Our Team

The Admission Office


Director of Financial Assistance and Admissions Officer 

Vanessa_CruzSantana@cate.org
(805) 684-4127 x 261

Cate School 2006
Hamilton College B.S.
University of Pennsylvania MS. Ed.

Vanessa first arrived to Cate as freshman boarder from Santa Ana, California through the A Better Chance Program. She graduated from Cate in 2006 and ventured to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. After graduating, Vanessa returned to Cate for two years to start her career in admission. In 2012 Vanessa moved to the New York City area to grow professionally and to pursue a graduate degree in education at the University of Pennsylvania. Though not new to Cate, Vanessa has recently come back to be Cate’s Director of Financial Assistance. What keeps her coming back? The community, the campus’ beauty, and Cate’s commitment to offering young people a quality education that includes so much more than academics without sacrificing academic rigor. In addition to her work in Admission, Vanessa is a dorm parent in Long House and serves as a student advisor.

Admission Office Manager

 

805-684-4127 x217
lynn_dinning@cate.org

Appointed: 2001

Lynn came to Cate in 2001 as the Admission Office Manager. Oftentimes, Lynn is the first person from Cate to speak with a prospective student and their family as she sets up campus visits or clarifies the application process. While many prospective families see Lynn as their Cate liaison, she also does a lot of work behind the scenes managing Enrollment and Re-enrollment, organizing financial aid applications and managing the admission database.

Lynn lives in Carpinteria with her husband Jim and their two sons Ryder ’17 and Gage.

Admission Associate

805-684-4127 x292
nichole_gonzales@cate.org

Appointed: 2019

With most of her background in the Financial Services realm, Nichole works well with people of all social and economic classes. Her desire to work in a “family” environment while having a purpose is a great addition to this community. In her spare time, she can be found in the football stands cheering on her eldest son, Tommy. Or heading to the park with her other children, Max and Bella.

Assistant Director of Admission

805-684-4127 x227
faimie_kingsley@cate.org

BSBA, University of Denver
MS, University of Florida (Spring, 2019)
Appointed: 2018

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Faimie comes to Cate School’s Admission team from with a unique background. After graduating from the Hotchkiss School in 2009, Faimie received her undergraduate degree in marketing and played Division I volleyball at the University of Denver. It was not even a month after moving back to New York post graduation that Faimie signed a one-year contract to play professionally in Poland. Even though she had a great experience overseas, Faimie found the opportunity to coach at Columbia University a compelling enough reason to return to New York. After three seasons, Faimie left Columbia and went back to school to pursue her Master’s in sport management while coaching high school volleyball at Trevor Day School and at the club volleyball level with New York City Juniors. Having loved her own boarding school experience, Faimie is not only very excited about her role in admission, but also her roles as an advisor, Schoolhouse dorm parent, and three-sport coach.

Director of Outreach & Recruitment

805-684-8409 x331
kyle_mason@cate.org

Track & Field
BA, Boston College
Appointed: 2008

Kyle comes to Cate with a host of global experiences and passions for music, travel and working with young adults. After graduating from an east coast boarding school, Kyle continued onto Boston College where he majored in Communications and Education Policy. His passions, purpose and commitment to service through education has led him to teach and serve in a variety of settings from Newark, NJ to Africa and Thailand. His experiences, positive attitude and boundless energy lend a global perspective that is shared and celebrated at Cate.

In addition to serving on Cate’s Admission team, Kyle’s presence is felt throughout campus as an Advisor, and Head Track & Field Coach.

Senior Associate Director of Admission

805-684-8409 x275
gwendolyn_pierce@cate.org

Day Student Advisor
AA, Pasadena City College
Appointed: 2001

As Senior Associate Director of Admission, Gwendolyn oversees the personal side of the admission and enrollment process: the daily interview schedule, Tour Guides, and Spend A Day At Cate revisit programs. A veteran of many years in boarding schools (following her tour of duty as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay), she also serves as an academic advisor to six students and as the Day Student Advisor.

Among her many interests are interior design, horticulture, yoga, fitness, reading, and her two wonderful grandchildren.

Director of Admission

805-684-4127 x 218
Lisa_spengler@cate.org

MA, University of Illinois
BA, University of Wyoming
Appointed: 2017

Lisa Spengler has been an educator for nearly thirty years, working in both public and independent schools. After completing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming and student-teaching and coaching in Cody for a time, Lisa headed back to Illinois, where she was born and raised, and spent the next ten years teaching high school history. For the past ten years of her career, Lisa served as the High School Counselor and Assistant Director of Upper School for Student Life and Leadership at Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. It was in this capacity that her relationship with Cate School began, and she was sold on life on the Mesa after her first visit in the spring of 2007. Ten years later, Lisa is thrilled to be leading our admissions team and living with her wife Alanna in Cook House East.

Before moving to Cate, Lisa and Alanna spent a year traveling throughout the western United States in their Winnebago motorhome, which they now consider their vacation home on wheels! In addition to traveling and camping in the Minnie, Lisa enjoys hiking and most any other outdoor activity. She also loves Alanna’s cooking, as well as exploring farmer’s markets and restaurants. An avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, Lisa quickly found the McBean Library and is quite happy that it’s located on the walk between CHE and ’85 House.

 Assistant Director of Admission

805-684-4124 x247

david_soto@cate.org

BA, Gonzaga University
Appointed: 2012

Dave is a Carpinteria native, growing up in the city known for the California Avocado Festival and the “World’s Safest Beach”. After graduating from Cate in 2008, Dave found his way to the inland northwest, completing four years at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA where he graduated with a degree in broadcast studies and journalism. During his time at Gonzaga, Dave worked with several media outlets as well as working in digital journalism. He also served as the vice president of the Kennel Club, Gonzaga’s student athletic fan club…Go Zags!

Dave returned to the Mesa after graduation to take a role in Cate’s communications office. Now in the admission office, Dave looks forward to looking for and working with the next group of Rams. When he’s not in the office, Dave can be found coaching football and baseball at Cate or walking his dog, Sammy, around campus. Dave lives in High House with his wife, Maureen.