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h ea d o f up p e r s c ho o l



04 Overview







The School




Campus, Settings, and Facilities


Civic Engagement


Upper School




The Fine and Performing Arts


Position Description

“ We fundamentally believe our students are competent and capable, and that they can do remarkable things when given the opportunity. Our goal in becoming more experiential is to marshal our considerable expertise and resources so that they can show themselves, and the world, what they can do.” —Tim Bazemore, Head of School



Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon seeks a committed and passionate Head of Upper School to lead a secondary school community of 310 students and 55 faculty and staff members. Tracing its history to 1859, Catlin Gabel is a co-educational, independent day school serving 760 students in preschool through grade 12. The school is highly respected and widely admired as a progressive, challenging, innovative, and multicultural institution of exceptional quality that values each person’s effort, imagination, and contribution to the community and that adapts to changing times while remaining fiercely loyal to its philosophy and mission. Distinguishing attributes include an outstanding academic program at all levels, extraordinary student-teacher relationships, and a sense of warmth and mutual support. Admission is very competitive; the school is fully enrolled and carries no debt. Catlin Gabel is in a position of unusual strength, and sees that strength as a platform for innovation and improvement. This is an exceptional opportunity for a new division head to build on a well-established tradition of excellence. The search committee seeks an experienced leader who will bring a deep commitment to academic excellence, a creative and ambitious spirit, a desire to enhance Catlin Gabel’s institutional distinction, and a capacity for innovation that can help shape the next generation of 21st century leaders.


In the 2016-17 school year, the school is focused on pursuing two new strategic priorities: deepening our commitment to experiential learning and being an educational laboratory. These two priorities signify the school’s commitment to the future of education and to preparing students even more effectively with the academic and noncognitive skills they will need. Enrollment and financial aid planning and campus master planning will define the community and resources needed to sustain educational excellence for years to come. The next Head of Upper School will be charged with leading this work forward in the school’s largest division, serving as a spokesperson and thought leader in visible educational reform, on campus, in the Northwest, and nationally.

Values Relationships

Spirit of Inquiry

Mission Catlin Gabel supports inspired learning leading to responsible action through dedicated teaching, caring relationships, a challenging curriculum, and community service. We value each person’s effort, imagination, and positive contributions to the community. We celebrate being inclusive and the partnership between family and school.

Community Diversity & Inclusion Critical & Creative Thinking Experiential Learning Integrity



cat l i n g a b e l at a g l an c e Enrollment: 760 students

Student-teacher ratio: 7:1 Students of color: 39% Faculty: 115 Faculty with advanced degrees: 72% Average teaching tenure: 17 years Staff: 95 Endowment: $32 million Annual operating budget: $20 million Debt: none Most recent year capital giving: $2,000,000 Most recent Annual Fund: $1.6 million Financial Aid budget: $4 million

The School At the heart of the Catlin Gabel experiences are powerful and supportive student-teacher relationships. Catlin Gabel teachers make a point of knowing each student’s learning style, goals, achievements, challenges, assignments, and volunteer activities. The Catlin Gabel community proactively examines best practices and research and develops improved curriculum and teaching methods. Faculty are well versed in brain research and individual learning styles are discussed regularly among parents, teachers, students, administrators, and school counselors. There is a schoolwide focus on understanding by design, differentiation, and assessment. Cross-divisional curriculum groups explore how progressive education is evolving in the 21st century and how it differs for children of different ages.

Students receiving FA: 28%

Catlin Gabel excels at helping each child find his or her own talents and voice as a student and community member. Students welcome a challenge or problem—they have the skills needed to investigate, consider, and make sense of issues at hand, utilizing a variety of resources. They are especially adept at collaboration, and can work as leaders or team members as required. They take responsibility for their own learning, and are effective advocates for themselves. The teachers are remarkably artful in developing a sense of agency in every student.


“ By attending Catlin Gabel our students will be better able to move into the world with an inclusive mindset. This is one of our core values and deepest commitments.” —Jasmine Love, Director of Equity and Outreach

Community The Catlin Gabel student body is composed of 760 students from the Portland area and beyond. Thirty-nine percent self-identify as students of color. Admission is highly competitive—last year 555 students applied for 105 available places. Schoolwide 24 percent were accepted, and over 70 percent of students who were admitted enrolled. Twenty-eight percent of students receive financial assistance.


The school embraces the educational imperative of diversifying its curriculum, student body, and employees and creating an equitable and inclusive community. Catlin Gabel’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is evidenced by the work of the Director of Equity and Outreach, the Head of School, a standing board committee, cross-constituent diversity and inclusion groups, affinity groups for students and parents, and multicultural conversations. The school is pioneering new forms of civic engagement with a wide range of community partners.

Campus, Setting, and Facilities The school is located on a sylvan 67-acre wooded campus 5 miles west of downtown Portland in a suburban area. Each division has its own buildings, and common areas include the Cabell Center Theater, Barn (cafeteria), paddock, playgrounds, apple and nut orchards, community gardens, and a fir grove, all of which are used for the community’s daily work and play. Buildings have been designed as places for both active learning and quiet reflection, with spaces that are varied and inviting, and that allow for different groupings of students. Athletics facilities include four soccer fields, a track, two outdoor tennis courts, two indoor tennis courts, a gym, and a weight room.

science, languages, and the humanities are complemented by a spacious and inviting library and a farmhouse-style administration building.

