The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Layendecker lands position of acting head of school

Rubi Ochoa
Kathy Layendecker is Castilleja’s acting head of school until an interim head is selected.

Castilleja has experienced what can only be defined as a tumultuous past six months. In the beginning of September, former Head of School Nanci Kauffman announced her resignation, and Kathy Layendecker was appointed as Castilleja’s acting head of school. The day following the announcement, Ms. Layendecker made an effort to introduce herself to each grade, expressing her desire to get to know students on a more personal level.

Layendecker, the once mystifying figure in charge of the school, loves Casti’s Caesar salad, scenic hikes, and long walks with family and friends. She describes herself as “an avid reader,” and has plenty of book recommendations if you’re interested. Layendecker’s office is home to an assortment of Trader Joe’s snacks, which adds to the room’s warm atmosphere .

When asked about her favorite Castilleja tradition, Layendecker didn’t hesitate with her answer: The Tie Ceremony. To her, “it’s the one time that we really pull the whole community together.” The importance of community is evident in Layendecker’s leadership style and hopes for the school. She said she “likes to bring groups of people together” and hopes to “inspire collaboration” in the workplace. Layendecker strives to get to know the people she works with, and aims to familiarize herself with and best “support their objectives and professional goals.”

She expressed the importance of transparency and honesty in a leadership role, and said she feels that “you have to be authentic and straight with people in order to build a trusting relationship.”

As for her prior work experience, Layendecker started off working in investment banking and money management. She became interested in education as she watched her daughters start elementary school in Palo Alto.

Looking to merge her twenty years in finance with education, she found herself working in independent schools. First, she worked as the CFO for Oregon Episcopal school (OES) where she went on to serve as Interim Head of School for two years. Additionally, she was the Head of School at St. Mary’s, a boarding school in the Midwest.

Layendecker noted that one of her proudest professional accomplishments was her time as Interim Head at OES. The school was in crisis and in partnership with the rest of the leadership team, “we really figured out a way to pull the community together and remind them of the things we had in common.” For Layendecker, it was “the process of pulling the community back together” that felt most rewarding.

On the other hand, she said her greatest personal achievements include partnering with her husband, Glenn, in “raising two amazing daughters, Katie and Brooke.” Through Layendecker’s candidness and love for her family, It’s clear that she’s dedicated to the Casti community as well. She expressed immense interest in the student experience amidst the many unprecedented changes the community has experienced so far this year. Layendecker said she’d “honestly love to hear from [students]” if they have thoughts they’d like to share.

Layendecker said she is looking to instill a sense of continuity and stability by returning “to the missions and values of the school.” She said she believes that it’s incredibly important to keep Castilleja’s core values in mind while thinking about students as she “makes any changes or decisions.”

Something important to Layendecker is integrating the selected Head of School into our community by giving “them a good understanding of what transpired and the history of the school,” and wants to introduce them to the community in a way that will foster lasting, genuine connections.

Looking forward, Layendecker said she hopes Castilleja’s future includes a larger student body and continuing to foster an environment where students “come out of here with the confidence and the resilience and the sense of purpose to really make their way in the world.”

She said she hopes to see a new campus and improved facilities in the coming years that will continue to support Castilleja’s robust curricula and ambitious students.

Despite the many challenges that face the Castilleja community, Ms. Layendecker expressed her dedication to students and faculty, and hopes to help the school find unity and stability through transparency and honesty.

Interviews for this story were conducted before the publication of the anonymous “The Sixth C” post on Oct. 4th.

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About the Contributors
Vienna Farano, Staff Writer
Vienna Farano ’26 is a staff writer for Counterpoint. Some of her favorite things include eating burrito bowls from Chipotle, going to Target, and binge-watching “The Kardashians” on Hulu. If she isn’t listening to music, you can probably find her cuddling with her two dogs, Barnaby Jones and Ziggy Stardust.
Rubi Ochoa, Staff Writer & Photographer
Rubi Ochoa ‘27 is a staff writer and a photographer for Counterpoint. She is looking forward to meeting new people and working on improving her writing and photography skills.  Rubi loves to play volleyball, make new friends, read, write creative stories, dance and much more, but is always looking to make new and close connections.

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