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This podcast, sponsored by La Jolla Country Day School, explores the topic of independent schools. Host Inez Odom interviews experts in the field to offer a multifaceted view of the topic from many perspectives. Subscribe and listen on iTunes or Spotify.

Episode 18: Lucy Conroy- President, La Jolla Country Day School, Board of Trustees

In this special podcast, we invite you to meet the new President of the Board of Trustees, Lucy Smith Conroy ’90. Mrs. Conroy is a La Jolla Country Day School “lifer” who joined the board in 2013 and became vice president of trustees in 2017. She was past president of the Alumni Leadership Council, Chair of the Committee on Trustees and a member of the Executive Committee.

Mrs. Conroy is a freelance theater director and member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society whose work has been produced both in New York and at regional theaters across the country. She is the former resident dramaturg at Court Theatre in Chicago. Mrs. Conroy earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater and women’s studies from Trinity College and a Master of Fine Arts in directing from Columbia University. Mrs. Conroy and her husband, Ambrose, have three children, Ben '24, Keira '25 and baby Sara. In this podcast, Mrs. Conroy reflects upon her experiences at La Jolla Country Day School and shares her insights on the school.
Episode 17: La Jolla Country Day School’s Upper School

Our Upper School academic program serves to prepare students for matriculation and success at our nation’s finest and most selective colleges and universities. Our greater mission is to prepare students for life. The student experience isn’t solely about the path to college but about the journey of education. In honoring LJCDS founder Louise Balmer’s educational philosophy, we believe in the importance of balancing traditional teaching with a progressive approach.

Enjoy this podcast with Tom Trocano, Upper School Head for La Jolla Country Day School, Dave Jenkins, Assistant Head of Upper School for College Counseling and Student Life for La Jolla Country Day School and Rachel Clouser, Ed.D. Upper School Dean of Academics and Student Life for La Jolla Country Day School.
Episode 16: La Jolla Country Day School’s Middle School

The Middle School at La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS) is where we cultivate the maturation of our young scholars in Grades 5–8 in an ever-changing time in their lives. A bridge between the Lower and Upper Schools, the Middle School challenges students within a nurturing environment and provides opportunities to explore a variety of academic offerings, technology, physical education, music, art, community service and leadership roles.

Enjoy this podcast with Ryan Song, Middle School Head for La Jolla Country Day School and Kristy Johnson, Assistant Middle School Head for La Jolla Country Day School.
Episode 15: La Jolla Country Day School’s Early Childhood Center and Lower School

The La Jolla Country Day School Early Childhood Center's (ECC) goal is to provide each child an environment that offers developmentally appropriate activities to encourage social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth as well as personal responsibility. La Jolla Country Day School’s Lower School is a place where parents are often reminded of the best aspects of their childhood. Remember the caring elementary school teacher who believed in you or the one who helped you emerge out of your timid shell? Lower School is where we lay the foundation for the joy of learning, and our educators play a critical role in that process.

Enjoy this podcast with Melanie Baier, Lower School Head for La Jolla Country Day School, Marsha Poh for La Jolla Country Day School, Assistant Lower School Head and Maria Curtis, Early Childhood Center Director for La Jolla Country Day School.
Episode 14: Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Colleen O’Boyle

Colleen O’Boyle began her career, as an educator, at La Jolla Country Day School in the college counseling and English departments in the Upper School. She left to earn her master’s in English literature through Middlebury College, where she studied with some of the great professors of literature at Middlebury College, St. John’s College and Oxford University. Colleen has been a member of the faculty at High Tech High. Later she was a founding member of the Da Vinci Schools in Los Angeles and, specifically, head of Da Vinci Design.

Colleen returned to LJCDS as the academic dean of the Upper School in the 2013-2014 academic year, followed by her time as head of the Middle School. In her current role as the Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Colleen reflects upon the academic experience at La Jolla Country Day School and its ongoing evolution.
Episode 13: Alumni Describe the LJCDS Experience

Please enjoy a specially recorded podcast with seven of our La Jolla Country Day School alumni who reflect upon the joy, relevance and impact of their La Jolla Country Day School experience.

Episode 12:  Leading with Dignity  
Featuring Donna Hicks, Ph.D., Harvard University

Based at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University for more than two decades, Donna Hicks, Ph.D., has successfully applied her signature dignity model on a global stage. Her clients  include the World Bank, the United Nations, the US Navy, and governments worldwide. She currently helps leaders in business, health care, government, education and other fields to create cultures that foster innovation and dignified human relationships.  La Jolla Country Day School is featured in chapter 5 of her newest book: Leading With Dignity.
Episode 11: The Team, The Team
Featuring Jeff Hutzler, Director of Athletics and Physical Education,  La Jolla Country Day School.

The athletic program at La Jolla Country Day School provides student-athletes with an opportunity to broaden their educational experiences through a variety of team and individual sports by combining intellectual achievement with physical excellence. From basketball to water polo to rock climbing, students have a wide variety of options to choose. With our no-cut policy, students can participate on a team no matter their ability or experience. Athletics plays an important part in the life of LJCDS students as they find their balance between academic and athletic excellence.
Episode 10: Through the Lens of Art
Featuring Cindy Bravo, Director of Visual and Performing Arts,  La Jolla Country Day School.

