Head of School Message

From the Desk of Pat Walker

June, 2022

As I write this update for you, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to once again spend time with many of you during this past school year. What we missed the most during the previous two years was partnering with you in person. Your presence on campus is what brings life to our work with the children.
Starting in the Fall with the Grateful Gatherings, we began hosting outdoor activities for families. Moving into the school year, we found more and more opportunities to invite families to events, and we opened the campus to you as volunteers. The chance to see you in person, welcome you to campus and be present as you interact with the children has given us greater opportunities to get to know one another. We are aware that it is our relationships with you and our students that build the foundation for our work together and the success of your children at Jacksonville Country Day School. 

Strong Communication is Vital

Your ongoing communication with the school - asking questions, understanding our decisions, and posing suggestions - has contributed greatly to our success as we navigated uncharted waters. The strong community you’ve built with us is directly responsible for the success we’ve shared during the last three years. Thank you!

The children are the guiding lights that continue to show us flexibility, resilience, and joy. Mostly joy! Their delight with the daily “aha” moments, whether academic or social, shines through all of the planning and procedures. Their triumphs, big and small, ground us as we realize our planning is for the sole purpose of helping them grow and thrive.

Our Character Education is Evident

While we continue to intentionally model and teach good character, the children are more aware of the choices they make. As they learn and strive to practice good character, they become better and better community members. From the recent parent and faculty surveys, we know how important this part of their education is to you. Having an entire community embrace the practice of good character gives me hope for our future and for the world our children will one day lead. 
One thing has remained strong through all the changes over the last few years. The academic rigor of the program at JCDS continues to challenge children and teach them how to problem-solve, develop habits that enhance their learning, and prepare themselves for a lifetime of intellectual exploration. The careful assessment and alignment of the curriculum, an ongoing process, leads JCDS students to success during their years here and beyond. 

Our Faculty of Experts

With our expert faculty’s commitment to ongoing growth and learning, we continue to strengthen the program. It is exciting that our teachers request professional development. They are willing to take courses and learn during the summer in order to offer the students a program founded in the most current research and best practices. 

We are acutely aware that good teachers are the backbone of a strong academic program. Further, we also know from the parent survey that expert teachers are what you think makes this school successful. We agree! JCDS is fortunate that our teachers, unlike many on a broader national scale, love the profession and want to teach. Their commitment to your children is exemplary.

We look forward to the opportunities ahead of us to grow our relationships, offer our students an excellent program, and build our community together. Please know we are busy planning for the experiences that will serve the children in our care. 

Head of School

About Pat

Head of School Pat Walker has more than 35 years of experience as an educator, including seven years teaching 1st grade at JCDS. She also served as Director of Admissions for thirteen years prior to being named Head of School in 2014. 

Ms. Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Wake Forest University. She and her husband, James, are parents of twins who are alums of JCDS. Ms. Walker is passionate about character education and serving the children in her care. 

She is active in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), for which she has served on several FCIS evaluation committees, and the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA).