Formation of Self

Formation of Self: Caring for your amazing mind, body and heart

How do I deal with test anxiety? Is five hours of sleep enough? What is ‘executive function?’

At Mayfield, girls don’t go it alone. Our breakthrough "Formation of Self" program, or FOS for short, aims to address essential health, wellness and developmental needs of students. The bold curriculum extends through all four high school years with age-appropriate topics addressed at each grade level. Classes meet about twice a month and are taught by our team of student support experts. At the root of the program lies one of Cornelia Connelly's powerful statements:

“Be yourself, only make the self all that God wants it to be.”

Our innovative program speaks to essential topics for teenage girls.

In a uniquely incisive approach to health and wellness education, Mayfield experts have developed year-long seminars at each grade level. Students meet twice a month with our school nurse, counselor, or education specialist to discuss teen-relevant topics, including how to navigate new environments and relationships.

At the root of the program lies one of the seven goals of Holy Child education—“to promote the personal growth and development of all who participate in the life of the school.”

FOS Topics

Stress vs. Anxiety
Decision Making
Organization, planning, time management
Study Skills & Learning Strategies
Self Exploration & Identity
Self Care
Self Defense
Academic Integrity

Formation of Self Team

List of 5 items.

  • School Counselor Erika Mastrobuono, LCSW

    takes up mental health issues, including understanding and dealing with stress vs. anxiety and navigating healthy relationships.
  • School Nurse Cathy Cota, RN

    teaches students how to stay healthy and how their body systems function. 
  • Learning Specialist Ann Bussard, LMFT

    works with girls on issues including study strategies, time management and the teenage brain.
  • College Counselors Lynn Maloney and Amy Lareau

    focus most of their attention on seniors applying to college and also begin preliminary work with other classes.
  • Justice, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Coordinator Kristina Ortega

    creates a space for students to develop a healthy, positive identity, foster belonging, develop resilience and skills to enact justice in their communities.

Student Support

We really, really, really care about you!

Our student support team embraces the whole person 

These are years of wondrous inquiry, growth and challenge for our students. At Mayfield, we know each girl and have a team of experts to support her. Thanks to our nurse, counselor and learning specialists, no student falls through the cracks. Meet our team!

Your student support team is here for you!

List of 4 items.

  • Lyn Beecher, Learning Specialist 

    Lyn Beecher has over 10 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator at the elementary and secondary school levels, and she is a full-time member of our Student Support Team as a Learning Specialist as well as Chair of our Fitness and Wellness Department. 

    Lyn was born and raised in Upstate New York. She graduated from Wells College and earned a B.A. in Psychology. She moved to California soon after graduation, and went on to earn her Master of Arts in education at Claremont Graduate University and her Administrative Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University. Lyn describes her training “as being focused on preparation to be a catalyst for positive change.” It was grounded in the understanding that “teaching and learning happens best in engaged communities that foster every student’s intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual gifts.” 

    As an educator and a mother, she instinctively approaches life as a teacher and a learner. She is deeply committed to high-quality education for all ages and all learning styles keeping expectations high, practices fair, and content accessible and engaging.

    Lyn’s two daughters, Kate and Grace, were her first introduction to the Holy Child educational approach, both attending Mayfield Junior School. Raising her children gave her the opportunity to volunteer at school, at church and inside the community. She served as MJS Parent Board President and as Benefit Co-Chair, Past President of the Pasadena Area Chapter of the National Charity League, and she currently serves as an Elder and Mission Coordinator for Trinity Presbyterian Church.
    Family remains a cornerstone in Lyn’s life. Her daughter Kate is a sophomore at Wellesley, where she competes on their volleyball team. Grace is an active sophomore at Polytechnic High School, pursuing her interests in horseback riding, musical theatre and volleyball. “As a family, we love to travel far and wide and the more remote the more appealing,” says Lyn, “If we can scuba dive even better. We are a family that strives to dive!”

