Athletic director Sandy Luu came to Catlin Gabel this year from Liberty High School in Hillsboro, where she was AD of their large 5A program. An Oregon native, Sandy previously served as athletic director at Morrison Academy International School in Taichung, Taiwan. Originally a 6th grade language arts and math teacher, she has also taught in Vietnam and China. We caught up with Sandy to find our how things are going for her at Catlin Gabel.
How’s Catlin Gabel treating you?
I have really enjoyed my first few months here. The people are amazing—just as advertised. The faculty and staff really care about the students, and about their colleagues. Everyone is so complimentary of each other’s strengths. They feed off each other in a very positive way. People here told me before I was hired that they love coming to work each and every day. I fully agree.
Tell us about your background and how you became an athletic director.
Sports have shaped my life. Growing up I played as much as I could, even persuading the middle school athletic director to let me participate on the 7th grade team as a 5th grader. In college I played varsity fast pitch softball, basketball, and volleyball, but I love all sports. I have coached basketball, softball, and volleyball. I studied education in college and taught for many years, but started moving toward athletic administration when I was in Taiwan. Coaching coaches and organizing sports really appeals to me. I took classes at Ohio University during summer vacations and earned a master’s in athletics administration.
What is your general philosophy about the role of athletics in schools?
I believe in character-based athletics. Catlin Gabel has a great tradition of winning the right way, and I want to continue this. The character development is paramount; the wins are icing on the cake. Sports are an extension of the classroom and teach lessons about how to be a good teammate and the value of hard work. Athletics builds confidence and self esteem. The skills you learn through sports will help you now and serve you well later in life. Employers look for people who know how to lead as well as people who can be good teammates. They want people who have handled loss and experienced success.
What advice would you offer athletes and their parents who think CG’s high school athletic program is too small for colleges to take notice of a star athlete?
College coaches are looking for one thing: talented athletes. They are not as interested in the size of the school or how well the school team did in recent seasons. They are really looking for potential. Being a talented student-athlete at Catlin Gabel can have a lot of advantages. You can assume a leadership role and have a great chance to earn a starting position. One of the greatest benefits here is personal attention from coaches and teachers.
Is it a disadvantage for outstanding athletes to compete at a small school if they hope for an athletic scholarship?
The advantage you gain at Catlin Gabel is the level of academics. The education you receive here is unmatched. The benefit you will have is in the transcript you provide, along with your athletic résumé. I don’t think people understand how few scholarships are available for Division I and II sports. A fully financed Division I soccer program can offer 9.9 full rides, but they split these up among all of their players (as many as 25 or 30), which leaves some players with very small scholarships. Often, Division III schools are the best places to receive scholarships. These schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, but they routinely give merit awards for academic and other accomplishments. The merit scholarships that private colleges award can be a significant percentage of tuition.
What are some of the differences between being AD at a large school like Liberty HS in Hillsboro and a small school like CG?
Going from nearly 1,400 students to 300 is a big transition. CG’s smaller program is one of the main reasons I applied for this job. I love to work with kids and build relationships with them. In a large school, the athletic director is mainly a scheduler, and most of my time was spent making sure everyone was where they needed to be. At Catlin Gabel, I can get to know the students and make sure all of the coaches are contributing to students’ lives in positive ways. I can have more of an impact.
What have you found most challenging in your new job?
In my past school, I only had high school sports. Here at CG, there are more sports teams at different levels, so have many more balls in the air. Everyone in the PE department and the coaches have been incredibly helpful and supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better group to work with.
How are your sons Trevor (a junior) and Max (a freshman) adjusting?
Catlin Gabel is a great fit for Trevor and Max. They love it here; it reminds them of the school they attended for seven years in Taiwan. They will probably hate me talking about them, but CG has been a huge blessing for my boys. The individualized instruction is unmatched. I just attended my first parent-teacher conferences and was blown away. After just two-and-a-half months their teachers have my boys figured out. I also attended a couple of senior athletes’ conferences, and the general theme from parents was thankfulness. They appreciate the time teachers put into the kids. They know that CG has shaped the people their children have become. I couldn’t ask for more for my own boys.
What have you liked most about Catlin Gabel so far?
The school transforms lives. I have been most impressed by how the faculty treats each student as an individual and how well they know each child’s strengths and weaknesses. Teachers and staff work hard at building relationships with their students daily. I have never seen anything like this at any of the other schools I have worked at. Teachers are interested in many aspects of their student’s lives. It’s impressive to see so many faculty and staff members out watching extracurricular activities. I have also been impressed with the students. They are refreshingly polite, friendly, and selfless. They are always ready to lend a hand and pitch in, whether for service day, or just to help put away sports gear.
