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Head Search update

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Letter from Peter Steinberger, search committee chair

August 12, 2013

Dear Catlin Gabel community members,

On behalf of the head of school search committee, I’m writing to provide an update. I am frankly delighted to do so. After a summer of behind-the-scenes activity, the search process is now entering its next stage, and the committee, always enthusiastic and hopeful, is now if anything even more excited and optimistic than before.

We have reviewed a large number of uncommonly well-qualified and extremely attractive candidates. Indeed, our search consultants have indicated in all apparent candor that they have rarely seen a candidate pool of such high quality. Our candidates come from virtually every area of the country and reflect a wonderfully wide range of experiences and credentials. I would note and emphasize that the materials we have seen present, among other things, overwhelming evidence that Catlin Gabel has an enviable reputation nationwide as being an institution of unusual quality and distinction. It is clear that to be head of school at Catlin Gabel is widely considered a rare opportunity – a plum job – and one result has been the very large number of obviously outstanding candidates.

From this excellent applicant pool, we have now identified a short list of leading candidates, all of whom bring truly exceptional credentials to the search process. In the next few weeks, the entire search committee will meet each of these semifinalists in person. Having now worked at length with my fellow committee members, I can assure you that the interviews will be thorough, probing, stimulating, and enormously productive. I expect they’ll also be lots of fun.

On the basis of these interviews, we plan to identify our finalists – perhaps three in number, though that might change. Once we identify finalists, the search will become public. We will bring all finalists to campus in mid- to late-September for two-day interviews, during which time they will meet with the full range of constituencies – teachers, staff, parents, trustees, students, alumni, and friends. Of course, the committee will actively seek out evaluations from everyone who has been able to meet with or observe the candidates. We will also be deeply engaged in the reference-checking process, as well as in our own ongoing discussions about the candidates. With all of this information in hand, the committee will be in an excellent position to make a compelling recommendation to the board, which will make the appointment. We hope to announce the new head of school by mid-October.

Our process will benefit greatly from community input. The search committee is thus hopeful that many of you will participate, as appropriate, in the finalist interviews and that, having done so, you will let us know what you think. Again, these interviews will occur in mid- to late-September. Be assured that we will provide ample notice so as to maximize and facilitate participation, and will also provide easy and effective avenues for you to share with us your thoughts and recommendations.

As is I hope clear, the search committee looks forward to the final stages of the process with great anticipation. We are eager to meet these terrific candidates in person. And we are confident, as well, that the outcome will very much be a continuation of the tradition of outstanding leadership that has made Catlin Gabel the great school that it is.

Peter Steinberger, trustee, parent of alumna, search committee chair

Search committee members

Dave Cannard, Jr. ’76, trustee (1997-07), board chair (2004-07), current parent, parent of alumnus, alumnus

Li-Ling Cheng, Middle School Mandarin teacher, parent of alumna

Clint Darling, interim head of school (1982-83), Upper School head (1973-86), retired Upper School English and French teacher, parent of alumnae

Isaac Enloe, kindergarten teacher

Aline Garcia-Rubio ’93, Upper School assistant head, dean of students, science teacher, current parent, alumna

John Gilleland, trustee, board chair (2009-12), current parent

Alix Meier Goodman ’71, trustee, endowment committee member, board chair (2007-10), parent of alumni, alumna

Vicki Roscoe, assistant head of school and Lower School head

Eric Rosenfeld ’83, vice-chair and treasurer board of trustees, current parent, alumnus

