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Upper School: Grades 9–12

Welcome to Rowland Hall's independent private high school, where we encourage students to choose their challenges and become their best selves.

I am honored to be a member of Rowland Hall’s administrative team, as well as a parent of an alum and a current student. You will discover here, as I have, a supportive community that balances academic excellence with whole-child development and a commitment to inclusion, sustainability, and civic engagement.

Rowland Hall’s outstanding faculty engages students in myriad authentic learning experiences every day. There are many opportunities for individual growth, in-depth study, and learning beyond the classroom through our rigorous, college preparatory curriculum, dynamic electives, and extensive co-curricular offerings. I look forward to working with you and your student to chart an engaging course and a challenging process of personal development, enrichment, and achievement. I invite you to join us today.


Ingrid Gustavson signature

Ingrid Gustavson 
Upper School Principal

Upper School Stories in Fine Print Magazine

Omar Alsolaiman, Rowland Hall 2023–2024 student body president, speaks at Convocation in August 2023.

Each August, Rowland Hall holds Convocation, a traditional gathering that brings our school community together to connect, learn, and celebrate the start of a new school year. This year’s event, held the morning of Friday, August 25, centered around the 2023–2024 theme, and school value, Learn for Life.

Every year, Rowland Hall’s student body president is invited to address the group of students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and families gathered for Convocation. This year, Student Body President Omar Alsolaiman highlighted the values of learning, the importance of seeking and applying knowledge, and how dedication to lifelong learning can inspire students to become people the world needs.

Omar’s speech, lightly edited for style and context, appears below.

Good morning, everyone. My name is Omar Alsolaiman, and I’m your student body president.

Before I start, let’s have the seniors stand up just to be recognized for being in their last year.

Let me first congratulate you all on being here in general—whether you’re in your first years, like our first graders, or you’re about to graduate, like our seniors, or graduated about a century ago like Dr. Dan Jones, you have taken your first steps this year towards lifelong friendships, thinking deeply, and, most of all, learning. Wherever you are on your journey, let’s all take a moment to reflect and appreciate it—to appreciate what we have done and where we will be in the future.

But perhaps more backbreaking than all of our learning put together was of course the middle and upper schoolers’ walk up the hill—give yourselves a round of applause.

I know, it’s just awful. Impossible, really.

Now, I know many of you, despite the fact that you just applauded for yourselves, don’t want to be here on this hot morning, picking grass and listening to people, but as an old lady told me about a week ago on the train when I apologized for being in her way, “We all have to be somewhere,” and you know what, I think your place just so happens to be here today.

Now, when Mr. Hoglund first emailed me in the middle of my summer to tell me what this year’s theme was, Learning for Life, I decided to ignore the email until the end of the summer. But in all seriousness, I basically had no idea how I, a 17-year-old high schooler, could impart the wisdom of a lifetime. I mean, they told me lifetime learning and what am I supposed to do? But as I thought about it, and my internship professor reminded me what his thesis advisor had told him before he graduated, that learning is never ending, even after a single degree or accomplishment. And I realized that the Rowland Hall theme Learning for Life was not about dropping off a big bio textbook in your office cubicle in 20 years to make sure that you still know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but instead to prepare you by developing the skills to naturally and easily continue learning, problem solving, and critically thinking for life.

Rowland Hall has taught me to value that journey that leads to what I learn—this effort is what really teaches us and carries on after we are done with a project.—Omar Alsolaiman, class of 2024

So I sat down and thought about what the values of learning are, and I came up with a couple, and that was in the only way I knew how—Arabic.

Now, I do feel kind of bad for KP, who spent the last year teaching me about English rhetoric only for me to come up in front of the entire school to talk about Arabic rhetoric and grammar, but I swear, KP, I did actually pay attention in class last year and I didn’t do too bad on the AP.

