Art Department Faculty

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Do you like to sing, draw, act, or dance? Do you write music or follow the score?

However you answered these questions, you’ll be in good company among Cate’s arts faculty. They are accomplished performers who lend their eyes, ears, and hearts to the job bringing young artists along.

collins_patk5842Arts Department Chair
Assistant Boys JV Basketball Coach / BA, Amherst College
MEd, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Appointed: 2006

Patrick Collins graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College with departmental honors in fine arts and an additional concentration in English. He was twice winner of Amherst’s Skouras Art Prize. Patrick completed his graduate work in school leadership and administration the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

His career in education began as a Teaching Fellow in visual studies at Phillips Academy, Andover. Patrick and his wife Patricia first came to Cate in 1978, where Patrick taught visual arts and art history and served in capacities as varied as dean of faculty, director of studies, and assistant head of school–and always, teacher and coach. Patrick was subsequently appointed head of school of Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and then director of Webb School of California in Claremont, California, before returning to Cate in 2006 as the Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair.

Patrick has exhibited paintings and prints locally and nationally. He has twice been recipient of grants for summer study from the National Endowment for the Humanities, once for advanced study in art history at Penn and again for study of the life of St. Francis of Assisi in literature and art, on-site in Italy. He has twice delivered papers on images of St. Francis at the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

The Collinses returned to Cate for the same reasons they came in the first place. “To me,” says Patrick, “Cate not only stands for the right things, plain and simple, but also, and more importantly, it acts accordingly. But I shouldn’t say ‘it,’ I should say ‘us,’ because Cate is the most people-oriented and humane school I’ve ever experienced. It’s a great institution, of course, but I hope and expect that almost anyone who has been a student or a teacher here would agree with my belief that this institution really does work for people–for each person. You matter here. You contribute, and you are cared for. For me, I can’t imagine a better school, or a better job; more than that, I can’t imagine a better place.”

Theater Director

Sarah Lawrence College
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

Lydian Blossom returns to the Mesa this year after an almost thirteen-year absence. A member of the Cate Class of ’07, Lydian studied Theatre and Literature at Sarah Lawrence College and received her Masters Degree in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Between the two programs she lived in Brooklyn: performing, training, improvising, devising theatre, babysitting, serving ramen, and helping develop new plays as much as she possibly could. She feels very privileged to have gotten to work with some incredible theatre makers in New York City.

Having grown up on West Coast boarding school campuses as well as attending Cate, Lydian is excited to return to the Mesa to take on the leadership of our theater program and serve as an advisor and dorm parent in Cook House East.

Studio and Foundation Arts Teacher
School House Dorm Parent
Assistant Girls JV Basketball Coach / 805-684-4127 x114

BA, Kenyon College
Appointed: 2015

Originally from Delaware, Joy moved to California in 2015 to join Cate’s Visual Arts Department. After graduating from Kenyon College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in studio art, Joy worked for a graphic design company where she developed skills as a designer and an understanding of how a small business operates. In 2012 she moved to Chicago to assume the responsibilities of a cross-divisional art teacher during a brief leave at Francis Parker School. She remained at Parker following her stint in the art department and began working as an assistant in a fifth grade contained classroom. Her experience teaching fifth grade provided insight into teaching as an art in itself, and she was able to integrate various visual assignments into writing, math, and history lessons, helping students draw connections and understand various subjects through an artist’s lens.

Joy graduated from St. Andrew’s School in Delaware in 2006 where she boarded for four years. She is familiar with dorm life, and lives in Schoolhouse.

furmanski-monica-08-11Photography and Foundation Arts Teacher / 805-684-4127 x296

BFA, Scripps College
MFA, Claremont Graduate University
Appointed: 2011

Monica is a graduate of Scripps College, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree. While pursuing her MFA at Claremont Graduate School, Monica worked at Scripps College as a Teacher’s Assistant. It was this experience that led her to education. After graduating from Claremont Graduate School in 2003, Monica worked as an arts educator for Learning to See, a non-profit program offered through Focus on the Masters in Ventura, CA. Soon after, she started working as an instructor with the Ventura County Community College District where she taught photography, drawing, and design. She has worked with several artists throughout her career, notably John Baldessari, Susan Rankaitis, and Nancy Macko. Monica and her husband Matt are actively exhibiting artists who operate a non-profit exhibition space in Ventura, 643 Project Space.

