Our administration is made up of passionate, experienced school leaders who understand the value of education and the importance of childhood.
- Olaf Jorgenson, Head of School
- Jennifer Glasser, Associate Head of School, Advancement
- Jennine Rodriguez, Head of Early Childhood & Elementary Education
- Jeremy Adams, Head of Middle School
- Cecilia Robb, Director, The Learning Center
- Craig VonDemfange, Chief Financial Officer
- Greta Norager, Controller
- Mary Jo Heindel, Director of Admissions & Outreach
- Cathy Shin, Director of Marketing Communications
- Syma Latif, Director of Annual Giving & Special Events
- Buck Crockett, Director of Technology
- Michael Stevens, Technology Coach & Innovation Specialist
- Alejandro De La Cruz, Learning Support Coordinator
Dr. Olaf Jorgenson joined Almaden Country Day School in 2008. Before ACDS, Dr. Jorgenson served as Headmaster at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
After a decade working in public and international schools, Dr. Jorgenson received his doctorate in Educational leadership from Arizona State University. In 2010, he was selected as a Klingenstein Fellow by the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York, and was later selected to return as a Field Instructor for Columbia, mentoring new administrators across the western United States. In 2014, Dr. Jorgenson was appointed to the Klingenstein Advisory Council, the Center's board of directors, serving with five other school heads from prominent schools around the world along with members of the Klingenstein family.
An avid speaker and writer, Dr. Jorgenson presents annually at educational conferences, has written several books on school leadership and science education, publishes in professional journals and local media, and hosts web seminars and teaching forums. His most recent book is Doing Good Science in Middle School: A Practical STEM Guide. Yet he is equally at home interacting with students in the classroom at Almaden Country Day School where he teaches a philosophy elective in our Middle School.
"Almaden Country Day School is a safe and happy place to learn," says Dr. Jorgenson, whose own daughter attended the school for eight years and is now thriving in high school. "When children are stimulated, challenged, and loved at school, anything is possible! And this is what happens here every day. It's what I treasure most about ACDS."
In his free time, Dr. Jorgenson enjoys exercise, travel, and spending time with his family. He is currently working on a parenting book with renowned Bay Area family therapist, Sheri Glucoft Wong.
Jennifer Glasser joined Almaden Country Day School in 2015. In addition to her work in advancement at ACDS, Ms. Glasser and her husband are members of the ACDS parent community, as their two sons attend the school.
Before joining ACDS, Ms. Glasser served as Middle School Director at Menlo School. As a division head, Ms. Glasser worked with senior administration to develop the school's strategic vision and capital campaign goals. Ms. Glasser also helped to develop the school's mission statement and values proposition. Prior to her move into administration at Menlo School, Ms. Glasser taught English, history and math for 16 years.
Ms. Glasser is excited to be a member of ACDS's welcoming community, in which the developmental and learning needs of each student are nurtured, and the joy of learning is cherished and celebrated. As a parent and an educator, she believes students need a learning environment in which they can safely take emotional and intellectual risks, cultivate growth mindsets and develop their own senses of self.
A native of the Bay Area and a graduate of Williams College, Ms. Glasser lives in San Jose with her family. In her free time, Ms. Glasser enjoys hiking, waterskiing, rooting for the San Francisco Giants, reading and spending time with her family.
Jennine Rodriguez has worked with young people in different capacities for over 20 years, including as a teacher for pre-school through 7th grade students. Ms. Rodriguez is enthusiastic to bring her extensive knowledge of early childhood and elementary curriculum development and progressive education practices to Almaden Country Day School.
As a graduate of Wesleyan University with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, Ms. Rodriguez went on to earn a M.Ed. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College in New York City. She trained several times at the Columbia University Teachers College reading and writing institutes, in the Imaginative Inquiry approach to science, history and social studies, and served on the national planning committees for the Progressive Educators Network and NAIS People of Color conferences. She traveled to Dubai, UAE and Amman, Jordan spreading the pedagogy of progressive education to teachers and interested families. Ms. Rodriguez recently played a role in opening Leonardo School in Los Angeles, where she served as Assistant Director. She feels passionate about integrating arts, sciences, and humanities for a comprehensive, engaging, and empowering school experience for students of all ages.
