Cynthia Shackelford

Current Advisory Council Member
Parent - The Archer School for Girls, Brentwood School
There have been countless teachable moments I’ve had with my four daughters over the nearly eighteen years of independent school education. Navigating these waters has been both rewarding and treacherous at times. A constant reframing of uncomfortable experiences and communing with other families like mine who are intimately acquainted with similar challenges was the only way to stay afloat.

Thankfully, I found a safe harbor in my ISA family.
The support I received from the ISA administrative staff was immeasurable. It went far beyond the “You’re in” acceptance letters from schools. In fact, ISA administrators were key to resolving my ambivalence about the acceptance letter from Brentwood. This was matched by BW’s Admissions Director’s dedication to diversity in the school. Mary Beth Berry continues to play a pivotal role in our ISA family. I am grateful for her IMPACT on our lives.
You, my reader, might have current ISA students, or perhaps you too are an alumni parent. Have you considered how you might use your time, talents, and yes, $$$ to support this amazing community? ISA’s staff cannot effectuate its mission without our help. I know how creative and resilient we are! Why else would independent schools want our presence on their campuses? They know it too.
So, let’s show up and show out-in a good way, of course, by learning about ISA beyond school admission and tuition stuff, by participating in the Across Colors conferences, and yes by giving dollars. Often times, we may feel like our donation (any amount) is too small to make a difference. But, I beg to differ. Participation in donations is vital. Even pennies collected by our Kindergartners count. It is the habit of giving that matters. Our amounts will grow as we grow.
Another way to show support is perhaps one that goes overlooked. Have you considered the enormity of tasks set before ISA staff? I can only imagine what the pressure must be like for ISA staff when engaging our anxiety (parental) over everything from the interviewing process to tuition. A resounding, “Thank you”, and big ‘ole hug for ISA staff members is my first step for paying it forward.

What will be yours?

To my ISA family, old and new, I lovingly urge you to get involved, meet others, and stay connected.

Much love,

Cynthia Shackelford
ISA Alumnae parent

The Archer School for Girls: Class of 2006, 2007, George Washington University, Boston College, respectively
Brentwood: Class of 2015, 2017 –Georgetown University, University of Richmond, respectively