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Managing with Heart

By Hannah Jacobs, marketing and communications intern
Revered administration member, Mark Marcus, retires from LJCDS after an impressive 35-year career.
Mark Marcus, assistant head of school for operations, is retiring at the end of the 2019–2020 school year after an impressive 35-year career at LJCDS. Mr. Marcus joined LJCDS in 1985 and has been a celebrated member of the administration ever since. Holding positions ranging from business manager to assistant head of school, and finally assistant head of school for operations, Mr. Marcus has been essential to helping LJCDS operations run smoothly.

“Mark is a tremendous leader. A man who was willing to serve the La Jolla Country Day School community and always put the needs of LJCDS first,” says Terri Bamford, LJCDS women’s basketball head coach. “He is trustworthy, bluntly honest and a strong, compassionate leader.”

As the assistant head of school for operations, Mr. Marcus oversaw the building and construction of the Lower School, Early Childhood Center, pavilion and Smith gymnasium. Additionally, he managed the redesign of the old gym into a 329-seat theater and the renovations of the Upper School and many more improvements. “I will miss Mark’s passionate dedication to Country Day and his encyclopedic knowledge of the campus and of the school’s history,” shares Jim Kelly P’11 ’12 ’16 ’24, trustee. “Mark is simply irreplaceable.” Mr. Marcus played a vital role in creating the campus that exists today.

“I find Mark to be the heart and soul of the school. He always has what is best for the school on his mind,” shares Jerry Fleischhacker, Upper School history educator and men’s varsity soccer head coach. “He is involved in so many things that I cannot imagine what the school will be like [without him].”

“[Mr. Marcus has] unimpeachable integrity, total commitment to act in the best interests of the kids and an ability to cut through pretension and tell it like it is,” recalls John Finch, the Middle School director from 1995–2001. Mr. Marcus is notorious for his witty jokes and sarcasm at LJCDS. “My most notable memory of Mr. Marcus is probably when he left his security office with all the cameras to come into the gym to tell me to stop missing so many [basketball] shots from the wing,” shares Kelsey Plum ’13. 

Praised by his colleagues and alumni as loyal, hardworking and honest, Mr. Marcus inspires greatness in everyone he meets. “Mr. Marcus embodies so many of the qualities that make LJCDS such a special place. He leads by example and has the unique ability to make you feel heard, appreciated and cared for,” says Chris Nicolaou ’99. “He has always been there for students, faculty, parents and alumni, and his presence has served as a comforting source of stability over the years. His laid back attitude, sense of humor and work ethic are magnetic.”

“For me, it has always been about the kids,” shares Mr. Marcus. “We would do almost anything to support them and doing what is best for the students was something I always strived for.”

During his retirement, Mr. Marcus hopes to go on vacation and travel, as he’s never gone on a vacation where he completely “unplugged” from LJCDS. He plans to spend more time with his family, and he hopes to maintain his favorite mantra throughout retirement and “stay vertical.”