Life Compass

LifeCompass Institute

The LifeCompass Institute for Character & Leadership at Montrose School

Montrose School is a National School of Character (1999 & 2017) and has served as a resource to educators and school leaders internationally. The LifeCompass Institute, founded by Dr. Karen Bohlin in 2017, provides Montrose parents, faculty and students with practical resources that explore how human beings develop the habits they need to flourish under any circumstances. Our LifeCompass Fellows draw from ancient wisdom and engage in current research — all with an eye to helping girls develop the vision and habits they need to thrive and make a contribution in the world. New LCI resources for educators include Courageous Dialogue Toolkit: Practical Wisdom for School Leaders by Barbara Whitlock & Karen Bohlin with Deborah Farmer Kris & Gabrielle Landry and Stress Tests of Character: Using Story to Build Motivation & Resilience by Deborah Farmer Kris & Karen Bohlin.

Meet the LifeCompass Fellows

The LifeCompass Faculty Fellows are Kern Family Foundation Scholars in the Master of Arts in Character Education program at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue, University of Birmingham (UK).  Master teachers at Montrose School, these practitioners pursue action research on topics such as the power of courageous dialogue in building trust and community; how art can teach empathy; and how schools can forge formative relationships with parents. The LifeCompass Fellows lead professional development for faculty and parents aimed at helping young women develop the habits of mind, heart and character they need to flourish. 

Jenny Bowman

Art, Theology, Art & Science Faculty, Montrose School

Research interests include: the power of art to foster students’ power to see and develop moral perception and empathy. 

Becky Roberts

Middle School Coordinator and English Faculty, Montrose School

Becky’s research includes a year-long mixed-methods study at middle school level to determine whether there is any link between Montrose school mentoring program and resilience development.

Barbara Whitlock

Coordinator of Humanities; Director of Student Learning & Leadership; English and History Faculty, Montrose School 

Research interests include: the role that key relationships play in forming adolescents in phronesis. 

Barbara's latest research has been published on
Preparing Adolescents for Civic Virtue through Courageous Conversations.

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  • More information on Barbara's research

    Mrs. Whitlock has focused her research on the role of relationships in forming adolescents for the practical wisdom essential to character development. She has studied the role of stories and literary characters in helping expand student experiences for empathy as well as for assessing choices characters make before moral dilemmas. Much of her work has focused on civic virtue, such as the history of Republican womanhood and the transition for women to teaching in early 19th century, and especially how to build a more civic culture through trust-building and dialogue strategies that encourage people to articulate the courage of their convictions while remaining open- and fair-minded in facilitating diverse voices. She is a principal writer for the Courageous Dialogue Toolkit, and you can hear her webinar on Courageous Dialogue as well. Mrs. Whitlock has used her research to support the mission-driven work in her roles as English and history teacher, Humanities Coordinator, and Director of Student Learning & Leadership at Montrose.

Karen E. Bohlin

Karen Bohlin, EdD, LCI Founder and Director Emerita will continue to engage the public with her work in leadership and practical wisdom.  If you would like to be in touch with Dr. Bohlin, please email her directly at