Our mission in the arts is to provide an intellectual foundation through hands-on production in an array of media that develops confident, creative thinkers who form a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Courses include studio art, ceramics, engineering design, painting, graphic design, filmmaking and photography. Mentored by practicing artists, attuned to the continual evolution of the arts world, students explore and master varied techniques and mediums in the arts. We explore the opportunities and breadth of arts offerings at La Jolla Country Day School while also examining the important role of art in the lives of students as lifelong learners.
Episode 9: Kindergarten Readiness
Featuring Terri Zimmerman, Kindergarten Educator, La Jolla Country Day School

As a kindergarten teacher for over thirty years, Terri Zimmerman brings ideas, enthusiasm and insight into kindergarten readiness that is rooted both in experience and information. Through her playful sense of humor and keen intellect, Ms. Zimmerman reflects on how best to help parents prepare their children for kindergarten and the start of the lifelong journey of education.
La Jolla Country Day School's kindergarten is child-centered, honoring the intellectual, social and emotional life of each child. A rich and varied curriculum develops character and fosters a love of knowledge and each child's desire to learn. The faculty, through diverse teaching styles and interests, inspires creativity and imagination. In the words of Terri Zimmerman,  “I inspire greatness for a better world by teaching my children three key characteristics: confidence, risk-taking and grit. Confidence for a kindergarten student is instilling that ‘Yes, I can’ attitude in all endeavors. There are innumerable opportunities on a daily basis for risk-taking, a key component for successful innovators. Grit, the ability to stay on a task until completion regardless of challenges or frustration, will serve them in their future.”
Episode 8: Citizenship and Developing Student Agency
Featuring Jonathan Shulman, Director, Center for Excellence in Citizenship, AP Government & AP World History Educator, La Jolla Country Day School

Featuring Dan Norland, J.D., Center for Excellence in Citizenship, History Educator, Humanities Department, La Jolla Country Day School
What does it mean to be an involved citizen in the world around you? How do students learn about ethics, conflict, resolution and governance?  From mock trial to human libraries to model united nations to social justice, the Center for Excellence in Citizenship at La Jolla Country Day School is defining new ground.

Students have the opportunity to engage with the world around them in learning spaces that include courtrooms, stages and studios. They work with people who are practitioners in areas such as social justice and political leadership.
Episode 7: Design and Innovation: Asking the Right Questions
Featuring Matt Abbondanzio, Assistant Head of School, Center for Excellence in Design and Innovation.

Design is a way of thinking—a method of distilling something down to its essence in order to remake it as simple as it should be. Good design intentionally relates to its context and responds to all potential points of view. Design is often associated with aesthetics, how something looks. Although important on one level, it captures a small portion of design. Good design relates and provides value to anyone who interacts with it. This is the standard to which we hold students in the Innovation Lab. Our students reach these goals by learning to develop their perspective through unique lenses.

How do we take students beyond STEM and STEAM into the world of inquiry and ethnography? The Center for Excellence in Design and Innovation at La Jolla Country Day School does just that. Whether through inroads into entrepreneurship or developing new technologies, this is a program that pushes the envelope for 21st-century learning.
Episode 6: The Role of the Board of Trustees and the History of La Jolla Country Day School 
Featuring Chris Richey, Chair, Board of Trustees, La Jolla Country Day School.

How does an independent school manage its governance? The Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chris Richey, shares his insights into the structure, charge and scope of the board’s activities. Further, Mr. Richey shares the rich history of La Jolla Country Day School through the story of its founder, Louise Balmer, as well as his vision for the future of the school as it moves toward its centennial in 2026.
Episode 5: ISEE, Testing and the Admissions Process
Featuring Elizabeth Mangas, Chief Experience Officer, Educational Records Bureau and Rochelle Michel, Executive Director, Independent School Entrance Exam at ERB.

Many parents have questions concerning the Independent School Entrance Exam on behalf of their children. In this episode, topics such as test preparation, the weight of testing in the admission process, the people behind the testing and how the ISEE is used to evaluate an applicant’s readiness are explored.
Episode 4:  An Investment for a Lifetime: Early Childhood and Lower School Admission
Featuring Payton Hobbs, Associate Director of Admission, La Jolla Country Day School, former Lower School Head, Ravenscroft School

Payton reflects upon the value of the independent school admission process in assisting families with learning more about their child’s journey as a student/learner. Establishing a love of learning from the outset is integral to laying the best possible foundation in a child’s life.
Episode 3: Data and Fit: the Head and Heart of Admissions
Featuring Geordie Mitchell, Director of Enrollment Management and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Buckingham, Browne and Nichols
Geordie Mitchell reflects upon the future of independent school education and the process needed for schools to make strategic data-driven decisions. He brings humor, insight and clarity to the topic of enrollment management. 
Episode 2: Leading an Independent School in the 21st Century
Featuring Gary Krahn, Ph.D., Head of School, La Jolla Country Day School

Gary Krahn shares the latest in education around the world and his vision for La Jolla Country Day School. 
Episode 1: Behind the Curtain: Insights into the Independent School Admission Process
Featuring Brian Murphy, Director of Financial Assistance and Enrollment Management, La Jolla Country Day School

Admission professionals truly place enormous care and thought into the decision process when considering applicants. This episode takes parents through the admission process and provides an insider’s view through the lens of seasoned admissions professionals.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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