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Faculty and Staff Directory

The La Jolla Country Day School faculty, administration and staff are strong, diverse and talented individuals who have been drawn together for a common purpose. Ours is a vibrant community with an exciting charge—to create a stronger, better place where our children and those of future generations can grow to become excellent individuals, citizens and adventurers of the world.
Below is a list of the administration, staff and faculty. To locate a member, click on the drop-down menus below to search by division, department or last name. Faculty and staff bios are also available below.

Faculty/Staff Directory

  • Photo of Chelsea Aiello
    Chelsea Aiello
    Assistant Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x408
  • Photo of Emma Buttery
    Emma Buttery
    Administrative Assistant, LS
    (858) 453-3440 x161
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by supporting the needs of the students and faculty in the Lower School. I try to provide a space for all who come to the Lower School office to be heard and feel appreciated. Small actions can make a big difference in making the world a better and kinder place.”

    Emma Buttery is the Lower School administrative assistant. Her job includes greeting and assisting all who visit the Lower School office. She is always willing to jump in and help, whether out on the playground at recess or connecting with families to help students be successful throughout their day. Ms. Buttery makes sure the Lower School faculty feels supported so that they can create an environment for students to thrive.

    Before joining LJCDS in 2020, Ms. Buttery was an assistant supervisor in the education and conservation department at SeaWorld San Diego. She helped facilitate and build a curriculum for SeaWorld’s summer camps and field trip programs. Ms. Buttery partnered with San Diego Unified School District to help create SeaWorld’s Ocean Link Lab, a free program for middle school students, to help expose them to STEAM careers at SeaWorld and in San Diego. Ms. Buttery graduated from Cal State, Long Beach, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. She danced professionally for 10 years before retiring her pointe shoes to start a family. 

    In her spare time, Ms. Buttery likes spending time with her husband, Michael, and son, JP. She enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors in the beautiful San Diego sunshine. 
  • Photo of Briony Chown
    Briony Chown
    Head of Lower School
    (858) 453-3440 x120
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by hearing and elevating the voices and the work of young learners as they embark on their school journey. Lower School students can create work and have ideas that are meaningful, complex and have an impact on the world. I seek to honor that within the school and within our San Diego and global community.”

    Briony Chown believes that young children are capable of far more than most adults believe. She is delighted to be part of the La Jolla Country Day School community where the curiosity and talents of both students and educators are nurtured and students’ intellectual and social-emotional growth are always at the forefront.

    Ms. Chown is an experienced educational leader with a strong early childhood and elementary school background. Most recently, and since 2015, she has been the director of High Tech High Explorer Elementary in Point Loma. In addition, she has been a Grades 2–5 teacher. Originally from the United Kingdom, she has an undergraduate degree in literature and philosophy and a graduate degree in primary education, multiple subjects.

    Throughout her career, Ms. Chown led the redesign and oversight of a K–4 curriculum; shaped and developed schoolwide facilities; hired, mentored and evaluated faculty; designed and facilitated professional development for her school community. She is committed to the development and success of our youngest students in the classroom, on the playground and beyond.

    Originally from London, Ms. Chown enjoys theater, museums and the arts, although she is also now fully immersed in the San Diego lifestyle of paddleboarding, camping, hiking, yoga and brunch. She is a proud mother of twin boys born in 2017.
  • Photo of Maria Curtis
    Maria Curtis
    Director of the Early Childhood Center
    (858) 453-3440 x191
    “I am inspired by the young child. Each time I enter their world to be a part of their learning, I fall in love with being an educator all over again. My goal is to support and create inclusive environments where children feel valued, respected and part of a community. I inspire greatness for a better world by helping the adults in children’s lives hear their voices, understand their feelings and learn the language of play.”

    Maria Curtis has dedicated her 32-year career to the early childhood field. She was the owner of a private day care, a preschool director and a teacher of children 18 months to 5 years old. In addition, Ms. Curtis has worked as a residential care worker at Polinsky Children’s Center, the county’s 24-hour emergency shelter for children under 6. Ms. Curtis started at La Jolla Country Day School as the head teacher/director and nursery teacher in the Early Childhood Center in 1997. She joined the administration team as the Lower School assistant director in 2006, which has allowed her to work with students and families from Tiny Torreys through fourth grade.

