CHESTERTOWN — Kent School will host Kudner Leyon Visiting Writer Jessica Lahey for a town hall-style meeting to discuss her New York Times bestselling book, "The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed."

Lahey will also share her thoughts on the gift of failure in this time of COVID, a news release states. The session will be held virtually at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 via Zoom. The event is free and the public is invited to join.

To reserve a space and receive a link to join, email no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 27.

The release states Lahey has more than 20 years experience as a middle and high school teacher. During her career, she "began to suspect that the way we parent children has a direct impact on their motivation, learning, resilience and the development of obsessive perfectionism and performance anxiety." 

A "deep dive" in researching this hypothesis resulted in her book "The Gift of Failure."  Lahey offers practical advice for fostering deep, meaningful learning by offering children more autonomy at home and in school, helping them feel more competent and strengthening parent-child and teacher-student relationships, the release states.

“I am so pleased to bring Jess Lahey to our community," Nancy Mugele, head of Kent School, said in the release. "When I read her practical and insightful book, I was struck by her premise that parents have the power to grant students the freedom to fail, and teachers have the ability to transform that failure into an education. Together, parents and educators can nurture our children to become more confident and competent adults." 

In addition to her evening session, Lahey will also conduct an assembly with students in grades four through eight during the academic day on Jan. 27, and a meeting specifically for Kent School faculty later that afternoon.

Lahey earned a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two sons. Her second book, "The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence," will be released in April 2021.

Lahey’s talk is made possible by the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment at Kent School. This fund allows Kent School to bring authors, illustrators and experts in child development to campus each year to work with students, teachers and parents, the release states.

The Kudner Leyon Visiting Writers Program is named for Ariana Kudner and Amanda Leyon, members of Kent School’s Class of 1991, who shared a love of reading, books and creative writing. Sadly, Ariana and Amanda lost their lives in a tragic car accident in 1994. This program is a "wonderful and lasting tribute" to their legacy, the release states. 

Kent School serves children from preschool through grade eight in its campus near Chestertown. For more information call 410-778-4100 ext. 110 or visit

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