August 14, 2019

Better Together

Jaime A. Dominguez / Head of School

Dear Oakwood Families,

As one of my first official points of business, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you and your family to the start of the 2019–2020 school year. Over the last several weeks, my colleagues on the administrative team and I have been busy preparing for the arrival of faculty, students, and parents. We are excited about what promises to be a great year at Oakwood School.

Change is Good
As you can probably appreciate, there have recently been many significant changes in my life. The move to a new school and city has provided me and my family with an opportunity to evaluate what is most important in our lives and to welcome the inherent challenges and benefits that come from starting something different. After living in San Francisco for the past 14 years, I had forgotten how invigorating moving and starting a new job can be for the mind and soul. I have come to appreciate, first hand, that change is not only inevitable, but it often has the power to lead to substantial growth. While the move has certainly added a few more grey hairs to my head, it has also rekindled my adventurous spirit and helped me reestablish what I stand for. I am excited about all the new people I will have the opportunity to meet and work with, and I am energized by the exposure to new ideas, new customs, and new ways of operating.

As a means of getting to know the culture and zeitgeist of Los Angeles, I have stacked my nightstand with some classic reads, including Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz, The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, and Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. Feel free to recommend one of your favorites that might provide additional insight into this wonderful city of ours.

Getting to Know You
Schools are first and foremost about people. And to truly understand the culture and ethos of an institution, I must meet and hear from all the individuals who make up the school community. So from a practical standpoint, one of my top priorities is to get to know the names of all the students, their parents, and the faculty and staff. To do this, I will need your help. While I have a good memory for faces, I have a difficult time remembering names. And given the fact that I have 800+ students, 1,200+ parents/caregivers, and over 200 faculty and staff to meet, the prospect of this endeavor can be overwhelming. So, I ask for your patience and encourage you to repeat your name for me when we meet… you may have to do it a couple of times.

Better Together
“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” I have always found Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words to be both poetic and inspirational. In particular, I have come to appreciate his emphasis on the interconnectedness of people as being the bedrock of our humanity. It is through the creation of a strong community that individual members are made whole and strengthened through their association and participation. And perhaps now more than ever before do I feel the importance and urgency of taking a stance against the divisive forces that are gaining traction in our world. We must strongly assert our conviction that as a society we are better when all people are valued, respected, and made to feel included. A tenet of this belief is to better leverage the skills and gifts that each person or groups of people contribute to the whole. In a similar vein, I see that as a school, we will be better off when we can create greater alignment and utilize the synergy that develops when students, faculty, and parents from all different parts of our school community are working together and pulling in the same direction. In this spirit, we have chosen the theme of Better Together to help focus our entire community on this goal. Over the course of the year, we will plan programs and events that play and elaborate on this theme. As a starter, for the first time in perhaps decades, we will be gathering all students, kindergarten through 12th grade, for an Opening Assembly on Friday, September 13 at the Secondary Campus. We will share more details on this gathering within the next couple of weeks.

Two Campuses, One Team
As part of our effort to create better alignment between both campuses and improve communication, we thought it would be helpful to share with the entire community the opening letters from both Denise Ross at the Elementary Campus and William Perkins Tift at the Secondary Campus.

We are fortunate to have the vast majority of our faculty and staff returning for another year. We do however have 11 new members of the team. Please join me in welcoming them to our community, and click here to read a short biography of each of them.

Enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer, and I look forward to personally welcoming you back to school on August 28th for the Secondary Campus and August 29th for the Elementary Campus.


Jaime A. Dominguez
Head of School