Due to the pandemic, it was hard to create relationships with the administrators in our community. When the pandemic hit, I was in ninth grade. Being new to the school, I would have loved it if I’d had the opportunity to learn about our administrators at Northwest. This year, we have several new administrators joining our community. I had the chance to talk with Catalina the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, James the Upper School Director, and Ray the Head of School about what their experience is like now being a new administrator here at Northwest.
Catalina Martinez is the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion here at Northwest. She was fascinated by Northwest because of the values that the Northwest community promotes. “Its approach to education, and its commitment to social justice which began at its founding,” says Catalina. “I love that the school is in an urban environment; plus, Seattle is a beautiful town which instantly drew me in with its gorgeous mountain and water views!” She also mentioned she has a ton of experience working all over the world. When she first started working in schools she worked as an English and French teacher in Bogota, Colombia. From there, Catalina worked as a Spanish and English teacher in China. Catalina has a wide range of goals for our 2021/2022 school year from working on creating a culture of community and belonging where people aren’t afraid to make mistakes, to also making personal connections across different groups in our community such as students, faculty, parents, and alumni.
James Joseph is the new Upper School Director at Northwest. James has worked in independent schools for 25 years. He spent the first part of his career teaching primarily math and science classes before moving into administration roles. James has heard great things about Northwest since moving to Seattle in 2005. “When the opportunity to apply arose and I looked more closely at the school and realized how aligned the school’s values are with my own, I knew it was a place that I wanted to be.” He told me. James goals for the school year include, continuing to get to know the school and to support students, families, faculty. This year, James is looking forward to seeing the results of student learning, engagement as well as hard work in performances, artwork, and sporting events. The different school traditions and celebrations!
Ray Wilson is the new Head of School. Working as a new Head of school director is a “Culminating moment in my career pathway,” says Ray. He has worked in schools for over 29 years. When he first started getting involved in schools he worked as a math and history teacher and then moved on to different forms of administration such as a dean of students, director of athletics, director of college counseling, as well as a middle and upper school director. Ray also has coached basketball for over 20 years and played in college. One of the reasons Northwest appealed to Ray was because of our boarding program. Ray and his wife were dorm parents for five years at a school in California where he worked. This school had the same configuration as Northwest, 6th-12th grade, the school had a day population and had a small boarding program. Ray always thought that 6-12th grade was an ideal school setting because you’re able to watch the growth of your students. “When the position opened up for the Head of School here, there was no hesitation for me to apply,” he told me. Ray is also interested in Northwest’s environmental sustainability, social justice work, and our Humanities program. This school year Ray is looking to provide greater clarity around our academic program. He also mentions wanting to activate more pathways for student leadership in our community. This could look like starting a student government here at Northwest. His last goal for this school year is to strengthen the relationship with parents and guardians which can be done in a variety of ways through transparent communication between the school and families.
Getting to know our administrators throughout the community is so important. If you ever see Catalina, James, or Ray in the hallways make sure you say hi and welcome them to our community!