The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur is a Catholic, independent, college prepatory school for young women in grades 6 through 12.

A Catholic, Independent, College Preparatory School for Young Women, Grades 6 through 12

Academy of Notre Dame de Namur: Inspiring Young Women Since 1956

Leadership

Laura M. Hotchkiss, Ph.D.
Head of School

Dr. Laura M. Hotchkiss began her tenure as the Academy of Notre Dame’s fifth Head of School on July 1, 2021. A distinguished, experienced independent school leader and educator, Dr. Hotchkiss has spent the last 25 plus years at The Marlborough School in Los Angeles, California, most recently as the school’s Associate Head of Academics. In this role, she helped to guide Marlborough through strategic and academic planning, leadership transition, fundraising and operations.

 

Dr. Hotchkiss earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has led and participated on a number of school committees, such as Academic Council, Educational Council, Equity and Inclusion, Emergency Preparedness, Educational Technology, AP Program Review, Wellness, and STEM. With proven expertise in the education of young women, Dr. Hotchkiss is passionate about working with girls, faculty, and parents to provide a caring school climate, address school-life balance, and develop academic and co-curricular programs.

Dr. Hotchkiss also serves on the Boards of the National Coalition of Girls’ School and One Schoolhouse, sharing her experience and expertise to further the mission of these organizations. As a girls’ school graduate, she is committed to positively impacting the lives of young women.

“During my visits to campus, I witnessed firsthand the students' deep commitment to their classmates and to the world around them,” shared Dr. Hotchkiss. “I listened to administrators, faculty, and staff share their enthusiasm for guiding students in their academic pursuits, as well as in their development as leaders, campus ministers, and global citizens. The Academy alumnae, who spoke about their deep love for the school and their lifelong friends, reminded me of my own girls' school experience. Parents shared messages about community events that celebrate students through the arts, in athletic contests, and at school traditions.

“Throughout my visit, I was provided a lens into a school where laughter and compassion abound, where diversity is celebrated, and where academic, spiritual, and personal growth are nurtured. These are characteristics of an excellent school and a vibrant community. Saint Julie's philosophy remains even more relevant in today's world—focusing on the unique potential of each student, teaching them ‘what they need to know for life.’

“I am grateful to the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Board of Trustees, Dr. Dwyer, and all the past leaders for their service and strategic vision for Notre Dame. I look forward to this opportunity to serve and learn alongside each of you.

Liz Willis, Ph.D.
Associate Head of School

Liz Willis Headshot

Dr. Willis most recently served as the Secondary School Academic Dean at Oakwood School, Los Angeles, California with oversight of grades 7-12 as primary instructional leader.  She also served as High School Dean of Students and as a Social Studies Instructor at Oakwood.

Dr. Willis holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees in American History from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and History from Loyola Marymount University in California. 

In her role as Associate Head of School at Notre Dame, Dr. Willis oversees all matters related to the Academy's academic area, including College Counseling, Athletics, Campus Ministry, Counseling Center, Center for Global Leadership and School Nurse. The Director of Upper School and the Director of Middle School will also report directly to the Associate Head of School.

Bridget Bonner
Director of Middle School

Mrs. Bridget Bonner

Mrs. Bridget Bonner holds a Master of Education degree from Cabrini College and a Bachelor of Elementary Education from Saint Joseph's University and joined the Academy in 2001. Mrs. Bonner worked as Notre Dame's Director of Admissions from 2015 until 2019, where she was responsible for recruitment events and oversight of the admissions process for all grades. Prior to that, Mrs. Bonner taught grades 6-12 in Notre Dame's Religion department. Additional responsibilities included Religion Department Chair and mentor to Student Council and student clubs. Mrs. Bonner brings to this role both a student-centered approach and a deep commitment to parent engagement.