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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 Andrea Boehme
    Andrea Boehme
    Tiny Torreys Associate Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x218
    Bio
     
    “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 Boehme 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.

    Ms. Boehme 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, Ms. Boehme was substituting in schools around the county and also worked in radio.

    In her spare time, Ms. Boehme enjoys spending time with her family, especially her niece. You may also find her enjoying the latest best-selling book with a slice of pizza!
     
  • Photo of Shelby Brown
    Shelby Brown
    Extended Day Group Leader
    (858) 453-3440
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by treating each child as a unique individual and honoring their respective intelligence, personalities and temperaments to ensure that they feel valued.”

    Shelby Brown believes that early childhood education is critical for children’s developing brains. She understands that healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for a successful future beyond educational achievement. As an associate teacher in Tiny Torreys, she integrates intentional learning experiences into her work from the moment a child walks through the classroom door. Every moment is an opportunity for a child to gain new knowledge. She enjoys setting up a learning environment that is hands-on, developmentally and age-appropriate, and allows for many possibilities.

    Before joining LJCDS in 2019, Miss Brown’s career began at Miramar College in the child development center as a student-teacher working with 2-year-olds. She also has a background as a registered behavior technician (RBT) providing ABAtTherapy to children ages 3-7 diagnosed with Autism disorder. Her time as an RBT allowed her to work with children with a diverse range of physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs.

    When not in the classroom, Miss Brown can be found outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather in San Diego. This includes reading on the beach, hiking Torrey Pines and riding her bike to various farmer’s markets.
     
  • Photo of Wendy Clemente
    Wendy Clemente
    Lower School Music Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x211
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness by helping children find their voice. A child who sings with confidence and joy will always know how to share his or her ideas and empower others to use their voices as well. I believe that the singers in my classroom are on their way to becoming citizens who will live their lives out loud.”  

    Since 2003, Wendy Clemente has taught general and vocal music in the Lower School. Beginning with the Tiny Torreys, she enjoys watching her students explore musical expression and find their voice. She believes that all humans are musical and that early music experiences can build skills that will set up a lifetime of music making.  

    A California native, Ms. Clemente always knew that she wanted to be a music teacher. She grew up singing regularly in church and began piano lessons at age 9. In high school, she began performing in musical theater while also interning for a small-label fashion designer. She spent a year studying music and theater in England, toured Western Europe as a soloist, and finally graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education. Ms. Clemente began her first teaching job in Bozeman, Mont., and then relocated to San Diego, teaching music and English at Escondido Adventist Academy for 11 years before coming to LJCDS. She continues to perform as a soprano and conducts various choral organizations, including the La Jolla Renaissance Singers, the UCSD  Geisel Library Toy Piano Duo, Bach Collegium–San Diego, St. Paul’s Cathedral, La Jolla Playhouse, St. Therese of Carmel Valley and the La Sierra University Vocal Octet Alumni.  

    Ms. Clemente spends her spare time sewing costumes and apparel for herself and family members, cooking gourmet vegetarian food, reading, and traveling with her husband, two children (who both attend LJCDS), two cats and a very spoiled beagle.  
  • Photo of Krista Clowers
    Krista Clowers
    Lower School Science Educator
    (858) 453-3440
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness by fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder in all my students so that they can become lifelong learners who purposefully and methodically seek to solve problems in the world around them.”

    Krista Clowers nurtures her students’ natural curiosity about the world through the study of a variety of science topics. She strives to provide meaningful learning experiences which go beyond knowledge and application. Challenging students to use critical thinking skills is one of her favorite approaches to implementing science curriculum. Ms. Clowers encourages all students to not only carefully observe and analyze but carefully listen to and consider the ideas and contributions of fellow classmates.

    Ms. Clowers started teaching in 1996 and has taught all grades from pre-kindergarten through Grade 7 in both public and private schools in California, Texas, Hawaii and Washington State. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies and her teaching credential at Cal State San Marcos and has earned a Master in Elementary Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Assessment from Aspen University. In her spare time, Ms. Clowers enjoys gardening, yoga and participates in several triathlons each year.
     
  • Photo of Jessica Corso
    Jessica Corso
    Extended Day Coordinator
    (858) 453-3440 x305
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by sharing with children my vulnerable, passionate and determined self. I believe it is important to step back and observe our children. When we allow children the time and space to explore and experiment on their own, we gain insight into how they think, and only then can we support their true potential.”     

