Life Compass

LifeCompass Institute

LifeCompass Institute for Character & Leadership

The LifeCompass Institute (LCI) is a lab school community of practice at Montrose School. As the flagship school for girls, Montrose is committed to sharing its unique mission with the greater world. LCI offers practical wisdom for parents and educators to help girls become the best version of themselves. LCI collaborates with partner organizations in order to share resources with parents and educators so that all girls may live flourishing lives.

Founded in 2017 by Director Emerita Karen Bohlin, currently of the Practical Wisdom Group, LCI serves as a resource to educators and school leaders around the globe. Read more about LCI's history.

Katie Elrod, LifeCompass Institute Director & Head of Montrose School

Katie Elrod has been at Montrose for more than 20 years. She has taught at every grade level, from elementary through an adjunct professor position in the philosophy department at Boston College. For the past two years, she has co-led the Abigail Adams Institute’s summer seminar “Divided We Stand: Pursuing the Common Good” in Cambridge, MA. She is a published author and a sought-after speaker locally and nationally on education and parenting, having spoken at the University of Notre Dame, MIT and St. Joseph’s College, and the University of Navarra, Spain. A Lonergan Fellow, she received her BA and MA in philosophy from Boston College. She created Montrose School’s flagship Capstone course, “Embracing Big Questions and the Ethics of Human Flourishing.”


Led by the Institute director, our Parent Educator brings the latest research in the development of middle school and high school-aged girls to parents.

Resources for Parents

Get your PhD in parenting! We have information and resources to guide you so you can help your daughter flourish. Read a recent blog post or curated article, hear one of our recent LifeCompass speakers or see what our partner organizations have to offer.

Deborah Farmer Kris, LifeCompass Parent Educator

Founder of Parenthood365, Deborah consults with Montrose on our parent education program. Drawing on her decades of experience as a school administrator, speaker and child development expert, she provides practical wisdom and support for parents at school and parent events and workshops.


Led by the Institute director, our faculty draw from ancient wisdom and current research to connect theory and practice within and beyond the classroom. 

Thanks to generous funding by the Kern Family Foundation, nine Montrose faculty members to date have been awarded a full scholarship to pursue their Master’s of Character Education from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue at the University of Birmingham (UK). These teachers are leading departments and task forces, sharing their wisdom and research-based best practices in curriculum design and leading professional development workshops on learning and teaching.

Three members of the Montrose faculty were awarded their Master's of Character Education in 2022: Jennifer Bowman, Becky Roberts and Barbara Whitlock.

Six more are current fellows: Mary Jo White, Bakhita Wanner, Seana Dorich, Abigail Rios, Angeli Fernandes and Margaret Juge.

Resources for Educators

LCI provides training and curriculum resources to public and private school educators through partner programs and its own original resources. Recent LCI publications include The Courageous Dialogue Toolkit: Practical Wisdom for School Leaders (LCI, 2021) and Stress Tests of Character (LCI, 2020). Read more about these and other educator resources.

Jennifer Bowman, MA in Character Education, 2022

Theology, Art, Art & Science Faculty, Montrose School

Dissertation: Reflecting for Well-Being 

Research questions: 
Looking closely at our Practical Wisdom Frameworks, we teach students to reflect before recalibrating and responding. Reflecting is an emerging skill for 7th graders. Do 7th grade students know how to reflect? Do they understand the benefits of reflection?

Becky Roberts, MA in Character Education, 2022

Middle School Director & English Faculty, Montrose School

Dissertation: The Parent Partnership Model for Character Education 

Research questions:
To what extent do parents at Montrose perceive their relationship to be a partnership with the school when it comes to the character education program? What are the barriers and the enablers to parent engagement/partnership at Montrose?

Barbara Whitlock, MA in Character Education, 2022

Upper School Director & English and History Faculty, Montrose School 

Dissertation: Bridging the Character Education Gap from Adolescence to Citizenship

Research question:
How do interactions with a trusted, non-parent adult cause improved outcome goals for adolescents with mentors?
An independent school for girls in grades 6-12
Inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church