Since its inception in 2013, Alexa Greenland has masterfully guided Kavod Charter to its current status as an award winning language Tk-8 charter school in San Diego. As the founding Executive Director, Alexa has led our staff and community as it has grown into a school that not only excels in academics and language, but perhaps, most importantly, as a vibrant and close-knit community school that challenges children to grow into capable, confident and skilled global leaders. To celebrate her 10 years at Kavod, we asked Alexa to share a bit about herself and what she loves about serving the students and families of Kavod.
Tell us a little about your family and your career journey.
I grew up in a large Italian family in the Boston area, and attended Boston University and Lesley University for my degrees in Education. After my first year of teaching, I wanted to experience living somewhere new so I ventured off to San Diego with neither a job nor a place to live. I anticipated it would be a short term adventure.
I was extremely fortunate to find a position I loved at a 7th-12th grade private school where I was able to design novel units and teach some of my favorite works such as The Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, King Lear, A Lesson Before Dying, Huckleberry Finn, Night, and Great Expectations…to name just a few.
Moving into administration led me to charter schools. I discovered an appreciation of public school choice and the value of finding a school that best fits the child instead of expecting the child to fit the school. Ever since I have been an advocate for charter schools and family choice. If the school isn’t a right fit, families now have options, which is amazing for children.
My initial vision for a short term move to San Diego was completely derailed when I met my husband. We now have two daughters, both who are Kavod explorers, and have made San Diego our home.
What do you love most about working at Kavod?
The community. The Kavod team and our explorers make it a joy to come to work everyday.
How does Kavod’s mission and vision align with your personal values?
In sixth grade I took my first Spanish class and struggled immensely. Having family in Mexico, the challenges I had in learning Spanish was extremely disheartening for me. I began advocating for schools to begin implementing foreign languages in elementary school. When I moved into administration, leading a school that values languages, global citizenship, and social responsibility was a priority for me.
Building a school is a pretty significant accomplishment, what other accomplishments can you share?
My cousin is an amazing artist and I collaborated with her to create a children’s book. The storyline came about years ago when I was challenged to write a story about a Cerulean Lion. A publisher picked it up in its first draft form, although neither she nor I were overly satisfied with that version. Since then, I revised the text and her joyful illustrations have made it absolutely beautiful. The Story of the Cerulean Lion is about a blue lion who doesn’t like being different and a blue fairy who longs to be unique. Their friendship highlights the impact of bullying and the importance of acceptance. I loved this project because I was able to work with my cousin, who is an absolutely magnificent person.
What is your favorite item on your desk?
A picture of my daughters that my husband gave to me.
Salty or sweet snacks?
Please share a favorite memory of your time at Kavod.
One of my favorite memories is a bittersweet moment when we promoted our first eighth grade class. They were our original kindergarten class in 2013, and 9 years later they became our first explorers to be promoted to high school. Having had many of them on campus while we were building Kavod, it was impossible to imagine the campus without them. At a Tk-8 school children transform entirely from when they enter at age 4-5 and leave at 14. After 9 years there is definitely a void when they leave for their next journey; and simultaneously a huge sense of pride for them, all they have accomplished and all the possibilities that await them throughout their future.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at Kavod
I enjoy playing tennis with my family and swimming year round, which is not something I could do growing up in New England.
I love traveling, but detest flying.
As a former literature teacher, I love reading, when I can find the time, and I love seeing stories come to life through theater.
Favorite thing to do in the San Diego area?
Being alongside the ocean where I can have a beautiful view of the ocean but not actually be on the beach. Despite loving the picturesque view, I’m not the biggest fan of the sand or the ocean water.
When you leave school at the end of the day, what makes you feel satisfied about your work?
The majority of our explorers genuinely feel a sense of belonging and pride to be a part of the Kavod community. Their smiles and the joy they share throughout the day fills my heart and helps to navigate me through any difficult moments that arise.
The Kavod community is eternally grateful for Alexa’s bold vision and commitment to the academic success of each one of our explorers. Thanks to her leadership, thousands of children in San Diego have received an education of choice that honors their spirit and potential.
If you are still seeking a Tk-8 school for your child, consider Kavod for Fall 2023. We’re enrolling–check out our enrollment page to get started.
Kavod is a non-religious, tuition-free public school that teaches the modern Hebrew language to TK-8th grade explorers in San Diego. We value rigor, bilingualism and international education as a means to develop compassionate global citizens. Kavod means “Respect” in Hebrew- and our vision is for every explorer to respect themselves, each other, their community, and other cultures. Enroll with Kavod today!