Bobcat Newsletter May 7th, 2017

What a joy it was to see so many of you at Friday’s Spring Program! Following our v-e-r-y long winter, your children provided a delightful breath of fresh air and shower of color to all of us. Many thanks to Ms. Eunice and Ms. Alison for, once again, creating and providing a memorable celebration for us all. As I announced on Friday, Ms. Eunice will be retiring from Lake Tahoe School at the end of this school year to spend more time with her grandchildren. We will long be indebted to her for the expertise, passion, and vision with which she has transformed our music program. A national search for her replacement is already underway. Ms. Eunice leaves big shoes to fill. I am happy to report the candidates seem to have big feet, as it were.

Schools are always in transition, and this is the time when we learn of those who are making changes in their lives. Also leaving us this year are Jennifer Branchflower, Jeff Seaton, and Sophie Bush. Each, in her or his own way, has contributed significant gifts to our school community. Jeff will be departing at the beginning of June to follow his wife, Jillian, back to the Boston area. We should all be grateful for the detailed work he has done in our business office. Those who have worked directly with Jeff recognize he is a compassionate man with a deep level of expertise.

I hired Jennifer Branchflower three years ago to create the 7th & 8th grade Humanities curriculum. “Ms. B” came to us from Alaska and is going to continue her move eastward, where much of her family is. Under her thoughtful tutelage, our middle school students have become engaged in activities designed to underscore critical thinking. As a couple of 8th graders informed me a bit ago, they love humanities because they can no longer just take notes and memorize dates or a teacher’s opinions; they have to figure things out for themselves. Jen has also served the school and our students as Nordic and Cross Country coach. Like Ms. Eunice, she has big shoes to fill. In response to my recent job posting, my inbox has been overflowing with applicants from around the world, literally. LTS has an excellent – and well-earned – reputation.

Miss Sophie, who stepped in to fill an unexpected PreK vacancy in the fall, is electing to homeschool their son, Kayden, next year. We all know Sophie to be one of the most cheerful, helpful teachers imaginable. She has worked with our Happylanders with great patience and insight. We will miss both her and Kayden.

It is easy to take for granted the myriad elements of Lake Tahoe School that culminate in memorable celebrations like Friday’s program. When you see them, please take a moment to give a special thanks to those who are leaving

Bobcat Newsletter April 30, 2017

This week we have two big Thank You messages, one important request, and a helpful announcement to make.

The first Thank You goes to Evaleen Horvath and the PA for organizing our first Boutique and to the vendors who offered such attractive and diverse wares. We hope this venture will become an annual event. Each vendor donated part of her proceeds to the LTS PA.

The second Thank You goes to Dr. Stephen Huyler (my “little” brother) for returning as Artist in Residence to work with all of our students. Dr. Huyler and I were both impressed by how much information students retained from his last visit, two years ago. Our older brother, John, who observed the same classes, noted how truly interested and responsive the children of all ages were. And I didn’t even pay him to say that!

The important request comes in follow up to a message you received from the School earlier this week. In a nutshell, we need your help to present our case to the Washoe Planning Commission to renovate our campus in critical ways to promote safety and security. Please lend your voice by attending the Planning Commission Meeting next Tuesday. This is not an open forum for debate; the School will be given a very strict time frame for which we have carefully scripted our presentation. I do not know if there will be time for further public comment, but your presence and/or letters can make a difference.

What I will be stressing in my three minutes includes:

  • We all recognize the unfortunate truth that, over the past 20 years, with the rise of targeted attacks toward schools throughout the country, we must take increasingly proactive safety and security measures.
  • A road that bisects our school and parking lot and goes to The Racquet Club, where there are over 100 separate housing units, brings uncontrolled traffic through our campus and right by the main entrance of the school throughout the day.
  • Strangers drive and walk within 15 yards of our front entrance. No school can allow that.
  • Washoe County schools and those throughout the nation are building fences to enclose their campuses.
  • Lake Tahoe School must take similar protective measures for the safety and security of all of our students.

If you are able, please join us Tuesday, May 2nd, 6:30 at:

Washoe County Offices in Reno

1001 East 9th Street

(Corner of 9th and Wells)

If you are not able to do that, please write a letter that states your clear support for our expansion plans, with emphasis on increased safety for our students.

Letters should be addressed to Washoe County Planning Commission and may be brought to school or sent directly to the Planning Commission.

Finally, every year the Student Council hosts a garage sale, the proceeds of which they donate to a local organization. This year, our students have selected Tahoe Safe Alliance to benefit from their efforts. You can participate in two ways. Bring your gently used goods – furniture, sports equipment, clothing, electronics, art, you name it – to the garage at any time during the next two weeks. Then attend the sale Saturday morning, May 13th, to purchase a whole new set of everything. Recycling is good!

Thank you for your help!



