English Department Faculty

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If you love words and stories – writing them, reading them, and analyzing their meaning, you’ll find comfort and challenge in your place around a Harkness table in a Cate English class.

Faculty members here will inspire you to deeply understand the power of written expression through literature, poetry, and prose.

parkEnglish Department Chair
English and Humanities Teacher
Long House Dorm Faculty

katheryn_park@cate.org / 805-684-8409 x336

BA, University of Texas at Austin
MFA, The New School for Social Research
PhD, New York University

Katheryn McDonald Park came to Cate after spending most of her career studying and teaching in New York City and in Houston. She brings to Cate not only a love of French and English literature, but also an enthusiasm for boarding school communities. Katheryn has taught at New York University, where she earned her PhD, as well as at Sarah Lawrence College and Episcopal High School in Houston.

Katheryn lives on the Mesa with her husband and two children.

barton_jEnglish Teacher
Assistant Track and Field Coach

jeff_barton@cate.org / 805-684-8409

BA, University of California, Berkeley
MA, Princeton University
Appointed: 1983

Jeff came to Cate from Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. Since arriving on the Mesa, he has taught English, Spanish, and art history, coached cross country, basketball, and track, and performed a variety of residential duties. He has also served as Dean of Faculty, head of the Foreign Language Department, and a member of numerous committees. Among his most important administrative contributions has been his work in the recruitment and hiring of teachers. In 1990 he and a former Cate colleague created a five-week summer program in Salamanca, Spain that operated successfully for many years, giving students from Cate (and other schools) a taste of Spanish life.

Jeff has three sons: Max (Class of ’99), Nick (Class of ’03), and Daniel (born in 2003).

English Teacher

tracey_calhoun@cate.org / 805-684-4127

BA, Ithaca College
Appointed: 2017

Tracey studied English and anthropology at Ithaca College, and spent a year abroad at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2001, Tracey returned to her native Los Angeles to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer working with the LA Gay & Lesbian Center on anti-violence programs in local schools. Her time in classrooms inspired Tracey to pursue a career in education. After earning an M.Ed. at UCLA, she taught high school for twelve years in East Los Angeles and La Cañada. At Cate, Tracey is a member of the English department faculty and coaches Ultimate Frisbee. She lives in Carpinteria with her wife and daughter.

fortnerEnglish Teacher

anna_fortner@cate.org / 805-684-8409 x221

BA, Mills College
MFA, University of Idaho
Appointed: 2007

Anna Fortner is in her tenth year as a member of the English Department at Cate. One of the lead architects of the School’s Writing Program and an innovative and creative instructor, Anna specializes in the rendering of our stories. Her courses include “This American Life” based on the NPR serial of the same name and “Gender Matters,” as well as required 9th and 11th grade English. She holds a B.A. in English and creative writing (Phi Beta Kappa) from Mills College and an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Idaho.

When she is not reading and writing, Anna can be found pushing her limits on her bike or in her kayak. She won a world championship as a member of the U.S. Surf Kayak Team and is currently staying busy as a professional mountain bike racer.

hammondaEnglish and Humanities Teacher
Assistant Cross Country Coach

alicia_hammond@cate.org / 805-684-4127 x302

BA, Colby College
MALS, Dartmouth College

A fourth-generation Californian, Alicia’s educational foundation and passion for teaching were cultivated during her childhood on the Monterey Peninsula, where she developed a love of the outdoors, a tie to the Pacific, and a fervor for backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest.

Alicia has spent her entire adult life living on boarding school campuses, including over a decade on campuses in northern New England. At Colby, Dartmouth, and Dublin School, she learned to love the rigors and traditions of New England educational communities. As Maya Angelou so wisely wrote, however, “The ache for home lives in all of us,” and she felt her roots in California tugging her gently yet firmly back to the west coast.

Alicia now lives on the Mesa with her husband, son, and two lovable (if not brilliant) yellow labs. In her time outside of the classroom, she enjoys running, reading, hiking, camping and traveling with her family.

hansen_bEnglish and Humanities Teacher

brooks_hansen@cate.org / 805-684-4127 x297

BA, Harvard University
Appointed: 2010

Born and raised in New York City, Brooks Hansen is a screenwriter, essayist and celebrated author of seven books. In 2008 he released his first memoir, The Brotherhood of Joseph, prior to which his novels – The Monsters of St. Helena, Perlman’s Ordeal, The Chess Garden, and Boone were all New York Times Notable Books. The Chess Garden was also selected as a PW Best Book of the Year in 1995. He has written one book for Young Readers, Caesar’s Antlers, which he also illustrated, and he was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005 for his most recent book, John the Baptizer, which was published by W.W. Norton in June of 2009.

English Teacher


MFA, Vermont College of Fine Arts

A writer of fiction and creative nonfiction, Mari taught composition, literature, and creative writing for many years at the university level before coming to Cate. Most recently she hails from the University of Houston, where she was a member of its highly-ranked creative writing program. She has published several stories and essays, garnered numerous writing awards, and is currently completing a young adult novel.

Mari’s other interests include running, weightlifting, reading, and outdoor activities. She lived abroad in Belgium for two years and has traveled extensively in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Africa. She lives off campus with her husband Erik and their children Ella, Felix, Lili, Hannah, Max and Mia.