Head of School’s Notebook

May 10, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook: In Loco Parentis – How are the Kids?

Whenever someone asks me, “How are the kids?” I hesitate and often respond by saying, “Which ones?” I don’t know what this says about me as a mother, but my first instinct is to think about the “kids” at Cate. As we approach Mother’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on what in loco parentis means for …


April 26, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook: First and Forever

As I endeavor to learn all I can about Cate, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed examining artifacts from our archives. Each photograph, article, or set of meeting minutes lends me some clue about how who we are today was informed by our past. Most recently, I asked our archivist, Judy Savage, to help me find documents related …


March 22, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook

The vernal equinox has long been my most favorite day of the year as it marks the exact moment when the light and dark are in equal proportion and heralds the official arrival of my favorite season, spring. Of course I love the longer days, warmer weather, and flowering growth. However, what I love even …


February 15, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook: Joyful

A few weeks into my arrival at Cate, Frank Griffin left this note on my desk, and it has been pinned to my wall since then. I look at it as a reminder to pause and gauge my own sense of being settled and present to all the magic here. This week has felt especially …


February 2, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook: How Can We Thrive in the Face of Adversity? 

My career has been driven by a quest to help our young people feel at home in themselves so they can bring their distinct expression of excellence to serve our changing world. My journey to Cate follows the same trajectory as I’ve heard so many of you express – our yearning for something healthier, more …


January 18, 2024

Head of School’s Notebook

Last year, after accepting the job at Cate, my family and I visited the Mesa during MLK weekend. We attended all of the festivities that day and I remember thinking to myself how powerful and unusual it felt to see a community collectively taking ownership of building a beloved community. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. …


December 8, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Love & Perspective

This fall, I was invited to join The 1911 Group established one year after the founding of Cate. I recently attended the annual conference at Princeton and as the newest and youngest member of the group, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from an incredibly impressive array of school leaders. As part of …


November 10, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook

On the eve of Veterans Day, I feel compelled to reflect on the members of our Cate community who have devoted their lives to serving the United States Armed Forces. One alumna in particular, Boyden Rohner ’95, will be receiving the Cate Distinguished Alumni Award tomorrow in recognition of her service in the US Navy …


October 27, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook

I had the pleasure of meeting a former Cate parent this week who said something to me that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind: “Dream big, start small, go deep.” This resonated as I feel that this is exactly what I’ve been trying to do as I move through this first …


October 13, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: A Home for Inquiry

Last month, the Board of Trustees visited Cate for the first Board Meeting of the year. Among the various exciting updates from all aspects of Cate life, I was able to tour the site of the ongoing construction project on campus, the Inquiry Collaborative. This new facility is a testament to our dual commitment to …


September 15, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Beginnings

After the excitement of the start of the year, we are more fully back into the routine of the school and students are settling into the rhythm of their lives on the Mesa. Part of what makes this transition into regularity so seamless is that last week, we all spent time away from Cate in …


May 24, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Sunset

Poet Dean Young writes, “The sea seemingly a constant to the naked eye is one long goodbye, perpetually the tide recedes, beaches dotted with debris.” But the tide surges too, brings with it force and energy, a long reach ever farther up the beach.  The surging tide is full of hope, driving in a series …


May 12, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Endings

I asked the students at my Formal Dinner table on Monday what they are looking forward to in the remaining small portion of the school year. “The Sunset Ceremony,” said one. “I just love that time together with everyone, even though it makes me kind of sad, too.” “I like the video yearbook,” said another. …


April 28, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Chicago

I have been speaking a good deal this week with the members of the cast of our musical, Chicago. Of several I asked, how does it feel to be done? “Strange,” said many. “I don’t know what to do with all the time that used to be taken up with rehearsals.” “Sad,” said another. “I …


April 7, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Snow Days and Free Days

There is an unwritten understanding at Cate that if snow falls on the Mesa and an enterprising student (or students) can fashion a snowball from that snowfall and then strike the Head of School with it … then everybody gets a Free Day. Every Cate student knows this rule. It may be the most universally …


March 24, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Balance

My father passed away over the Break, finishing his life on the 7th of March, the day before he was to celebrate his 87th birthday. Leave it to Dad to complete the circle of the year before quietly bowing out. He was my hero and always will be. As news of his death has spread, …


February 17, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Sport

It is funny how the very things that can bring out the best in us can also bring out the worst. The most recent iteration of that lesson came amidst a flurry of CIF postseason competition. Our teams competed admirably, as they always do, winning and losing with grace and poise despite behaviors by opponents …


February 3, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: What is History?

February 1st marks the beginning of Black History month, the origins of which date back to 1915 and historian Carter Woodson. It was a week at first – so designated by Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life and History – and scheduled in mid-February to coincide with the birthdates of Frederick Douglass and …


January 20, 2023

Head of School’s Notebook: Circles

On an old Harry Chapin album I used to own – don’t we all wish we hadn’t gotten rid of all our vinyl – there’s a song with the lyric: All my life’s a circle Sunrise and sundown The moon rose through the night time Till the daybreak comes around All my life’s a circle …


December 7, 2022

Head of School’s Notebook: Free Days

I have worked at three different schools in my lifetime and attended three others from elementary school through high school. Each one had its own unique character, but all had a single similar tradition: free days. They weren’t called the same things in each place. At St. John’s in Houston, Texas, where I worked prior …