May 31, 2019
August 30, 2019
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Alumni News! – 6.7.19



Dear Alumni:

I am delighted to announce that veteran first grade teacher, Ms. Julie Crisler, will serve as our lower school head at Good Hope Country Day School.

After receiving more than two dozen resumes from candidates from Florida to Kuwait, then winnowing this to four finalists, Bill Bugg, Dawn Grey, Tracy Cole, and I felt unanimously that Ms. Crisler, an experienced educator respected widely by her colleagues, is the best prepared to help us address our immediate challenges at Good Hope Country Day School.

Overall, participants praised Ms. Crisler for her expertise as a classroom teacher and multi-decade commitment to GHCDS students; her institutional knowledge and deep understanding of our school and island communities; her strong relationships with faculty, parents, and alumni; her efforts to adopt and embrace new curricula over the last few years; and her de facto leadership among her peers during the last six months without a full-time division head. During my own tenure, I have routinely tapped Ms. Crisler for sage advice on a wide range of topics—and our daughter was fortunate to be in her first grade class. Ms. Crisler cares deeply about the future of Good Hope Country Day School.

On that note, Ms. Crisler has already shared several top priorities moving forward:

  1. Ensure that teachers feel supported, especially by providing more meaningful time for planning and collaboration among colleagues.
  2. Restore a strong community feeling among faculty, parents, students, trustees, and others.
  3. Continue strengthening our core literacy and math programs (Units of Study in Reading/Writing, Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Readers, FUNdations, and Bridges Math) while helping teachers integrate these in their classrooms and perfect their own styles.

We are thrilled to have such an exceptional educator begin helping us transition into the next exciting chapter for GHCDS.

And the rest of this amazing year has been a blur… the impassioned Orange-White-and-Blue Day, generally considered the favorite day of the year among middle and upper school students… inspiring lower school and early childhood learning center concerts, with musical selections from around the globe… beach days at Buck Island and Rainbow Beach for 4th-6th graders, alumni soccer game, a student-led wellness week in the upper school, with yoga, tarts, and other treats for the mind, body, and soul in between exams, a junior varsity soccer championship, and magical senior awards evening.  But my favorite moment was listening to the roar of the crowd in the gym when our graduating seniors, donning cap and gown, paraded before our lower school students. They were like rock stars! It was magical to see the pride of our graduates and the twinkle in the eyes of our younger students as they thought, “I want to be like them.”

GHCDS Class of 2019 do their campus walk!

Posted by GoodHope CountryDay on Thursday, May 30, 2019

Among our long list of end of year accomplishments, I recently received the official confirmation that the Middle States Association has granted us re-accreditation from 2019 to 2026. Bravo! They voted unanimously for re-accreditation after they visited our campus in November. We should all feel proud of the enormous effort we made in the first semester to pull off the Self-Study in under five months due to Maria—something most schools take 12 to 18 months to complete. This now lays a wonderful foundation for our faculty, our trustees, Mr. Bill Bugg, and our school community for strategic planning moving forward to continue strengthening GHCDS. Thank you for all your hard work.

GHCDS MSA Accreditation Certificate 2019-26

Thank you to everyone for your participation, support, and commitment to making Good Hope Country Day School the best possible school for our children. It has been a pleasure to serve this school community, and I send best wishes to everyone for a restful summer and productive, rewarding school year ahead.

Lastly, I want to send an advance warm island welcome to our new Head of School,  Mr. Bill Bugg and his family. I have had the pleasure of speaking almost weekly with Bill since December—a rare luxury in the world of school leadership transitions. I have been impressed and inspired by each conversation. Bill is a thoughtful, experienced head who will work with our talented faculty to build on our successes.



Welcome Julie Crisler – New Lower School Head

I am looking forward to my new role as Lower School Dean at GHCDS.  Hopefully, my long tenure at the school will help make Mr. Bugg’s transition as smooth as possible.  When I first began working at Country Day School, I was a young, inexperienced, naïve teacher and was fortunate to have the wise, kind, and generous guidance of two wonderful mentors, Marge Boulanger and Chip Adams.  As my career is completing a full circle, I want to share my experience and give back to the school by helping everyone in our school community participate in making GHCDS a warm, inviting place to grow, learn, and work.  Through the years, I have experienced many of life’s ups and downs, including some very challenging situations; regardless of what was happening, the school was my anchor.

My main take away from these 40+ years is that the most important thing about being a teacher is building relationships.  At the end of a school year, even while taking pride in the progress their students have made, teachers generally feel exhausted, burned out, and question their dedication to the profession.  One year while I was still teaching Kindergarten, I was particularly worn out.  I was out for dinner (at the Bombay Club) and feeling discouraged.  As I was finishing my dinner, the waitress approached the table and asked me my name.  When I told her, she said, “I knew it!  You were my third grade teacher and you were my favorite teacher ever!”  After reminding me of her name, Annie Egger, I jumped up and we hugged and I was in tears.  She was in my first class at CDS (1978) when I really didn’t know what I was doing and yet I had made a difference in her life.  That night, she paid me back by making a difference in mine.

Now that Ms. Blanchette’s efforts have aligned the curriculum, I can focus my energy on building relationships throughout the school community so all can share in what makes GHCDS so special.  I will miss working with young children and participating in their growth and development but hope I can make a broader impact in the school.

Please be sure to stop by and see us when you are on St. Croix.

Julie Crisler

Lower School Head

Congratulations Class of 2019!

Orange, White and Blue Day! – 2019 VICTORS! – WHITE TEAM!!!


Alumni and Current Student Soccer Game!

CONGRATULATIONS young alumni graduates!

Kari Currence, GHCDS ‘15

  • Columbia University
  • BS Psychology


Thorn Nelthropp, GHCDS ‘15

  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering


Aliyah Bryan, GHCDS ‘15

  • Agnes Scott College
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Management


Brandy Tutein, GHCDS ‘15

  • Texas Christian University
  • Bachelor of Arts Communications and Theatre






CJ Walker, ‘14

  • University of Hawaii- Hilo
  • Bachelor of Arts Psychology







If you were inspired by any of the updates we shared with you, there is still time to join the Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Board and current parents who have already given this year.  So much more is possible because you give.  Participation by all community members is essential, and each gift in any size make a difference in students’ lives.  Learn more about the impact of your gift and participate today by visiting https://ghcds.org/supportghcds/annual-fund/. The deadline for all gifts this year is June 30.

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