Message from the Head of School

Ilene Reinfeld and
Jonathan Beckmann

Dear Los Encinos School Community,

It’s hard to believe that another year has passed. If it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, then time must zoom when you’re accomplishing something with true meaning and purpose, because that’s how each year feels to me. We are beginning our 39th year as an independent school, and I am heartened that this annual report conveys that we are staying true to our original mission by providing something in the world of education that few can match.

We are in the process of collecting real examples of how Los Encinos School graduates are doing great things. An exciting new feature on our website is the Alumni Page, a project long in coming. We are just at the beginning stages of collecting alumni stories, but we are already amazed at some of the wonderful achievements and terrific impact our graduates are making on the world today. Please take a look at losencinosschool.org/alumni and we hope you will submit your story and encourage other alumni to do the same using the online form.

Another highlight of the previous year was the Los Encinos Lodge – the camping-themed gala which was “in tents” fun! Not only were we able to relax and celebrate with friends, but we also raised a great deal of money to help the school expand and build on its programming.  In particular, that night’s “Raise the Paddle” appeal ended up hitting numbers beyond our wildest dreams, making all of us true “change agents.”  Today, you can see the benefits from that night in the form of an updated, eye-catching, state-of-the-art Makerspace that the kids are already utilizing.  Bill Birch needs to be commended for not only emceeing that evening, but also for his artistic vision and builder’s skills.  Thank you, Bill!

Makerspace Makeover

Our gala celebrated the Change Agents we want to inspire in all of our students, but it’s not a new concept.  Our service learning component is as strong as ever thanks in large part to Jenny Lapidus.  This past year, Jenny was presented with an award by Habitat for Humanity for her work over the years with all of the 1st grade’s projects, and we were all able to celebrate with her at the flagpole assembly!  More service learning projects are highlighted on the Making a Difference page.

Jenny is presented with a Habitat for Humanity award.

Finally, 2017-2018 also marked a tremendous milestone for me personally, as it was my 15th year here at LES as head of school.  It was truly a nice surprise (hopefully, the last surprise) when Jonathan Beckmann, my incredible assistant head of school, presented the beautiful award to me during morning assembly (there’s video, see below). I am also very excited to share that I signed a multi-year contract that will allow me to lead this school for many more years.  I am humbled by the vote of confidence and thrilled to continue working with this wonderful community as we help shape lifelong learners and upstanders.

But just as it takes a village to raise a child, educating a child is also a team effort. First, I want to thank our phenomenal faculty. Their tireless efforts bringing relevant and exciting lessons to your children every day are the heart of the operation. Second, the support staff I am blessed to have has raised the bar on the administrative side, and I feel like there is no limit on our ability to not only reach, but to exceed our goals.  Yet most importantly, none of this is possible without our parents who are dedicated to giving their children an education that blends strong academics with solid character development in classrooms that have the luxury of individualized attention.

One example of the unified front we have achieved as a school community is the LES Fund, the account that bridges the gap between the tuition and the cost-per-student.  Last year marked the fifth year of achieving 100% participation, giving us the wherewithal to expand our diverse population and provide each child with the highest level of education.  Five years in a row is unprecedented, and I couldn’t be prouder or more amazed at the generosity of our community.

Five years in a row [of 100% participation in the LES Fund] is unprecedented, and I couldn’t be prouder or more amazed at the generosity of our community.

As we head into the new year and a new theme — Stories All Around Us — I look forward to the next chapter in our wonderful Los Encinos School story. Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating our 40th year!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I wish everyone an exceptional 2018-2019 school year, and, as always, if there’s anything you need, my door is always open.

Ilene Reinfeld
Head of School