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AT PARK SCHOOL, NEW LEADER ENHANCED <br> WIFE ALSO BRINGS LITERARY SKILLS TO 'PACKAGE' DEAL

When Park School installs Don Grace as its 16th head-of-school Thursday he brings along his own literary establishment.

Grace's wife, Catherine O'Neill Grace, is a widely published author of books for and about children.

"I've heard that we've been referred to as 'a package,' " Grace laughed.

"Catherine is knowledgeable about the reality for kids. When we first met, I actually was submitting an article to her magazine," Grace said.

His wife of nine years, who worked as an editor for an education magazine and as a columnist for the Washington Post, adds that "conversations on how children learn is an important part of our lives. We discuss issues about kids a lot."

She makes clear, though, that her husband is "independent-minded."

Grace, a native of Utica who lives in Williamsville, has 32 years of experience in education, including 20 years as head of four independent schools.

Most recently, he headed Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall school in Waltham, Mass., and served as chief development officer for "All Kinds of Minds," a national learning institute based in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Catherine Grace co-authored "Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children."

One of the book's messages is that "children who have friends do better in life," she said.

And helping students do that, she added, is one of her husband's goals at Park -- a college preparatory, coeducational, independent school for prekindergarten through 12th grade on Harlem Road in Snyder.

"One of the attractions of Park School was the relationships between students, and the inter-age mixing that goes on," the new head-of-school said.

"I'm impressed at how articulate our students are, and I want to promote opportunities for students to articulate their views," he said.

He also looks forward to doing renovations at the school and improving relations with graduates.

Not only are the Graces a kind of "two-for-one," said Diane Gardner, school representative, "but I think they're a great coup for Buffalo."

e-mail: lcontinelli@buffnews.com

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