Miranda Wellman ’91, director of advancement, alumna

Jim Wysocki, Upper School math teacher and department chair

Carter Latendresse named an NAIS Teacher of the Future

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Carter Latendresse, 6th grade English teacher at Catlin Gabel, was selected by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as part of the 2013-14 Teachers of the Future program. The NAIS Teachers of the Future were selected from a large pool of nominees who inspire academic excellence in students and serve as opinion leaders among their colleagues and peers. The Teachers of the Future were also chosen for their expertise in particular areas—environmental sustainability, globalism, equity and justice, or the use of technology in their teaching—that NAIS believes are hallmarks of a high-quality education for the 21st century. As one of only 25 teachers nationwide chosen for the program, Latendresse will lead an online discussion forum designed to share innovative ideas and teaching techniques, and he will create a demonstration video to inspire others.
Latendresse earned an MA and a BA in English at the University of Washington. He has been teaching at Catlin Gabel since 2007, and he is also the school’s garden coordinator. His classes explore themes of empathy and social responsibility through ancient and contemporary literature that is chosen with an eye toward gender, ethnicity, and cultural diversity. He was nominated as a Teacher of the Future by Catlin Gabel Middle School head Barbara Ostos, who had this to say about him:
“Carter’s presence in our school community embodies a teacher leader working collaboratively towards educating conscientious, critically thinking students whose responsibilities will be to mold a more equitable and sustainable world through creativity and innovation. Through his classroom instruction Carter challenges 6th grade students to see the world beyond themselves. . . .
“I see his teaching and community membership as innovative because he is not only willing to try new techniques in the classroom, but is constantly re-evaluating and thinking about content and delivery, and most importantly how he and his purpose help student connect to deeper meaning. To my mind, truly innovative teachers are the ones who continually look to improve what they do, and especially how they do it. . . . .His thinking is vast and deep, and his potential to share this in a leadership role through Teachers of the Future Program would benefit his own professional development, and certainly others.”
The National Association of Independent Schools, based in Washington, DC, is a voluntary membership organization for over 1,400 independent schools and associations in the United States and abroad. Click here for more information about the Teachers of the Future program.

»Read the Oregonian article about Carter's honor

Junior Valerie Ding featured in Washington Post and White House blog

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Executives from Amazon, Google, Facebook and other major technology companies will meet with female students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics Wednesday morning, as one of a series of roundtables hosted by the House Republican Conference and its chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) …

» Read the Washington Post article

Today, at a private meeting in the West Wing of the White House, US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, Deputy US Chief Technology Officer Jen Pahlka, and other senior Obama Administration officials specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), met with five inspiring young women to discuss academic and career pathways in STEM—and barriers to the involvement of girls in those fields. The students were past winners and current finalists of the annual Google Science Fair—an online science competition open to high-school-aged students that solicits “ideas that will change the world.” …

» Read the White House blog

Wallowas trip 2013 photo gallery

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Wallowas + Llamas = Wallamas


Read the PLACE urban studies student blog

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Students in PLACE, Catlin Gabel's urban studies program, are now blogging about their experiences as they learn about how our city works. One of their summer projects for these 19 students from six area high schools is designing a neighborhood greenway for the Pearl District for their clients, Portland's Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability, and Transportation. They are also studying Portland's Cully district. The students have written thoughful reflections about the program and their discoveries so far and will continue throughout the project. A fun read!

The principal of an urban design firm, Terra Fluxus, also wrote about his time with PLACE students on their blog.

Graduation 2013 photo gallery

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 Click on any photo to enlarge it, download it, or start the slideshow.

Rising sophomore Anirudh Jain wins national Stockholm Junior Water Prize

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We are proud!

Anirudh received a $10,000 college scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden, in September to represent the United States and compete with students from around the globe for the international Junior Stockholm Water Prize.

He was selected for the prize based on his science project “Sulfidation as a Novel Method for Reducing Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is the world's most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. The prize taps into the potential of today's high school students as they seek to address current and future water challenges. 

» Link to Oregonian article about Anirudh

» Link to Portland Tribune article about Anirudh

Logan Smesrud '12 receives outstanding student award at OSU

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Congratulations, Logan!

Logan Smesrud '12 was one of six freshmen at Oregon State University to receive the Waldo Cummings Freshman Outstanding Student Award. She is a pre-environmental engineering major.

Sophomore Valerie Ding a finalist in Google Science Fair

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Congratulations, Valerie! We are so proud of you.

Valerie Ding is among the 90 regional finalists for the 2013 Google Science Fair for her project Rapid Quantum Dot Solar Cell Optimization: Integrating Quantum Mechanical Modeling and Novel Solar Absorption Algorithm. As a finalist, she is also in the running for the Scientific American Science in Action Award, which honors a student whose project makes a practical difference in the world by addressing an environmental, health, or resources problem.

Google will announce the 15 global winners and Science in Action award winner later this month. 

Valerie wrote, "This is a huge honor for me, and I really want to thank the entire Catlin community for its constant support and incredibly nurturing and encouraging environment. Genuine interest from faculty members and fellow students has not only bolstered confidence in my own work, but also has reminded me of how instrumental Catlin, its science, math, and computer science departments, and especially its science research program have been these last two years. I’m really looking forward to another two."

Thursday & Friday: US Library Open House! Come Sign Yearbooks & Talk with Friends!

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Everyone is welcome to come in, talk, laugh, be loud, sign yearbooks, and have fun on the last two days of the year!  Last call for Summer Borrowing, too!  

Iolanthe photo gallery

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The class of 2017 performed Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe"

Many thanks to Tom Wynne for the photos!

