All News

CRS Mourns the Loss of Ninth Head of School Cathy Gately

July 10, 2024

A letter from Gabe Burnstein, Head of School

Dear Charles River School Community,

It is with deep sadness that I share the news that Cathy Gately, Charles River School’s ninth Head of School, passed away peacefully last week surrounded by loved ones including her wife Pattie Handloss.

Cathy first joined the CRS community in 1993. Prior, she served in leadership roles as the Lower School Principal at St. Paul’s Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota and as the Principal of the Middle School at Sunset Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri. Cathy also dedicated time as a math teacher in classrooms at Milton Academy and Lincoln Public Schools. She served as Head at CRS for 21 years, saying at the time of her departure in 2014, “I leave with a heart full of love and gratitude for the special opportunity to lead this outstanding school and community.”

During her tenure at CRS, Cathy was dedicated to expanding the diversity of the school community, increasing faculty compensation, and strengthening the curriculum. Perhaps her most visible contribution to the school was leading several major capital campaigns that have had a lasting impact on our campus. Working with the Board of Trustees, Cathy helped develop a campus master plan in the late 1990s which provided a roadmap for projects including renovations to the playground, the 7/8 Grade Science Building (located at 58 Center Street and subsequently replaced by the Travis Middle School in 2018), the Early Childhood Building (completed in 2003), the Activity Center (2008), and the expansion of the school’s library into the Cathy Gately Learning Commons (2012). Cathy advocated for instructional spaces that reflected and facilitated the school’s educational philosophy, leading to large, airy classrooms; multiuse breakout spaces; and ample natural light throughout the buildings.

Cathy was always an ardent supporter of the CRS community – students, faculty, parents, alumni, and friends of the school. She cherished traditions such as May Day and Winter Festival that brought people together and forged lasting relationships with generations of graduates.

“Cathy believed wholeheartedly in the school’s mission and made sure that CRS had a top-notch faculty with the tools they needed to meet the needs of students across grade levels,” said Associate Head of School Elizabeth Clayton, who was hired by Cathy in 2007 and worked closely with her for seven years. “She championed professional development opportunities for teachers and loved being in classrooms with kids, relishing any opportunity to return to her roots as a math teacher.”

Visitation hours are planned for Monday, July 15 from 4 – 7pm at Holden-Dunn Lawler Funeral Home in Westwood. A funeral service is planned for Tuesday, July 16 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Hanover with a burial following at Highland Cemetery in Dover.

Charles River School will host a reception for Cathy’s family and friends at 3:30pm on Tuesday, July 16 on campus. All CRS community members are invited and welcome to attend.

I know you will join me in holding Pattie and Cathy’s memory close to your hearts.

Take good care.