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The Campaign for Arts & Minds

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What sets Catlin Gabel apart?
Campaign Components
Creative Arts Center
This new building fosters the ability to create and provides the encouragement to be original. It brings multiple disciplines inside one facility for intense, collaborative teaching and learning. Students will experiment in the black box theater, hear each other play instruments, view and critique each other’s work in the school’s first proper gallery, and learn from guest artists.
 Expanding Our Endowment
Launching new programs, admitting more students with financial need, and compensating outstanding teachers requires stable and robust funding. We must pursue these initiatives with the confidence that they can be sustained. The campaign for the endowment is how we’re doing it.


Senior, student body president

"Catlin Gabel gave me confidence in my own thoughts, while not completely blocking out those of others. It taught me that there are often more perspectives to every situation than what one might initially think. The confidence I gained from our small class discussions encouraged me to take part in our school’s student government. This school has given and taught me more than I could possibly repay."

Entering Harvard College

"As my class prepares to leave for college, the mark that Catlin Gabel’s holistic approach to education has left on us shows clearly: our strong academic skills are matched by our strong characters; our passion for learning matched by our passion for life."

MS life skills and PE teacher

"Catlin Gabel takes pride in supplying students with a quality, well-rounded education. Students learn to take ownership of the direction of their passions, as well as to respect and appreciate individual differences." 

Longtime preschool teacher

"Do you wish that you had attended a school where you were asked to examine 60 acres, be stretched to discomfort, navigate the idea of community, have fun with the basics, and use what you know to serve? Imagine a place children come each day, where what they bring with them is treated as the fertile ground of possibility rather than something to correct or change."  


US science teacher and assistant head

"At Catlin Gabel we teach how to sing, how to talk to a crowd, welcome others, disagree, advocate for ourselves, talk to adults, write our congressional representatives, read between the lines, learn what’s not in front of us, include others in play, weave and intersect with other cultures, and find balance in our lives. We learn from our students every day. We educate whole children. We educate ourselves. Every day.

US English teacher

"Whenever visiting writers come to share their work with our students, or parents attend Back-to-School Night, or folks new to the school come to Open House, they always say: ‘Wow!! I wish I could have gone to high school here.’ They see the school’s serious, but freewheeling, intellectual atmosphere, the strong bonds it forges between teachers and students, its deep commitment to building a community of trust and mutual support, and realize what a special place this is to be a teacher or a teenager."

Sophomore, Malone Scholar

"I love Catlin Gabel not only for the friends I have made and the resources it can provide, but also for the atmosphere of support, in-depth curiosity to learn, and a rigorous and beneficial learning experience. It also served me as a second home and support system as my family went through a major move." 

Student at New York University Medical School

"After Catlin Gabel college seemed easy. At Catlin Gabel I didn’t just learn the facts, I learned how to learn and use those facts in novel and creative ways. The biggest lesson I learned, which I always carry with me, is that education and ambition are not accessed passively, but instead actively.

Video: Creative Arts Center from the Ground Up

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Thank you, Ian McClanan '16 for producing the video. Photos by Kitty Katz and Eric Shawn.

On October 4, 2012, we broke ground on a new Creative Arts Center for Middle and Upper School students. Less than one year later, 6th through 12th grade students started the 2013-14 school year with a brand new facility. » Link to more information about the Creative Arts Center.

Join Me in This Campaign

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From the Summer 2013 Caller

By Lark P. Palma PhD, Head of School

Launching a campaign is an exhilarating moment! I still remember that 2008 board meeting when we all debated the troubled economic environment versus the school’s opportunities and greatest needs. We ended with a unanimous vote to unapologetically go for it and raise $20 million for two purposes. Catlin Gabel’s “Campaign for Arts & Minds” is a reflection of those highest priorities.

The power of creativity! Our students must hone their ability to think creatively, to problem solve when there isn’t a formula, and to venture forward where there is no path. Learning and practicing the arts translate into these skills, and will make a lifelong difference for our students. We are building a creative hub for Middle and Upper School students that will inspire people the second they walk into the building, thanks to architect Brad Cloepfil and the Allied Works team. When dreaming of this space, the faculty were asked “How do you want students to feel when they walk through the front doors?” and I’ve never forgotten the answer I heard: “Like they’re entering a creative cathedral.” The 20,000-square-foot “cathedral” will open this fall— and I will be standing in front of those doors, watching the students’ faces light up as they walk through.

