School Leadership

Dr. Polly Peterson, 2014-

Dr. Peterson took office on July 1, 2014 as the 20th Head in the School’s history. She comes to Chase from The Winston School in Dallas, Texas, where she served as Head of School since 2007. Dr. Peterson began her tenure by inspiring her faculty and staff to think about school and learning from a perspective of play and imagination at all ages.

An early initiative supporting this approach is the re-purposing of three large areas and opening “Innovation Spaces” for student learning.  These innovation spaces will enhance our curriculum by allowing space for students to create, innovate, think critically and work in teams as they work on their academic goals. Simultaneously, Dr. Peterson initiated a school-wide strengthening of professional development, so that faculty would be comfortable with and prepared to integrate design thinking into Chase’s curriculum.

A native of Waterford, CT, Dr. Peterson holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Southern California University for Professional Studies, Santa Ana, CA. She earned her master of social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD and her bachelor of science in social work from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT.


John D. Fixx, 2003-2013

Mr. Fixx came to the School from the Headmaster position at The Lexington School in Lexington, Kentucky. After completing a nationwide search, the Search Committee selected Mr. Fixx in recognition of "his leadership, administrative skill, commitment to faculty and students, strong work ethic, inherent intelligence, and marvelous sense of humor."

During Mr. Fixx's time at Chase, the School experienced record setting growth of the endowment from $3 million to more than $7 million. Several of these projects included the expansion of the prekindergarten program, the pond renovation, the creation of a Lower School Literacy Library in Camp Hall, the installation of safety fencing for two athletic fields, the resurfacing and painting of the Goss gymnasium floor, the addition of a modular building with two classrooms for Upper School mathematics, improvements to the Giguere Recital Hall and the Kellogg room, and the renovation of the Upper School foyer and hallway. The Fulkerson Arts Center has many visible improvements, including renovation of the digital arts and drama classrooms and restrooms, as well as exterior aesthetic improvements to the building. Enhancements in the area of technology include the installation of the a new Upper School computer lab, a state of the art Sony digital language lab, a new digital video computer lab, and a new sound system for drama and other performances in the Fulkerson Arts Center.

In April of 2008, Chase opened an 18,000 square foot, environmentally-responsible addition to the Upper School. The building was recently honored by the Hartford Business Journal as one of the 25 largest clean energy-powered buildings in Connecticut.

Mr. Fixx's years were marked by momentum, galvanizing the School's resources to fulfill the mission of the excellent prekindergarten-12 that characterizes what Chase Collegiate School is today.

Margaret W. Field, 1994-2003

In July 1994, Ms. Margaret W. Field, became the new Head of School. A Strategic Planning Committee was formed. Composed of parents, grandparents, friends, faculty, administrators, and graduates, small subcommittees explored every aspect of the school's operation. Finances, fund raising, curriculum, the physical plant, marketing and the role of the school in the community were discussed and debated.

Improvements to the program to better prepare our students for college continued. The number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses available to students in the Upper School increased. Students can now take AP classes in 19 subjects. The summer program was expanded and has flourished. In addition to academic and enrichment classes, camps in soccer and basketball attract many young people, and a seven week summer day camp for five to twelve year olds has been added.

A prekindergarten program was implemented to address the changing needs of today's families. In the fall of 1995, four year olds became part of the student body and the following year the program was expanded to include three year olds. Also in 1996, in preparation for new equipment and technology, extensive renovations took place in the Main Building. In 2001, Ms. Field saw the completion of renovations to the Lower School and the establishment of the Smith Cornerstone Room for school activities.

James F. Adams, 1990-1994

Mr. Adams continued the strong tradition of academic excellence for which the school had become known, and, at the same time, made it a priority to establish warm relationships with St. Margaret's-McTernan students of all ages. Mr. Adams rarely missed an opportunity to be on the sidelines to cheer on the Highlander teams. He will be remembered for establishing the tradition of ushering in the Christmas holiday by hosting a story hour in the Kingsbury Library, and for bringing together students and parents, faculty and administrators to build a playground for Lower School students.

Mr. Adams was a driving force behind the school's commitment to technology. During his tenure, money was raised to equip, furnish and staff the Computer Center in Centennial Library. In 1995, these facilities were expanded with the creation of a Multimedia Center made possible through a generous donation from the Parent's Association.

Hugh Slattery, 1977-1990

During Mr. Slattery's thirteen-year tenure, finances stabilized and the school's enrollment continued to grow. The physical plant was enlarged with the extension of the dining room in 1983 and the addition to the Upper School building in 1985. The size of the campus was increased from forty-six acres to forty-seven acres, and three additional playing fields were added. The completion of the Kellogg Tennis Center increased the number of courts from five to nine. 

With enhanced athletic facilities, the athletics program grew. By opening the interscholastic sports program to grades six through twelve, students had greater opportunities to participate in sports. Support of the visual and performing arts became a more important part of the St. Margaret's-McTernan experience.

The "Framework for Excellence" capital campaign that was established under Mr. Slattery raised over two million dollars in endowment funds. Faculty salaries, financial aid and additional money to maintain high standards for the physical plant were priorities for Mr. Slattery. Revitalization and stewardship of the archives preserved the history of the combined schools. Because of the McTernan loss of records, the school today still searches for memorabilia from the McTernan years.

Clayton B. Spencer, 1972-1977

As the first post-merger Headmaster of the new St. Margaret's-McTernan School, Mr. Spencer faced a number of major decisions. The new school had to accommodate both boys and girls, and it had to be organized as a day school. Priorities included modifying buildings, expanding athletic facilities and raising funds to make the changes possible. To implement these changes, the McTernan School campus was sold in 1972, and the Board of Trustees of the new school launched a fund drive that produced nearly one million dollars. The Goss Field House was a particularly welcomed addition at this time.


Chase Collegiate School
565 Chase Parkway Waterbury, CT 06708
(203) 236-9500

Pre K

Chase’s PreK program will give your child the freedom to explore the world and the structure to become an active, involved learner who is prepared for Kindergarten.

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Lower School

In this safe, nurturing private elementary school, our students explore, take risks and innovate.

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Middle School

The bedrock of this success in this private middle school is the atmosphere of support and trust. At Chase, we honor each student and help them achieve their personal best, through an intensive, daily advisory program.

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Upper School

This private high school gives its students the tools to develop into lifelong learners and innovative thinkers, prepared for the changing landscape of the 21st century. Upon graduation, Chase students are well prepared for college and life beyond.

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Innovation at Chase

We’ve integrated innovation and design thinking into our traditional curriculum – and created three high and low-tech design labs on campus, providing students the knowledge and space to chart their own course in terms of their approach to a project and the outcome they produce.

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