    Jessica Corso believes that every part of the child’s day is important and unique. A child can learn valuable lessons while sitting at the lunch table with peers and teachers. A teachable moment can happen anytime and anywhere, and Ms. Corso is honored to have the opportunity to scaffold empathy, determination and dignity for the children at LJCDS.

    Ms. Corso earned her bachelor’s degree in music and voice and specialization in teaching music to children from New Hampshire at Keene State College and her master’s in child and family development from San Diego State University. While at SDSU, she also received a credential as a social and emotional early childhood intervention specialist. While writing her thesis, she became interested in the Reggio Emilia approach to education.

    She began her career at Gorce Child Study Center, where she studied child-centered learning and the project-based approach. Before joining LJCDS, Ms. Corso was previously at Mission Bay Montessori Academy of La Jolla and Aspirations Child Learning Center in Carlsbad–a Reggio-inspired school.   
            
    Ms. Corso has been singing and writing music her entire life—her greatest passion aside from education. She is currently the lead singer of Feathers and Lead, a band she started three years ago. Ms. Corso writes music for the band, and she enjoys the teamwork and friendship that has grown throughout the years.
     
  • Photo of Maria Curtis
    Maria Curtis
    Director of Early Childhood Center and Extended Day Program
    (858) 453-3440 x191
    Bio
     
    “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 Elaine Gain
    Elaine Gain
    Tiny Torreys Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x217
    Bio
     
    “Every day I strive to be a role model who inspires greatness for a better world. In my class, I listen to the ideas, needs, passions, emotions and lessons that the children bring in and apply them to my planning every day. Doing this allows the children to gain confidence, feed their curiosity, understand their emotions, provide for others, ask questions, and find their little voice in this big world.”

    Elaine Gain began her career in early childhood education through her high school’s ROP program.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts and sciences and teaching credential with an embedded Crosscultural Language and Academic Development certificate (CLAD) from San Diego State University. Ms. Gain continues to obtain more early childhood education units to further her development as an instructor.  Before coming to La Jolla Country Day School, Ms. Gain worked as a substitute teacher in the San Diego Unified School District, as a site supervisor/program coordinator at an early learning center, and as a pre-K teacher through the YMCA.

    Outside of school Ms. Gain enjoys cooking, walking up the hills of the San Diego Zoo, and traveling to new places.  She is also passionate about living a more Eco-friendly life that will keep our planet healthy for many more generations to come.
  • Photo of Meiling Hager
    Meiling Hager
    Lower School Administrative Assistant and Attendance
    (858) 453-3440 x161
    Bio
     
    “I use every opportunity to encourage curiosity of language learning to inspire greatness for a better world. As Lower School administrative assistant, I have endless opportunities to meet students, parents and visitors on my job. Whenever I have a chance to speak different languages, I do so enthusiastically. I encourage students to speak whatever languages they have learned, and I try to learn from them as well. I feel knowing different languages is such a great tool in getting to know different cultures and people around the world.”
     
     
    Meiling Hager has lived in five different countries and visited many more. She learned Spanish when she lived in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. It thrills her when she uses her poor (mostly forgotten) Spanish on the phone when the opportunity arises and to watch the students’ surprised expressions. She was also able to compare novels in both Chinese and English versions, such as Soul Mountain and Sandalwood Death. To her, the joy of doing that is beyond what words can express.
     
    Ms. Hager started her career at Taipei American School, working as a teacher assistant in second grade while attending college in the evenings. After she graduated, she moved into the position of high school scheduler and stayed in the position for eight years before leaving the country and getting married in Guatemala. In 1992, she moved back to the United States from South Africa, and she was so happy to find a job at La Jolla Country Day School as the Lower School administrative assistant, where she still thoroughly enjoys her work.   
     
     
    Ms. Hager loves traveling, reading, cooking, tennis and Chinese folk arts. 
  • Photo of Gabi Hernandez
    Gabi Hernandez
    Extended Day Group Leader
    (858) 453-3440 x152
  • Photo of Payton Hobbs
    Payton Hobbs
    Head of Lower School
    (858) 453-3440 x120
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by helping families who are just beginning their journey at LJCDS feel welcomed and valued in our community. By sharing our mission, vision and promise with prospective and current families, I hope to help create a diverse and inclusive learning environment, filled with citizens that are focused on making a positive difference in our local and global communities.”
     