Imagine more! A school’s endowment is really about just that: imagining what more we could do and be. A healthy endowment means the difference between incremental change and being able to take leaps and bounds. It means saying yes to more incredibly talented students who cannot pay full tuition. It means a source of income to launch new programs and hire the country’s best faculty with relevant specialties and the desire to experiment in teaching in order to inspire every student. In short, endowment is the freedom to act on dreams.
Today, we face the final stretch of this incredibly successful campaign but we have yet to cross the finish line. We welcome you to join this chapter in Catlin Gabel’s history. Stand with me in honoring the impact our alumni have on the world, and the efforts to prepare our current students for a world that needs them, too.

Ambassador Questionnaire

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Please fill this form out after your day with any visiting students.

Questions about the visit process? Please contact Sara Dier, Admission Associate, at 503.297.1894 ext. 443

Please rate your guests for their overall "fit" as a students at Catlin Gabel based on your visit day. 1 being a poor fit, and 5 being the best fit.

How "into it" were they about all that Catlin offers? 1 being very little interest, and 5 being totally into it.
ex. Interest in clubs? Excited about classes? Socializing?

Ambassador Application

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Please fill this form out so we may better match you up with visiting students.

Questions about the visit process? Please contact Sara Dier, Admission Associate, at 503.297.1894 ext. 443

How would you like me to get in touch with you for an immediate response on your behalf?

Indicate a sport you are involved in, on or off campus.

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Invitation to parents to meet the head candidates

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September 3, 2013

Dear parents and guardians,

I am writing on behalf of the head of school search committee to announce that we have identified three finalists. These outstanding candidates will visit campus between September 16 and 24, each for two days of interviewing and presenting. The finalists will meet with a full range of constituents—teachers, staff members, parents, trustees, students, alumni, and friends.

By mutual agreement, we will announce the name two or three days before the visit. The search committee believes this discretion is important to ensure the integrity of the process while addressing, to the degree possible, the needs of the candidates.

We sincerely hope you will make time to meet the candidates and, after having done so, complete a brief confidential survey for the search committee.

Current parents are welcome to attend either an evening or morning session with each candidate. The candidate will present prepared remarks, followed by a Q&A.

Candidate 1
Monday, September 16, 6 -- 7 p.m., in the Barn
Tuesday, September 17, 8:30 -- 9:30 a.m., in the Barn

Candidate 2
Thursday, September 19, 6 -- 7 p.m., in the Barn
Friday, September 20, 8:30 -- 9:30 a.m., in the Barn

Candidate 3
Monday, September 23, 6 -- 7 p.m., in the Barn
Tuesday, September 24, 8:30 -- 9:30 a.m., in the Barn

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


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September 2013

Second grader Mahala Lambert won the national championship in color belt poomse at the at the 2013 USA taekwondo national championships in Chicago. She also won silver in board breaking for girls blue belt 6 to 7 years old.

Eighth grader Katie McClanan has been cast as Susanna Walcott in Beaverton Civic Theater’s fall production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” This winter she will reprise her role as Young Mary/Janie in Stumptown Stage’s original musical “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the Portland Center for Performing Arts.

Sophomore Anirudh Jain won the national Stockholm Junior Water Prize. He 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. » Link to Oregonian article about Anirudh. » Link to Portland Tribune article about Anirudh.

Junior Valerie Ding was named one of 15 global finalists in the 2013 Google Science Fair. The grand-prize winner will be announced in late September after the finalists presents their projects to an international panel of judges. As a finalist, Valerie was invited to a private meeting in the West Wing of the White House. » Read the White House blog. She was also featured in a Washington Post article about female students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Junior Adam Frank traveled to Israel to compete as a fencer in the 19th Maccabiah Games, the Jewish Olympics.

Junior Elli Wiita's National Synchronized Swimming team won gold at the Pan American Age Group Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's the first time in seven years that the U.S. junior team has placed ahead of Canada.

Senior Ian Fyfield spent two weeks at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, learning the ins and outs of professional theater from every member of the crew. He stayed in the Southern Oregon University dorms with 64 other high school students who are passionate about theater as he is. He said, “I got to see the entire OSF season. It was an incredibly life-changing experience.”

Students in the summer PLACE urban studies program presented their ideas about improving a street in the Pearl District to the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. For their project the students created strategies to make the street work for pedestrians, bikes, and cars--and they impressed the planners!

LS learning specialist Lauren Burns married Adam Figi on August 25. 