The Upper School campus is organized around a quad, and is characterized by numerous buildings designed in the Northwest style. Separate buildings for math,

The school is accessible by public transportation (trains and buses) and offers numerous school-managed bus routes.

Catlin Gabel’s new Creative Arts Center for the Middle and Upper Schools demonstrates how fundamental creativity is to the school’s educational philosophy. Catlin Gabel’s commitment to sustainability is evident in daily practices and campus infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the school’s achievements as a Green Ribbon School, its commitment to maintaining a 40% forest canopy, and its work toward becoming a zero-waste campus.


“ When the community becomes your classroom and your textbook, when you actually engage with people whom you would typically only read about or see from a distance, assumptions and stereotypes are tested and the humanity of those you might dismiss becomes undeniable.” —Dave Whitson, Upper School History Faculty and Palma Scholars Program Director

Civic Engagement People Leading Across City Environments (PLACE) is Catlin Gabel’s unique urban studies program. This interdisciplinary program, open to Catlin Gabel students and to students throughout the local area, is experiential and project-based. Students collaborate with city and community leaders to identify and solve actual problems relating to our urban environment through smart planning and effective leadership. This past year, Catlin Gabel opened a storefront base for PLACE in North Portland, The CENTER, and created a coalition of community partners, including the Urban League, a local charter school, and a nearby Catholic high school. Together the coalition members at The CENTER create and offer youth leadership and civic engagement programs for the greater Portland community.




The Upper School 310 stu dent s in g ra d es 9 - 1 2

Catlin Gabel prepares students for life and college through an engaging and inspiring curriculum rooted in progressive education principles. The division is organized into familiar academic departments: history, math, English, arts, modern languages, physical education, and science as well as co-curricular departments including outdoor education, global education, computer science, and athletics. Upper School teachers promote cross-disciplinary work that encourages students to delve deeply into topics and make a variety

of connections across disciplines. A significant number of students enroll in advanced classes. All history and English senior electives are honors courses. Advanced courses are available in science and mathematics and a vertically aligned schedule is flexible and responsive to student ability. Catlin Gabel teachers design a challenging independent curriculum and many advanced classes successfully prepare students to take Advanced Placement exams and SAT subject tests. The school does not offer AP courses, however, as this contradicts the school’s educational philosophy.


u pper s ch oo l co n t in u ed Upper School teachers strive to integrate experiential learning in their academic courses and through and across disciplines. Teachers employ a variety of design principles, including understanding by design, design thinking, the Kolb cycle, and others, to ensure a highly-engaging and motivating learning experience. The schedule cycle features ample time for advisories, student-led clubs, and student-directed community engagement. Teaching and learning at Catlin Gabel occurs in a variety of settings—on campus, in downtown Portland, in the wilderness, online, around the country, and across the globe. College counselors work with students beginning in their junior year to identify ideal college matches. Most of our students gain acceptance to their top college choices. The Upper School is an engine of innovative program design, symbolized by a host of signature programs. Catlin Gabel is a founding member of the Global Online Academy, a consortium of the world’s leading independent schools whose mission is to translate into online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its member schools. Every year 10 percent of Catlin Gabel students enroll in online blended learning courses taught by teachers from all over the world, including some from their own school. The Palma Scholars Program, launched in the fall of 2011, is named in honor of 19-year school head Lark Palma. The distinctive program brings a cadre of academically exceptional students with notable potential in leadership, athletics, and service to the Catlin Gabel Upper School. Scholars benefit from an innovative seminar curriculum that focuses on themes related to the program’s pillars of leadership, athletics, academics, and service. Graduation requirements are flexible to allow Palma Scholars to experiment with greater choice and self-direction.


Participants in the Upper School FIRST Robotics Team design robots applying real-world engineering, computer science, design, math, and applied physics. Catlin Gabel’s robotics team is one of the top teams in the state and is the only Oregon team to have qualified for the FIRST World Championships in ten of the last eleven years. Every year, Catlin Gabel sponsors Startup Camp, a high-intensity weekend experience that teaches entrepreneurial skills to high school students at our school and a variety of regional high schools. Serving over 100 students, Startup Camp engages dozens of local businesses and innovators as mentors who support student teams as they create, promote, and pitch innovative new products and services. Catlin Gabel’s extensive outdoor education program allows a largely urban and suburban population to find physical and team challenges in the wild places of Oregon and the Northwest. Every senior engages in a Senior Project, a natural extension of Catlin Gabel’s experientially-based curriculum. Students have worked at nonprofits and for profit organizations in a variety of fields from alternative energy to advertising, medicine, research, commercial baking, performing arts, TV and radio broadcasting, construction, design, early childhood education, and veterinary care. All students participate in the annual Winterim program, taking part in a variety of learning activities locally and as far off as China and Guatemala.

