Story Reed Leonard

With a certification in executive coaching coupled with 35+ years in Independent Schools, both boarding and day, Story is fully committed to re-energizing school leaders. The onslaught of Covid was depleting beyond measure, exacerbating an already burgeoning mental health crisis. The demands we place on educational leaders only keep growing, yet professional development and support have not kept up. Story believes that coaching is one way to address this gap. Over the past two years, she has coached associate heads, DEI leaders, deans, and department chairs with the goal of reconnecting their values and strengths to a clear sense of purpose in their work. This process provides leaders with renewed positive energy and focus. Having the space to reflect upon and then articulate who you are as a leader and how you want to lead is transformative. 

Story also coaches clients to conduct conversations more effectively: giving difficult feedback, addressing parent anger, advocating for a new position, and managing up, to name a few. We build culture in our schools in each conversation we have; how we listen matters immensely. 

Prior to creating Coaching@Altitude with Jim and Stephen Badger, Story served as the Director of College Counseling for 13 years at Santa Fe Prep. She also relaunched girls’ lacrosse in New Mexico in 2001, dedicating herself to growing the sport. Story began her independent school career at Pomfret School (1986-1992) and The Mountain School of Milton Academy (1992-1999), where she held a range of teaching, coaching, and administrative responsibilities, including Admissions Director, Head Advisor, and Dean of Women.

Story is a 1984 graduate of Williams College and received her Master’s degree in Liberal Arts in 1993 from Dartmouth College. She and Jim have three daughters, all graduates of Santa Fe Prep: Kelsey ‘11, Molly ‘12, and Campbell ‘20.

Story was incredibly helpful, particularly in this difficult time [of Covid] with no clear answers. The team went above and beyond and didn't pull the plug when school ended but stayed on the case. I'm very grateful. Her personal, compassionate, informed and wise talents got us through!

Story carries an authentic passion for how leaders in school communities can respond to the needs of students and families and how collaboration and sharing between professionals can be integral to success. Time spent with Story includes equal parts listening, sharing, laughing, and optimism. In other words, time well spent.

Career educators know that while styles and trends come and go in our profession, there exists also a timelessness of working with young people at the core of impactful education. This is the wellspring of Story's pedagogy, compassion, and expertise. To work with Story is to catch a glimpse of the beauty and power at the heart of education.

Talking through my process and purposes with you, Story, was super helpful, leading to new insights about how best to plan and stage an activity that creates discomfort for me. It also allowed me to reflect on the strengths that often carry me through uncomfortable conversations and that help me ‘win’ the goodwill of both students and colleagues.