    Ms. Curtis studied human development at Pacific Oaks College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts with specialization in early childhood education. She continues her studies, researching the development of relationships among preschool girls and relational aggression. She received nine years of education from the San Diego Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, which validated her commitment to the social and emotional development of young children. Ms. Curtis raises awareness about topics pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. She has participated in the (NAIS) People of Color Conferences among other professional development opportunities.
  • Photo of Rafael Eaton
    Rafael Eaton
    Director of Libraries
    (858) 453-3440 x165
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by guiding collective curiosity, by connecting us to new perspectives to create a dynamic worldview, and by supporting the informed asking of questions that drive our day-to-day lives.”
    Knowing how to competently navigate and utilize a world of information is the key to creating well-informed global citizens. Rafa Eaton’s goal is to provide guidance to students’ independent learning and self-discovery through the library’s digital and physical programming.
    Originally from Oregon, Mr. Eaton began his career at Portland State University and finished his Bachelor’s at The City College of New York, where he concentrated on English Literature and Judaic Studies. He received his Master’s Degree in Library Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Before joining La Jolla Country Day School, Mr. Eaton plied his trade across the US as a line cook and an archivist-trainee for the San Diego Museum of Us, Democracy Now! Productions, and Canyon Cinema.
    In his free time he [still] enjoys cooking for his wife and two sons.
  • Photo of Devin Grant
    Devin Grant
    Educator, Physical Education; Coach - Flag Football, Softball
    (858) 453-3440 x478
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by demonstrating different fundamentals that teach a wide range of students physical education-related skills. The future of opportunity for some students lies in sports, allowing them to unlock their full potential on and off the field. The greatness isn’t measured through on-the-field stats, but the lessons that are taken from playing and how they become applied to life.”

    Devin Grant believes that physical education teaches fundamentals and lessons that spread beyond the classroom and field. As a physical education educator, his role is to build the basic fundamentals for locomotor, ball, kicking and perceptual skills within the Lower and Middle School. Coach Grant helps support the Upper School teams in football and softball as an assistant coach.  

    Coach Grant grew up in the Bay Area and developed a love for sports from an early age. He quickly transferred that love onto the field and court and earned a scholarship to play football at the College of Idaho, where he also earned a degree in Human Health and Performance. 

    Shortly after graduating in 2021, Coach Grant moved to San Diego and began working at LJCDS as a Middle School coach for flag football and softball. In 2022, he also became a physical education teacher.

    Coach Grant's love for sports spreads beyond his profession. He participates in adult flag football and softball leagues. When he’s not doing that, he is hanging out with his two cats, Spooky and Naya, and his girlfriend Caitlynn. Coach Grant is a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and UCLA softball, so if you're ever in need of talking sports, he is your guy.
  • Photo of Kelley Hart
    Kelley Hart
    Educator, ECC and LS Performing Arts
    (858) 453-3440 x360
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by instilling in students the idea that we are all creative, expressive beings capable of musical growth and appreciation, regardless of natural talent.”

    Kelley Hart believes music is an integral part of a child’s life. Through music, children develop a sense of self-identity, release stress, communicate complex emotions in a healthy way, and connect with the beauty of the world through aesthetic experiences. Ms. Hart regularly witnesses the impact music has on self-esteem and confidence. Working together with fellow musicians builds long-lasting friendships. Performing allows children an opportunity to reach out and touch the hearts of all those who hear it.

    Ms. Hart began her musical studies at age 8, when her parents gave her a piano and lessons for her birthday. She earned a Bachelor of Science in music education from Missouri Southern State University and a Master of Music in opera performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She has taught all ages, pre-K through high school, served on the faculty at Kenyon College, Ohio State University and the University of San Diego. She is the co-founder of Opera NEO, a local nonprofit summer opera festival. Ms. Hart enjoys teaching students of all ages and believes her strengths lie in the diversity of her musical experiences.

    Ms. Hart moved to San Diego in 2010 with her husband, Peter Kozma (who is also a musician), and their daughter, Sofie (who was two at the time). When Sofie started school as a junior kindergartener, they found a loving, supportive community at LJCDS and decided to put down roots in San Diego. Ms. Hart is thrilled to be a part of the LJCDS community!
  • Photo of Gabi Hernandez
    Gabi Hernandez
    Assistant Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x414
  • Photo of Mariah Kennedy
    Mariah Kennedy
    Assistant Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x249
  • Photo of Rachel Khoury
    Rachel Khoury
    Long Term Substitute Associate Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x206
  • Photo of Renee Lathom
    Renee Lathom
    Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x412
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by helping children develop age-appropriate skills to regulate their emotions.”

    Renee Lathom believes that children thrive when they are in an environment where they feel safe but also challenged. To foster this type of an environment, Ms. Lathom offers individual attention to each child to make them feel special.

    Ms. Lathom’s love of working with children began after taking child development classes through high school and community college. After multiple years working in a preschool, afterschool program and summer camp at the La Jolla YMCA, Ms. Lathom found her love for singing songs, loud and proud.

    Ms. Lathom spent many years at La Jolla Country Day School working for the extended day program. When a junior kindergarten associate teacher position became available, she jumped at the chance to work in a preschool classroom once again and has been enjoying it ever since.

