Faculty in Focus: Carlin Bell
Carlin Bell is not only a 4th grade teacher here at Los Encinos School, she’s also busy preparing for camp. Carlin will be the co-director of Camp Los Encinos for her second year in a row. “Camp is where I made some of my best friends,” Ms. Bell recalls. “So while we have a full slate of programming at Camp Los Encinos, I also want to make sure we set aside ample time for kids to be kids.”
Born Carlin Dohr in Rochester, New York, she remembers being told as a teenager that she would make a great teacher, which always surprised her because that had never been a desire. After graduating from Nazareth College with a B.A. in Psychology, however, she started working with children, and it became clear that those advisers had been right.
Her first job was at the Jewish Community Center in Rochester, which ran a summer camp and after-school program. At a camp standards conference, Carlin met her future husband, Adam Bell. He is the executive director of R.M. Pyles Boys Camp, a youth leadership and character development program located in the Sequoia National Forest.
Carlin and Adam’s wedding (Carlin’s father officiates)
The two married in Rochester, and Carlin’s dad – a deacon – performed the ceremony. Carlin and Adam will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary this year. When asked whether Adam “proposed cute,” Ms. Bell smiles and tells the story of the proposal.
Carlin and family at Cape Cod,
moments after she says, “Yes!”
They had been dating for about three years when she went with her family on their annual vacation to Cape Cod. At the beach one day, it was getting late and everyone wanted to leave, but Carlin’s dad knew that Adam was driving eight hours specifically to meet them in that spot to surprise Carlin by popping the question. Her father’s stalling measures only made everyone more irritated, and Carlin eventually stalked off to the car. And who should be waiting there for her, wearing a suit, and holding a little blue box? None other than Adam Bell. Carlin loves that her whole family was included in the proposal and calls it “an extra special bonus.”
“Ringing” the Dohr-Bell
The astute reader will note that her maiden name is “Dohr” and she married Adam Bell, making her hyphenate “Dohr-Bell,” a fact that still makes the two families giggle.
Although Ms. Bell loved working at the JCC camp, even becoming the assistant director of the program, she decided to leave to pursue other work. She and Adam also wanted to move to a warmer climate, specifically California. “I bounced around the non-profit world,” she says, “and eventually took a position as operations manager for a cancer support center in Sherman Oaks.”
Once again, she liked the work and the people she worked with, but this time Ms. Bell realized she missed teaching kids. So when the Grade 5 Assistant job at Los Encinos School opened up last year, she grabbed it, and moved into the 4th grade teaching position this year.
“Even though this is my first job in formal education,” Ms. Bell declares, “I know instinctively that LES is a special place.” To make her point, she references the privileges the faculty are afforded, and the opportunities the students are given. She’s currently working towards her credential and a masters degree, utilizing a grant program that was recently approved by the LES Board of Directors.
When it comes to non-work interests, Ms. Bell says singing is her main hobby. She was even a musical theater major for a brief time.
Carlin (right) and sister, Mackenzie, in a
high school production of “Anything Goes”
She also enjoys spending time with her dog, Ruby, a Rhodesian Ridgeback/ Redbone Coonhound mix. They go to the park, or hike, or even play a form of hide-and-seek in the new house she and Adam recently purchased.
Carlin and “Ruby”
Ms. Bell’s favorite type of music is show tunes, but she claims her Spotify playlist is quite diverse, “from Abba to Van Halen and everything in between.” She also enjoys watching HGTV shows (due to the new house), comedies, and her favorite musical, the original “Newsies.”
“My sister and I speak about 75% of the time through movie and TV quotes,” she says. Carlin has two younger siblings, a sister and brother, both of whom work in the entertainment industry.
Her father, the deacon, runs a Catholic Charities organization, and her mother is “a wonderful saleswoman” who works in the direct sales jewelry business.
(L-R) Adam, Carlin, Griffin, Mom, Dad, and Mackenzie
this past Christmas
When asked to describe some of the major difference between Camp Los Encinos and Los Encinos School, Ms. Bell says, “Camp is more relaxed, and there’s a lot more goofiness and silliness in the day, as well as more water slides!” She also says she’s excited to be working with Timi Birch this year as co-director. They are looking forward to spring and summer camp, with big plans to develop the CIT leadership program.
2019 Camp Co-Directors: Timi Birch and Carlin Bell
Carlin’s favorite quote is by Lao Tzu, and it serves as excellent advice for campers: “Time, nature, and patience are the three great physicians.”
Want to learn more about Camp Los Encinos? Go to losencinosschool.org/camp.
Ms. Bell’s “Shelfie”
Click here to see more Faculty in Focus.