Magpie Provides Laboratory for Leadership Class

March 28, 2022 / Andrea Wenger
Kirsten Moore '89, talks with EMS leadership students outside of Magpie
Kirsten Moore '89, talks with EMS leadership students outside of Magpie

Thirteen students from EMS’ Organizational Leadership class gleaned insights this winter from local entrepreneur, Kirsten Moore, at Magpie, where brunch diners happily wait two hours many weekend mornings for a table.

Moore, EMHS class of ’89, launched the hugely successful community meeting and eating space in fall of 2020, an opening pushed back by the onset of Covid-19. The students, who visited in February of 2022, heard how Moore’s vision adapted to the realities, and her vision for a business that is “committed to creating a positive, diverse, and encouraging workplace.”

The field trip began with vanilla twists from the diner’s in-house bakery and other locally sourced foods. Then, they got a behind-the-scenes tour of the restored Big L Tire building just north of downtown. The facility hosts indoor and outdoor dining, and includes a co-working space (The Perch at Magpie), and Chestnut Ridge Coffee Roasters.

“We pursue profit as a way to reinvest in a healthy, vibrant workplace and positively impact our community,” says the Magpie website. The visit provided a chance for students to see the promise in action.

The Organizational Leadership inter-disciplinary elective course is taught by Paul Leaman, head of school, who has a PhD in Strategic Leadership Studies from James Madison University.

The course introduces students to leadership theories, organizational structures and mission, principles of organizational finance, and data analysis for strategic planning. Students can opt to earn credit in math (spreadsheet skills), English (substantial reading and succinct writing), or social studies (how to work with people).

It’s the third time Leaman has taken time from his busy administrative and fundraising duties to teach the course. “I really enjoy a chance to be in the classroom again,” he says. “This course gives me the opportunity to expose students to concepts that I hope will help them as team players in all kinds of professional settings, whether they are in an identified leadership roles or not.”

“I loved learning things that I  know will be helpful in the future,” says Annika Harmison ’23. “No matter what I do, I will work for different kinds of leaders, and, hopefully, get to serve as a leader. So knowing about different leadership styles and theories felt really practical.”

Photos for this story are by Annika Harmison

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