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Appointment of Kate Fagan as New Middle School Director Announced

Dear CCES Community,

I am pleased to announce that Kate Fagan has accepted my invitation to serve as the new Director of the Middle School, officially beginning her term on July 1, 2019.  Kate emerges from a field of formidable finalists whose talents and body of work raised the stakes. My review of finalists entailed several interviews with Ted Lutkus, Assistant Headmaster for Academic Affairs, and me; my observations of constituent interviews; input from community members; reference checks; consultant counsel; and results of the Hogan Assessment, a personality index like the Myers-Briggs with assessment and interpretation relevant to this position.

In a matter of months, Kate’s leadership skills have motivated her team and coordinated their efforts to improve the Achievement Center performance dramatically. I encouraged Kate to consider entering the search in November, mindful of her executive experience in leading a school with 600 students and her role in producing structural and communications changes contributing to the transformative improvement of the AC. 
  
Her success in upgrading the management and organization of the Achievement Center and the refreshment and sparkle that her leadership has elicited from her staff, learning specialists, and tutors testify to the promise that she brings to the Middle School. The Achievement Center is crucial to overall school quality. In its seventh year of operation, the AC has matured from a start-up, spunky fledgling component reflective of the vision, energy, and stamina of the founding director, Pam Kaizar, to a complex and resonant organization within the school serving in some form or other 30 percent of our students. Its success is near and dear to Kate and me. Kate remains in full charge of the AC through the spring semester, with ample time to structure a smart framework for administration going forward. In the near term, Kate will focus on making an immediate impact on the Middle School, with Nick’s partnership, and also ensure that current and future performance of the AC measures up to the standards that we all have come to expect under Kate’s leadership. Her new role demands a strong commitment to the health of the AC. Directing the AC has been an ideal introduction for Kate into the workings and culture of our Middle School. The Middle School receives the bulk of AC services. The two entities overlap considerably.

Kate Fagan has amassed accolades at every stage and in every venue of her academic career. Kate holds two degrees from Indiana University: BS in elementary education and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Following her husband’s career as a basketball coach, then at Lynn University, she taught at a Boca Raton elementary school for three years. Upon their return to Indiana, she taught for a year after which she took time out to start a family and complete graduate work. She resumed her career in the top-rated Carmel Clay school district as an assistant principal for six years and a principal for the last two years in elementary schools. Last March, the Indiana Senate designated the K-5 elementary school led by Kate a “Four Star” school, the highest honor that a public elementary school in Indiana can receive. The recognition letter singles out the chief criterion: “Your school represents academic excellence and a dedication towards providing quality education to your students.”

Those who have worked with her praise the very qualities requisite for success as our Middle School Director. The Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in the Carmel Clay district, Dr. Martha McFarland, recounts her experience with Kate in the last nine years: “Kate blends a wealth of experience, depth of knowledge, and passion for student learning in her professional practice. Her support and advocacy for the differentiated needs of all students help establish a culture of inclusion and high expectations within the school community.” This senior K-12 administrator praises Kate for her “early intervention on students with educational needs.” Dr. McFarland concludes with a trenchant summary of Kate’s attributes that we discerned in the interview process and that made her a compelling candidate: “Kate is an exceptional administrator with strong organizational and communication skills. She is not afraid to tackle difficult challenges; expectations are clearly communicated and adept supervision ensures results. She is a consensus-builder who thrives on new challenges and models the importance of a growth mindset for students and staff alike.”

Kate is exuberant about the prospect of leading this pivotal segment of our school. She appreciates the dedication and skill of the faculty and their commitment to and affection toward middle-school children. She is intimately aware of the challenges and opportunities of serving a division in which the developmental attributes are so disparate and the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive changes so dramatic. The practices and policies of the division need to take into account the distinctive differences between ten year olds and fourteen year olds. Kate recognizes the singular advantages that a robust Middle School affords children to grow and develop lifelong habits and values.

Kate understands the promise and possibilities of the Middle School. She also recognizes its responsibilities. Two of her comments aptly reflect her enthusiasm and respect for the mission of the Middle School:

“Middle School is a time for our students to explore and learn about themselves in a safe environment. It’s our job as educators to balance academic rigor and to model a growth mindset, while also infusing fun and excitement into the daily interactions we have with our students.”

“The Middle School will foster a culture of care in which we place a profound focus on character development in our students. Through commitment to our Episcopal identity, everyone in our community will feel a sense of belonging. Our staff will place an emphasis on practicing respect, embodying kindness, developing accountability, and establishing a work ethic that will ensure success not only at Christ Church, but also stay with our students for the rest of their lives. These pillars of character will be explicitly taught and embedded in daily classroom practices. We want all students to feel valued, loved, and challenged to be their best self each day!”

We will schedule meetings in the near future to affirm our fervent commitment to the highest level of service for the Achievement Center and a separate set of coffees for Kate to present her vision for the revitalization of the Middle School.

By the beginning of February, Kate will share with you her thoughtful and practical plans for the Middle School in the near term. She will hold meetings with the faculty as a whole, in grade level teams, and with individuals to build relationships and articulate her vision. She will hold coffees with parents for similar purposes. I appreciate Nick’s support of this fast start. I assure you that during this transition, the Achievement Center will serve students with the same level of quality that you have come to expect of it this fall.

Kate and Andy Fagan are all in as Cavaliers. Their daughter, Julia, is a fourth-grader and son, Jack, is in the seventh grade. Kate and Andy are sports enthusiasts, who attend CCES sports events regularly. Kate has boundless energy, has made a powerfully positive impact wherever she has worked, and is totally committed to her new role. As Middle School Director, Kate will see to it that our core CCES values will be eminently and consistently demonstrated.

CCES is fortunate to have Kate on our leadership team.

Yours very truly,

Leonard Kupersmith
Headmaster
 
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