Leadership Profile

Women’s Boarding School Finds a Friend in Cedar Crest College


Carmen Twillie Ambar and Ayanna Hill-Gill

The Purnell School is a small private boarding school for young women in grades 9-12 in Pottersville, N.J. When the effects of Hurricane Sandy hit the campus last week and the power went out, nearly half of the school’s 100 students wound up relocating to Allentown with faculty and staff.

On Sunday, Head of School Ayanna Hill-Gill e-mailed the Cedar Crest College admissions department seeking a place to educate her students during the day, while they stayed at a local hotel at night. By Monday, the students were using classrooms in Blaney Hall and the Tompkins College Center to discuss the upcoming elections, learn Spanish and French, and more.

“We thought this would be a good opportunity for the girls to be on a college campus and especially one that believes in women’s education,” said Hill-Gill. Cedar Crest College President Carmen Twillie Ambar said of the relationship: “The Purnell School values women’s leadership and women’s empowerment. Whenever you bond around a challenge, you build a lasting connection.”

See the photos below for highlights of the experience of the Purnell School students during their time on the Cedar Crest campus.



Read what Purnell has to say about Cedar Crest