Head of School Message

From the Desk of Pat Walker

January 2022

As I think about the past twenty months, I feel blessed that we have all had opportunities to learn so much. Knowing that children, our students, thrive by learning together on campus inspires us to offer them even more opportunities to do so. Every day, our students demonstrate appreciation for the value of their Jacksonville Country Day School education. 
Our days are filled with statements like:
  • “Do you know I know these words?”  a Kindergarten student referring to his Trick Words
  • “Math is fun, you just have to ‘get it,’ and I’ve got it,”  a 2nd grader learning triple-digit addition
  • “I just love it here,” a new student in 4th grade
  • “I really like being able to help the Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 kids in the mornings. It is a great way to start my day! “  a 6th grader
It is for these reasons, combined with our own love of learning, that we constantly commit to best practices and an ever-evolving curriculum. Knowing that our students need opportunities to encounter familiar content as well as develop soft skills to engage with the world of today, we ensure a program that offers both. 

We commit to continually evaluating and adjusting our curriculum to provide an enriching learning environment for our students. For example, the Enhancement class added to our fifth and sixth-grade curriculum last year has quickly become a favorite for students. In it, they learn about how they best learn and explore strategies to make the most of their individual learning styles. Our teachers help students make connections between the soft skills they develop now and their future success. We believe that opportunities like these benefit students in ways that will reach beyond their time here at Jacksonville Country Day School. 

Our students’ joy in learning is contagious and inspires us, the adults on campus, to sustain our own pursuits of knowledge. We model lifelong learning for them even as they model continuous curiosity for us. Our faculty maintain their commitment to professional development, always honing their skills in the art of teaching. Furthermore, they excitedly spearhead new initiatives, such as the work done by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, to further enhance the engagement and character development that takes place on our campus. Our faculty and staff have also shared with us their personal intellectual pursuits which range from studying the Italian language to embracing new health and wellness routines to my personal pursuit - strengthening my skills in using technology on campus. 

Our parents and families also join with us in modeling a lifelong commitment to learning and social responsibility. We are thankful to our Board of Trustees and Parents Association for prioritizing community service. Recently, our Parents Association reimagined the way we approach community service by partnering with organizations in our greater Jacksonville community to provide our students with hands-on opportunities to work beside family members and friends in order to serve others. These initiatives emphasize to our children the importance of putting others’ needs first. 

Our students are themselves, lifelong learners. We take joy in hearing about the many accomplishments of our JCDS alumni. Recently in our Shark Weekly emails, our Alumni Spotlight segments have focused on the experiences of our graduates both in Jacksonville and beyond. Our alumni often tell us that their time at JCDS resulted in lifelong friendships, unforgettable educational experiences, and the discovery of areas of interest about which they remain passionate today. 

For 61 years, we have continually added curriculum that better enables students to explore intellectually, grow socially, and realize their impact not only on our school community but on the world of their future. We believe life is enriched by the pursuit of learning and growth, not just for our children, but for us all. 

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).