Communications Department Head and Chronicle adviser Kathy Neumeyer will retire this summer after 24 years at the school.
“What she has built during her time here is incredible,” President Rick Commons said. “[The Chronicle] is a signature center of excellence at our school for which she can take enormous credit.”
Neumeyer came to Westlake School in 1989 as a substitute adviser, and oversaw a last-minute redesign of the October 1989 issue after the surprise announcement of the merger between Westlake and the Harvard School for Boys.
A subsequent lawsuit by parents who opposed the merger led to another lead story, and at year’s end the Westlake Pi received its first Gold Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the equivalent of a Pulitzer for high school journalists.
Neumeyer subbed again during the first year of the merger until she became the fulltime adviser in 1992.
Her publications have won 13 Gold Crowns, eight Silver Crowns, have been finalists for the National Scholatic Press Association’s Pacemaker 16 times and have won five Pacemakers. The Chronicle is in the High School Journalism Hall of Fame and the 90-member staff now produces the newspaper, an online edition, LIFE alumni magazine and Big Red sports magazine.
Melissa Wantz, a former journalist and adviser to Foothill Technology High School’s online newspaper Dragon Press in Ventura, will be next year’s Chronicle adviser.
“It’s fun to put out a newspaper,” Neumeyer said. “A lot of journalists think that when they retire they would like to run a small newspaper in the wine country or somewhere. I’ve felt that I had that dream because I’ve been like the publisher of a small newspaper where my entire staff is people who don’t know anything about journalism except for what I tell them. It’s been a lot of fun.”
After she graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Neumeyer was a reporter for United Press International covering the trials of Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.
She later was The Economist’s southern California correspondent and contributing editor to Los Angeles Magazine for 20 years.
She has twice been named an outstanding adviser by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and has received the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Key.
Neumeyer plans to travel, and will visit Australia and New Zealand in November and cruise around Cape Horn in February 2016.
She will return to Northwestern this summer to teach two workshops at the five-week intensive Cherubs program for high school journalists that she attended when she was in high school.
“A lot of my life is as a result of my Cherubs experience, and I love being invited back because it brings my career full circle,” she said. “As I retire, I go back to where I began.”
Chronicle alumni and current staffers will celebrate Neumeyer’s retirement at a party June 8 in Weiler Hall.