Student Life


The mission of Priory's Residential Life Program is to assist boarding students in living lives rich in wellbeing.

Home Away from Home

We call it a home away from home. Each year, about 50 students, from grades nine through twelve, join a rich tradition of boarding at the Priory that dates back to the school's founding in 1957. In our boarding program, students from near and far feel known and loved in our boarding program as we practice the Benedictine maxim of "all are welcome." Along with all residential faculty, I challenge them to become their best selves.
At Priory, we emphasize wellbeing in our residential curriculum. Leveraging research from the exciting new field of positive psychology, my team and I work closely with each boarding student to define, measure, and grow their physical, psychological, academic, and communal wellbeing. We use data-driven strategies to help students discover their character strengths, make meaning, find flow, develop high-quality connections, self-regulate, fail forward, follow their bliss, cultivate gratitude, regularly exercise, prioritize sleep, build resilience, and live balanced lives.
Our boarding program's most distinctive feature is our residential faculty, which our students affectionately call 'RFs.' Hired full-time and for the exclusive purpose of mentoring our boarding students, our talented, passionate, and experienced educators provide meaningful mentorship for dormers outside of the classroom. With their working hours beginning at the end of the school day, our Residential Faculty dedicate their energy and time to support each dormer's individual needs. RFs come to know boarding students in deep and abiding ways. It is not uncommon for graduated dormers to visit the Priory. Invariably, the first people they ask to see are our Residential Faculty. These relationships make the Priory a unique boarding experience.
Our boarding students bring a unique perspective and depth to our community that makes our community stronger. Together with their teachers and advisors, we round out their wellbeing and foster a connection to the Priory community that often attracts frequent visitors from day students and alumni alike.
After four years in our boarding program, Priory dormers come to recognize the role they play in how they think, feel, and act. Simply put, the boarding program helps students flourish at the level of the head and the heart. If you would like to learn more about the distinctive, Priory way to our boarding approach, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to telling you more about our program.
Kate Johansen
Dean of Residential Life

FAQ about Priory Boarding

List of 7 items.

  • What is the culture of Priory's boarding program?

    The Priory’s boarding program embodies the Benedictine maxim of “all are welcome.” Students from all around the world feel known and loved in the boarding program regardless of their cultural, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, political, sexual, or gender identity. Dormers are encouraged to show up as their authentic selves and challenged to become their best selves. The dorms are a sacred place at the center of the Priory campus where boarding students like to live and where day students, faculty, and alumni frequently visit.

  • What is the role of the Residential Faculty?

    A distinguishing aspect of the Priory's boarding program is its full-time Residential Faculty (RF). Simply put, RFs provide meaningful mentorship for dormers outside of the classroom. These eight passionate and experienced educators begin working when the school day ends and thus have the energy to support the individual needs of each dormer. RFs are the first adults dormers see
    in the morning and the last adults they see before going to bed. RFs work with boarding students on time management, goal setting, study habits, intrapersonal awareness, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making, and healthy living. In sum, RFs serve as role models for students from all around the world navigating the predictable and unpredictable challenges of adolescence.
  • How is each dorm room set up?

    All dorm rooms come equipped with two twin-sized beds, two loftable bedframes, two desks, two desk chairs, two large wardrobes, two small safes for valuables, one bookshelf, a view of the gorgeous Priory campus as well as a spectacular roommate with an amazing past and an auspicious future.

  • Are there common spaces for dormers?

    Absolutely! Residents of the Anselm House (i.e., young women) and of the Benedict House (i.e., young men) are permitted to enjoy the common spaces in both dormitories. The dorms boast pool tables, ping pong tables, large flatscreens TVs, various video game consoles, high-speed Wi-Fi, numerous couches for socializing, private study carrels as well as study rooms with desktops computers, office supplies, and printers.
  • What activities does Priory's boarding program offer?

    Every day, Residential Faculty (RF) and dormers co-plan on and off-campus activities. Dormers are encouraged to suggest prospective trips while RFs work hard to organize activities that students will want and need. RFs drive and supervise dormers on all off-campus excursions. To name just a few examples, dormers will have the opportunity in any given semester to tour San Francisco, study at a coffee shop near Stanford University, surf in Half Moon Bay, work out
    at a Pure Barre studio, attend a Golden State Warriors basketball game, visit the Museum of Modern Art, hike Windy Hill, drink Boba Tea in Mountain View, ski in Lake Tahoe, shop at the Stanford Mall, purchase school supplies at Target, watch movies in Redwood City, and enjoy cuisine from all around the world in Palo Alto.
  • What facilities can boarding students access?

    Dormers have near 24/7 access to healthy snacks/drinks, a weight room, solo music practice rooms, basketball courts, tennis courts, a track, two soccer pitches, a baseball diamond, an organic garden, a heated pool, the Priory Chapel, the Performing Arts Theatre, the robotics facilities, a maker lab, the STREAM building, a cafeteria, Learning Commons (our library), and the nearby Windy Hill Preserve.

  • How does Priory's boarding program align with Priory's mission?

    The Priory’s boarding program promotes individual growth in students by setting high expectations and providing developmentally appropriate, personalized, daily support. Dormers develop independence and personal responsibility via the presence of a full-time Residential Faculty (RF). Students in the program learn
    how to balance work/play/rest, how to live with individuals of varying cultural, political, and moral frames, as well as how to engage in self-care on a daily basis.

Meet the Residential Faculty

List of 8 members.

  • Photo of Kate Johansen

    Kate Johansen 

    Dean of Residential Life
    (650) 851-6192
    University of Puget Sound - BA
    Andover Newton Theological School - MA
    Seattle University
  • Photo of Mary Almazan

    Mary Almazan 

    Residential Faculty
    (650) 851-8224
  • Photo of Andrew Downey

    Andrew Downey 

    Residential Faculty, Football/Basketball Coach
    (650) 851-8225
    University of Maine - BS
  • Photo of Corey Gomez

    Corey "CJ" Gomez 

    AP Psychology Teacher, Residential Faculty, Middle School Coach
    CSU EB - BA
    San Francisco State University - MA
  • Photo of Michael  Botsch

    Michael  Botsch 

    Upper School English Teacher
    University of Notre Dame - M.Ed.
    Saint Anselm College - BA
  • Photo of Tatiana Reese

    Tatiana Reese 

  • Photo of Ariana Bickell

    Ariana Bickell 

  • Photo of Cary  Hampton

    Cary  Hampton 

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