Dr. Kathy Masarie spoke at a Catlin Gabel parent community meeting in November 2011 about the courage it takes to foster resiliency in children, and how parents can model autheticity, honesty, and self-care. Click on the audio file below to hear her presentation (1 hour, 21 minutes).
Girls Soccer Final
Saturday, November 19
Liberty High School
Join us for this exciting match as the varsity girls soccer team faces their friendly rivals for the state title.
Every CG voice is needed.
Admission: Cash or VISA/MasterCard only | Adult $8 | Student $5
Can't attend the game? » Check out the webcast on OSAA.tv
Peter Lind ’08, a senior at the Air Force Academy, has won a prestigious Marshall Scholarship. He was one of 14 candidates advanced by the academy for the Marshall process.
The British government offers Marshall Scholarships to no more than 40 U.S. citizens each year. The scholarship program is named after General George C. Marshall, who helped engineer the Marshall Plan in Europe following the World War II. Scholarship winners, selected from about 1,000 applicants, study towards a master's degree at any university in the United Kingdom.
Peter plans to pursue an MLitt in international security studies and a second MLitt in Middle Eastern and Asian security studies.
After graduating from the Air Force Academy and receiving his commission as a lieutenant this coming May, he will most likely return to the Air Force Academy for a short time to teach younger cadets about the competitive scholarship process. In the summer between his two years in the UK, he will work with the British Air Force. After finishing his degree, Peter will enter directly into pilot training, likely in Texas, to become trained as a fighter pilot for his active duty service. Later he plans to become a military attaché or foreign area officer in the Middle East or Asia.
Peter was very gracious in attributing part of his successful pursuit of the Marshall Scholarship to the preparation he received at Catlin Gabel. He told science teacher Paul Dickinson (Mr. D) he was way ahead of most other Air Force Academy students in his writing skills and work ethic.
Peter added in an email, “Mr. D wrote a letter of recommendation for this scholarship and has played an incredible role throughout my education. I would also like to note that my time in Cuba [during a Catlin Gabel global education trip] was highlighted in paperwork and during my interview at the British Consulate-General – a big thanks to [Spanish teacher] Roberto Villa.”
Eric Adjetey Anang Slide Lecture
Monday, November 7
Eric Adjetey Anang, a Ga fantasy coffin sculptor from Ghana, is an artist in residence at Catlin Gabel from November 7 to November 11. We have invited him here to demonstrate his amazing art of sculpting a coffin out of wood in whatever shape a family feels best represents their deceased elder. He will be sculpting a woodworker’s hand plane, approximately 7’ long, 3’ wide, and 4’ high, on the front deck of the Barn. Please come ask him questions, watch him work, and feel free to participate in the building of the hand plane.
Two years ago, Michael de Forest, the LS woodshop teacher, traveled to Ghana for a summer and studied with Eric in his carpentry shop in Teshie, near Accra. There is also a US trip planned for Ghana from July 29 to August 19, 2012, where students will be working in the Kane Kwei Carpentry Shop with Eric.
You may have heard: Catlin Gabel will formally seek re-accreditation next fall. What is the school accreditation process, and what does it mean for Catlin Gabel?
Like other PNAIS* schools, Catlin Gabel renews its accreditation status every seven years. This winter, each department, division, and program in the school will contribute to a self-study report, summarizing key program aspects and identifying opportunities for improvement. We will validate the school’s mission and explain how we organize the program to embody the mission every day. We should emerge from this work with a more coherent sense of who we are and specific directions for the future.
Next fall, Catlin Gabel will host a visiting team of a dozen or more education professionals from the Northwest and across the country. They will spend three days on campus, observing classes and speaking with teachers, staff, parents, and students. The visiting team will write a report that responds to each section of the self-study, commends the school for exemplary practices, and recommends further study in specific areas that may need improvement. The visiting team will seek evidence that we are actually doing what we report in the self-study.
The accreditation process serves as valuable professional development for both the members of the visiting team and the faculty and staff of the school itself. I recently returned from a school accreditation visit in Seattle. I read a school’s thoughtful, 200-page self-study, visited classes, interviewed teachers, discussed observations, and co-wrote the visiting team report with 10 colleagues from different schools. Within three days, I had gained a pretty detailed understanding of the internal workings of another school. How else can one do that?
