ATHENA recipient has leadership, giving back down to a science
By Rachael Romig, Senior Director of Events & Special Programs, GRCA
During the Women2Women Conference & Expo on April 20, Adelle Schade was named the 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient. Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 8,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the ATHENA Award throughout the world. In our Berks community, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) has recognized 39 deserving women since 1993 as Schade joins this prestigious group.
By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award® Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives. ATHENAs share eight principles that form the Leadership Model.
- Live authentically and learn constantly
- Build relationships and foster collaboration
- Act courageously and advocate fiercely
- Give back and celebrate
Our ATHENA Award recipients are some of the most prominent leaders in Berks County. And Schade is putting Berks County on the global map for forward thinking in STEM.
Schade is the Dean of Pre-College and Summer Programming at Albright College and CEO of ConvergeEd, LLC. Prior to Albright College, Schade was a science teacher at Conrad Weiser High School for 25 years where she founded the Science Research Institute, an afterschool and summer program for high school and middle school students to explore scientific research. Since its creation in 2015, the institute has grown by more than 800% and was home to more than 600 research projects being done by students in 19 school districts.
An example of what these young minds did? Students working there found a way to convert chicken manure into glass. Handfuls of students were working with attorneys to patent their work. Schade knew the program had to, and would, continue to grow.
Now, her program Science Research Institute is known as the trademarked learning and instructional methodology, Total Experience Learning® (TExpL). Total Experience Learning® was named a top four STEM program in the United States in 2019 by District Administrator Journal. In December 2022, the program received international recognition during a ceremony by the United Nations, as the Most Innovative Educational Model by the Materials Science sub-division.
During her acceptance speech to end the Conference & Expo, she shared that her award was truly a team award. Without her team around her, always supporting her, she would never get to where she is. She named many women in the crowd who were and are her advocates and biggest supporters. Her “sharks” as she called them.
This year, W2W launched the first ever ATHENA Leadership Giveback where we asked our ATHENA recipient to choose a cause, nonprofit, or organization we could work together as a collective to donate to. Schade chose the Educator Sanctuary. The purpose of the Educator Sanctuary is to provide support to educators enrolled in the Total Experience Learning® coursework. The goal is to not only provide both support specific to their courses, but also a collegial environment that encourages collaboration across district and grade-level boundaries. Since its founding, they have introduced a self-care component to the Sanctuary with meditation, reiki and sound therapy that is quite popular. The Sanctuary has become a respite for educators whose passion and dedication are openly apparent as they work after hours at Albright to redesign their learning environments for the benefit of their students.
We asked our attendees that day to donate school supplies and write notes of thanks to the teachers. We will continue to ask for donations to this cause until the 2024 ATHENA recipient is named!
Schade, also a member of the Women2Women Advisory Council, told the crowd of 300 the importance of networking, and supporting others—helping people to realize their full potential. Our April 2023 Empowered Woman makes it her mission to not only uplift students and teachers, but to empower other women around her.