Hello Notre Dame community!Ashley Rae Mathis, Head of School

I greet you joyfully, energized about the historic year ahead. We braved a monumental transition and a novel season is emerging. A season of newness and rebirth, reflection and contemplation, evolution and transformation. God has guided this journey and for that I declare: He is good!

What a sensational time to be at Notre Dame! As we launch into the 2023-2024 school year, allow me to illuminate three areas in which we will focus: continuity, communication and community. Elevating these themes ensure that we are both intentional and fruitful moving forward.

Continuity. Formally defined, continuity is the unbroken, consistent existence of something over time; an uninterrupted connection, succession or union. Bearing this in mind, I extend a sincere thank you to our Board of Directors and my predecessor, our beloved Mary Beth Riley. Their foresight and preparation provided a firm foundation upon which we will build. In addition, getting to know my new community has been advantageous over the last six months. I met gifted administrators, faculty and staff. I shadowed leaders from the Notre Dame de Namur global network. I connected with more than 30 devoted Sisters in the order. I conversed with empowered students and alums. I remain inspired by their wide ranging, deep love for Notre Dame. I receive their “collective baton” and pledge to sustain our mission and strategic vision. We will continue to ensure that our students become lifelong learners, spiritual seekers, justice advocates and community leaders.

Communication. As we forge ahead, expect transparent, thoughtful communication from my team. I enter this season with a posture of prayer seeking to grow. During the next twelve months I will prompt purposeful conversations — with students, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, clergy, Catholic school leaders and Notre Dame supporters through the decades. My objective is simple: I aim to listen. Listen, to absorb our culture. Listen, to engulf myself in stories of tradition and triumph. Listen, to understand the undisputable force that is, Notre Dame San Jose. 

Community. I lean into our sixth Hallmark to assert, “We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.” It is my charge and privilege to embody this statement. With a servant’s heart I aspire to reflect the charism of the Catholic church. Modeling kindness, grace and hospitality will be a daily intention. My office is an extension of our campus. It is a welcoming space, designed for conversation, contemplation and connection. To that end, feel free to say hello during your next visit to campus! Anticipate a hearty greeting from me as well, when I see you at a school performance, a game, the next Parent Association meeting or the Crab Fest. (Especially the Crab Fest!)

Thank you for saying yes; to change, to walking in newness, to basking in the beauty created when tradition and innovation meet. Since 1851, Notre Dame has set the standard for developing women of impact. With unparalleled passion to strengthen our traditions, legacy and leadership, I commit myself to upholding the same benchmark of success. Continue to pray with me, Notre Dame. For I fervently believe that our best is yet to come! 

Be kind. Choose joy. And, remember: God. Is. Good.

Ashley Rae Mathis Signature

Ashley Rae Mathis
Head of School