A Message from the Search Committee Co-Chairs

Dear Castilleja Community,

When our committee began its work seven months ago, we aimed high. In selecting Castilleja’s next Head of School, we sought a leader who is eminently qualified, dedicated to girls’ education, gifted with empathy and a vision for the future. 

Today, on behalf of the search committee and the entire board of trustees, we are excited to provide you with this update:

We’ve found her!

Dr. Betty Noel-Pierre embodies the 5Cs that define Castilleja’s values: Courage, Conscience, Courtesy, Charity, and Character. She knows firsthand the power of girls’ education, from the perspective of a student, a teacher, a school leader, and trustee.

Dr. Noel-Pierre earned her PhD in molecular genetics and microbiology from Stony Brook University. She has been a beloved science teacher for middle school, upper school and university students. For the past several years, she has served as head of the upper school at the all-girls Brearley School in New York. And starting next summer, she will be the 8th Head of School in Castilleja’s 117-year history.

We encourage you to read Dr. Noel-Pierre’s welcome message below, and to learn more about her impressive combination of teaching experience and academic accomplishment in her bio. The members of the search committee, and everyone who has met her during this process, believe Betty will be an innovative and inspiring head of school for the coming generation of Casti students—someone we can all feel confident and proud to entrust with our daughters’ education.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Acting Head of School Kathy Layendecker and the entire faculty and staff of Castilleja for their support during this process; to Julia Eells for taking the reins this summer as Interim Head of School for the 2024-25 school year; and to you, the community, for maintaining your faith in Castilleja’s mission during this year of transition.

Castilleja’s future is bright, and we can rest assured that it is in good hands.

Warmly,
Odette Harris P’22 P’24
Jeffrey Wong P’24 P’24

A Message from Dr. Betty Noel-Pierre

Dear Castilleja Community, 

I am beyond thrilled to be Castilleja’s next Head of School. I am a deep believer in the power of girls' education and the importance of empowering young women to be deep thinkers and compassionate leaders. I am a product of a girls’ k-12 education; the academic curiosity and values it instilled in me have guided me throughout my life–as I obtained my PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and pursued a career in education as a teacher and administrator. Castilleja’s mission and values resonate with me and I am drawn by the spirit of innovation, excellence and collaboration for which it is well known. 

When I consider the wonderful opportunity ahead, I am inspired by the possibilities. While I know we have a lengthy construction schedule ahead of us, it will yield a beautiful new, sustainable 21st-century campus. Imagine what we will create with our dedicated professional community and motivated students. When you take bright, enthusiastic young women and give them a supportive and innovative learning environment, there are endless opportunities to look forward to. I am filled with optimism and delight as I dream about all we will accomplish together! 

As a career educator, I know that relationships form the foundation of excellent schools like Castilleja. In the year to come, I look forward to building those connections with you, hearing your Casti stories, and learning more about why Castilleja is so important to you and your family. I also look forward to introducing you to my family—my husband, Anthony, and four children, Gladys (19), Juliana (14), AJ (12), and Andrew (7)—as we transition to life in Palo Alto.

Warm Regards,
Betty Noel-Pierre, PhD

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    Castilleja admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.