The Leadership Institute

2022 Leadership Capstone students and mentors. 


For more than 70 years, Maryvale has molded dedicated learners into dynamic leaders.

In 2014, at the urging of the President’s Advisory Council, Maryvale took its longstanding leadership initiatives to a new level, launching the Leadership Institute. The bold move made Maryvale the first all girls’ school in the region to offer such an impressive lineup of leadership offerings through its one-of-a-kind signature program.

Since debuting the Institute, the school continues to expand its offerings, carefully crafting innovative classes and providing cutting-edge opportunities to provide girls with the skills needed in our ever-changing world.

Our accomplished alumnae sit at the helm of companies, head nonprofits, direct boards and oversee schools. That’s because they developed the skills and the confidence to lead at a young age during their formative years at Maryvale.

Whether it is serving on the Student Council, captaining a Maryvale athletic team, working on an ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) project, writing for the school newspaper, taking part in Model U.N. or in other school clubs, Maryvale students are challenged to lead, direct and shine.


The Leadership Institute @ a Glance

The Institute provides all girls with the academic training, real-life experience and immense opportunity to develop exemplary leadership skills that will catapult them ahead in college, career and life.

Under the umbrella of the Leadership Institute, every student receives a variety of leadership training during each academic year. Through the rigorous Leadership Certificate Program, Middle School courses, Upper School electives, regular lessons in Advisory and field trips to local companies or all-school assemblies, the Institute offers leadership skill development at every phase of a Maryvale student’s journey. In addition, national guest lecturers are brought into the classroom virtually, using Skype and other state-of-the-art technology.

These lessons come alive as each girl has the opportunity to flex her leadership muscle through dozens of curricular and co-curricular offerings. Whether it is delivering an impactful eighth grade speech, running in a close Student Council race or serving those in need through community service, there are more than 100 opportunities for each student to learn, lead and succeed in the classroom, on the field, in the theater or in the community.

This testing ground is not limited to Maryvale’s 100-plus-acre campus. Through the Leadership Institute, students have the opportunity to lead workshops and participate in internships as well as summer programs at companies, universities and nonprofits throughout Greater Baltimore and throughout the country.

Maryvale’s Leadership Institute does not stop working for students when they graduate. Another goal of this signature program is to continually connect young alumnae with their Maryvale sisters in the highest ranks of companies, nonprofits and schools to encourage networking, mentorship and career advancement.


Meet the Director

“My goal as the Director of the Leadership Institute is to empower our young women by providing the tools and experiences that allow them to be the leaders the world was meant to see. Developing one’s leadership muscle takes practice and perseverance, and at Maryvale, we take that workout seriously.”
Mary Ellen Rector Fise '74

Mary Ellen Rector Fise '74

Director of the Leadership Institute, Women's Equality Initiative Moderator

Educational Background

  • M.A., Church Ministry and Congregational Leadership, Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University
  • J.D., University of Baltimore School of Law
  • B.S., Consumer Economics, University of Maryland, College Park

Professional Background

  • Associate for Parish Research, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University
  • Associate Director of Research and Planning, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • General Counsel, Consumer Federation of America
  • Faculty, University of Maryland and Boston University
  • Author, The Childwise Catalog (HarperCollins, 1993, 1990, 1986)

Boards of Directors

  • Underwriters Laboratories
  • National Institute of Building Sciences
  • American National Standards Institute
  • International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization
  • Lowe’s Home Safety Council
  • St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute