“Leading by listening”: Kelly’s Impact on Spiritual Task Force

  • Voices
“Leading by listening”: Kelly’s Impact on Spiritual Task Force
Ethan Silverman ’25

Ethan Silverman ’25 reflects on his involvement with the group and what it’s meant to work alongside Kelly in developing programs for the annual all-school gatherings.


In recent years, programs for the school’s three annual all-school gatherings have been shaped by the Spiritual Task Force, a group of dedicated Upper School students who represent the range of diverse faith traditions in the school community. The task force was convened by Head of School Doreen Kelly, who, in alignment with the school’s Statement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, has worked to make these gatherings inclusive and welcoming to students, faculty and staff of all faith traditions.

Here, task force member Ethan Silverman ’25 reflects on his involvement with the group and what it’s meant to him to work alongside Kelly and his peers in planning the November Gathering of Thanks, the December Holiday Gathering and the Spring Gathering.

I’ve had the fortunate experience to partner with and get to know Mrs. Kelly through the Ravenscroft Spiritual Task Force. When I was in seventh grade, student leaders in the Upper School asked me to read the Hanukkah story at one of our all-school gatherings. This request introduced me to the work of the Spiritual Task Force, and I jumped at the opportunity when invited to join. 

My work with the team has been enlightening. I’ve enjoyed hearing perspectives from others who celebrate different customs and traditions and have gained a deeper appreciation of other religious practices. My peers and I enjoy bouncing ideas off of each other and coming to agreement on the best ways to share information on our diverse religious beliefs across Ravenscroft.

Clockwise from top left: Ethan Silverman ’25 shares the Hanukkah story during the Holiday Gathering in December 2019; Ethan and Doreen Kelly join with speakers and fellow task force members following the 2022 Holiday Gathering; Ethan speaks at the most recent all-school gathering in December 2023; students from all three divisions enjoy the Gathering of Thanks in November 2023. 

At top: Ethan and Kelly with her son, Assistant Director of Admissions Sean Kelly ’11, grandson Declan ’37 and speakers from the 2023 Holiday Gathering.

The task force was anchored by the guiding hand of Mrs. Kelly, who never sought to dominate or dictate the path of our conversations. As a student, leader and person of faith, I felt working with someone as knowledgeable as Mrs. Kelly in this space exponentially increased what I learned from the experience. Her leadership helped all of us on the task force grow and think differently. 

One of the most important lessons I learned from her was the skill of being a good listener. As an observer, we can listen and process while allowing other people’s views to be heard and discussed and, as a team, arrive at the best solution without the leader dictating the answer. Mrs. Kelly was great at leading by listening, a skill that I vow to continue to strengthen.  

I hope that the lasting legacy of our time working together is that Ravenscroft is an open community and all voices are heard in a respectful way. Having different religions represented at Ravenscroft is a gift to be leveraged, and Mrs. Kelly helped us create an environment where people are comfortable sharing.