In addition to her master's in teaching K-8 from the University of Virginia, 1st grade teacher Erin Porter has now earned a master of arts in international and intercultural communication from Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C.

From thousands of teachers at thousands of private schools across the United States, 6th grade English teacher Carter Latendresse was selected as one of 25 Teachers of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools. He was selected for his innovation and willingness to re-evaluate content and lessons to help students better connect with the world. »Link to Oregonian article.

MS teachers Len Carr, Ann Fyfield, and Christa Kaainoa attended the Stanley H. King Counseling Institute in Colorado Springs at Fountain Valley School. The intensive weeklong institute offers a model of teaching counseling and listening skills to help educators strengthen and deepen their relationships with students.

MS Mandarin teacher Li-Ling Cheng is co-author of Language through Culture, Culture through Language: A Framework for K-8 Mandarin Curriculum published by Peking University Press this July. In October Li-Ling will attend the 4th annual Chinese Language Education Forum in San Francisco with lead author Sharon Carstens of Portland State University.

US math teacher Kenny Nguyen is a reviewer for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. He has also been asked to review manuscripts and conference proposals for the Journal for Mathematical Behavior, Cognition and Instruction, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (regular and research sessions), and the International Conference of the Learning Sciences.

US English teacher Leanne Moll was an adjunct professor of education at Portland State University this summer. She also teaches online graduate-level curriculum, instruction, and reading courses for Read Oregon. This summer she taught "Writing Across the Curriculum" and will repeat it next winter. This fall she is teaching "Engaging Readers/Nurturing Writers, 6-12.”

US French teacher Madeleine Giardin Schuback attended a summer conference at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. The conference was held in partnership with French universities, foreign language professors, and the primary publishers of French manuals. The workshops focused on differentiation, collaboration, and how to use French media to develop students’ oral skills.

US history teacher and PLACE director George Zaninovich has been selected for the Portland Art Museum’s teacher advisory council. The 16-member council works with and advises the museum’s education department.

Congratulations to everyone involved with Summer Programs 2013. More than 600 students participated in over 20 different courses.

Don’t be shy. Share your news. Submit “Congrats!” information about student and faculty-staff achievements to Karen Kitty Katz, editor,, 503-297-1894 ext. 305.

» Return to All-School News

Welcome to new teachers and staff members

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New Beginning School teaching assistant

Meg Schmidt is our new preschool teaching assistant. She has worked with youth in Oregon and Washington. She has a BA in education and is a master’s in education candidate at Portland State University.

Back row, l to r: Ric Fry, Kate Ryan, Pilar Arias, Erin Porter.
Front row, l to r: Meg Schmidt, Suzie Roane, Courtney Plummer '03, Beth Merrill.

New Lower School teachers and teaching assistant

Pilar Arias joins us a Lower School Spanish teacher. She was first attracted to our school after attending a symposium on campus 10 years ago. She has taught Spanish and ESL at schools across the country and abroad. Pilar has a master's in curriculum and instruction from Portland State University, a BA in elementary education from Playa Ancha University of Educational Sciences, and a BA in secondary education/English as foreign language from Catholic University of Chile.

Lower School woodshop teacher Ric Fry joins us after teaching at the Metropolitan Montessori School in New York and the Franciscan Montessori Earth School here in Portland. He has a BA in anthropology from the University of Western Ontario.

Beth Merrill is our Lower School science teacher. She spent her childhood “wading through creeks, climbing boulders, and observing animals” near Yosemite. Beth has an MA in general science from Portland State University and a BA in environmental studies from the University of Oregon.

Kate Ryan is teaching 5th grade this year in a position created by Mariam Higgins's leave of absence. She has most recently taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grades. She has a master’s of education from Bank Street School of Education, a leader in progressive education.

Erin Porter is filling in for Mimi Tang in the 1st grade while Mimi is on maternity leave. Erin filled in last year as a Lower School learning specialist. This summer she completed a master’s degree in international and intercultural communication at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C. She has an MA in teaching K-8 and a BA in rhetoric and communication studies from the University of Virginia.

Suzie Roane returns to Catlin Gabel as 2nd grade teaching assistant. Last year, she did graduate work in linguistics and German at Portland State University. Before that she had been the 3rd grade TA for five years. Suzie has a BA in social scienes from PSU with an emphasis on international relations.

