Monday Notes from the Head of School, 12/4

"In seed time - learn, in harvest - teach, in winter - enjoy." - William Blake

Dear Palm Valley Families,

Can you believe it's already December? Having grown up in the far north of Fairbanks, Alaska, I certainly got my fill of snowy winter mornings and all the challenges that come with daily living in that kind of climate. I have been a Californian for a full decade now, and while I do not always miss the snow, I do sometimes miss the crisp mornings that tell me winter is drawing near. This week, however, it's become clear that the desert is one of those rare and wonderful places where we still get a taste of that December weather crispness. It goes perfectly with a cup of hot coffee or chocolate. Enjoy it while it lasts, I know that I will!

The Board of Trustees committee for Equity and Justice would like to sponsor a parent SEED Book Club this year. The group would meet once a month starting in January and read a SEED related book together through May of this spring. If you are interested, please send an email to so that we can coordinate schedules and interest! This is a great way for a small group to take a deeper dive into issues of Diversity that interest you. We hope that you will all consider joining us for this!

Please join me in welcoming two new Faculty members to our community for next fall. A husband and wife team, Timothy and Cinda Cuthbertson, come to us most recently from the Korea International School where they both are teaching and leading their departments in Science. Prior to that, they were both Science teachers at Colegio Grana Nuevo in Columbia. Ms. Cuthbertson holds a Bachelor's Degree in Microbiology from Montana State University and a Master's Degree in Cross-Cultural Teaching from National University in San Diego. She has also taken a variety of Post-Graduate/Ph.D. courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, and Photosynthesis from Arizona State University. She has been passionately teaching in Science classrooms since 2005 focused primarily on Biology and Environmental Sciences. She has coached Track and sponsored clubs such as the "Free from Chemical Dependency" group and a student Environmental Club. Prior to teaching in schools, she worked in private sector research and applied science labs for such companies as Next Bio, Gemini Scientific, and Life-Flo healthcare research. In our interview, she said that after pouring over our website, she noticed we did not offer an AP Environmental Sciences course. One of her first questions was "if hired, were we interested in offering another AP Science course?" I assured her that we (and our students) were very interested in new courses!

Dr. Cuthbertson, holds Doctoral and Masters degrees in Chemistry from Arizona State University and a BS in Chemistry, from Gordon College in Massachusetts. While teaching is a second career for Timothy, he is also very passionate about science and getting students to see the real world application. His current teaching load includes Chemistry, Astronomy, and AP Chemistry, but he also supervises the Cooking Club and the Pre-Med club. Prior to teaching in K-12, Dr. Cuthbertson taught courses at both his University Alma Maters and worked as a Research Scientist in labs for major pharmaceutical companies Targacept, Pfizer, and Itherx. He also has written several publications relating to his research and currently has several patents pending for his contributions at Targacept. When offered the positions at Palm Valley School, Dr. Cuthbertson wrote to me that, "We have a great feeling about the Palm Valley School and (to borrow a biology term) believe that we will have a symbiotic relationship where we grow as teachers and we add to the culture of the school. Cinda says it is called mutualism. Even the cats are excited! We have also already started looking at condos and dreaming what our new life will be like at Palm Valley School and in the Rancho Mirage area." The Cuthbertsons (and their two cats) will be moving to the Coachella Valley this summer - we can't wait to have them join our team and school community! Please welcome them!

Lastly, please do not miss our December Open House tonight from 6-8 pm. In addition to the many new families who are applying for next fall, we have sent special invitations to families with children in PK, 5th, and 8th grades to invite them to see the Division their child(ren) would potentially be entering next year. It's a great way to meet new teachers and administrators, as well as to hear about curriculum and other program opportunities available in future grades. All are welcome and the event is open to the public, regardless of grade level, so come join us and invite your friends and neighbors too!

Make it a great week, Firebirds!


Mrs. Rice