Roots & Wings: Voices of Independent Schools
By Inez Odom, assistant head of school for enrollment management and outreach
Our assistant head of school for enrollment management and outreach explains why she started the LJCDS podcast.
I care deeply about the well-being of children and their families. In the last year, I began searching for a way to engage differently with current and prospective families who are considering the most important determinant of their children’s futures: their education. Having spent the last decade working in the independent school world, I realized that there are questions that current and applicant families consistently pose, many of which are worthy of deeper discussion and exploration.
In fall 2018, I began a podcast series for La Jolla Country Day School titled Roots & Wings: Voices of Independent Schools. Creating a podcast series seemed like the perfect mechanism to provide thoughtful, in-depth conversations concerning some of the more detailed aspects of independent school life.
Topics for the podcast have been created as a result of the questions that parents have asked throughout the admission process over the past decade. I have also considered topics that are top of mind for parents on the national stage, including testing and assessments; the admission process; and kindergarten readiness. I have had the privilege of interviewing the board of trustees president, author of Dignity, director of the LJCDS Center for Excellence in Citizenship program, the executive director of the Independent School Entrance Exam at ERB, and many more insightful leaders within the LJCDS community and beyond.
The episode titled “The Role of the Board of Trustees and the History of La Jolla Country Day School” has been one of our most popular to date. Board of Trustees President Chris Richey is a dynamic speaker who is also a student of history. He has personally researched the history of the school and our founder, Louise Balmer. With skill and rich storytelling, he weaves the tale of a young widowed educator who, in 1926, began LJCDS (originally called the Balmer School). As we approach our school’s centennial in 2026, we recognize that many of Mrs. Balmer’s ideas are still reflected in the intersection of how we teach today, where “proven meets progressive.”
My eagerness to develop a podcast series at LJCDS stems from my background as a documentary filmmaker. Before joining the LJCDS community, I owned a multimedia production company, IMO Productions, where I conducted hundreds of interviews for storytelling. I am a huge fan of the spoken word.
Our current families have found the podcast series to be a wonderful way to stay in touch with the life of the school on their own schedule. Many of our alumni have expressed great enthusiasm and pride in the series. Prospective families deeply value the chance to learn more about who we are and why we do what we do. We’re proud that the Independent School Magazine, published by the National Association of Independent Schools, will be featuring an article about the podcast series this summer 2019.