Fred Catlin, a Washington resident with a background in school management as well as marketing and fundraising, is the new executive director of the Child Care and Learning Center.
The post is a part-time position that will take advantage of Catlin’s strengths in the areas of fundraising, business management and strategic planning, according to a CCLC board member.
“The search for someone who might fit the unique needs of CCLC has taken many months and much brainstorming and we believe we have found the best leader for CCLC at this juncture,” CCLC board chair Betsy Dietel said in a prepared statement. “Fred brings exactly the mix of skills and experiences we were looking for and he is as committed to the continuing success of CCLC as the board and staff.”
From 1998 to 2013, Catlin served as the head of two schools, the Montessori Community School of Charlottesville, and the Thacher Montessori School in Milton, Mass. In each school he established strategic planning processes, exceeded fundraising goals and worked with the staff and boards of directors to implement the highest standards of education.
Catlin, who currently owns two single-classroom Montessori schools in Charlottesville and Culpeper, said those schools’ relatively low demand on his time would not interfere with his work for CCLC. “CCLC has a wonderful environment, and the kind of educational and curricular support we want to offer to preschool students. It works perfectly,” Catlin said. “And I’m not planning to convert it to a Montessori program.”
“We needed someone with business experience, and experience in fundraising, and in strategic planning,” said CCLC board vice chair Diane Dodge. “Fred just seemed the perfect person for the job.”
CCLC’s announcement also noted that Lisa Pendleton, who has served as interim director during the search for a replacement after longtime executive director Rose Anne Smythe’s retirement last year, will return to her role as program director, responsible for the center’s day-to-day management and program quality. “I want to make sure that CCLC continues to be known as a strong supporter of hands-on learning,” said Pendleton. “We want all children to become independent, socially competent and inquisitive learners who are prepared to succeed in school and in life.”
While Catlin’s previous experience has been primarily in Montessori-based schools, CCLC’s announcement noted that the curriculum will continue to be based on a thoroughly researched approach that focuses on active learning and developmentally appropriate practice. The curriculum focuses on 38 objectives for children’s learning and development that are most predictive of school success. It is linked to an online assessment system that enables teachers to evaluate children’s progress, individualize instruction and share information with families.
CCLC is now in its 38th year of providing services to children 3 weeks to 12 years old and their families. It is the only early-childhood program in the surrounding 11-county area that is accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children for meeting the highest professional standards.
CCLC’s announcement said the board of directors plans to work closely with Catlin to develop a five-year strategic plan; a board retreat is planned for February or March.