Newark Academy Names Dr. Cathy Atwell as Upper School Principal

Newark Academy has named Catherine “Cathy” Atwell, Ed.D, to the role of Upper School Principal, as Dr. Richard DiBianca steps down from the post to return to the classroom at the end of the academic year. Dr. Atwell will begin her tenure on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Atwell has taught and served in a variety of administrative capacities at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles. While at Marlborough since 2004, Cathy has taught world history, economics, global studies and a wide range of electives emphasizing interdisciplinary learning and connections to current events. Most recently, she served as Dean of Student Research and Head of Marlborough’s Honors Research in Humanities and Social Sciences program, which pairs juniors and seniors with academic mentors at universities across the globe to pursue year-long independent research projects. Cathy has also served as the 11th Grade Dean and Department Head for history and social sciences. In 2018, she was recognized by Honored, a non-profit organization dedicated to spotlighting the role that teachers can play in transforming students’ lives.

Cathy graduated from Dartmouth College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in Russian area studies. While in college, she traveled to Russia twice, the second time as part of the first U.S.-Soviet undergraduate exchange. She earned an M.A. in history from Stanford University, conducting archival research in Russia for approximately 18 months. Cathy has also lived in Kenya, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. In 2018, she completed her doctorate in International Education at the University of Southern California, writing her dissertation on the benefits of implementing the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for critical thinking instruction in humanities and social studies in Saudi Arabia. For fun, she loves to scuba dive, ski, hike and spend time with family, including her dog UB and cat PG (both rescues and best friends).
“The warmth of the welcome I felt during my visit, together with the obvious intelligence and spirit of the students I met, made the choice to join the NA community an easy one. I also loved connecting with NA parents, leadership, faculty and staff,” Cathy says. “It’s clear that NA is a special place—a school that lives its mission and values, prioritizing kindness, inquisitiveness, diversity, experiential learning and belonging. I can’t wait to get to know you all better!”
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