Alumna Courtney Plummer ’03 returns to Catlin Gabel as 4th grade teaching assistant. She previously served as 5th grade teaching assistant. In the interim, Courtney earned an MA in early childhood and elementary education from Antioch University, and taught preschool and kindergarten in Rotan, Honduras, for six months.

Back row, l to r: Allie Kautz, Marabeth Passannante, Caroll Casbeer.
Front row, to to r: Dennis Christman, Drew Kinney, Rob van Nood

New staff members

Our new after-school care teaching assistant, Allie Kautz, is a recent transplant from California. She has a BS in child and family development, and experience working with children both in and out of the classroom.

Rob van Nood fills the newly created position of academic technology coordinator. As a member of the IT team Rob will work with faculty to assist in the selection and integration of technology that is current, useful and relevant, and meets our student learning objectives.

Dennis Christman joined us midway through last year as Upper School library assistant. His past experience includes serving as research librarian at Chengdu Meishi International School in Sichuan, China. He has a BS in computers and is working on his master’s of library and information science.

The admission office welcomes Marabeth Passannante as the new data coordinator. She comes to Catlin Gabel from Oregon Ballet Theatre, and has also worked for the Oregon Convention Center and the Oregon Symphony. Marabeth has a BS in sociology from Portland State University.

Caroll Casbeer joins the development team as special events and fundraising manager. She has worked in events and fundraising for the Portland Rose Festival Foundation and for Reed College. She has a BA in history from Reed.

New prep cook Drew Kinney is a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program. We look forward to Drew’s delicious contributions in our kitchen.

Back row, l to r: Victoria Fennell, Shaina Langley
Front row, l to r: John Hellman, Becky Winard, Andrew Ratzke

Five master’s degree candidates from the University of Portland graduate school of education join the Lower School this year. Each aspiring teacher will spend half a year with one grade level and half a year with another.

Victoria Fennell, 3rd and 5th grades. Victoria has spent time volunteering and working with students on math, reading comprehension, speech skills, and ABA therapy. She has a BS in educational foundations with a minor in special education.

John Hellman, 2nd and 4th grades. John has taught English and pre-literacy courses in Ecuador and Korea. He has a BA in English from Boise State.
Shaina Langley, 5th and 2nd grades. Shaina has been an assistant teacher, camp counselor, and lifestyle adviser. She has a BA in general studies, international studies, and business administration from Western Washington University.

Andrew Ratzke, 1st and 3rd grades. Andrew has been a math intervention specialist at Eastwood Elementary, and served in leadership positions in sustainability and global awareness. He has a BA in psychology and political science from Pacific Lutheran University.

Becky Winard, 4th and 1st grades. Becky has worked with SMART and as a literacy coach at schools throughout Oregon. She has a BA in geography from University of Oregon.

Familiar faces in new places

Sara Dier joins the admission team as admission associate. She was previously half-time development assistant and half-time MS and US learning center assistant.

Half-time receptionist Chris Woodard joins the college counseling team as half-time administrative assistant. She will spend mornings in the Upper School and afternoons in Toad Hall.

Enrique Escolona returns to the Upper School after teaching Spanish in the Lower School for the past six years.

Brendan Clark, who taught preschool – grade 2 PE last year, joins the Beginning School as a preschool teacher.

» Return to All-School News

New US student rafting trip photo gallery

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Student Pre-Visit Questionnaire for Applicants to Grades 6-12

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Fill out this form a week before your visit.

Questions about the visit process? Please contact Sara Dier, Admission Associate, at 503.297.1894 ext. 443

Student Applicant Information
Emergency Contact Information
Your Visit Experience

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

Catlin Gabel teacher named one of 25 Teachers of the Future

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Oregonian article, August 2013

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

Vote for Valerie Ding's Google Science Fair project

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Join us in supporting science superstar Valerie Ding ’15 by voting for her Google Science Fair project. 

Valerie is one of 15 global finalists in the 2013 Google Science Fair. The voter’s choice award goes to the finalist with the most votes for his or her project.

Find her video, “Enhanced Solar Cells” and cast your vote on the Google Science Fair website.

You may vote until August 30.

Valerie is a remarkable, humble, and gifted student. Here’s what she said about us:
“The Catlin Gabel community's support means so much to me. It has been instrumental in my discovering who I am.”

Read more about Valerie.

» Oregonian article

» Washington Post article

» White House blog

Fiona Noonan '13 wins national scholarship

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Lake Oswego Review article, July 2013

Anirudh Jain nabs prestigious Stockholm Water Prize

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Beaveron Valley Times article, June 2013