New director of admissions Hadley Keefe is looking forward to her position at Country Day, although she’ll miss brushing up on her “rusty French.”
Keefe, who is replacing Lonna Bloedau, is currently the associate director of admission at Lycée Français de San Francisco.
Bloedau has been at Country Day for 25 years, serving as director of admission for 23.
She said she has worked under four heads of school and admitted more than 2,000 students.
Keefe will begin on July 1 and has already visited campus to prepare for her new position.
She has worked for four independent schools’ admission offices.
“Each school I’ve worked for is quite different than the last,” Keefe said, “But each had some qualities that I really admired and enjoyed.”
Keefe has also taught journalism, coached field hockey and lacrosse teams, and formed a workshop for young writers.
Furthermore, she worked at a software education company called WhippleHill in 2013-14 (WhippleHill has since been acquired by Blackbaud, and the products are now referred to as Blackbaud K12 or the “OnProducts”).
Though Keefe said the job was “fascinating,” she enjoyed being in a school environment so much that she returned to working in admissions as soon as she could.
Keefe said she will miss both her “scenic commute” through Marin County and her “wonderful coworkers” who come from all over the world.
She said she chose Country Day because she supports its mission and philosophy
“The work of a director of admission is to advance the mission of her school by maintaining and growing the number of enrolled students,” Keefe said.
“Country Day (is) forming students to have not only exceptional intellects but also well-formed hearts.”
The school’s tight-knit community also appeals to Keefe.
“People who join the community tend to stay,” Keefe said.
This statement is certainly true for Bloedau. Before beginning at Country Day in 1992, she taught at the Sacramento Children’s Home, a residential facility for children who have been temporarily taken out of their homes as wards of the court.
She also worked for the Sacramento Economic Opportunity Council as a grant writer and program developer from 1971-73, and for one of governor Jerry Brown’s agency secretaries from 1975-82.
While working with the agency secretary, Bloedau was responsible for $1.6 million per year in Intergovernmental Personnel Act Advisory Council grant funds.
In addition, she headed a research grant at Sacramento State University called the Human Service Career Development Project. It created new curricula that articulated coursework between the California community colleges and the CSU system from from 1973-75.
However, Bloedau said that “the best job of all” has been with Country Day.
“I will sorely miss the students and the privilege of working with and promoting all kinds of children,” Bloedau said. “Taking a chance with children is the greatest gift of any job I have had.
“Watching them grow and develop into magnificent young adults brings a tear to my eye at every graduation.”
And Bloedau’s daughter, Victoria, who graduated in 2006, was one of these students.
Bloedau said her favorite aspect of her job has been the students, who inspire her, challenge her assumptions and make her think.
She also loves giving tours and showing visitors everything about Country Day.
Though Bloedau said she wants to “let the future happen without too many expectations for it,” she hopes to become fluent in Italian and volunteer at the UC Davis MIND Institute.
She will also help international students at Country Day issue their I-20 forms, secure their student visas, and coordinate between the school and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
Bloedau’s advice for Keefe is to get to know and listen to the students. She said that even in the short time they attend Country Day, the students have great wisdom to share.
“And she must promise me that she’ll fall head over heels in love with this sweet school,” Bloedau said.
—By Héloïse Schep