Boarding and day students form friendships and build a community where everyone is enriched by their differences and shared pursuits.
Residential life at Porter’s provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes character development and personal responsibility. We challenge girls to become their best selves, teaching resilience, independence, and respectful engagement with the world around them.
Our dormitories, which have the look and feel of private residences, contribute to an important sense of home. Additionally, we know students transition to boarding school best when there are adults in their lives who are present and available to provide guidance, just as families do. As such, we have committed to a unique residential model that includes full time House Directors whose primary responsibilities on campus are within our dormitories. Students are also supported by Junior Advisors, who are student leaders appointed to serve as peer counselors in the dormitories. Of course, there is always a healthy dose of fun as well, including snacks, movies, activities, and conversation.
Day students are fully integrated into life at Porter’s. They participate in all activities, traditions, and programs and form strong bonds with boarding students. Day students often return to campus on the weekends for social events, athletic games, performances, club activities, and sleepovers.
Day students are affiliated with dormitories for traditions, celebrations, and events. They also have a day student space where they can relax, store their belongings, and spend time with friends. Each day student is also offered a locker, which provides a convenient location to store books and sports equipment during the day and overnight. The day student room is often a gathering spot for impromptu dance parties, class meetings, and socializing between classes. And just as the boarders enjoy having the day students in the dorms, the day students welcome boarders into their day student rooms and their homes.
Our dormitories blend the charm of old New England architecture and design with modern amenities and comforts that create a welcoming environment.
When the academic day ends, the recreational opportunities at Porter’s come alive. With over 50 student organizations, various performing groups, countless community service experiences, activities each weekend, and revered traditions, there is something for everyone.
Our Head of Student Activities works closely with the Office of Student Life to build our weekend activities. Events often include shuttle runs to area malls and shopping centers, movies, museums, and restaurants. We host coed events with Avon Old Farms each weekend and also belong to a consortium of area schools that alternate hosting inter-school events. Porter’s students meet and form friendships with other students within the consortium at events such as socials, performances, carnivals, concerts, and trips to NYC and Boston. There are also many on-campus activities offered on the weekends, including movies, spa nights, game nights, coffee houses, and club sponsored events.
Traditions play a very special role in the community at Porter’s. Handed down from generation to generation, these events foster friendships among students, unite the community, and connect students with the graduates who came before them. Our fall traditions, such as the Welcome Tradition, focus on welcoming New Girls, while the spring traditions, such as Singing in the Garden, provide an opportunity to bid farewell to our seniors and wish them luck and happiness in their future endeavors. Some traditions are timeless and reverent, while others are just plain fun!
Leaders aren’t born — they are made. Great leadership arises from character, authenticity, and genuine concern for the needs of others, inspiring action toward a shared vision and values.
All students at Porter’s gain self and social awareness, self-management skills, relationship skills, and decision-making skills. This social-emotional education is woven into advisory and core classes and is the underpinning of the Porter’s Seminar, which focuses on health and wellness, identity development, global competency development, and life skills.
Our elected and selected student leaders, including our Nova Nine, Junior Advisors, Alliance Leaders, and Student Council Representatives, receive additional leadership training to enhance their skills in communication, collaboration, and strategic thinking and planning. Most importantly, they learn the significance of empathy, resilience, and cultural awareness. The end result is a community that encourages and values student voices and empowers young women to take their rightful place as agents of change.
Chief Enrollment & Student Affairs Officer
Dean of Students
Assistant Dean of Students
Michelle Coster is the Assistant Dean of Students in the Office of Student Life. Her main role is to coordinate ALL things fun! This includes aspects such as weekend activities, traditions, and student clubs. She also oversees the Nova Nine and serves as the 12th Grade Class Dean. Michelle believes that the purpose of education is to validate students' experiences and support their needs equitably. Her main goal each school year is to ensure that the students head into their summer vacation with lasting memories of joy from play with their peers. Michelle loves seeing the students smiles as they are brave and try a new activity such as singing karaoke on stage or joining a game of Ga-ga.
Michelle graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2016 with a BSEd in Physical Education and strongly believes that her education at CCSU is what sparked her passion for social-emotional learning and wellness. Her professors imparted that physical, emotional, and mental health come before all else in creating successful young people and Michelle hopes to pass that mission and vision on to her Miss Porter's students as well. Michelle lives on campus with her wife, Sarah and their dog, Summer.
The Colgate Wellness Center (CWC) is home to our health and counseling centers. The CWC health care team empowers students to care for themselves through the delivery of comprehensive health care focused on both physical and emotional well-being. The progressive wellness model extends beyond the walls of the CWC and includes a holistic approach to education, health promotion, prevention, and personal responsibility.
The leadership team in the CWC offers campus-wide wellness initiatives, student education, and evidenced-based health intervention. The health care and education provided acknowledges the identities of each of our students, and seeks to empower and engage them in their own care, whether through 1:1 appointments, peer support groups, student health advocacy groups, or full community programming.
Our experienced nursing team is on call 24/7. The Medical Director provides patient care and case management weekly, and the school APRN provides clinical care 12-15 hours weekly. The counseling service is staffed by two full-time licensed counselors who are available to all students on a confidential basis. A consulting psychiatrist is also available for consultation.
Director of Nursing, Colgate Wellness Center
Georgia (she/they) graduated from Porter's in 2000 and went on to study Women’s and Gender Studies and Spanish at Kenyon College in Ohio, followed by a Nursing degree at New York University. Georgia is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at UMass Amherst with a focus on adolescent health and wellness curriculum and programming. Their professional interests include: stress reduction through hiking, sexuality education and wellness, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and encouraging self-care as a fundamental priority for all Porter’s students! Georgia and her family live on campus and enjoy hiking, time spent outdoors and at their yurt in Vermont, and caring for their menagerie of rescue animals.
Assistant Director of Counseling
Mrs. Hillian earned a B.A. in Recreational Management from Springfield College in 2003. She began her career at an all-girls residential treatment facility, working as a supervisor and recreational activities organizer. During this time she recognized a desire to support these clients more clinically and returned to Springfield College to receive her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2006. After graduating from Springfield College, Mrs. Hillian continued her work in all-girls residential treatment as a clinician, clinical supervisor, and Interium clinical director. During her work in the residential treatment field, she also worked part-time at Westover School as a counselor, which led to her full-time position there as a lead counselor, director of diversity, and coach for multiple sports. Mrs. Hillian was delighted to join Porter’s community in 2018 as Assistant Director of Counseling. She lives off-campus with her husband, Kyle, and their three children, Kalynn, Kamryn, and Kaiden, and their dog, Kash, who is working on being a therapy dog. In her free time, she enjoys playing all and any sports, drawing, and social justice work.