Tag Archives: Donna Milani Luther

Donna Milani Luther Made a Vocal Impact at CREA Conference

Donna Milani Luther is not only the Head of Inly School, she is an expert facilitator in the fields of creativity and problem solving. This month, she brought her talents to Italy as a presenter at the CREA Conference and, according to one attendee’s blog post (http://creaexperience.com/2011/04/16/the-accidental-choir/), Donna made a vocal impact.

[Donna] was formidable, but in a comfortable way. In my opinion, she created a miracle. A miracle of harmonious collaboration, in the most literal sense.

CREA Conference is one of the major international conferences on creativity, innovation and leadership. It is organised by Eventi Creativi for CREA Italia, a non-profit association based in Milan, Italy. Every April, since 2003, CREA offers a week of innovative programs and workshops to a international crowd of participants, coming from countries all over Europe – and beyond.

The "Aha" Series: Donna's Both Sides of the Brain Story

Every teacher has a favorite “this is why I teach” story.

Starting today, and running every Monday through the rest of the school year, we’ll share Inly faculty stories that illustrate those moments of joyful discovery when an idea clicks for a student, the mental light bulb switches on, and the “aha!” epiphany brings new life to learning.


These stories almost always involve a student who had been struggling with a concept or trying to make sense of a lesson, or a student who was suddenly able to apply a concept or make a connection. The breakthrough happened, and that “aha” expression ignited the student’s face.

These “aha” moments aren’t necessarily momentous to anyone but the student. However, they are the experiences, large and small, that make students fall in love with learning so they’ll want to do it for the rest of their lives. They are also the moments that sustain and inspire teachers to come to school every day seeking the “hook” for each child that will, as Maria Montessori said, “so touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.”

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll share a story from every teacher at Inly. [The stories first ran in Rhythm & News, Inly’s weekly newsletter.] Helping us kick off the “aha” series this week is Donna Milani Luther, Inly Head of School.

Donna’s Both Sides of the Brain Story

I think for me this moment is a moment I’ve seen over and over again in all my years of working with kids in theater. It’s that moment when all the pieces finally come together in the end, and it’s a very powerful thing.

I’ve watched the students as they go through the fog and storm of rehearsals, when nothing feels right, and they’re wondering if it’s all going to work. They ask themselves, Did I hit the right note? Am I standing in the right place? Where do I put the microphone? Then they gradually build up confidence, as they become better and better prepared. Through teamwork they learn to trust each other, trust the director, and they learn to trust themselves. Finally there comes the point when all of the underpinnings, all the weeks of preparation come together, and now they say, I know where my microphone is, I know where to stand, I know the songs, I know my lines.

In learning this is referred to as layering on of information. Some of it is logical and sequential: learning notes, choreography, memorizing lines; and some of it is abstract: “How do I pretend to be this other person?” or “How can I do all of this at once?” It takes both sides of the brain, and when both sides come together, it clicks.

I saw this in the kids in Oliver, just as I’ve seen it in all the student plays we’ve done here at Inly over the years. People often say it comes together in the end because of the audience, but I don’t believe that. It happens before the curtain opens when they say to themselves, “I can do this!”…and then again after it closes when they say, “Hey, I did that!”

[This post originally appeared in Rhythm & News, the Inly School newsletter, on February 13, 2009.]

Senator Paul Kirk Visits Inly School

Senator Paul Kirk

“Remember that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose…so set high standards, so that whether by accident of history or time you are ready to serve.”

During his visit to Inly on November 13, Senator Paul Kirk (D-MA) called on Inly’s Middle School students to have passion, self-discipline, and a commitment to their communities. As he said, “Service is important, making a difference in people’s lives is everything.”

“I came here to pay respects to you and your parents, who had the wisdom to send you here,” said Senator Kirk to the audience of students and faculty.

Senator Kirk visited at the request of his former staffer, Inly’s own librarian Shelley Sommer. Shelley first met Paul Kirk when she was a recent college graduate working at the Democratic National Committee in 1987.

“It was a hello-and-get-coffee kind of job,” Shelley said. From the beginning, she was impressed with then-Democratic Chairman Kirk. “I knew how to operate the copy machine, and Chairman Kirk was traveling around the country leading the nation’s oldest political party. Despite being on opposite ends of the operation, Paul Kirk was unfailingly respectful to everyone on the staff and he had our loyalty.”

In 1989, Shelley left the Democratic National Committee for a job at the Kennedy Library in Boston. “I was very new on the job when they announced a new director, and it was Chairman Kirk! Only this time I didn’t have to get coffee,” she laughed. When she learned that her former boss was appointed to replace his friend Senator Kennedy this past September, Shelley dropped him an e-mail congratulating him and asking him to come speak to Inly’s Middle School. She was thrilled when he accepted.

Senator Kirk’s life of public service is an inspiration,” said Head of School Donna Milani Luther. “He exemplifies the type of leadership we expect our students to aspire to. It is an honor to have him here.”

Donna Milani Luther to Play Sarah Derby in One-Woman Show


Dance for Joy, the Story of the Life of Sarah Derby: 1714-1790

A one-woman play portraying
the life of Madam Sarah Derby
Performed by
Donna Milani Luther, Head of Inly School

Saturday, October 3, 2009
7:00 p.m.
Larsen Hall, Derby Academy, 56 Burditt Avenue, Hingham

Admission free. Reception immediately following.
For more information, contact: Amanda Daly at 781-749-0746 or adaly@derbyacademy.org.

[Donna played this very same role in 1992 for Derby’s bicentennial.]