Bobcat Newsletter April 2nd, 2017

Those of you who were able to join us for the Tech Talk Thursday morning were undoubtedly as impressed as I by the experience and insight of our speakers, Ernie Dambach and Carl LeBlanc of Tahoe Tech Group. Both gentlemen are parents, as well as knowledgeable techies, so those who attended the session were able to have a frank and balanced discussion. The consistent message from those of us in the business – educators and outside speakers – was, and will continue to be, that our children have to know what our boundaries are. No purchased tool is as effective and long lasting as the teaching of values that can only come from families.

Many thanks to Lina German and Dani Dayton for arranging the morning and to the Thralls for, once again, providing coffee from their IV Coffee Lab. See the PA Corner for more details.

Declamation season has begun, the formal and public portions of our ongoing efforts to produce young people who are confident and articulate speakers. I never cease to be delighted – and frequently amazed – by the choices our students make. 6th graders, who deliver humorous pieces, generally perform individually or in teams of two. Consistent with this year’s ability to work with each other and appreciation for each other’s talents, several of the presentations involved at least three classmates. Such fun to watch!

The mood turned serious when the 7th graders stepped on stage, one at a time, to share the motivational speeches each had selected and edited to the 3 to 5-minute allotted time. The common themes, expressed in some form by almost every speaker, were the values of kindness and failure. If our students recognize that each of those is essential to Life, then we are well on our way to producing the kind citizens that will make our world a better place.

It is my wont to invite two to four representatives from each class, usually those earning the top scores attributed to their performances by an outside team of judges, to present at Rotary. This year, it will be my privilege and great pleasure to invite:

6th grade:
Billy Dayton                      “Salt and Pepper Diner,” by John Mulaney
Kennedy Kurtz                 “A Phone Call to God,” by Ellen Degeneres
Luc Casini                        “UPS,” by Brian Regan
Ivy Batmale (& Co.)          “Debbie Downer: Disney World,” Portrayed by Rachel Dratch on Saturday Night ve

7th Grade:
Jack Laurie                       “The Golden Circle,” by Simon Sinek 2009
Dean Cafferata-Jenkins   “More was Never Enough,” by Morgan Freeman 2013
Keira Sabin                       “Stanford University Commencement Speech,” by Steve Jobs 2005
Elizabeth Stranzl              “Syracuse University Convocation Speech,” by George Saunders 2013

I am always proud of our students. Never more so than when they push themselves in challenging situations and attain goals they once thought impossible.

Bobcat Newsletter March 19th, 2017

It has been a week of awards and celebration at Lake Tahoe School.

Four LTS science fair finalists were recognized by The Western Nevada Science and Engineering Fair, held March 8th and 9th in Carson City. Congratulations to:

Bella Artle                   2nd Place, Life Science Division,  2nd Place, American Chemical Society

Brenna Ritchie            3rd Placer, Life Science Division

Jack Ludviksen           3rd Place, Environmental Science,  3rd Place, American Chemical Society

Keira Sabin                 4th Place, Engineering Division.

Lake Tahoe School was one among many schools represented at the Fair, competing against hundreds of other students.

‘Tis admissions season for secondary schools, and a number of our current 8th graders and recent graduates have applied to a range of exemplary high schools. Since there are those who have not yet made decisions, I am refraining from publishing names and schools together, however, I trust you will be as impressed as I by acceptances from:


Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology



Choate-Rosemary Hall

Colorado Rocky Mountain School




Santa Catalina

St. Paul’s


In other competitions that extend far beyond the Tahoe Basin, once again the Incline High School We The People team will be participating in the national competition in Washington, DC, later in April. During its 17 years of existence, the IHS team has earned a spot in Washington a remarkable 10 times. Every year, Lake Tahoe School graduates help form the backbone of these strong teams. This year, we are proud to support LTS alums Harmony Bates, Emily Donahue, Andrico Mourelatos, Serena Singh, and Devina Stone. Other team members include: Kennedy Cohn, Daniel Gollery, Karyss Thompson, Keegan Wells, Bridget Johnson, Peter Larson, Jeremy Goldberg, Blaise Bibolet, Benji Miranda, Dulce Medina, Alyssa Flynn, and Kim Floam. Should you see any of these hardworking students or their parents around town, be sure to congratulate them and wish them well.


Bobcat Newsletter March 12th, 2017

Thanks to the many of you who attended our Parent Forum Wednesday evening. We always appreciate the extra efforts made to leave one’s cozy home following a busy day. Thanks to Jenna Anderson and Laurie Krueger and their middle school helpers who provided child care, and to Karen Laurie for the more-than-we-needed refreshments. Everyone is to be commended for arriving promptly and allowing us to deliver the very packed agenda in a timely fashion.

