By Elaine Loft
Alex Myers, a writer, teacher, and speaker, who speaks to schools and organizations across the country, led a professional development discussion with Derryfield faculty and staff on Monday, October 16. His presentation focused on the topic of gender identity and how best to support all Derryfield students with a particular focus on gender inclusivity and supporting transgender students within the independent school context. In addition to sharing his personal story, Myers answered questions and addressed the ways in which the faculty and the school as an institution can strive to be more gender inclusive.
Myers is an English teacher, writer, and educator of students and adults. He has worked in high schools for 19 years, spending three years at the Community Schools of Naples, Florida, seven years at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island, and seven years at Phillips Exeter Academy. In June of 2022, Myers was named the Director of the Mountain School of Milton Academy in Vershire, Vermont.
Born and raised in Paris, Maine, Myers was raised as a girl (Alice), and left Maine to attend boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter he came out as transgender, returning his senior year as a man after attending for three years as a woman, and was the first transgender student in that Academy’s history. After Exeter, Myers earned his bachelor’s at Harvard University. He was also the first openly transgender student at Harvard and worked to change the University’s nondiscrimination clause to include gender identity. Subsequent to earning a master’s degree in religion at Brown, Myers pursued a career in teaching English at secondary schools. He completed his Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Myers is the author of several novels, nonfiction books, and essays. His works include the novel Revolutionary, a Lambda Literary Award finalist; The Symmetry of Stars; and Supporting Transgender Students, a guide for schools.
After the presentation, several members of the Derryfield faculty offered comments about what they had learned.
“I was absolutely captivated by hearing Alex’s story and his wisdom. His focus on the universal ways we can both individually and collectively treat everyone with dignity and respect was inspiring as were his practical suggestions of making our community one of inclusion and acceptance for all.” Laurie Byron, Dean of Faculty, English department.
“Alex Myers’ childhood stories really resonated with me. I grew up in the 70’s-80’s as a girl who was always more comfortable doing “tomboy” things. It was inspiring to hear how he came to realize his true identity and took action to increase transgender awareness in his community. Now, his stories and words are making real and positive changes in all communities.” Mimi Coombes, math faculty, middle school.