Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We have a committed team of individuals as passionate as you are about the future of La Jolla Country Day School. Please reach out to us individually or to the group at

Susan Nordenger
Assistant Head of School for Development
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Susan Nordenger never believed that teaching is a job but rather a calling. From the first day she stepped into her La Jolla Country Day School classroom, she knew she found the place she wanted to call home. After 10 years of teaching in the Middle School, Mrs. Nordenger worked with students to create an all-school community service program. This 19-year endeavor has been the most rewarding phase of her career.
Mrs. Nordenger began teaching in St. Helens, Oregon. Those first six years were split between teaching in a self-contained sixth-grade classroom and teaching eighth-grade American history, English and literature. Mrs. Nordenger fell in love with student activities, learning to work and lead students out of the classroom. She began teaching sixth grade at LJCDS in 1987. She also taught seventh-grade English for eight years and the Upper School public speaking course for 17 years. In 1997, she became the community service director, and in 2004, the school implemented its global service program traveling to India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ghana, Thailand, Tanzania and Kenya.

The year 2016 brought another chapter in Mrs. Nordenger's LJCDS story as she takes on the role of assistant head of school for development. She is excited to work with parents, grandparents and alumni in securing the future of the school and cultivating a culture of philanthropy. Gratitude defines her life and experiences, and she finds there is no greater privilege than to stand side by side with community members as they realize their potential to make a difference in the life of this school and the surrounding community.

Eve West
Annual Fund Manager
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Eve West joined the LJCDS community in 2015 as a parent of a new student (Anna ’17) and has loved the school from the moment she first visited campus. Mrs. West immediately recognized the warmth of the community, and observed the joy that students and faculty experienced while engaged together in learning and creating. She is thrilled to join the development team where she can work with the community to strengthen the school for generations to come.
Mrs. West began her professional life as an attorney and practiced trial law in Philadelphia. In 2002, she, her husband, Tom, and their three children moved to the United Kingdom. While the children attended an international school, Mrs. West worked on the school’s parent association board and as a substitute teacher. After living in the UK for almost four years, the family moved to Northern California, where she tutored students in reading and sat on the board of directors of Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton, California. The family moved to San Diego in 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and her law degree from Columbia Law School.

In her free time, Mrs. West enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also loves to travel and read.

Michelle Beck
Community Engagement Manager
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Michelle Beck believes that “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” As Community Engagement Manager, Ms. Beck’s role is to oversee the Parents Association activities which include: volunteer engagement, cultivation and planning signature events. She also oversees the Grandparents program.
Ms. Beck’s first job was interning at Walt Disney World during a term in college. She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration at Oregon State University, where she also worked in the athletic department. Prior to joining LJCDS, she worked with the Miami Dolphins Community Relations and Foundation for six years. 

Ms. Beck enjoys spending time outdoors in America’s Finest City and watching San Diego’s sports teams. She currently volunteers with the Padres Volunteer Team. She also loves to travel as often as she can.

Alana Bianco Cruz
Gifts Manager
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Alana Bianco Cruz came to LJCDS after eight years with the San Diego Zoo. Starting as a membership representative, she was introduced to development and soon became an integral part of the services division. During her time there, she created and implemented a membership training program, worked on multiple system integrations, as well as processed all online and major gifts. This prepared her well for her current role.
Ms. Bianco Cruz was born and raised on the island of Maui. Before she moved to San Diego, she was a member of the Lahainaluna High School boarding department for four years. The pride she felt as a boarder instantly connected her with the atmosphere at LJCDS.

Ms. Bianco Cruz has two children, Oliver and Pepper, who she hopes one day will become a part of the LJCDS family.