But let me give you a quick crash course for Arabic. Now, like some words in English, the building blocks in Arabic are three-letter roots. I will make this short and simple, but for example, F A L, which means to do. And from this, you can conjugate basically any derivative of the original meaning. Yes, lower schoolers, there is actually a purpose of conjugating in Spanish and you do sometimes do it in English as well.

Now, for our case, let's focus on a different word. F A L means to do, but that’s not perfectly relevant right now, so let’s focus on I L M. I L M, try to say that with me: I L M. It’s all in the throat. That wasn’t actually too bad. I was expecting to give you guys a bit more. But, Rowland Hall, you should make sure that Arabic is at some point a course option. Until then, if you need Arabic tutoring, just text me.

Anyway, I L M means to learn, to teach, or just knowledge in general. Now, that’s all well and good, but what’s cool and very appealing to my strict rule-based engineering brain is that if you rearrange those letters in any format, any root you come up with is actually directly related to the original meaning of the word, or sometimes even the direct opposite. So this means that if we take some of these combinations, for example, we switch the lam and the meem, we get I M L, which means to work or to do something deliberately. This tells us that learning for life, and just learning in general, is not just a one-stop shop. In fact, it’s something that requires some intentional effort. Throughout the years, Rowland Hall has taught me to value that journey that leads to what I learn—this effort is what really teaches us and carries on after we are done with a project. For example, last year, as the juniors this year will do, my class worked on the vintage ad project—I know, it's a name that sends shivers down any high schooler’s spine. But despite the torturous time frame we’re given, the scope of the assignment, and the literal countless number of days that I spent with less than a couple hours of sleep, the teachers make a point to let us do the bulk of our research, making sure that our papers aren't spoon-fed evidence and instead have our own lines that we gather from pages of unnecessarily long research papers about Japanese airline statistics in 1964.

Now, that’s one part of I M L’s, or to work, relation to I L M, to learn, but I'd also argue that the work doesn't end with the acquisition of knowledge. Even more literally, another meaning of I M L is to exercise an influence; so instead, after we learn, we have to work to use our knowledge and benefit the world with it. Mr. Wilson has always made a point, and repeatedly taught me and my friends that, when teaching us about global climate patterns and climate change, it's not just classroom knowledge—it’s immediately applicable to the world and must be applied. There's an old Arab parable that compares one who pointlessly absorbs knowledge, or doesn’t absorb it all, to a donkey carrying books on its back. Even if it has every book in the world, it can't really do anything with it and it can’t properly learn and implement the books. That's our job as lifelong learners. Always seek out knowledge, whether that’s learning why your friend has an unhealthy obsession with Crocs or learning about the solutions to making Salt Lake more walkable. And then, once you have the knowledge, use it and invest in it.

The more we continue to learn, the more we shine and become examples for our communities, our families, and even our friends, the more we can actually make an impact.—Omar Alsolaiman

Now, the second rearrangement of I L M that can benefit us is L M I, which means to beam or shine with color. What this tells us is the result of our learning for life. The more we learn intentionally, and the more we implement it in the communities around us, as cheesy as it sounds, makes one stand out, makes us the people that the world needs, as Mr. Hoglund mentioned, and a shining light of hope for our communities and even the world. While I've been at Rowland Hall, it has continued to highlight our students and beckon them to become people the world needs—well, that begins with a dedication to lifelong learning. Even if you came out of high school the person the world needed, especially in the age of information, within five years, you could be as good as obsolete, or even cringe. As such, the more we continue to learn, the more we shine and become examples for our communities, our families, and even our friends, the more we can actually make an impact. Make yourself a toolbox of the bits of wisdom you learn in school and life, and the little bits of knowledge that Rowland Hall, its teachers, its values, and its people have given you. That toolbox will act as a lifelong guide and make you hopefully choose to continue learning as the opportunities arrive.

So when you go home today, or actually, back to school (sorry about that), I want you to remember these qualities and prerequisites of knowledge—knowledge does allow us to make an impact and gleam, but we also must work to gain it and use it.

