Finding Notre Dame High School Belmont’s unofficial school mascot Clifford, a cocker spaniel, walking the grounds of the school is just one of the latest additions from new Head of School Maryann Osmond.
In addition to Osmond’s take your dog to work day on Fridays, she’s added free dress Fridays for the all-girls school and switched the cafeteria over to locally sourced food for breakfast and lunch.
“I’m glad we have a uniform, but I happen to believe you can both teach and learn when wearing comfortable clothes,” said Osmond, 62, who acted as interim head until she was named as the permanent selection at the end of February.
Osmond became interim head of school last July after the retirement of Rita Gleason and recently received unanimous approval as the new head.
“During these eight months of her interim appointment, Maryann has gained the trust and respect of faculty, staff, students and parents,” said Michael Maher, Notre Dame Belmont board chair in a press release. “Maryann’s style of leadership has exemplified the spirit of Notre Dame — one that supports and listens to each person and encourages open and honest communication. She has proven to be a leader who is masterful at bringing about change with consensus and buy-in from stakeholders.”
A graduate of Notre Dame High School in San Jose, Osmond was born at Mills Hospital in San Mateo and has spent her career primarily working in education. She graduated from California State University at Sacramento with a degree in English and later earned a teaching credential, going on to teach high school. She also worked as associate director of development for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
“I love coming to work every day,” she said. “I love the faculty, staff and I love the girls. Teenagers are a remarkable age group and we have the best here. They’re bright, caring, friendly and eager girls. Every girl wants to be here and thrives in this environment.”
What does she see as the benefits of a single gender Catholic school like Notre Dame?
“We offer a rigorous academic program in a caring, compassionate environment,” she said. “We educate the whole person — intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It’s exciting teaching 21st century skills combined with timeless skills. When they graduate, we want them to be critical thinkers, agile, have a sense of being an entrepreneur, dream big, know no boundaries, be a leader, have a sense of compassion, have a sense of others and understand the critical role they’ll have in their community.”
The school is continuing to adapt curriculum to match with skills needed in today’s world. She notes that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are very important right now.
Fundraising for the school is also important to strengthen and enhance programs, along with tuition assistance.
“Private Catholic education is expensive and we want to guarantee Notre Dame education will remain accessible, affordable and available,” she said. “Our tuition is competitive and not out of range for private education on the Peninsula.”
Osmond also wants to focus on continuing to find and attract the very best young women to attend the school.
“There are lots of high school choices both public and private and our job is to continue to define our niche,” she said. “It’s a big challenge for us.”
The school’s faculty doesn’t tend to have high turnover and she wants to continue that trend by attracting and retaining the best teachers.
For more on the school visit ndhsb.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105