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Head of School Search

Our Search for the Next LJCDS Head of School
In 1926, Louise Balmer founded La Jolla Country Day School (originally the Balmer School) in a one-room cottage in La Jolla with four students and three faculty members. Today, the school has grown to a diverse student body of more than 1,100 from age 3 to Grade 12 on a 24-acre campus with 245 faculty and staff members. Consistently ranked among the best private schools in San Diego and California, LJCDS is committed to inspiring greatness for a better world by fostering a culture and a community that leads with dignity. 

With the announcement of the current Head of School Dr. Gary Krahn’s retirement at the end of the 2023–2024 school year, the Board of Trustees has embarked on an international search for the next head of school to build on Dr. Krahn’s many achievements. A search committee has been formed and is guided by the expertise of the respected search firm RG175. 

Looking forward to the school’s centennial, the new head will have a full year on campus before leading the school through the joyous celebration of its 100-year history.

List of 2 items.

  • The Search Committee

    Scott Cartwright 
    Co-Chair, Head of School Search Committee; Trustee
    Scott joined the LJCDS board in 2020 and served on the Finance Committee. He currently serves on the Committee on Trustees. Scott is the owner of Novian Skincare Manufacturing which manufactures skincare, hair care, body care and pet care products. A seasoned entrepreneur and data-driven direct-response marketer, he previously founded a health company that provided health education and nutritional support to individuals with chronic diseases. He was also the owner and founder of Health Priority Natural Products. 
     
    Scott’s prior experience includes a 10-year tenure as an officer and aviator in the U.S. Navy and working as an international program manager at UC San Diego Medical Center.
     
    He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and a Master of Public Health from San Diego State University. Scott has two children, Evans ’24 and Davis ’32.


    Amy Mischler ’91 
    Co-Chair, Head of School Search Committee; Trustee
    Amy joined the LJCDS board in 2018 and serves as chair of the Philanthropy Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is a San Diego native and an LJCDS alumna and lifer. Amy is the former chair of the Country Day Fund, program chair of Blue Bash 2014, and has been active within the philanthropy department since she joined LJCDS as a parent in 2013.

    Her career has spanned more than 25 years in business development, leading strategic partnerships across technology and financial services in both start-up and large corporate environments. In senior roles at Givewith, Intuit, Capital One and Experian, some of the partnerships Amy led include IBM, Chase, Deloitte, Salesforce and Microsoft. She now provides independent consulting.

    Amy earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science in business administration from San Diego State University with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Amy and her husband, Bob, are the parents of Willa ’27 and Callan ’30. 


    Natalia Burgett
    Trustee
    Natalia joined the LJCDS board in 2021 and serves on the Finance Committee. She spent her career in investment banking, including a decade within the Mergers and Acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs. Based in both the New York and Chicago offices, Natalia advised on transactions in multiple industries with a focus on consumer and retail businesses. Selected M&A deals include the $57bn sale of Gillette to Procter & Gamble, the $17bn merger between May and Federated Department stores, the $5.5bn sale of Gerber to Nestle, and the $7.2bn acquisition of Danone’s biscuit business by Kraft. 
     
    Natalia has also been involved with several nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of the Lurie Children’s Hospital Children’s Research Fund and chairing multiple fundraising events for other worthy causes. 

    She earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Stanford University. Natalia and her husband, Mark, are the parents of Lucas ’24, Alice ’27 and Oliver ’30.


    Micah Parzen, Ph.D.
    Trustee
    Micah joined the LJCDS board in 2020 and serves on the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Committee on Trustees. He has served as CEO of the San Diego Museum of Us since 2010. Under his leadership, the museum has transformed from a tired institution in significant distress to one that is thriving, winning USD’s prestigious “Kaleidoscope Award for Good Governance” in 2018. Prior to this, Micah was a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, LLP, where he provided counseling and litigation services to clients and served as the firm’s pro bono coordinator. 

    Board service includes the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the Western Museums Association and the mayoral-appointed Balboa Park Committee. Micah’s past board service also includes the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program, the Waldorf School of San Diego, and ElderHelp of San Diego, where he was chair for two years.  

    He earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley, a doctorate in anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and a J.D. from UC Davis, King School of Law.


