understanding and practice because of Jennifer’s wisdom and humanity. Teachers! If you have the chance to participate in a workshop with Jennifer, don’t miss the opportunity.

Polly Rizzotto former Kindergarten teacher, Derby Academy, MA

A dynamic speaker and passionate educator, Dr. Jennifer Bryan led one of Ethical Culture’s most successful professional days. Using insight and wit to address sensitive topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation, she sets a tone that motivates people to question their assumptions, move beyond their discomfort and ultimately find the language they need to respond effectively to the children they teach. As a facilitator, she understands the challenges of change at both institutional and individual levels. Recognizing conflict as vital to growth, she is able to listen to opposing points of view, make each person feel heard, address differences in constructive ways and find common ground where none was apparent. Her ongoing work with Ethical’s administrators and faculty has been the impetus for our current initiative to develop a school-wide comprehensive health and human sexuality curriculum.

Andrea Udoff, Ph.D. Lower School Psychologist, Ethical Culture, NY

GIRLS‘ SCHOOLS; BOYS’ SCHOOLS

Like many schools, Greenwich Academy was looking to get educated on all of the issues surrounding gender identity and sexuality. After contacting peer schools, it was clear that Jennifer Bryan would be the right match for our needs and over the past year, she has come to our campus four times to speak with various constituents. Giving us language and context around an issue that felt potentially fraught was tremendously reassuring and has helped us move forward at a pace that was right for us.

Molly King, Head of School Greenwich Academy, Greenwich, CT

It is my pleasure to write a testimonial for Jennifer Bryan and share how proud and grateful I am for the work she is doing with Dexter Southfield School. Jennifer was the right person at the perfect time to help our community. She met us with genuine openness (and good humor), and as a result, faculty and staff feel empowered to engage with timely, complex personal and professional questions related to gender. Ours is a unique school setting when it comes to gender, and through our collaboration with Jennifer, we are moving forward intentionally and effectively.

Todd Vincent, Head of School Dexter Southfield, Brookline, MA

Jennifer worked her magic with [The Madeira School] board, covering the spectrum of attitudes and knowledge about gender issues in 2016. She delivered an interactive workshop that was filled with compassion, humor, scientific information, psychology, and plain common sense. Her success with the Board led us to bring her back to address the faculty and staff in a full day workshop, covering much of the same material in more detail. Again, Jennifer worked her magic, and she helped us address stereotypes, misconceptions, and point us in the right direction regarding best practice.

In a school that has hired many consultants, and where our community—board members to faculty, staff, and parents—are demanding of high quality, I would say that Jennifer rates as one of the top people we have brought in. She certainly turned many of our more conservative board members around to the point where they have approached the issue with new compassion and understanding, and have come up with good questions, advice, and recommendations. Our faculty and staff rated her with high approval as well. We have, with Jennifer Bryan’s guidance, agreed that The Madeira School will be an inclusive community, and that we will work towards ensuring that we address each case with this philosophy in mind. I doubt if we could have reached this conclusion, which has been almost unanimous, if she had not been on campus working with us.

Pilar Cabeza de Vaca Head of School, The Madeira School, McLean, VA

In the winter of 2015, Dana Hall created a Task Force to start a conversation about the inclusion of transgender students in our community.  Not surprisingly, one of the conclusions reached by the Task Force was that every constituent of the community would benefit from education on the topic.  I reached out to several colleagues to obtain recommendations for just the right person to work with students, parents, faculty, and the Board of Trustees. Jennifer Bryan of Team Finch Consultants was the name that popped up most frequently, and for good reason. During the 2015-16 school year, Jennifer worked first with the Administrative Team, then with the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and the students.  With each group, Jennifer tailored her presentation to provide the most compelling presentation for each of these constituents. She is knowledgeable, articulate, and thoughtful about the ways in which she presents the issues. She is patient and has a great sense of humor.  It was a very successful start to the community’s education on gender and sexuality diversity. In fact, Jennifer will do additional work with students and parents during the 2016-17 school year.  I recommend her with great enthusiasm; she has changed the way the Dana Hall community thinks about and approaches these issues, and we are a better school as a result.

Caroline Erisman, former Head of School, Dana Hall, Wellsley, MA

BOARDING SCHOOLS

Jennifer came to campus for a professional in-service day on the day we returned from a long break, a perhaps unenviable spot to be in, even with the exceptional faculty we have. She was just what we needed at a critical time for these discussions at Pomfret School. She was dynamic, provocative, good-humored, and focused. She helped us develop language and helped us develop important questions to be asking. The faculty responded incredibly well to her thoughtful and informative presentation, and rallied behind the deep thinking she and her team have clearly been doing in the area of gender identity over the past several years. We had begun the conversation about our next steps, and Jennifer provided some new and essential scaffolding for the important work to come. Did we achieve what I was hoping for? Unquestionably. Would I hire her again? Absolutely. Should you bring her to your school? As soon as possible. She is that good!