    Payton Hobbs began her work in the field of education learning with the youngest students as a classroom teacher. She taught kindergarten, first and second grade at both public and private schools. As Mrs. Hobbs’ career progressed, she wanted to expand her impact with learners of all ages and transitioned into leadership positions that included director of curriculum and instruction, assistant head of Lower School, and most recently head of Lower School at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the past seven years.

    In addition to her role as an educator, Mrs. Hobbs is also an athlete. She played lacrosse and basketball at the collegiate level for Duke University and was a member of the 1999 women’s basketball team that made it to the NCAA National Championship game. She also played basketball professionally for the Saarlouis Royals in Germany. The basketball shoes have been hung up for now, and today Mrs. Hobbs spends her free time playing tennis, swimming, running, and working with young athletes as a coach and mentor. She and her husband, Alfie, who serves as the assistant head of Upper School at Pacific Ridge School, have two children, Simone ’28 and Tre ’30, who are also part of the LJCDS community.

    Connect with Mrs. Hobbs on LinkedIn or on Twitter @paytonhobbs.
     
  • Photo of Tina Kinkead
    Tina Kinkead
    Physical Education Educator; Middle School Soccer Coach
    (858) 453-3440
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by appreciating and understanding the voices of my students, athletes and colleagues. By making these connections, I create a safe and energetic environment for students to freely explore and embrace their strengths and weaknesses, and instill the drive to give their best effort.”

    Tina Kinkead joined LJCDS in 2019 as a physical education educator and head women’s volleyball coach. As a PE teacher, her role is to develop the core locomotor skills, sport skills and strategies, and to instill self-confidence and excitement for being of healthy body and mind. As a coach, her role is to use volleyball as a catalyst to establish healthy lifelong habits that create strong young people to make a difference in this world.
     
    Coach Kinkead earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Santa Clara University, a master’s degree in physical education emphasizing sports psychology from San Diego State University, and a teaching credential for physical education and health. Her career as a coach began in 1991, and she has coached at the collegiate, high school and elementary levels.
     
    Coach Kinkead married her college sweetheart, lives in Bird Rock, and has three children. Her favorite hobbies are watching her kids play sports and playing beach volleyball.
     
  • Photo of Renee Lathom
    Renee Lathom
    Tiny Torreys Associate Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x214
    Bio
     
    “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
    Lower and Middle School Counselor
    (858) 453-3440 x317
    Bio
     
    “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 teaching Life Skills to Middle School students; 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 all things Italian. Initially, Ms. Marlow planned to work in the entertainment industry as a casting director but later realized that career would not give her a sense of purpose. Instead, she wanted to help guide people toward their passions and goals.
     
    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 returning to California in 2011.
     
    Ms. Marlow is thrilled to work with students and their families at La Jolla Country Day School. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, reading, and taking her dog, Parker, for walks by the beach.  
  • Photo of Deane Mellor
    Deane Mellor
    Physical Education Educator; Men's Lacrosse Head Coach; Football Assistant Coach; MS Soccer Coach
    (858) 453-3440
    Bio
     
    “I inspire greatness for a better world by being an encouraging and passionate role model for students in the classroom, on the playing field and in the hallway. I encourage students to think about the attitude of gratitude and being a part of something greater than oneself.”
     
    Deane Mellor became a physical education educator at LJCDS in 2019. He originally joined the LJCDS community in 2013 as a Middle School lacrosse, basketball and flag football coach; eventually working his way up to the Upper School ranks. Coach Mellor became the head coach and program director of men’s lacrosse in 2016. With his guidance, the Torreys reached new heights and the 2018 season saw them reach their first CIF Division I Championship game. 
     
    Coach Mellor graduated from McDaniel College with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a minor in sports management. While at McDaniel College, he played attack on the lacrosse team. After college, he enjoyed one of his favorite hobbies: traveling. Coach Mellor embarked on a six-month backpacking trip around the world; highlighted by stops in Croatia, Turkey, Hawaii and Australia.

    Coach Mellor is originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and lives with his wife, Lindsay, and dog Nash.
     
  • Photo of Porschia Talbot
    Porschia Talbot
    Lower School Visual Arts Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x225
    Bio
     
    “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 Anna Waldman
    Anna Waldman
    Tiny Torreys Educator
    (858) 453-3440 x218
    Bio
     
    “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.
  • Amy Young
    Lower School Long Term Substitute Educator
    (858) 453-3440




La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440

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