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Lower School

Grades 1 – 4

Catherine Cook's goal for each Lower School student is to build their identity as a mathematician, reader, writer, artist, scientist, etc. Learning is student-driven by interest and uses an inquiry lens to conduct research, gather data, put ideas into their own words, share their knowledge, and build greater meaning about the topics they explore. As part of our social-emotional learning curriculum, Lower School students continue to define who they are as individuals and open themselves up to new possibilities through diverse friendships and collaborative partnerships.

Our dedicated and talented teachers create a warm and inclusive environment for students to explore the world, think critically, and process their thoughts. Their partnership with families ensures that learning is differentiated to meet the needs of students so that they find success in and out of the classroom.


Head of Lower School
Kathy Gilmore

Before serving as Head of Lower School, Kathy Gilmore was Coordinator of Lower School Program and Teacher Assistants at Cook. For six years, Ms. Gilmore has helped develop Lower School divisional programs, professional development, and provided supervision/leadership of the teacher assistants. She co-led the Strategic Planning process to help develop the 2022 Strategic Plan. She is also a SEED facilitator and co-leader for the Lower School Students of Color affinity group.

Ms. Gilmore received her Master of Education in School Administration from North Park University and has her LBS1 (Learning Behavior Specialist 1) endorsement. This specialty includes teaching students with a wide range of learning differences, ages 5–21, in several instructional delivery models that include teaching in inclusionary settings through consultation and collaborative teaching. She also holds a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. Prior to her time at Cook, Ms. Gilmore taught Preschool through 2nd grade as well as Physical Education in San Diego and the Chicago north suburbs. She brings 15 years of experience in the field of education.