Monica lives in Ventura with her husband Matt and her three children, Samuel, Roan and Ani. She enjoys hiking, reading, yoga, spending time with her family, and travel. In 2009, Monica and her family took a year to travel extensively, exploring twenty countries in 7 months!

knecht_jMusic Teacher / 805-684-4127 x115

BA, University of North Carolina
Appointed: 2011

John has been performing and teaching music since he was 14 years old. His musical journey continued at the University of North Carolina, where he earned top honors as a drummer and percussionist.

In 1994, he first moved to the West Coast to join the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center. John’s role was to design and manage long-term arts residencies in the LAUSD public schools. After earning a master’s in business from UCLA, he headed to Chicago to work in strategic consulting. He then formed a company called Pulse Beat Music, which offers world music programming in the Chicago public schools. John also taught privately at Chicago high schools while performing professionally. Additionally, he taught arts education programs through the House of Blues, Chicago Symphony, and Urban Gateways.

Over the last 6 years, John and his wife Ashley have traveled to study music in over twenty countries. John is extremely excited to be back on the West Coast and living on the Mesa with Ashley and their sons Ashton and Dylan.

Vocal Instructor

BA, Thomas Aquinas College
Appointed: 2020

Micaela McCall joined the Arts department at Cate as a vocal instructor. As a piano and vocal instructor at Detar Music Studios in Santa Barbara, directing the choirs at Cate is a natural development for her, and she greatly looks forward to working with students.

Micaela is a recent graduate of The Great Books Program at Thomas Aquinas College with a bachelor’s degree in theology and philosophy. In her senior year at Thomas Aquinas College, she was selected to direct the student-lead Chamber Choir which performed monthly on and off campus. Through this, she became intrigued by the art of directing, and ever more thankful for the impact all of her music teachers and directors have had on her life. She hopes to inspire her students to love and crave the beautiful experience of singing in a choir.

In high school, Micaela was the lead soloist in Forte A Cappella, which gained recognition in the a cappella world for their all original CD “Life’s So Lyrical,” written by members of the group. They also placed second, two years in a row, at finals in the International Competition of High School A Cappella. Micaela has high hopes for the budding a cappella group at Cate, Last Call, and is looking forward to being involved in the a cappella world again.

Assistant Theater Director and Manager

BA, UC Davis
MFA, Brooklyn College
Appointed: 2020

Richard McDonald joins Cate as the Assistant Theater Director and Manager. He is extremely proud of his Australian/Fijian roots, which inform his art, his political views, and his island style. After graduating from UC Davis in Economics, Richard decided to pursue acting and earned a conservatory degree from Stella Adler Studio in New York City. Richard went on to earn an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College where he also taught as a graduate fellow in the Performing Arts department. Richard has performed in regional theatre across the U.S. and has also studied theater in the UK and performed in Australia. Richard is a multi-hyphenated performance artist who has written and directed short films which have been featured at The National Black Film Festival and the Culver City Film Festival where he took home the Social Impact Award in 2018. Richard is eager to share his energetic approach to theatre with the Arts department at Cate and collaborate with Lydian Blossom.

Richard lives on the Mesa with his wife Maude Bond who is the Director of College counseling. They enjoy traveling, dancing, listening to music, playing Spades, hosting game nights, and making each other laugh.

_i0a9817Ceramics and Foundation Arts Teacher / 805-684-8409 x264

BA, Pomona College
MA, Columbia University
Appointed: 1997

No stranger to the world of residential education, John grew up at Midland, a California boarding school, where his father was the head of school and his mother was the business manager. After graduating from Pomona College, where he majored in art and played soccer, lacrosse, track and football, John returned to boarding school to teach and coach at Dunn School in Los Olivos, California. After a brief hiatus in the East, where he taught at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey and earned an advanced degree at Columbia University, he returned to his native California. Since his arrival at Cate, John has served as athletic director, dean of students, assistant head of school, and he currently leads Cate’s ceramics program.

John spends his free time reading, making furniture, and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He lives on the Mesa with his wife, Linda, and their two children.