After four years of dedicated service as head of middle school, Rommel Loria is leaving Country Day with a reminiscent smile, ready to tackle the opportunity to take his career to the next level as Assistant Head of School at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California.
“I’m really going to miss him,” said seventh grader Siraj Sekhon.
Known for his funny and compassionate personality, Loria is most commonly described as a joy to be around by all students and faculty he encounters.
“He was like one of those teachers that viewed you as his equal and as his friend, and we’re going to miss a big part of the school community after he leaves,” said seventh grader Jake Tiemann.
Loria worked hard over the years to transform the culture of middle school from both a student and faculty perspective.
“Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay Mr. Loria was how he pulled the faculty together in a particular way that they are united as a team far more now than they were some years ago before he got here,” said Head of School Lee Thomsen.
In addition, Loria has made instrumental contributions to the diversity, equity and inclusion work on campus, making it what it is today, Thomsen said.
Those contributions include developing, leading and making changes to the DEI program, transforming it to its core.
The school as a whole is very thankful for what Loria has brought to Country Day, Thomsen said,
Loria was not an administrative head when he first came to Country Day, but he said he is very thankful for the opportunity he was given during his stay.
Seventh grade science teacher Aleitha Burns is 100% confident Loria will do a phenomenal job in Santa Rosa, using both his prior and learned skills.
He’ll be a great fit anywhere he goes, Burns said. “He’s a hard worker, good writer, listener and is also humorous. I’m very happy for him and his family,” Burns said.
Loria, his wife, Jessica and his three children, Leah, ’29, Charlie, ’32 and Max, will be moving to Santa Rosa this summer.
“As Country Day parents with our kids being students here, we’re definitely going to miss it here,” Loria said.
Still, Loria said he and his family are beyond excited to move to Santa Rosa, and already have met a lot of great people there.
Loria will be replaced by the current middle school head at Fay School in Boston, Sarah Ostermueller.
The process of selecting a new middle school head began when the school launched a national search for qualified candidates. After Zoom and in-person interviews, the school narrowed its search to three finalists who each spent a full day on campus, meeting with staff, faculty and students.
Particularly, a selected group of middle school student ambassadors, including Sekhon, played a part in the selection process.
After getting the opportunity to ask questions and get to know the candidates better during lunch, Sekhon said Ostermueller was one of his all around favorites.
With the experience Ostermueller brings, Thomsen said he has high hopes for a smooth transition in middle school.
“She’s really well suited to the position, and I think she’s really going to be able to build off the successes that Mr. Loria has left behind, taking the middle school forward from here on out,” Thomsen said. “I’m excited!”
— By Garrett Xu
Originally published in the May 24 issue of The Octagon