Love and Leadership

June 8, 2022

Director of Unity & Diversity Princess Sirleaf Bomba stands next to Head of School Allison Gaines Pell. Allison has her arm around Princess and both people are smiling at the camera.
Director of Unity & Diversity Princess Sirleaf Bomba P’16, P’18 (right) stands with Head of School Allison Gaines Pell P’23, P’25

We are delighted to share that Wheeler’s Director of Unity & Diversity, Princess Sirleaf Bomba P’16, P’18, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Trustees Award. It is an honor bestowed annually to an individual, either on the staff or within the Board, who has given an exceptional amount of themselves to Wheeler. It is presented for extraordinary character and integrity, love of school as expressed in thought, word, and deed, and for a continuous dedication to the betterment of Wheeler.

As Head of School Allison Gaines Pell P’23, P’25 shared when presenting the award, Princess joined our community first as a parent of two young students. “Excited about the prospect of a school like Wheeler, she has told the story of looking for a place where her young multiracial and multicultural family would feel not only safe, but would be cherished, included, and where they would flourish,” AGP said. “She took a chance on Wheeler, and has dedicated every minute, every fiber of her being since then, as a mother, volunteer, and community member at first, but then as a Trustee, and then as the Director of Unity & Diversity at Wheeler.”

“In her time in this role, she has helped us grow our community of color in numbers, but also in strength, and in belonging,” AGP continued. “There are now a generation of students who have sat in her office to laugh, to cry, to check in, to take a breath. Alumni who are going on to do important and powerful things because of her warmth, her support, her ‘always-there’ ness, the way she brings family into every room. There are a generation of parents and guardians who do not only think of her as a school point of contact but as a friend and confidant. And while she works in and on an area that can be laced with pain and at times real suffering and blinding complexity, she manages to lead–sometimes seemingly impossibly–with palpable joy, and heart, and love for our students every day.”

Director of Unity & Diversity Princess Sirleaf Bomba stands with her family while holding the Trustees Award.
Director of Unity & Diversity Princess Sirleaf Bomba and her family.

When AGP asked some of Princess’ students, both current and former, as well as colleagues, to share their impressions of her, those same words–love and leadership–were major themes. After receiving the Trustees Award, Princess echoed them as well. “I am without words to accurately describe how I feel,” she said. “As I’ve shared often, Wheeler isn’t just the place where I work. Wheeler is where I chose to raise my children so the relationship is deeply personal, and my work is guided by my love for the community. The award for me is affirmation of both my work and my belonging in the community.”

Thank you, Princess, for your years of deeply meaningful work and the warmth you have always brought to it and to our community.

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