Krysten Fort-Catanese

My family and I joined the Friends School community in 2016 after returning to the US from living abroad in Thailand for seven years. The educational philosophy of Friends resonates deeply with my own. Like Friends, I am committed to supporting children with finding their spark and joy in learning through inquiry of the world around them. I am passionate about Gold Standard Project-Based Learning (PBL) and other forms of transformative education, including mindfulness based SEL. In all that I do, aim to further integrate an understanding of child development (cognitive, social and emotional), mindfulness, critical thinking, equity, and diversity, while focusing on pedagogical frameworks informed by constructivist, developmentally-appropriate approaches.

For my entire career, I’ve taught in and led forward-thinking schools in Santa Monica, Ventura, and Santa Barbara, CA as well as in Phuket, Thailand. In Phuket, I was the Founding Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness at the United World College (UWC), Thailand, a K-12 International Baccalaureate World School. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, a full K-8 Teaching Credential, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Social Justice. I also trained in Compassionate Communication/Non-Violent Communication (NVC) with the late Dr. Marshall Rosenberg in 2001 and received my Council in Schools teacher training in 2011. I am a teacher trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) and I am on the international team of MindWell Education. Some key researchers and educators that make up my philosophical tree include John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, bell hooks, David Sobel, and Sonia Nieto.

It’s been a joy to bring my wide experiences with teaching and leading both nationally and internationally to this incredible school, where rich history and innovation meaningfully commingle. I feel fortunate to be in such an inclusive, dynamic, and warm community, where educators, students, and families are encouraged to flourish – head, hand, heart.

Challenging minds. Nurturing spirits. Honoring individuality.