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Q&A with Board of Trustees President Lucy Smith Conroy ’90

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager

Get to know an alumna and the newest board president.
Lucy Smith Conroy ’90 P’24 ’25 has held many roles at LJCDS: alumna, lifer, benefactor, parent, room parent, Country Day Fund ambassador, Parents Association member, booster club and arts alliance volunteer, president of the Alumni Leadership Council, board of trustees committee member and board of trustees vice president. Now, she is leading the board of trustees as the school’s first member of the alumni to be board president.
Lucy’s roots at LJCDS were planted at 5 years old. Both of her parents, Dr. Sidney and Lucy Smith, generously offered their time, talents and treasure to support LJCDS, including serving as board of trustees president and Parents Association president, respectively. The family’s commitment to the school continues to run deep. Lucy and her husband, Ambrose, chose LJCDS to educate their children, Ben ’24 and Keira ’25, since junior kindergarten. What’s particularly special is Lucy’s children have been taught by some of the same teachers she had as a student.

As board president, Lucy shares her thoughts on the following:

On the role of the board of trustees: All of the board’s work is encompassed by our responsibility to safeguard the mission and the future of the school. This can be broken into two roles:
  • The first is to support and evaluate the head of school, the board’s one employee. The board is not involved with operational, day-to-day decisions, student discipline matters or faculty and staff issues. We trust Head of School Dr. Krahn to run the school.

  • The other role of the board is to work strategically to improve LJCDS 10, 20, 50 years from now. This includes financial oversight and stewardship of the school’s endowment and other resources. We use the school’s mission statement and strategic goals as guideposts for board decisions.

On the goals of the board: The primary goal of the board is to support Dr. Krahn and his vision for the school. We’re quite lucky to have someone of his caliber leading LJCDS. The board ensures that we put resources behind the right ideas.

Another goal is to find ways to engage all constituents in our philanthropic endeavors. Independent schools need a whole community to come together and support the institution in ways that extend beyond the cost of tuition. It is vitally important that all of our constituents generously support the Country Day Fund. It is the most impactful way to help fund all the extras that make an LJCDS education so unique. This year, we are asking our current parents to be ALL IN @LJCDS and help us reach 100% participation in CDF.

We are also focused on creating a master plan to guide the development of our campus. As our centennial approaches in 2026, the needs of our student body are changing, and we want to be sure we have the right facilities in place to support future LJCDS students.

On the makeup of the board: We are lucky to have so much talent on the board and its committees. We have business leaders, lawyers, bankers, engineers, communication specialists, investment professionals, artists and more. I believe it’s important to have a balance of genders, ethnicities, a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, newer parents and those who have been here a long time, plus parents from all divisions and even community members who don’t currently have children at LJCDS. 

A significant portion of the board’s work is done through its committees: Audit, Buildings and Grounds, Engagement, Executive, Finance, and Committee on Trustees. The majority of these committees are populated by both trustees and non-trustee community members. Most of our current trustees served on a committee before joining the board. A great trustee is someone whose expertise lines up well with those committees and who is able to focus on the mission and strategic vision of the school.

Trustees must have a love for the school that extends beyond their child’s experience and must be willing to devote a tremendous amount of time and effort toward shaping a school that may not come to pass until after their child has graduated. One of the great misconceptions about the board is that we are somehow involved in making decisions about the school on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully, that responsibility rests squarely in the hands of Dr. Krahn.

With her leadership, wisdom, perspective and love for the school, Lucy is looking forward to helping to shape the school for future generations. At the end of her first year as board president, Lucy will shake the hands of each graduate on the same stage that she walked across 30 years ago—another special moment indeed.

To learn more about the board and Lucy, listen to episode 18 of the LJCDS Podcast.

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