Meet the Rileys

What do you teach?

Mr. Riley: I currently teach World Religions to the sophomores. Over the years, I have taught Church History and Peace and Justice. I also share campus ministry responsibilities with my colleagues in the Religious Studies department. Together, we organize retreats, chapel services, and service opportunities on Journey Days.

Mrs. Riley: I am a member of the resident faculty as the Director of Resident Life but do not teach any classes.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of living on campus?

Mr. Riley: What I enjoy most is living with the energy and spirit of the students. It’s very satisfying and meaningful to watch students grow each year more and more toward their adult identities. Each student girl arrives here with a set of strengths as well as areas for growth. A student who is strong academically may need to grow in her social skills or in her confidence to follow her own path and lead others. Every year, I witness students as they progress and transform into empowering young adultswomen. They grow in their wisdom and integrity toward life itself. Living in the midst of this is very inspiring, and it’s what motivates my wife and I to live here with our two daughters.

Mrs. Riley: Living on campus allows us to live in a safe, beautiful community that is very special and has a long history and strong mission. Living on campus I am part of a community whose purpose is educating young women and supporting their growth to become the person they are called to be. Living with others dedicated to the same ideals nourishes some of my deepest values (community, growth, sense of the spiritual) and adds depth, meaning, and purpose to my life and the life of our family.

Q: In your experience with resident students, what is the biggest benefit of boarding at Catalina?

Mr. Riley: Boarding means you are living with other students who are also very motivated and responsible. They are going to support you and celebrate your successes. Students tell me that they feel the competitive drive to do well, but it’s not at the expense of one another. In this environment, everyone strives for high achievement in academics, athletics, and the arts, but it’s rooted in kindness, dignity, and civility toward one another. It’s not by accident either. The attributes of kindness, care, and dignity are instilled in everything we do. From the administrations on down, we articulate this. It’s written about in our mission statement, and we reflect on kindness multiple times throughout the year in chapel, community dinner, and in the Journey program.

Mrs. Riley: I witness the growth of the individual students as they grow in confidence, academic abilities, and independence. I certainly desire those qualities to develop in my own daughters and see Catalina as a place that supports that. But what is most amazing to me is that no resident student remains isolated, unseen, or alone. There is a place for everyone, and the adolescents who come in as awkward, self-conscious, perhaps even judgmental, deepen in their acceptance of others. Friendships develop across lines that previously separated one from another, and authentic relationships develop. In our 11 years living here, that is what I witness year after year.

Family living on campus:

  • Miriam, a student at Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School
  • Judith, a student at Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School
  • Puff, our dog