    While working at La Jolla Country Day School, Ms. Lathom earned her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University.

    When not at school, she can be found catching up on current television shows and movies, while doting on her two cats. She is a fan of country music and often attends concerts around San Diego. Photography is a favorite creative outlet for Ms. Lathom, and she loves when she can bring her two passions together to capture the fun and beauty of early childhood.  
  • Photo of Ashley Marlow
    Ashley Marlow
    Counselor, Early Childhood–Grade 5
    (858) 453-3440 x317
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by supporting students in their social and emotional development. My office provides a safe space for children to find a compassionate ear, with the hope that they will leave feeling encouraged and heard. I love visiting students in their classrooms and working with them individually and in small groups. I help them to self-reflect, problem-solve, and develop empathy so they can make healthy choices and positively impact the world around them.”
    Ashley Marlow was born in California but grew up in New Jersey. Attending an all-girls school from grades 9 through 12 gave her the opportunity to appreciate the value of an independent school and an environment that can develop the leaders of the future.
    Ms. Marlow returned to the West Coast for college and received her Bachelor of Arts in communications from Pepperdine University. She studied abroad in Florence in her sophomore year and consequently loves everything Italian. Inspired by the conversations she had while supervising student workers in the admissions office, Ms. Marlow pursued her graduate degree in school counseling at the College of William and Mary. After graduation, Ms. Marlow was a middle school counselor at a public school for two years before joining the LJCDS community in 2011.
    Ms. Marlow is thrilled to work with students and their families. She is passionate about helping children understand and manage their feelings and learn how to navigate social situations. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, spending time with friends and family, and taking her dogs for walks by the beach. 
  • Photo of Christine Mitchell
    Christine Mitchell M.S., ATC
    Athletic Trainer
    (858) 453-3440 x138
    “I inspire greatness through my passion for sports medicine and helping others. I accomplish this by integrating the most current research with personalized care in order to optimize patient outcomes and keep athletes at their highest performance levels, both on the court and throughout the community.”

    Christine Mitchell is committed to helping students do more than overcome their injuries by working to improve their functional movement so they can succeed as athletes and improve their joint health.

    Here at La Jolla Country Day School, Ms. Mitchell started a student athletic training program in order to share her love of sports medicine. She hopes to inspire students to pursue careers in the medical field. At the very least, students will learn about their bodies and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and how to perform CPR and use an AED.

    As LJCDS’s certified athletic trainer, Ms. Mitchell ensures the safety, well being and success of all Torrey athletes, whether it’s caring for abrasions, rehabilitating reconstructed ACLs, educating on concussions, developing injury-prevention plans, or implementing emergency action plans.

    Ms. Mitchell obtained a Bachelor of Science in athletic training from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from Boston University. She has worked with South Carolina’s football and basketball teams, Boston University’s field hockey team, the New England Revolution’s academy soccer teams and San Diego State’s women’s soccer team. In her spare time, she teaches injury prevention at the San Diego Circus Center, where she is also learning to hand-balance.

    After exploring the East Coast, Ms. Mitchell returned to Escondido, where she resides with her chihuahua, Charlie.
  • Photo of Tara Peace
    Tara Peace
    Program and Outreach Librarian
    (858) 453-3440 x407
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by encouraging and teaching students to be lifelong learners and highlighting how the library can create a community. The library is a place where we can come to learn, to grow and to connect.”

    Tara Peace joined LJCDS in 2021 to help build and strengthen an engaging library community. Hailing originally from Virginia, Mrs. Peace traveled to California over a decade ago, earning a master’s degree in history at California State University, East Bay. She holds a Master of Library Science from the University of Alabama. With her educational and people-focused background, she hopes to engage with students and faculty to create a dynamic and collaborative library experience. 

    Mrs. Peace is an avid reader—her favorite book is The Overstory by Richard Powers. In her free time, she loves to cook and travel—and particularly enjoys camping. All of this is done with her husband, Kevin, and their daughter Cheyenne '35, who became a Torrey in 2022.
  • Photo of Kevin Reaume
    Kevin Reaume
    Educator and Director of Physical Education; Coach - Football, Track & Field, Athletic Performance Director
    (858) 453-3440 x244
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by creating an environment that allows each student to find their true potential physically, emotionally and intellectually. Being a teacher and coach for the past 32 years, I have experienced the greatest sense of community at La Jolla Country Day School. There is no other institution that provides a young person with all the tools necessary to go out into the world to make it a better place.”

    Kevin Reaume has been teaching and coaching for 36 years and began coaching full-time at LJCDS in 1990. As LJCDS’s physical education educator, athletic performance director, full-time football coach and head men’s and women’s track and field coach, Coach Reaume is the most successful track and field coach in LJCDS history, with a combined men’s and women’s dual meet record of 282-75, with 19 team championships. Throughout the years Coach Reaume has produced eight individual Division 2 CIF champions, seven California state qualifiers and 19 Torrey student-athletes continuing their growth at the likes of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury and Emory.

