Head of School Transition

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Dear Mayfield Senior School Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our Head of School Search Committee, it is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Laura Farrell as Mayfield Senior School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2023.

With thirty years of experience in education, Laura will join us from Merion Mercy Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in the Philadelphia area, where she served as Head of School for three years and currently serves as Executive Advisor to the Board of Trustees. As the first layperson to lead Merion Mercy, Laura advanced the school’s mission and charism of the Sisters of Mercy, caring for all students as they developed to their fullest potential. In the midst of challenges presented by the pandemic, Laura led a whole-school revitalization effort to develop a fresh vision for student learning and faculty development while modernizing all aspects of school infrastructure, from technology to marketing to enrollment management, in addition to financial operations. She led a strategic planning process, built a high-functioning administrative team, increased financial aid funding by expanding relationships with foundations committed to Catholic education, successfully completed the process for accreditation and advanced diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives. As Executive Advisor to the Board of Trustees at Merion Mercy Academy, Laura advises the Board on strategy and best practices in board governance.

Prior to her work at Merion Mercy Academy, Laura served as the Dean of Faculty at St. Catherine's School in Richmond, Virginia, one of the largest JK-12 all-girls schools in the country. At St. Catherine's School, Laura helped shape and advance many areas, including all academic departments, signature programming and global education. She played an integral part in several key school initiatives including: professional development, marketing and branding, school accreditations, diversity and inclusion programming, and capital projects. As Dean of Faculty, she facilitated the professional growth of more than 135 faculty members; developed and ran the Intensive Studies Program in STEM, Global Engagement, Entrepreneurship and the Arts; led the work of department chairs and coordinators; and served as a member of the Core Executive Leadership Team.
A seasoned independent school leader, Laura's career began in the classroom. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary, Laura began teaching high school Social Studies. She was a Fulbright-Hayes recipient, received a summer study grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, and went on to earn a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The George Washington University. While teaching, Laura emerged as a leader and distinguished herself through her work on technology initiatives; curriculum design, review, and implementation; and staff development and mentoring.
As a lifelong practicing Catholic, Laura’s faith plays a central role in her work and daily life. She fully embraces Cornelia Connelly’s spirituality, the whole child philosophy and Mayfield’s Catholic identity. ”When I visited Mayfield, I found a school grounded in Gospel values and committed to excellence,” Laura shared. “Cornelia Connelly’s spirituality deeply resonates with me both as a person of faith and as an educator. I‘m so looking forward to getting to know and working with this incredible community.”

Laura is an authentic, empathetic, faith-filled scholar-leader and life-long learner. She brings leadership qualities and a depth of experience that will carry the Mayfield Senior School community into the next era of our beloved school’s mission “to provide young women an intellectually empowering learning community of joy and belonging, where students enact their faith and love by transforming the world with their God-given gifts.” We know our community will benefit from Laura’s leadership and vision.

We are grateful to the entire Mayfield Senior School community—current and former Board members, administrators, faculty, staff, students, alums, current parents and past parents—for your involvement in this search process. Your robust engagement and care in support of this critical process were both evident and tremendously appreciated. We also want to express our appreciation of the Search Committee: Amber Berrios (alum ’07); Alison Gamble (alum ’87, parent ’24); Jim LoCoco (parent ’13, ’17, ’18); Sr. Eileen McDevitt, SHCJ (Director, Network of Holy Child Schools); Sr. Sheila McNiff, SHCJ (alum ’56); Kelly Nakasone (alum ’93; parent ’24); Fr. Wayne Negrete, SJ (former Trustee); Shadi Sanbar (parent ’17); and Tina Zapata (Dean of Faculty, Social Science teacher), for their dedication to finding the next mission-driven leader for Mayfield Senior School.

In the coming months, we look forward to celebrating the distinguished tenure of retiring Head of School Kate Morin and formally welcoming Laura, her husband Tony, and their two adult children, Lucy and Will, to the Mayfield Senior School community this summer. 

Most sincerely,

Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Chair, Board of Trustees
Member, Head of School Search Committee
Past Parent '22
    • Erika Randall

A Message from Erika F. Randall, Chair of Board of Trustees

Dear Mayfield Senior School Community,
After a highly successful tenure, Kate Morin informed the Board of Trustees that she will retire in June 2023, at the end of her eighth year at Mayfield Senior School. We received this news with immense gratitude and respect for all Kate has accomplished as Head of School. Her leadership has been remarkable and truly a reflection of our Holy Child goals. We will miss her tremendously, but Kate will always be a part of our Mayfield community.
Thanks to Kate’s leadership and her unwavering commitment to our Holy Child and Catholic mission, Mayfield Senior School is thriving. During her tenure, with Cornelia Connelly’s vision as the source of her inspiration, Kate strengthened our faith formation, campus ministry and service programs, bringing our Catholic identity to life in the community. Always student-centered, she pioneered the holistic Formation of Self (FOS) curriculum and cultivated more offerings in the STEM curriculum and the Art Conservatories. She thoughtfully expanded summer study options to allow more advanced course loads during the school year. She creatively altered the sequence of the sciences to offer Freshmen Physics, seeding an early sense of confidence and curiosity in STEM. She championed Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JDEI) in school culture, equipping JDEI initiatives with more robust resources, including hiring a full-time JDEI Director, and diversified the student body, faculty and staff at the school.