Certain school traits are nearly universal. High schools generally follow a liberal arts curriculum. The teacher-student relationship is highly valued. At the same time, no two schools are identical. Schools differ in the lengths of their terms, administrative positions, block schedules, academic departments, advisory structures, and so on. One school may consider athletics or community service their showcase program, while another emphasizes urban studies, outdoor programs, and global trips. Program execution is more important than structural configuration alone. Understanding many different schools helps one learn that there is no “one best system” (Tyack, http://www.amazon.com/One-Best-System-American-Education/dp/0674637828).
Accreditation also provides one of the few formal accountability measures of an independent school. Of course, independent schools are ultimately accountable to their families, who can express satisfaction or displeasure with their feet. A board of trustees also provides high-level accountability in the form of school governance. Accreditation is more comprehensive and direct in its observations than either of these. While no chance exists that a high-performing school like Catlin Gabel will lose its accreditation, the school welcomes the opportunity to formally present its program to an external body for review and reflect in a manner that will inform future decisions.
* PNAIS is the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools, a regional section of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
With each passing week, the garden behind the Middle School expands and improves thanks to the efforts of many community members. From shed doors created by the Upper School shop class to pavers laid by Upper School students, to the latest addition – a cob pizza oven – there are many wondrous elements to discover.
Last spring, Lower and Middle School students submitted 75 drawings for the phase 3 expansion of the garden. The Garden Club selected six winning drawings, all of which included a pizza oven and several new pizza-slice-shaped raised beds for growing pizza ingredients including wheat, tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, and oregano.
Alumni Kai Yonezawa ’02 and Owen Gabbert ‘02 adapted the six winning drawings and drew up a landscape design and construction plans for garden structures with green roofs and a cob oven with tin roof.
At that same time last spring, then-junior Andrea Michalowsky worked on a design for the phase 3 expansion in her PLACE urban studies class. She designed a ten-by-ten foot chessboard that was completed this fall after a summer crew dug trenches, hauled stone, poured gravel and river rock, and created the area that is now two decks with the chessboard between them.
This fall, the pizza oven became the focus of our attention. Under the guidance of natural builder Eva Edleson, a team of students, teachers, staff, alumni, and parents came together several times in September and October to build the pizza cob oven and its foundation, posts, and tin roof. » Check out photos and a short video of our process.
In 6th grade art class students learned a Matisse stenciling technique and made clay paint to decorate the cob oven. Students and teachers all had a hand in the embellishments. And every year the new 6th grade class can repaint over the previous year's design.
The icing on the cake for this project is green roofs to protect our community garden. Parents of 6th graders are donating sedum and grasses to create this living legacy.
Stay tuned for information about the first annual chess tournament in the garden and for the inaugural firing of the cob oven. Pizza time!
At this time of new beginnings, it is important to look back and acknowledge the countless hours of volunteer time and professional expertise that have gone into the garden. Many hands and generous hearts have contributed, which makes this garden so very organic and special. Thank you to the more than 45 people who have helped to create this beautiful, growing space with artistry, dedication, and hard work.
Volunteers of note include staff members, parents, alumni, students, and friends: Paul Andrichuk, Zoe Edelen-O'Brien, David Ellenberg, Ema Elredge, Ann Fyfield, Herb Fyfield, Meghan Galaher, Peter Green, Larry Hurst, Henry Latendresse, Emma Latendresse, Theresa Long, Matt Maynard, Adam Maynard, Chenoa Ohlson, Barbara Ostos, Tchassanty Ouro-Gbeleou, Carol Ponganis, Dale Rawls, David Reich, Simon Schiller, Jason Stevens, Kellie Takahashi, Hen Truong, Katie Truong, Tom Tucker, Spencer White, David Zonana, and the students in the outdoor leadership and adventure class.
Peter and his wife, Christine Portfors, associate professor of biology at Washington State University Vancouver, host their annual Bat Talk from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110 at Washington State University in Vancouver. This event is an especially fun fall activity for families with children ages 4 – 12 and is free and open to the public.
While the season often calls for depicting bats as blood-sucking, vicious creatures, now families have an opportunity to see live bats up close and learn why these animals are largely misunderstood. In addition to teaching guests about bats, Christine and Peter will offer fun children’s activities including arts and crafts.
In their presentation, Peter and Christine dispel popular folklore and teach guests about the beneficial role bats play in nature managing insect pests, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. They will showcase different bat species and introduce guests to a few of their captive tropical fruit bats.
WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Avenue off the 134th Street exit form either I-5 or I-205. Parking is free on weekends.