Hard work is child’s play

Letters from Executive Director Friedje vanGils and Incoming Executive Director Kate Chavez

by | Dec 7, 2020 | Latest News

Dear Escuela Families,

As you heard from the Chair of our Board of Trustees, I am set to retire in the near future. This comes after years of deliberation to ensure an ideal transition and successor. My decision to retire did not come lightly or easily after over 30 years of helping to create the unique institution that Escuela del Sol has become. From the very first day I brought my children to Escuela, this place has been the inspiration and heart of my daily life. This work is not only a career, it’s a calling and an integral part of my family’s life as well. In fact, our Board includes members whose own children have grown up here; their volunteer efforts also span many years and come from a place centered in care and love.

Together we found a person we believe to be an inspirational choice. I am so pleased to introduce Ms. Kate Chavez to you! She and her family will soon be an integral part of our community, working with you and for you to further the mission of our amazing school. 


Letters from Executive Director Friedje vanGils and Incoming Executive Director Kate Chavez
Incoming Executive Director Kate Chavez and her family

I am so excited to return home to Escuela del Sol, and thrilled that my 2-year-old daughter will be able to have the same wonderful educational experience that I did. I feel so fortunate, for her sake, that a place like Escuela exists. I learned, as I went out into the world, that my understanding of what education looked like was not an experience shared by most people. And as I began to look for schools for my own child (as my mother did for me), I was once again reacquainted with how incredibly unique an institution we have in Escuela and the Harwood Art Center. I am sure that is why so many alumni choose to return as parents. The passion, the curiosity, the way knowledge is shared and imparted, the sense of community, and the ever-present kindness are unique, even if they shouldn’t be. I am honored to be in service to this community as the next Executive Director.

I also understand how important this transition is, and I want to reassure everyone that it will take place with a great deal of thought and consideration. Thankfully, even in this transition, Escuela is defying a conventional approach. While common wisdom would suggest an incoming/outgoing “revolving door” transition, we are instead working collaboratively to ensure continuity as well as growth. Additionally, I am so grateful to be able to learn from Friedje, her many years of experience, and her great wisdom as we go forward together to define this next, important phase. I will endeavor to take what she has embodied for this school and help it to become embedded into the fabric of the institution itself, so that the values, principles and culture that we all hold dear will be accessible for generations of students to come. I look forward to meeting everyone and getting to work!