As I noted that evening, Lake Tahoe School is fortunate to have a deeply committed and hardworking Board of Trustees, many of whom were present for the very exciting presentation of campus expansion plans. I am particularly grateful to Chuck Weinberger, Nate Horvath, and Jeffrey Ornburg for the countless hours that they have donated this year working with Dave and Cheryl Duffield to finalize those plans. Chuck noted how, when he joined the Board ten years ago, we had a wonderful building and quite a bit of land, but did not (and do not) really have a campus in a traditional sense. Starting the day after graduation, our campus will begin to take new shape and form. Exciting times!

Nate Horvath and Jason Green shared a few of the details that will help shape the philanthropic opportunity that will soon be given to all members – past and present – of the LTS community. Stay tuned!

Mark Ludviksen, Board Treasurer, delivered a summary of the budget process by which we operate each year, as well as explanation regarding the “levers” that inform the financial decisions made by the Board and Administration each year.

Dani Dayton, PA Chair, noted important upcoming activities and dates. Please remember to check The Bobcat weekly in order to be best prepared for LTS life.

Dana Kirkland provided an update on the Head Search, which is progressing apace. Announcement of the position has been published throughout the independent school world, and Doug Cummings reports some immediate responses. The Search Committee will have its work cut out for it. Again, I am grateful to Dana and Rob Alston for chairing that industrious group and to the members who have volunteered to help. Knowing the search is in such good hands certainly reassures me that, when the time comes, I will pass the baton to very capable hands.

Have a good weekend, all.

Bobcat Newsletter March 5th, 2017

I trust that you all received an invitation to the annual Parent Forum that will be held this Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30 in the Flex Room. Childcare will be provided for Lake Tahoe School students at a cost of $10 per family. Light refreshments, including wine, will be provided between 6:10 and 6:30. As is our wont, the official part of the evening will start promptly at 6:30, and we promise to conclude by 8:30. Your time is important, and we all have busy lives.

You may expect to hear short reports from Dani Dayton, PA Chair, and Peyton Jobe, Director of Admissions and Marketing. The PA and Enrollment updates are designed to help keep community members informed.

Following the recent Board retreat and visit from head search consultant, Douglas Cummings, Nate Horvath, LTS Board Chair, will spend a bit of time updating everyone about the status of the search and general focus of the retreat. His remarks will also include a summary of the budget and tuition-setting process for next year, as is done every winter.

We received the NWAIS Accreditation Report just prior to February break. It will be my pleasure to share with you the commendations and recommendations from the Visiting Team and to talk a bit about our next steps. That very thorough report constitutes an admirable summary of the state of our school.

The evening will conclude with the sharing of upcoming dates to hear more about campus expansion plans. As always, there will be an open Q & A period. We hope as many of you as possible will join us Wednesday evening. Please do RSVP via the Evite you received so that we know how many children to expect and what refreshments will suffice.

Bobcat Newsletter February 19th, 2017

Anybody who attended Wednesday’s Science Fair surely was as impressed as I by the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and excitement that pervaded the (crowded) Flex Room. Whether it was a volunteer participant in 1st grade or a seasoned science fair 7th grader, every student provided a thoughtful, articulate summary of his/her project. My favorite question is always, “What surprised you most?” Responses to that query unfailingly demonstrate the depth of a student’s understanding. LTS science fair projects truly reflect the strength of our science program – thank you Ms. Wendy and Mr. Tayler! – and the value and emphasis we place on problem-solving. We constantly ask youngsters to “figure it out”; science fair is simply a dramatic summary of how well they do that. How much fun is it to anticipate a new building into which all displays will fit with plenty of room to spare?!

Following are the names and projects of students who were recognized at an all-school assembly on Thursday. Congratulations to all students who participated, required or not, and good luck to the students who will be representing LTS in the regional competition next month.

7th grade Finalists 

Life Science: Brenna Ritchie & Bella Artle

Physical Science: Shane Green

Earth/Environmental: Jack Ludviksen

Engineering: Keira Sabin

6th grade Finalists

Sean Kirkland

Aiden German

6th grade Honorable Mention

Billy Dayton

Kennedy Kurtz

Luc Casini

5th grade Finalists

Katie Belle Rau

Parker Bacon-Mirzayan

5th grade Honorable Mention

Auri Fernandez

Evee Propst

4th grade Honorable Mention

The Cloning Company:

Josh Ludviksen, Chloe Ronning, Keatyn Kurtz, Ridge Gerken

The Western Nevada Science and Engineering Fair will be March 8-9. All 5th through 7th grade finalists will be submitted. 7th grade finalists will be interviewed in person. Additional information will be emailed to finalists directly following our winter break.

Should anyone have forgotten…we will be closed all next week for February break, otherwise known as Ski/Skate Week. Enjoy this time, whether you stick close to home or venture to warmer climes. We look forward to welcoming you back on Monday, February 27th.