Thank you.

Student Voices

Photo Gallery: Back to School 2023–2024

Welcome, Winged Lions!

Rowland Hall is thrilled to welcome students and families to our campuses for the 2023–2024 school year.

The year kicked off on Wednesday, August 23, with smiles, hugs, and excitement. As students and families poured onto campus, they were greeted by an enthusiastic team of faculty and staff, said hello to old friends (and met new ones), and, for many of our youngest learners, gave a hug or a high-five to Roary, our trusty school mascot. And as the week went on, students had even more opportunities to connect, settle in, and prepare for an exceptional year of learning, including by gathering for Convocation and our annual Back to School Bash. Alumni even got in on the fun at the All-Class Reunion.

We invite you to enjoy some of the images captured during the first days of school.


Rowland Hall faculty and staff gather at the 2023 Opening Meeting.

Rowland Hall is excited to introduce two new assistant principals joining the school in the 2023–2024 school year: Josy Alcindor, Beginning School and Lower School assistant principal, and Stacia McFadden, Upper School assistant principal.

Both bring to Rowland Hall a wealth of knowledge as educators and administrators, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our community.

Learn a bit more about Josy and Stacia below.

Meet Josy Alcindor, Beginning School and Lower School Assistant Principal

Josy Alcindor, Rowland Hall Beginning School and Lower School assistant principal.

Since childhood, Josy Alcindor knew she wanted to work in education. She can even recall one of the first times she stepped into the role of teacher: at 10 years old, Josy borrowed her parents’ English learning workbooks to help an older family friend learn the language, a job she took very seriously. The child of Haitian immigrants, Josy was inspired by her parents’ tenacity and dedication to their own learning, and she wanted to help her friend succeed in a new country. It was an experience that helped to spark a love of teaching that she’s carried through her life. Paired with what Josy calls her “mama bear” approach to supporting and advocating for learners from preschool to the brink of adulthood, it’s clear she’s found her sense of purpose in education spaces.

“I’ve always been in the business of children, for their well-being across the board; emotionally, mentally, academically,” said Josy. “My life’s work is for the betterment of children. It’s my motivator.”

FUN FACT: Josy refers to herself as a closet poet (“I love the spoken word,” she said) and enjoys sharing her passion for poetry with others—especially students. At Wildwood School, she even created a fifth-grade activist poetry unit that allowed students to explore causes they care about. Josy said bringing out the poet in a child can help build their confidence and self-understanding.

And Josy has dedicated her career to this work, earning a bachelor’s degree in women and gender studies from Hunter College and a master of science education from the Bank Street College of Education. She’s spent years in the classroom, teaching students in preschool through fifth grade on both coasts: Josy worked at the Dalton School and the Hewitt School, both in New York City, and Wildwood School in Los Angeles, where she was most recently a fifth-grade teacher and diversity division coordinator. She’s also been a dedicated mentor for teens and young adults as a former board chair of Urban Neighborhood Services, and a board member at the YA-YA (Youth Activists-Youth Allies) Network. In all her roles, Josy has built classroom experience and deep administrative knowledge, and has worked to strengthen communities, including by training other teachers and facilitating conversations around DEIBJ or social-emotional learning. She understands that relationships are at the heart of education, a perspective that played a role in her decision to come to Rowland Hall.

“The sheer joy that I experienced when I walked in here—that solidified it for me,” said Josy of her first visit to the McCarthey Campus. She remembers seeing children happily engaged in learning and hearing faculty speak highly of the school, and knew that Rowland Hall was a place that also valued relationships, and where she could help children, as well as families and teachers, thrive. She was further moved by Rowland Hall’s strategic vision and is excited to be part of its continued rollout.

“I love this philosophy. It aligns with my core values: setting children for success, preparing them for tomorrow, for a changing world,” said Josy. “I look forward to being part of the forward-moving thinking and building off the amazing things that have happened.”

