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Head of School

A Letter from the Head of School

Dear Catherine Cook Community,

It is hard to express in words the pure joy I feel now that my family and I have arrived in Chicago. The past four weeks have truly flown by! I offer my sincere gratitude for the many warm welcomes we have received this month. Now that we finally have an official Chicago address, we look forward to exploring the many neighborhoods and all they have to offer!

A special thank you to the Transition Committee for working so hard to create times and spaces for me to meet with members of our community. A sincere thank you, as well, to the Board of Trustees for providing me with the opportunity to attend the week long NAIS Institute for New Heads in Atlanta, Georgia. My first few weeks have been filled to the brim and I would not ask for it any other way!

As I shared in my past communications, I am eager to meet with you and learn more about your experiences as members of the Catherine Cook community, including your hopes and dreams for our next chapter together. I remain inspired by the ways in which our community is willing and able to engage in thoughtful conversations with candor, passion, and trust. As I continue to dive into conversations with many of you, it is evident that community and shared values are the threads that weave us together. From this, I am reminded of a quote by Nelson Mandela, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” This quote resonates with me as I reflect on the takeaways thus far from our conversations. It is affirming to know that as a community, we do not feel moved to choose between the head and heart. We are a community that understands the nurturing of both is essential to the development of our children. Over the next few weeks and into the fall months, it is my plan to continue to meet with as many of you as possible. The Transition Committee has arranged for additional opportunities to engage in small informal discussions before the start of school and I will be in attendance at the many back to school events and morning coffees. I look forward to meeting you there.

As your new Head of School, I promise to uphold our mission and values, create connections within and outside of our community, and always keep our children’s experiences our top priority. This includes continuing discussions about our academic program including curriculum and space, furthering our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion and developing, and enhancing the ways in which we connect and communicate with each other.

Our faculty, administration, and staff are hard at work reviewing and building curriculum, designing schedules, updating our technology, and spaces to reflect our diverse needs and wants. With special thanks to our paddle raise and annual fund dollars, our teachers are engaging in incredible professional development opportunities during the summer months and our facilities team is busy renovating our gym, locker room, and additional spaces to better support our programs. In mid-August, the administrative team will engage in a three day retreat to share, support, and set goals for this upcoming school year. In addition, our internal re-accreditation team is hard at work preparing for our visit from ISACS this October. It is indeed an exciting time to be at Catherine Cook!

In just a few short weeks, our doors will open for Catherine Cook’s 2019-2020 school year. We have much to be proud of and we have so much to look forward to. I am grateful to all who have paved the way before me and I look forward to building upon that pathway as we move into the future. Thank you again for the outreach and support. There is no place I want to be other than here at Catherine Cook.

All my best,

Lori-Anne Brogdon, Ed.D.
Head of School

About our Head of School

A New York native, Dr. Lori-Anne Brogdon previously served as the Assistant Head of School and Academic Dean at Poly Prep Day School, a coeducational preschool through 12th grade school with 1,100 students in Brooklyn. In this role, she was responsible for decision-making around curriculum and instruction and creating a comprehensive vision of Poly's academic program. Additionally, she led professional development, hiring, and evaluations.

Dr. Brogdon received both her M.S. and Ed.D. in Elementary Science Education and Administration from Columbia University's Teachers College.

Diversity and social justice have long been at the center of Dr. Brogdon’s personal and professional values. As Head of the Middle School at Poly, she implemented the Kaleidoscope program in Middle School advisories, where groups of students from different grades gather together to discuss current events and issues and participate in community service. She is also a facilitator in the annual National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference.

Dr. Brogdon says her husband Alan and their children, Alice-Ann (8) and Pierce (10), are “excited about making Chicago and Catherine Cook their new home.”

Welcome Dr. Brogdon!