“ Catlin Gabel prepared me for college by giving me leadership skills, and giving me the opportunity to learn in new and innovative ways. I’ll continue to use those skills for the rest of my life as I continue to be a leader in whatever I choose.”

—Kallan Dana ‘15


Athletics The athletics program exists to expand on, enhance, and complement the school’s academic program and the school’s mission. Students who choose to participate (there is a no-cut policy) are provided the opportunity to challenge themselves through a strong, vibrant, and progressive athletics program. Over 70 percent of students in the Upper School participate in athletics. Varsity high school athletics have been enormously successful, winning over a dozen state championships in the past three years, and receiving the prestigious OSAA All-Sports award sixteen times for on-field competitive excellence. The athletics department values sport as a vehicle for teaching and learning the attributes of an ethical character, the skills and strategies of sport, and the value of goal-directed teamwork and cooperation.


2 0 1 6 stat e c ha mpi ons Girls Tennis Boys Track & Field Boys Soccer Girls Cross-country Winner of the 2016 Oregon Athletics Coaches Association All-Sport Champion Award

The Fine and Performing Arts

The arts are a core component of Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and essential to a well-rounded education. Students learn to know themselves and the power of their ideas through the creative process. Teachers honor the integrity of each student’s work and offer an environment that facilitates creative risk taking, where the process is as important as the product. The recent construction of an expansive new arts center signifies the school’s commitment to creativity. Featuring 2D and 3D art studios, choral and band rooms, a dance studio, a black box theater, a gallery, and other spaces, the CAC is a dynamic and collaborative space for students in grades 6-12.


Position Description h ea d of upper sch o o l ( 9 - 1 2 )

Catlin Gabel School seeks an innovative, experienced, and progressive educator to lead and inspire the Upper School community of teachers and students. The Upper School Head is a senior leader at the school, working closely with the Head of School and fellow division heads and administrators to determine Catlin Gabel’s strategic direction and educational programs. The Upper School Head is responsible for fostering a learning environment based on principles of inquiry, experience, collaboration, equity, inclusion, and serving the whole student.

e ssential dut ies

»Direct the selection of faculty and coordinate faculty assignments in and out of the classroom.

»Work with the college counseling office; conduct college admission visits.

»Direct the faculty evaluation program and professional learning for Upper School faculty.

»Supervise registration, enrollment, and planning of student program.

»Oversee the development and evaluation of curriculum.

»Oversee the development of the Upper School schedule and allocation of spaces.

»Develop policies and practices that create a healthy and safe learning environment for all. »Actively foster a culture of equity and inclusion for all community members. »Ensure open communication between parents and school through regular meetings with PFA groups and grade level parents, and through written letters and notices.

»Prepare and control divisional budget. Participate and contribute to School budget discussions and decisions. »Develop and maintain programs designed to reinforce positive student behavior. »Share collective responsibility with other division heads for faculty assessment, curriculum, and school programs that occur before, during, and after the school day.

»Oversee athletics programs, and assist Athletic Director in selection of coaches.

»Direct and supervise the response of faculty and students to crises and emergencies.

»Work with the Director of Admissions, selected faculty, and prospective families to facilitate the admission of qualified applicants to the School.

»Supervise or coordinate other educational or personnel matters which may be delegated by the Head of School.


»Direct and supervise Upper School office staff.

supervis ory resp o n sib il it ies Directly responsible for supervision of: »Upper School faculty members »Assistant Head/Dean of Students »Department Chairs »Co-directors of College Counseling »Athletic Director »Palma Scholars Program Director »Outdoor Education Director »Robotics/Student Engineering Director »Administrative personnel and office staff

in t erpers on a l co n tact s

The Upper School Head facilitates and coordinates faculty meetings, works with individual students and student groups, leads meetings with parents, and represents the School in a variety of public settings.

spe cific job sk il l s

Communication skills. Cross-cultural skills. Managerial skills. Change management skills. Ability to manage group dynamics. Supervision and evaluation skills. Organization. Technology skills.

e ducation a n d /o r experien ce

BA or BS from an accredited college or university required; Master’s preferable. Knowledge of progressive education and experience as a teacher and administrator in grades 9-12 is desirable.

working con d it io n s

12-month position, the academic calendar plus approx. 4 weeks of vacation during the summer. Office and campus environment. Additional time is required beyond a normal work day or week for evening and some weekend meetings and gatherings. Catlin Gabel School seeks to employ the best qualified individuals from available applicants and to provide them with opportunity for advancement in a manner that does not discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, genetic information, or any other status protected under local, state, or federal equal employment opportunity laws or regulations.


To apply for this position, visit the Catlin Gabel website Employment page. For more information, please contact Mia Mendicino, Executive Assistant to the Head of School, Catlin Gabel School: p: 503-297-1894 ext. 304 e: Learn more about our curriculum, culture, and community. Explore the many facets of Catlin Gabel School at


Position Book: Head of Upper School  

Catlin Gabel School invites applications for the position of Head of Upper School. See details about the position and the school in the Pos...

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