Announcing 2013-14 PFA leadership

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Thank you, volunteers!

These are the PFA officers, division coordinators, and grade representatives for the 2013-14 school year.

Special thanks to Kayla Reich for her stellar leadership of the PFA for the past three years.

Vice President
Advisor to the Council
Communications Coordinator
Family Integration Coordinator
Spring Festival Coordinator

Beginning School Coordinator

Lower School Coordinator
1st grade
1st grade
2nd grade
2nd grade
3rd grade
3rd grade
4th grade
4th grade
5th grade
5th grade 

Middle School Coordinator
6th grade
6th grade
7th grade
7th grade
8th grade
8th grade

Upper School Coordinator
9th grade
9th grade
10th grade
10th grade
11th grade
11th grade
12th grade
12th grade

Pam Lloyd
Liz McClanan
Adrienne Hill
Kayla Reich
Ingeborg Holliday
Marjorie Dial
Scott Cooley

Maya Wells ‘89
Arah Erickson ‘87
Joanie Wardwell
Nicole Lee
Jen Yoken

Sarah Stascausky
Alayna Luria
Stacey Misakian
Adam Pushkas
Glenn Levy
Stacie Beckerman
Jill Eberwein
Colleen Maslen ‘88
Heather Renjen
Spitzi Barnicle
Alex Druker

Kirsten Brady
Melissa Naito
Courtenay Thompson
Scott Pozzi
Maria Hall
Bleu Blakeslee
Cath Swanston

Azin van Alebeek
Christine Carr
Zoë Edelen Hare
Laura Bueermann
Melissa Salvador
Betsy Natter
Elizabeth English
Wendy Whitsell
Meg Bishop

Students train for Mt Hood, St. Helens, or South Sister Climbs on Dog Mountain last weekend.

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Summer trips are around the corner and these students are ready!

We left Catlin at 8:02 (pretty much on schedule) under gray skies; 14 students and 3 adults ready to take on this 3000 foot climb.  Intermittent sprinkles prompted use of the windshield wipers on the bus as we drove through Portland.  The farther east we traveled, though, the drier it got, and there was no rain at all during any of the hike.  The large Dog Mountain parking lot was already three quarters full when we arrived, with a volunteer directing parking for the forest service.  We parked at the far end of the lot from the trail, then gathered at the trailhead for a pre-ascent discussion.

As usual, the eager ascenders charged up the trail at high speed, leaving the so-called leader to toil upwards in the rear.  Discipline reigned, however, and all paused as planned and instructed at the first junction for a breather and initial check in.  As all was progressing as expected, we set out as a rolling line for the next section; hiking in smaller groups, with each group pausing at every junction until the next group arrived, to ensure that all went the same way.  That was the theory, anyway.  Such was the energy level that the rear leader only saw the group ahead of him once during the ascent.

With the early warm weather this year (and the lateness of this hike in the calendar), the open fields at the summit were more flower strewn than they have been for the past few years for this particular conditioning hike.  In fact the yellow balsamroot, though plentiful, were past their prime and starting to wilt.  The Indian paintbrush and lupine were lush and quite beautiful.  Although some of the earlier crowds, already descending, had said it was cold on the summit, by the time we arrived it was quite pleasant.  Mt St Helens was visible to the north, although its flat top was hidden in cloud.  Mt Hood was hidden in clouds across the Gorge on the Oregon side.  The view west over Wind Mountain towards Portland was clear and verdantly green.  As we headed down, into thickening crowds of hikers still wending their way towards the summit, the sun came out brightly and the air warmed considerably.  It was a relief to plunge into the cool, shadowy woods, and to be on the descent.

After a discussion and reminder at the summit of the practice and necessity of waiting and checking in at junctions, this technique was much better adhered to on the descent (practice making progress in this situation).  Even though (by design,) we followed different routes on the way down, each important waypoint had the requisite stop and check in by each subgroup before continuing the descent.

The parking lot was full when we arrived at the trailhead, and it took some adroit maneuvering to extract the bus.  The return trip was in full sunlight, and the intrepid climbers dozed quietly in the back of the bus.  We returned to Catlin a few minutes ahead of schedule, with visions already of even grander ascents to come, for which initial conditioning is now started.

Lifers 2013 photo gallery

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Seniors who have attended Catlin Gabel since the earliest grades

The annual tradition of Lifers sharing songs and music with Beehivers is a bittersweet time for teachers, parents, and, especially, seniors on the cusp of graduating after as many as 14 years at Catlin Gabel.