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Seven Hills Appoints New Upper School Head

Head of The Seven Hills School Chris Garten announced Dec. 1 that Richard Tate has been selected as the next Head of Upper School. Tate has had a 27-year career in education and is currently the assistant director of Upper School for teaching and learning for Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. Tate will be replacing Dr. Matthew Bolton, who was named Head of School-Elect in May 2023 and will be taking over when Garten retires on June 30, 2024.

“Rick brings to the role of Head of Upper deep prior experience, boundless energy, a passion for teaching and learning, and a gift for relating to and inspiring others,” Bolton said.

Tate has been at Hawken for 14 years and has served as a Spanish teacher, chair of the modern and classical languages department, and a global studies coordinator before moving into his current role. In his current capacity, Tate has guided the continuing evolution of Hawken’s innovative academic program in the Upper School division, which has 530 students and 80 faculty and staff members.

At Hawken, Tate was the assistant director in charge of hiring, budget, operations, and academic program for the Upper School. He has also played an integral role in coordinating Hawken’s Intensive Program, a series of courses that immerse students in experiential learning through the Cleveland community and beyond.

The Seven Hills Search Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Assistant Head of School Susan Marrs and Upper School History Department Chair Eric O’Connor, with the assistance of a search consultant Carney Sandoe & Associates, identified more than 30 candidates. Four were chosen to spend a full-day visit at Seven Hills and in Cincinnati.

“As impressive as Rick’s list of professional accomplishments are, it doesn’t really do justice to who he is as an educator or as a person,” Garten said in a letter to the Seven Hills community. “Those who met him during the interview process described him as warm, insightful, student-centered, and approachable.”

Tate has a B.A. and M.A. in Spanish teaching from Brigham Young University and has taught Spanish at schools and learning centers in Utah, Missouri, and Ohio. At Hawken, he has led study abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua, and Cuba. He also has a B.M. in music composition from BYU and has worked as a professional trumpeter in musical theater, jazz combos, orchestras, and on cruise ships since 1989.

Tate said when he and his wife Kim visited Seven Hills, they were struck by the overwhelming impression of it as a powerful, caring community focused on doing what is best for its students.

“Every individual with whom we interacted demonstrated love and respect for how their work benefited our most important asset: the students. Parents spoke of meaningful partnerships even in difficult situations; teachers shared joyful co-learning experiences while elevating their colleagues’ unique talents; students felt seen and respected by the adults in the communities. This kind of learning community is exactly the type of place we want for our daughter and a place we know we will cherish,” Tate said.

Tate expressed his excitement when asked to address the Seven Hills community.

“I’m looking forward to watching, learning, growing, and working together with every member of the community in this new exciting chapter of my career as a member of Seven Hills. Thanks for such a warm welcome. I can’t wait to meet you in person soon,” he said.