The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Castilleja Head of School to step down

Sara Coburn
Kauffman announced Thursday that she will be stepping down from her role as Head of School at the end of September.

Castilleja Head of School Nanci Kauffman announced Thursday that she will be stepping down this month. She will be temporarily succeeded by Associate Head for Finance and Operations Kathy Layendecker as the board searches for an interim head of school.

The school delivered the news to the student body and their parents through a series of three messages from Kauffman, Layendecker and the Board of Trustees. Faculty members were simultaneously briefed on the subject at a meeting led by Layendecker and members of the Board.

“At this pivotal moment for Castilleja, with so many exciting adventures on the horizon, it is time for new leadership,” Kauffman said in her email.

Layendecker declined to comment past what was said in the emails on the circumstances of Kauffman’s departure.

The new acting head of school is set to speak to students at their class meetings Friday. “I look forward to hearing directly from you, students, about your hopes for yourself and for Castilleja,” Layendecker said in her email to students and parents.

Board of Trustees Chair Zac Zeitlin said in an interview with Counterpoint that he does not anticipate this change in leadership to have a large impact on everyday student life. “Our goal is for no change in and of itself to the student experience to be triggered by the head stepping down,” he said.

According to Zeitlin, who is also a Castilleja ‘24 parent, the Board has already begun their search for an interim head of school, who they hope to announce within the next few weeks. Zeitlin said this temporary successor will start sometime between the start of the second semester and the beginning of summer, depending on their availability.

The Board’s next step is to assemble a “search committee” to aid in the search for the interim head of school, Zeitlin said. He added that the committee will include current and past board members, Castilleja alumni and faculty to best “represent a cross section of our community.”

Zeitlin said he would be supportive of adding a student perspective to the Council, but decisions of the committee’s composition have not yet developed far enough to indicate whether or not it is a possibility.

In an email to Counterpoint, Kauffman wrote, “If there is one thing I want every Casti student to know, it would be this: Leadership is both challenging and rewarding. It is hard work and it is also incredibly fulfilling.”

This is a developing story.

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About the Contributor
Ruby Dowling
Ruby Dowling, Editor-in-Chief
Ruby Wright Dowling ’24 is an Editor-in-Chief of Counterpoint. She attended the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute in 2023 and is now an editorial intern at the Los Altos Town Crier. When she’s not reporting, Ruby enjoys scorekeeping at baseball games—especially when the Red Sox are in town.

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    Laura Hansen | Sep 8, 2023 at 8:38 am

    Great article, Ruby, as always! And way to break the story first and get quoted by the Palo Alto paper! Can’t wait to root you on from afar this year, editor-in-chief 🙂