    Lorri Sulpizio, Ph.D.
    Trustee
    Lorri joined the LJCDS board in 2020 and serves as chair of the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and serves on the Executive Committee. She is the director of the Conscious Leadership Academy and the founder of the Center for Women’s Leadership, both at the University of San Diego (USD). Lorri has consulted with numerous companies and has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in leadership including Gender and Leadership, Women in Leadership, and Contemporary Issues in Leadership. She also developed the Cultivate Conscious Kids program at USD. 

    Board service includes the New Children’s Museum, the California Community College Women’s Basketball Association and the Fitness Advisory Council for San Diego Mesa College. She was the head women’s basketball coach at San Diego Mesa College from 2001–2007 and at Cuyamaca College from 2008–2010. 

    She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, Women’s Studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a Master of Arts in physical education and sport psychology at San Diego State University, and a doctorate in Leadership Studies at USD. Lorri has four children, Gavin ’21, Garrett ’23, Atlanta ’26 and Maddux ’29.


    Tony Toranto
    Vice President, Board of Trustees
    Tony joined the LJCDS board in 2018 and currently serves as vice president, as chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and serves on the Executive Committee. He is a partner at Sheppard Mullin in the firm’s real estate, corporate and energy practice groups. He specializes in a diverse range of transaction types across these practice areas with an emphasis on financial transactions. As part of the LJCDS buildings and grounds committee, he was responsible for coordinating the presentation for a potential solar installation project. 

    Other philanthropic work includes Jewish Family Service (where he and his wife, Karin, have served as the annual gala co-chairs) and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (where he is a member of the Salkexcellerators and serves on a scientific advisory committee). Tony is also active in the American Israel public affairs committee, where he is a congressional committee member. 

    He earned a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, MBA and a Juris Doctor degree, all from Stanford University. Tony and his wife, Karin, are the parents of Maddy ’24 and Nate ’27.


    Glen Woods '05
    Trustee
    Glen joined the board in 2022 but has served on the Finance Committee since 2020. He is a native San Diegan and LJCDS alumnus. Following in his father’s footsteps, Glen studied at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in political science and played collegiate football for four years. 

    After graduating from the Naval Academy, Glen served for five years as a naval officer in a wide range of specialties including overseeing equipment safety and electrical systems and managing the day-to-day operations team for radar and AEGIS systems. Glen has worked as a wealth management advisor for Northwestern Mutual since 2014.
  • Our Search Partner

    Recognized as a leading search firm for independent schools, Resource Group 175 (RG175) consists of 18 highly successful, long-serving former heads of school and senior administrators who have served schools throughout the country and internationally. The firm is highly selective of new consultants, and therefore, its members have been, and continue to be, leaders in the independent school world. 

    The firm’s success rate includes 96% of heads placed in the last five years remaining at their respective schools. In addition, nearly 50% of their placements have been women and 20% have been people of color. RG175’s global database of candidates and, most importantly, its networks allow them to target candidates whose leadership and management skills align with LJCDS’ challenges and opportunities.
     
    Consultant TeamTom Hudnut, Debbie Reed and Rebecca Upham.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Why is LJCDS looking for a new head of school?

    After nearly four decades in education, Dr. Gary Krahn announced his decision to retire from LJCDS at the end of the 2023–2024 school year.
  • Who is leading the search?

    The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring LJCDS’s next head of school. To lead the process, the board created a Head of School Search Committee that will be involved in every step of the search process. The search committee will conduct the search under the guidance of nationally recognized school search firm RG175.
  • What is the expected timeline for the search process? 

    The application deadline is February 1, 2023. Finalists will visit campus in spring 2023 and the new head of school will be announced soon after. On July 1, 2024, the new head of school will join the LJCDS community.
  • How will the community be involved?

    Community members will have the chance to meet with the search consultants at the start of the process, communicate with the search committee and consultants during the process, and provide feedback on the finalists who are invited to visit campus.
  • Will there be any internal candidates?

    Applications are welcome from all qualified candidates, including those currently working at LJCDS. The committee will ensure that every candidate (whether internal or external) is assessed in the context of the entire pool of applicants and that confidentiality is upheld in all cases.

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