    Coach Reaume was instrumental in all 12 of LJCDS’s football championships (four of which were CIF Championships), including the school’s first-ever 11-man CIF title as well as three 8-man titles. He has worn many hats for the Torrey football program, including defensive coordinator, offensive and defensive lines, and athletic performance director.

    Coach Reaume grew up in Canada, where he was a standout football, basketball, and track and field athlete. He played football at St. Francis Xavier University, earning a Bachelor of Science in physical education, two-time first-team All-League honors, preseason All-Canadian and three conference championships. He was also the captain of his team for two years. After graduation, Kevin was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, opting instead to pursue a career in teaching and coaching.

    In his free time, Coach Reaume enjoys his family, golfing, reading and roller-blading along the bay in Coronado.
  • Photo of Porschia Talbot
    Porschia Talbot
    Educator and Team Lead, ECC and LS Visual Arts
    (858) 453-3440 x225
    “I inspire greatness by introducing my students to new ways of viewing the world and giving them the tools to express themselves through art. I believe that creative expression is imperative in building self-confidence and creating a well-rounded individual. I strive to instill a passion for exploration, invention and understanding in my students so they may go on to build a more connected and loving world.”

    Porschia Talbot ’03 believes that art is the glue that ties all the other subjects and skills learned in school (and life) together. She provides her students with a safe environment, where they can make mistakes, get messy and have fun while learning how to creatively express themselves.

    Ms. Talbot was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia before her family moved to San Diego. She joined LJCDS in the eighth grade and graduated in 2003. She is thrilled to be back on campus to give back to the community that gave her so much. 

    Ms. Talbot has taught art programs in schools in Portland, San Francisco and San Diego. In 2009, she opened an art school, My Art Shed, in La Jolla, where she provided fine art and craft lessons, workshops and camps for ages 2 through adult. Since 2017, her business has been mobile, facilitating on-site enrichment programs. Ms. Talbot also teaches weekly adult painting lessons and creates custom murals and artwork for businesses on the West Coast.

    She studied architecture at The New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego while teaching art at The Monarch School for three years. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Portland State University. 

    In her free time, Ms. Talbot loves painting vintage cars and trucks and going on road trips with her wife, Dawn, and dog Spirit.
  • Photo of Andrea Trottier
    Andrea Trottier
    Associate Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x406
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by introducing character education to our children. I help by giving them the tools they need to navigate situations with their peers and others. As their skills grow, I am confident they will feel empowered now and throughout their future to become upstanding citizens.”

    Andrea Trottier believes that children truly are our future, and to work with children of such an impressionable age is an honor, not to mention extremely fulfilling. In addition, she finds herself learning from her children frequently.

    Mrs. Trottier was introduced to the world of early childhood education through an internship program in high school. That was when she first fell in love with working with children and decided to take college courses in the field. Prior to joining the LJCDS community in the 2010–2011 school year, she was substituting in schools around the county and also worked in radio.

    In her spare time, Mrs. Trottier enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys going on weekend getaways, trying new restaurants, fostering kittens, and waiting for Halloween so she can decorate!
  • Photo of Anna Waldman
    Anna Waldman
    Educator, ECC Tiny Torreys
    (858) 453-3440 x218
    “I am passionate about helping each young child feel loved, valued and respected. I inspire greatness for a better world by providing a safe, flexible and nurturing environment for the young child to thrive in. The first five years of a child’s life are some of the most important. I believe building trust and laying a secure foundation allows each child to feel confident to take chances, explore new environments and pursue making their dreams reality.”

    Working as an early childhood educator at La Jolla Country Day School for more than a decade, Anna Waldman understands the development of the young child. She provides a rich environment for children to discover, learn and develop important social and emotional skills. These skills are an important foundation as each child progresses through the school experience.

    Having a passion for teaching at an early age, Ms. Waldman took early childhood classes in high school and volunteered for programs working with young children. She began teaching while she continued her education, graduating with honors and receiving a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Being a lifetime learner, she continues to seek opportunities to further her knowledge and understanding of human development, best practices in teaching and curriculum development, and recently became a certified Outdoor Education Specialist through the Outdoor Classroom Project.

    Ms. Waldman taught elementary and high school classes at a private school in Victorville, Calif., for four years. After moving to San Diego, she worked as an early childhood educator at a private school before joining the LJCDS team in the 2004–2005 academic school year.

    She believes quality teachers exhibit a passion for what they do. They model patience, flexibility, creativity, dedication and a sense of humor to foster an authentic love of learning.

Faculty and Staff Spotlights

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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