Meet Stacia McFadden, Upper School Assistant Principal

Stacia McFadden, Rowland Hall Upper School assistant principal

It doesn’t take long when chatting with Stacia McFadden to learn just how much she enjoys collaborating with people, as well as bringing others together.

“I’m such a connector,” she said.

Though Stacia’s professional life is filled with opportunities for connection-making in educational spaces, she didn’t start her career in education. Stacia majored in computer science as an undergraduate, earning a full-ride scholarship to Michigan State University to continue her studies. But a month into the graduate program, she realized that the path she was on didn’t feel quite right—she didn’t want a career that comes with a cubicle, a screen, and, often, isolation. She wanted to work closely with others. Heeding this self-understanding, Stacia changed course, moving to New York City to join IBM as a business analyst programmer. It wasn’t her dream job, but it played a pivotal role in her professional journey.

“While I didn’t find true fulfillment in this role,” Stacia explained, “I discovered joy via outreach through one of IBM's diversity networks, Black Network of New York, and my sorority.” Through these opportunities, Stacia mentored college students studying STEM disciplines, taught community technology workshops, and led a mentoring program for middle schoolers, all of which helped her understand that education is within her—and that she could apply her love of computer science to the field, helping students and teachers use technology to strengthen their work. “I got passionate about the integration of technology to enhance, empower, and inspire thinking and learning,” she said.

FUN FACT: Stacia plays tennis and has been to three United States Tennis Association (USTA) state championships and one USTA sectionals championship. She’s also shared her athletic talent in her career—tennis coach is just one of the many hats Stacia has worn as an educator.

Stacia pivoted again, earning a master’s degree in computing in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and teaching math, web design, and computer applications at a public charter school in Washington, DC. She then moved to independent schools, and over the years has held both teaching and administrative roles, many of which center around academic technology (she was most recently chief information officer at the Lovett School in Atlanta). Stacia has also accepted chances to build connections among national colleagues: she’s a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools’ School Leadership Institute, and facilitated programming at the 2023 Leadership + Design conference at Rowland Hall, an event which led to her accepting the assistant principal job.

No matter her role, Stacia has kept connections at the center of her work, prioritizing community building and empowering others, and has always found the most joy in student support. While interviewing on the Upper School campus, she said she was impressed by Rowland Hall’s bright, passionate students and their enthusiasm for their studies and interests. “You could tell they really care about the community and had ideas of what they wanted to see the next assistant principal do,” she said. She also loved observing how students and teachers were doing powerful work to bring to life Rowland Hall’s vision of what’s possible in education.

“The vision statement spoke to me: developing people the world needs,” said Stacia. “How simple is that, and how powerful is that?”

Stacia is looking forward to being part of this important work, knowing her experiences as an educator (and the mother of a 20-year-old college student) have prepared her to support today’s students as they find their voices, discover their passions, learn to get comfortable with an ambiguous and dynamic world, and make real and lasting change.

“I want kids to not only find their voice, but, if they see something they want to change, learn how to do that,” she said.

Banner photo: Stacia McFadden, third from right, with colleagues at the 2023 Opening Meeting for faculty and staff. Photo courtesy Stacia McFadden.


Congratulations to four Rowland Hall graduates who will be competing their sports at college.

Rowland Hall is proud to congratulate four student-athletes from the class of 2023 who will be going on to compete at the college level.

Rowland Hall Athletics recently recognized these students at our first Senior Signing Celebration, held on May 30.

  • Jada Crockett will run track at California State University, Fresno
  • Maile Fukushima will play soccer at Occidental College
  • Arden Louchheim will golf for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Ezra Shilling Rabin will run cross country and track at Emory University

“We are so proud of these talented athletes and wish them all the best as they go on to compete for their colleges,” said Kendra Tomsic, director of athletics. “We will be cheering them on.”

Watch the Senior Signing Celebration.


You Belong at Rowland Hall