Giving

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 development@ljcds.org.


Susan Nordenger
Assistant Head of School for Development
858-453-3440 x148
snordenger@ljcds.org

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.

Michele Isaac
Annual Fund Manager
858-453-3440 x293
 
Michele Isaac believes that individual instruction, encouragement and guidance in every aspect of the school develops well-rounded, critical thinkers, clear communicators, responsible and inclusive people, and she wants to be part of the development process.
 
Mrs. Isaac’s career began by selling sponsorships for Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, the sales and marketing arm to the San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes in addition to various professional sporting tournaments. It wasn’t too long before she realized the joyful community at Pinewood School in Los Altos, California. She became a Panther in 2002 as the athletic director before moving to San Francisco to work in finance from 2006–2010. It was in 2010 that another appealing opportunity surfaced at Pinewood School. Mrs. Isaac returned and helped establish the development program to maintain the Pinewood School’s standard of excellence. For three years before joining LJCDS in 2018, Mrs. Isaac managed the alumni relations programs and events, was head high school and junior high school softball coach, served as Interact club faculty advisor and chair of the Upper Campus assembly committee.
 
Mrs. Isaac is an active member of the San Diego community and thrives on a culture of giving and cheering for the San Francisco Giants. She is passionate about development and is excited to continue growing the LJCDS legacy. Mrs. Isaac is from Sunnyvale, CA and currently lives in San Marcos with her husband, Josh, who is a developer for the University of California San Francisco. They have two young children, Alexa and Eric.
Makena Archer
Community Engagement Manager
858-453-3440 x354

Makena Archer joined the LJCDS community in 2017 after spending three years at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. During her time there, she independently organized and managed over 20 fundraising and donor recognition events annually for the office of External Relations.

Prior to her role at the Salk Institute, Mrs. Archer attended the University of San Diego where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Marketing.

Mrs. Archer is a native San Diegan and enjoys spending time with her friends and family, listening to live music, camping in the local mountains and traveling across the nation.
Katie Sigeti
Alumni Relations Manager
(858) 453-3440 ext.178
ksigeti@ljcds.org

Katelyn Sigeti ’06 joined the La Jolla Country Day School community in 1993, as a kindergartener. As an LJCDS lifer, she has called the school home for (quite literally) as long as she can remember. Ms. Sigeti considers it an enormous privilege to have grown up as a student in a community emphasizing intellectualism, social justice and relationships, and now has the opportunity to serve the very community that raised her. As alumni relations manager, she enjoys connecting generations of alumni to each other and to their alma mater.

Ms. Sigeti attended Boston University, where she spent a semester abroad studying in Madrid and a summer in Los Angeles interning at NBC. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in film and television and a bachelor of arts degree in Hispanic language and literature. Before joining LJCDS, she worked in professional baseball for three major league teams and was also on the team at Yelp.

Ms. Sigeti’s passions lay in community service, travel and learning. She has also harbored a lifelong love of musical theater, all-things Disney and baseball. 
 
Alana Bianco Cruz
Gifts Manager
858-453-3440 x157
abcruz@ljcds.org

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. Pepper is a Tiny Torrey at LJCDS.