Tim Richards, Head of School, Pomfret School, CT

…her intelligent wit, knowledge of child and adolescent development, earlier stint as a teacher, and experience in boarding schools all make her one of the best presenters around. Her delivery is professional, provocative and caring as she tackles the difficult topics of gender identification and sexual orientation. Jennifer’s audience feels safe to ask questions of her in order to challenge their own assumptions and, ultimately, come to new understandings about the way schools can comfortably approach the tough topic of students’ sexuality. Jennifer promotes the rights of all children and adolescents to study, learn and grow in caring environments. Any school administrator interested in creating or maintaining such an environment should consider bringing Jennifer on board to help do it right.

Sally L. Mixsell, Head of School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, MA

Jennifer Bryan has significantly helped increase the sensitivity and sophistication of our school’s approach to gender and sexuality diversity. I especially appreciate the way Jennifer tailored presentations and guided discussions in the manner most relevant to different groups. Jennifer promoted excellent reflection about governance issues when working with our Trustees, about school leadership issues when working with our senior administrative team, and about the dynamics inside and outside the classroom when working with our faculty. Thanks to Jennifer’s wise counsel, our school continues to make heartening progress toward the goal of every single member of our community feeling respected and affirmed for every aspect of their identity.

John C. Warren, Head of School, St. Mark’s School, Southborough, MA

RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

Jennifer Bryan spent two full days with our faculty and staff sharing information and engaging us in conversation about Gender and Sexuality Diversity. At St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, we are committed to diversity and have developed a strategic plan geared toward increasing diversity and raising awareness in our community. That being said, the complexity of the landscape for gender and sexuality diversity in a faith based institution within the broader context of politically conservative region caused high levels of concern and anxiety amongst many of our community members. Jennifer did an amazing job of working to understand our community and our school before she arrived on campus. Within moments she was able to put everyone at ease because it was clear that she truly understood us. She was thoughtful about pace and content and was incredibly sensitive to the nature of our questions and comments. Like any great teacher, she met us where we were and helped scaffold us to deeper levels of understanding. Jennifer is incredibly knowledgeable, a gifted speaker, and a sensitive listener. I highly recommend Jennifer to lead any community in a deep conversation about gender and sexuality diversity.

Jeneen D. Graham Ed.D Academic Dean, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Jennifer Bryan has a real gift – the message, methodology, and messenger all align to make her extremely effective. I am particularly impressed that she works so successfully with a range of faculty and students who are ‘in very different places’ relative to issues of gender, sexual identity, and sexual orientation.

F. Robertson Hershey former Head of School, Episcopal High School, VA

PARENTS

Jennifer Bryan’s work with our community was exactly what we needed to begin the important conversations around gender and parenting. As the co-chair of a community-based committee called Heard in Rye, I invited Jennifer to join our line-up of speakers for 2017-2018. Jennifer was engaged in the planning process, and through numerous conversations, she understood the concerns we had regarding this presentation as well as the great potential for this to be a true learning opportunity for parents and teachers in our town. 

On the evening of the event, Jennifer really nailed it. She incorporated humor and built a great rapport with our parents, setting the foundation for the conversation and allowing her to move the needle quite significantly on everyone’s understanding of her gender and sexuality continuum. Jennifer came armed with deep knowledge and endless examples, and her natural ability to tell stories and provide metaphors created entry points for parents of all ages and backgrounds.

Following her presentation, Jennifer participated in a panel with two other local professionals. She balanced her perspective with theirs and connected easily with them, as well. Overall, this evening exceeded our expectations and we have Jennifer to thank for that! Many parents have approached me since to say that it was the most thought-provoking Heard in Rye event they have attended, and they hope that we have the opportunity to bring Jennifer back to Rye, through the schools or the community. 

Alison Cupp Relyea, Heard in Rye, Rye NY

As the Chairperson for a Parent diversity group at a private elementary school, I have had the great pleasure of working with Jennifer Bryan. We have had Jennifer come to speak with our Parent Diversity Group twice over the past four years and each time her presentation has been very enthusiastically received. Jennifer is able to discuss with ease, sensitivity and humor one of the toughest diversity topics I know, sexual orientation. She does it so well that even the most anxious parent becomes engaged.

Kate Barrand, parent

There is so much more to the concept of gender than having to check a box, male or female. Sure, there is one’s biological gender, but one’s emotional gender is ever-changing, developing, evolving. It is our role as adults, not just as parents, to support our children as they move through this maze of questioning and discovering.
Dr. Bryan’s warm and welcoming speaking style helped open our minds to the complexity of gender identification. By starting the conversation for us, identifying the issues and providing relatable experiences, she left us feeling more empowered to take the discussion further, to apply our new awareness.

Andrea Bender, President Parent Communication Network, Edina, Minnesota

HIGHER EDUCATION

Jennifer Bryan’s presentation at Harvard University was brilliant. She set just the right tone in engaging the audience in a discussion of important issues surrounding identity, sexuality, and gender. Her talk was extremely well received and we are already planning to invite her back. Using her recent book as focal point for the discussion, Dr. Bryan addressed a group of faculty, doctoral and masters students, and staff. Her delivery was captivating, her knowledge of the field deep, and her understanding of child and adolescent development broad. The audience of educators all agreed that they were better equipped to deal with these issues after hearing from Dr. Bryan. In fact, teachers, education administrators, parents and policy makers should all have the opportunity to engage with Dr. Bryan in these important discussions.

John Collins, former Head Librarian, Monroe Gutman Library/Faculty Member, Harvard Graduate School of Education