Modern Languages

Modern Languages Department Faculty

Cate’s modern language instructors have lived and studied around the world learning their language craft. The grammar, conversation, and culture of the languages they teach and love will elevate your connection to other worlds.

Modern Languages Department Chair

French Teacher

805-684-8409 x282
mamadou_pouye@cate.org

MA, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal)
Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA)
Appointed: 2006

Mamadou Pouye is a French teacher from Senegal, West Africa. He graduated from Universite Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal) with a Master’s Degree and holds the postgraduate degree of Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA). After his graduation he went to Ecole Eormale Superieure de Dakar for a two-year teacher training course. He was selected in the Fulbright program after teaching for one year to study at Northern Arizona University. He has taught extensively in Senegalese public and private schools.

Mamadou Pouye holds a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo and a brown belt in Shotokan Karate. He also plays the African drums.

Spanish Teacher

805-6844127x-243
Monica_Garcia@cate.org

BA, Universidad Catolica Santa Maria, Arequipa, Peru
MA, University of California, Santa Barbara

She first came to teach Spanish in the United States at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland, where she was awarded the Olson Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School and Distinguished Teaching. In 2002, she moved with her husband and fellow Spanish teacher, Oscar Urizar, to begin teaching at Cate. What she likes best about working here is that teachers and students really get to know each other as people. The relationships that emerge go beyond the typical teacher and student connection.

Monica sees important ties between what happens in the foreign language classroom and a student’s success across the curriculum. Learning a language is much more than just learning grammar and vocabulary. It involves exposure to the richness of other cultures, idiosyncrasies, and being transported to new worlds of experiences through literature. There is so much to discover and to be connected with what students already know or are learning in other classes. Beside that, students need to be curious, recognize patterns, make connections, take intellectual risks, question, exchange ideas, discover, be creative, and feel challenged. The more practice they have on those skills, the better they get as scholars.

She received her Masters in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture from UC Santa Barbara in 2005.

Spanish Teacher
Head Girls JV Lacrosse Coach

805-684-8409 x116
linda_sommers@cate.org

BA, Wellesley College
MA, Columbia University
MPhil, Columbia University
Appointed: 1997

During her childhood in Middlebury, VT, Linda expected that she would study French in high school. She wound up taking Spanish, and falling in love with both the language and Hispanic culture. It’s been part of her life ever since. Linda deferred her acceptance to Wellesley by a year to study at the University of Madrid. At Wellesley, she majored in Spanish and Philosophy, graduating magna cum laude and receiving multiple academic awards. Linda played varsity field hockey and lacrosse all four years, also garnering several athletic honors. After a teaching stint at Dunn School, Linda headed to New York to pursue her doctorate in philosophy at Columbia, also serving as coach of the University’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. She came to Cate in 1997, where she teaches Spanish and coaches girls lacrosse. Linda lives on the Mesa with her husband John Swain, a member of Cate’s art faculty.

Chinese Teacher

Ge_Song@cate.org

Ge Song teaches Mandarin at all levels at Cate. She was born and raised in Northeast China and attended Chinese boarding school. She went on to study Chinese Language and Literature in college and earned a master’s degree in teaching Chinese to non-native speakers at Beijing Normal University. In the seven years that she spent in the program, she fell in love with teaching, linguistics, and cultures.

Ge began her journey teaching Mandarin in Thailand before moving on to the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. It was there that Ge first fell in love with boarding school life. After that, she went back to China to teach at Dulwich College, Shanghai Pudong. While living in an environment where everyone speaks her first language can be comfortable, she truly missed the connections that are a part of boarding school life in the U.S. Ge then came back to the U.S. and taught at Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut.

She lives in Parsonage on the Mesa with her husband and their dog, Maple. She loves learning about people’s culture, cooking, and going to the beach.

Spanish Instructor
Ben_Swain@cate.org

BA, Colorado College
Appointed: 2019

Attending Cate as a member of the class of ’14, Ben first found his passion for Spanish while working in the school’s Grounds department over the summer, and developed it in the classrooms of Schoolhouse. His enthusiasm for language and education took him to Colorado College where he majored in Spanish while co-chairing an after-school program for local children to learn a second language.

Ben is enthusiastic to be back on the Mesa, teaching Spanish in the same classrooms where he found his passion for language. Ben is excited to be a part of the new memories that Cate students make by filling the role of a teacher, coach of ultimate frisbee, soccer, baseball, and a dorm parent in Cook House West.

Spanish Teacher

805-684-8409 x243
oscar_urizar@cate.org

BA, Universidad Católica Santa María Arequipa, Perú
MA, Universidad del Pacífico’s School of Development Management in Lima, Perú
Appointed: 2004

A native of Perú, Oscar Urízar was educated in a military boarding school. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from the Universidad Católica Santa María Arequipa, Perú, and a master’s degree in Management and Strategic Marketing from the Universidad del Pacífico’s School of Development Management in Lima, Perú. Oscar has extensive professional experience in the field of marketing, with a specific focus on economic, financial, and public relations activities. He came to the US in fifteen years ago, and arrived at Cate School in 2004 with his wife, Mónica García, who teaches Spanish. Oscar is currently working on a second master’s degree, this time in Hispanic Literature and Language at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Among Oscar’s many interests are painting and writing; he has had several exhibitions of his work in South America, and here in the US he continues his visual studies of the human form. He has also written several collections of short stories.


Japanese Teacher
Assistant Girls Varsity Soccer Coach

805-684-8409 x239
david_wood@cate.org

BA, Middlebury College
MA, Columbia University
Appointed: 1992

David is a graduate of Middlebury College, and a lifelong student of Asian languages and cultures. After receiving his degree in East Asian Studies, he worked for several years as a research assistant and executive for an investment firm in Japan. In 1992 he accepted a post in the Asian Studies program at Cate, quickly infusing his courses with the insights and skills he acquired abroad. Now head of the Foreign Language Department, David teaches all four levels of Japanese.

David spent a sabbatical year at Teachers’ College at Columbia University, finishing an MA in Education Administration. In 1998 he received the Pattee Fellowship, given annually to one of the School’s top educators, and in 2001 he was awarded the Scott McCleod Chair for Leadership and Distinguished Teaching. He coaches girls varsity soccer during the winter season, and lives on the Mesa with his wife, Cristina, and their two children, Daniela and Peter.

French Teacher

805-684-4127 x121
zohara_zamor@cate.org

BA, New York University
MA, Bennington College
Appointed: 2015

Zohara comes to Cate via Brooklyn and Buffalo, New York, and she has been teaching French for over thirteen years. She is a graduate of New York University where she majored in French literature. She lived in Paris for two years studying film and theater at the NYU Center and medieval French literature at La Sorbonne. She earned a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study theater in Avignon, France, after obtaining her Masters in Teaching a Second Language from Bennington College.

Zohara is of Haitian descent and has traveled extensively. She uses her language abilities to get to know people and their way of life. Exposing students to various cultures through theater, film, literature and music engages curiosity, enabling individuals to make lasting connections with what they are learning. Developing competencies in multicultural settings is also very important to her. She loves to work with students on cross-cultural understanding and forging friendships through student exchanges.