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placeholder March 24, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
New president named for Carondelet High School

Bonnie Cotter

Bonnie Cotter will begin as the new president of Carondelet High School in Concord on April 1. The appointment of Cotter, who brings 17 years of educational leadership experience in school administration, institutional advancement, fundraising and marketing, comes at the end of an extensive national search. Her appointment was announced by the Board of Directors of Carondelet High School and the Provincial Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, founding order of the all-girls school.

Carondelet marks the first time Cotter, a graduate of a Catholic college, has worked in a Catholic school, she said. She comes to Carondelet from St. Mary's School in Orange County, an independent school where she helped to integrate marketing and strategic planning with development and enrollment management in her position as director of institutional advancement. Previously, Cotter served for six years as headmaster of Davidson Day School, and at Cannon School, both independent schools in North Carolina. Earlier, Cotter worked with the Sisters of Mercy in their health care ministry.

Cotter succeeds Sister Ann Bernard O'Shea, CSJ, who has served as interim president since the sudden death a year ago of Jennifer Martin, who had become president in July 2012. Sister Ann Bernard will serve as Cotter's senior adviser, consulting on the charism and culture of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Sister Ann Bernard will remain at Carondelet High School through the 2014-15 fiscal year.

In recommending Cotter's appointment, the search committee and Board of Directors noted that they found her to be the kind of visionary leader they were seeking, as Carondelet High School approaches its 50-year anniversary in 2015. "Bonnie is passionate about moving Carondelet High School forward, and she is excited to lead a school where her faith and professional life will come together," said Robert Fahlman, chair of the board of directors.

"I have been searching for a school community that is truly committed to a mission and vision that prepares students to think for themselves and act for others, and I believe I have found the perfect home at Carondelet High School," Cotter said. "I am thrilled to be joining this community with its amazing tradition of educating young women through the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet—a mission that resonates deeply with me and my educational philosophy."

She said she is looking forward to working in an environment that "looks at the girls as whole people," nurturing their "intellectual and spiritual growth," she said.

"Being able to help develop these young women to a life of purpose, a life of meaning," is appealing. In doing so, she said, "they will be able to lead by what they do and what they know."

In her last school, she worked with pre-kindergarten to eighth-graders. "I missed the high school kids," she said.

Although she said she has met the students, "it's another thing to spend a couple of nights on a field trip." She said she'll happily be a chaperone. "It's where you really get to know who they are."

Cotter, who will be a role model of a woman who is a wife, mother, educator and community leader, knows that in spending time with the students not only keeps alive her spark of passion for education, but passes it on.

"There's nothing like it," she said. "You change lives."

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