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Thursday, December 8, 2022


Napa’s Mayacamas Charter Middle School Announces the Hiring of its Founding Head of School


Former River Middle School Principal Catherine Adams will lead Napa’s newest charter middle school beginning in the 2023-2024 school year


Napa, CA – Mayacamas Charter Middle School is proud to announce the hiring of Catherine Adams to serve as its Founding Head of School. Ms. Adams previously served as principal of River Middle School, which was closed by the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) in June 2022.


As the principal of River Middle School, Adams led the community’s students, families, teachers and staff through considerable challenges, including a global pandemic, remote learning, and a highly-contested school closure process.


“We could not be more pleased to have such a dedicated and student-centered educational leader at the helm of our new school,” said Kim Smith, a member of the Head of School Committee and Support Council for Mayacamas, and currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at Marshall Street. “Catherine Adam’s love for this community and extensive educational background will be a valued asset as we work to expand options for families in Napa.”


During her tenure at River Middle School, Ms. Adams prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion and was successful in growing the school’s BIPOC representation a significant percentage during her tenure, along with improved access to special education.


“As a Diverse-by-Design campus, Mayacamas Charter Middle School is dedicated to building a student body that reflects our community,” said Co-Founder Lauren Daley. “This was a critically important part of our search criteria for a Head of School as DEI is a core component of our school’s values and culture.”


Ms. Adams will begin serving full-time in her new position as Head of School with Mayacamas Charter Middle School in June 2023.


“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead Mayacamas Charter Middle School as the Founding Head of School,” said Catherine Adams. “Together, we aim to build an innovative and effective community school that serves all of Napa’s families. In my new role, I look forward to working with our Board, teachers, staff, families and students to provide a strong education option for every student.”


"On behalf of the entire Foundation Board of Directors, we are delighted to welcome Ms. Adams to our school community," said   Jolene Yee, Co-Founder for Mayacamas Charter Middle School. "Her strong commitment to innovation, diversity, and building a culture steeped in social-emotional learning will go far in helping us build our diverse-by-design middle school in downtown Napa.”


To learn more about Mayacamas Charter Middle School, apply for enrollment in the 2023-2024 school year, or view open positions, please visit


About Mayacamas Charter Middle School: MCMS will provide a highly personalized program that differentiates instruction to meet individual students’ needs. Through project-based learning, individualized learning plans, learning labs, and other engaging strategies, as well as an emphasis on students’ social-emotional development, Mayacamas will ensure students master state content standards and grow developmentally in an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive school culture.

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