Kate has been an effective steward of our campus resources as well. Under her leadership, our endowment has doubled from $6 million to $12 million. Financial aid for students grew by 30%, teacher salaries increased to make them more competitive with similar independent schools, and we embarked on the largest capital campaign in the history of the school in order to restore our beautiful and historic Strub Hall. Kate accomplished all of this while also navigating the demands of a global pandemic, successfully transitioning to online learning and safely returning to in-person instruction when it was possible. She provided hope, encouragement and inspiration to our Mayfield family, helping us persevere through the challenges of this pandemic. She has made an extraordinary school even stronger.

As we move forward, I want to assure you that our Board of Trustees is dedicated to finding a new Head of School who not only embraces our Holy Child mission, but also has the leadership traits to ensure the ongoing success of Mayfield Senior in the future. We will conduct a nationwide search in partnership with the renowned search firm RG 175. Search consultants Tom Hudnut and Arlyce Seibert have decades of experience as highly successful Heads of Schools and are demonstrated leaders in the field. I am pleased to share that Jane Collins Hawley, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and an alum from the Class of 1986, will be chairing the search committee. As a student leader, an alum and a Trustee, Jane’s work on behalf of the Mayfield community positions her to effectively lead the search to bring the next mission-driven leader to our beloved school.
In the coming months, we will be reaching out to the community for input in a variety of ways to incorporate your feedback into our search process. To ensure our search process is transparent and inclusive—keeping our faculty, staff, students, parents, alums and friends informed—we will post updates on this webpage and will send periodic emails. 
As we embark on this search for our next Head of School, we will cherish the remaining time we have to work with Kate. There will be many opportunities to celebrate and honor her over the next year. For now, please join me and the Board in thanking Kate and giving her our support in this final year of an impactful career at Mayfield Senior School.
Most Sincerely,
Erika F. Randall 
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Mayfield Senior School Parent ’22
    • Kate Morin

A Message from Kate Morin, Head of School

Dear Mayfield Senior School Community,
I will never forget the experience of being welcomed to Mayfield Senior School.  Entering Strub Hall for the first time I felt an immediate sense of belonging–like being embraced by an old friend, like coming home. Since that memorable day in October 2014, that sense has never left me.  
I know now the source of that feeling. It is derived first and foremost from the spirit of Cornelia Connelly–her mission and vision on which Mayfield Senior is founded–that God is with us, and in us, and works through us with a powerful force of love. It was the joy of God’s presence I felt so strongly on that day and have continued to feel so strongly ever since.
So it is with a heart full of gratitude and love that I will carry that sense with me into my retirement at the end of the 2022-23 school year. It has been a blessing beyond measure to have been given the opportunity to serve Cornelia’s Holy Child mission–to learn and grow in a community of love, a community of dedicated and creative teachers and staff members, a community of supportive and involved parents, of generous and devoted friends.

Most of all I’ve been continually struck with awe as I have witnessed our students become leaders who serve developing the intellectual skills and the habits of heart to transform the world with “Actions not Words.”
I am gratified that I will leave Mayfield Senior in a strong position. With curricular and extracurricular programs that “meet the wants of the age” and the renovation of our beloved Strub Hall complete–this is an exciting time in our school’s history.
As I tell our students each year at graduation, no matter where their life journey takes them they always have a home at Mayfield. I know I will carry my Mayfield home in my heart for the rest of my life.
With Love and Gratitude,
Kate Morin
Head of School

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  • Head of School Search Committee 2022

    • Amber Berrios ‘07: Alum; Board of Trustees member; Alum Council member
    • Alison Jones Gamble ‘87: Alum; Current Parent '24; Board of Trustees member
    • Jane Hawley '86, Alum; Board of Trustees member, Chair of the Search Committee
    • Jim LoCoco: Past Parent ‘13, ‘17, ‘18; Board of Trustees member
    • Kelly Nelson Nakasone ‘93; Alum, Current Parent '24; Board of Trustees member and Chair Emeritus
    • Sr. Eileen McDevitt, SHCJ: Director, Holy Child Network of Schools; Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
    • Sr. Sheila McNiff, SHCJ, ‘56: Alum; Board of Trustees member; Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
    • Fr. Wayne Negrete: SJ: Former Board of Trustees member 
    • Erika Randall: Past Parent ’22, Chair of the Board of Trustees
    • Shadi Sanbar: Past Parent ‘17; Board of Trustees member, Vice Chair of the Search Committee
    • Tina Zapata: Dean of the Faculty; Social Science Teacher
Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.