    Lyn brings boundless excitement to the Formation Of Self (FOS) team, and is thrilled to train and work with our team of instructors to continue to fortify the FOS curriculum with timely topics and relevant skill building opportunities for all of our students.
  • Ann Bussard, Learning Specialist

    Ann Bussard was drawn to Mayfield by the school’s Holy Child mission “to help others to believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world, and to rejoice in the divine presence.” She served for 16 years as Mayfield’s Director of Guidance, using her professional skills as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist to help our students express and discover themselves. She has long embraced opportunities to support students with learning differences, which prompted her to investigate how people learn. In her new position as Mayfield’s first learning specialist, Mrs. Bussard ensures that all our students who learn differently receive the scaffolding they need for academic success. The powerful and relevant field of educational therapy piqued Ann’s interest, and she earned a certificate in educational therapy through the UC Riverside Extension program. Mrs. Bussard received her B.A. in Art from Marylhurst College in Oregon, her Master’s in Clinical Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University, and her M.A. in Counseling and Guidance from Point Loma Nazarene University. She also holds a Pupil Personnel Services Credential.
  • Cathy Cota, School Nurse

    Cathy Cota, RN, the mother of two Mayfield Senior School alumnae (Rachel ’04 and Carolyn ’06), created the school’s Health Office and Health Department from the ground up six years ago, putting her definition of nursing—“Nursing Is Caring”—into action. Now, when a student says “Thank you for taking care of me,” she knows she has succeeded. Mrs. Cota graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a Public Health Certificate from California State University at Los Angeles. She brings over 35 years of pediatric nursing experience with her to Mayfield. She also worked as a Certified Personal Trainer for over 10 years. Returning to Mayfield Senior School as its School Nurse has allowed her to share her love of nursing with the community she chose for her own daughters more than 20 years ago. She is happy to be back and caring for our girls!
  • Erika Mastrobuono, School Counselor

    Erika Mastrobuono, LCSW has lived and worked in the Pasadena/Altadena area as a mental health counselor and therapist in the Pasadena Unified School District for over 10 years, and in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in South Pasadena. 

    When Erika first encountered the “Holy Child Approach” section on the Mayfield website, she found a deep resonance with it all. She stumbled on this phrase describing Holy Child education as: "love of learning, commitment to service, a strong sense of self, a joyful spirit, and true respect for the inherent worth of every human being,” and was amazed how much this approach perfectly aligned with the principles she lived by, especially as she gave young people the tools to value and enrich their own mental health.

    In addition to supporting every student with an authentic and holistic approach that nurtures empowerment, connection and growth, Erika is also thrilled to be able to embrace the values that she loves about social work: service, social justice, dignity and worth of every person, importance of relationships, integrity and competence. Erika is grateful to be joining this community, and looking forward to getting to know all of the students and their families. 

    Erika was born in New York City. Growing up in Brooklyn gave Erika a unique perspective about the importance of diversity and a love of community. Erika came to Los Angeles in 2003 with a theater company and never quite made it back to New York—now considering the West Coast her second home. Her passion for social justice issues led her to earn her Master’s in Social Work from USC in 2012. Since that time she has become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) providing individual and family therapy, as well as facilitating support groups for adolescents and parents.

    Erika lives with her amazing husband, brilliant daughter and their very expressive dog. Although she misses her big family in New York, she is so blessed to have their unconditional love and support, and loves going to NYC to visit them as often as possible.

Your Advising Group

Your advising group is your roomful of Mayfield sisters for four years. Each week, you’ll meet with your advisor and a group of 8-10 girls from your grade to talk about what’s going on in your life in a safe, supportive setting. Your advisor, an experienced faculty or staff member, is there to encourage you, help you plan your high school years and provide a sounding board for choices and challenges you may be facing. During advising meetings sessions you are free to talk about anything—homework, health questions or prom dresses. You’ll make some of your best memories with your advising group, from celebrating your birthday to throwing a holiday potluck!
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.