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Atwell plans to leave Marlborough

Atwell poses for a photo in the Alumni garden
Parge Garza ‘22

History instructor, Dean of Student Research and Director of Honors Research Program Catherine Atwell is departing Marlborough at the end of the 2021-2022 school year to become Newark Academy’s Upper School Principal. Atwell has spent 17 years at Marlborough, and in that time, has acted as a history instructor, the Dean of Student Research, the Director of the Honors Research Program and a grade-level dean. She said that the personal relationships she has cultivated through these roles have been some of the most fulfilling aspects of working at Marlborough. 

“I’ve loved watching students bloom from seventh to twelfth grade and beyond, including having alums come back to tell me about the horizons that have opened up to them in some small part because of their experiences with me,” Atwell said. “The things I’m proudest of are the relationships that I’ve built with my students over the years and the opportunities I’ve opened their eyes to.”

Alongside cultivating meaningful connections throughout her time at Marlborough, Atwell also lent her expertise to students interested in research. 

“I think that my legacy will be in part the building of the Honors Research in Humanities and Social Sciences program into a real academic showpiece for the school,” Atwell said.

Atwell has provided an opportunity for students to hone their research skills and build an in-depth research project. 

“She [Atwell] has been my North Star in my project and her belief in my research has led me to succeed and push myself,” Honors Research in Humanities student Eva said. 

Sentiments about Atwell’s support are echoed by many of her students.

“I don’t know how I would have gotten through Honors Research without Dr. Atwell,” Honors Research in Humanities student Maisie said. “I come to my meetings every week with a page-long list of often the most random, sometimes trivial questions, and she helps me answer all of them. She has been such a supportive advisor and has offered me both advice and encouragement when I need it most.”

Looking to the future, Atwell eagerly anticipates the opportunity to take on a new role and encounter new experiences in her work at Newark Academy. 

“I’m excited for the chance to support students in an even more holistic way, and I’m also looking forward to the opportunity for leadership in helping to set a tone and an agenda,” Atwell said.

Atwell’s position at Newark Academy also provides her with the opportunity to expand her leadership experience in a gender diverse, coeducational setting. 

“In my transition to a multi-identity environment, I’ll get to support all sorts of students and I’m eager for that,” Atwell said. “Gender equity has always been something that I’m passionate about and I think one of the reasons I was attractive to Newark Academy is because I bring such a wealth of experience in supporting students who identify as female and gender non-conforming,” Atwell said. 

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