Ms. Rodriguez relocates from Santa Monica, California with her husband Scott, son, and daughter. Jennine enjoys swimming, cycling and running (sometimes in that order!), crafting and tasting new recipes, and watching her children play soccer. When she finally has down time, she will read a good thriller. Recommendations are always welcome!
Jeremy Adams has worked in the field of education for more than 18 years. He brings a variety of experiences to ACDS ranging from being a park ranger in New York City to serving as an environmental educator in Honduras with the Peace Corps. Since moving to California in 2001, he has worked as a 3rd grade teacher and intermediate math teacher as well as supported student learning through roles such as bilingual resource teacher, math coach, and principal.
Mr. Adams has his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and has completed his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Santa Clara University. He holds a credential for teaching multiple subjects with authorizations for math and social science as well as an administrative services credential.
“I knew my children would have the opportunity to be happy and successful at ACDS the first time I visited the campus. This belief has only been reinforced with each passing year they attend ACDS.”
Mr. Adams is the father of two children who attend ACDS. He enjoys running, mountain biking, and camping.
Cecilia Robb has been part of the ACDS community for more than 25 years and is honored to be part of The Learning Center. Her interest in learning differences began early in her career, and she has been working with students individually for nearly 15 years. She has specialized training in both Orton-Gillingham and Multisensory Math, enabling her to address the specific learning needs of children struggling with language acquisition and math.
"Every child is capable. Every child has strengths and contributes in meaningful ways. Some children learn differently. The Learning Center at ACDS will provide capable children the opportunities they need to be successful and approach life with the confidence and skills that they deserve." Mrs. Robb is grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of TLC children.
When not at school in the classrooms or with her dog Emma under her desk, Mrs. Robb might be out hiking or at home quilting or reading, or perhaps visiting with one of her three children, all ACDS alumni.
Craig VonDemfange joins Almaden Country Day School from a largely start-up-focused world, having worked and consulted with over 40 different start-up companies in his vast finance and accounting career. He also consulted for a South Bay private school, which gave him a taste of the environment. "It got stuck in my mind that if the opportunity ever arose for me to work at a school again, I would jump at the chance."
Craig is a Bay Area native who grew up in the East Bay before heading south to attend San Jose State University where he obtained his degree in Economics. He and his family now live in Willow Glen and when not at ACDS, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, at the hockey rink or playing soccer with his two daughters at the park. Craig's daughters also attend ACDS.
"ACDS continues to foster the family-like environment that I found fulfilling in start ups, with smart passionate people working hard to achieve a mission. I am very proud to be on the ACDS team."
Greta Norager joined Almaden Country Day School in 2015 and brings more than 30 years of non-profit tax, accounting and audit experience.
"I am excited to join Almaden Country Day School and am enjoying everyone on staff here. It is such a pleasant place to work and an enjoyable change from over 35 years in the corporate world."
A native of the Bay Area, Greta lives in Morgan Hill and enjoys camping, reading and spending time with her family and friends.
Mrs. Heindel brings her experience as an ACDS parent, school volunteer, Parent Service Auxiliary president, and Board of Trustees member into her role in admissions at the school. Mrs. Heindel has a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has worked in a variety of capacities including writer, editor, account and sales representative and caterer.
Watching her two children grow and blossom because of their experiences at ACDS has made her a passionate advocate of educating children in a developmentally appropriate, safe, welcoming environment with plenty of challenge and opportunities.
“I feel blessed to be working at ACDS because I get to witness the joy and happiness of children who are curious, engaged, active learners. Plus, I get to be part of this great school community even though my children have already graduated from ACDS!”
Mrs. Heindel lives in Almaden Valley with her family. She enjoys cooking, fine dining, hiking, skiing, swimming and reading.
Ms. Shin hails from the biotech/life sciences industry in Silicon Valley and brings her wide range of experience in the communications field to Almaden Country Day School. Notably she has experience in social media, advertising, website development, media relations, and branding.
She graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and attended the MFA program at Mills College for poetry and creative non-fiction. She has taught reading skills in summer reading programs and has served as editor for literary journals. Ms. Shin loves to read, cook, do yoga, and travel with her family.
She and her husband have two boys at ACDS. "As a parent, I appreciate ACDS for its culture of cherishing childhood and its whole child, developmental education philosophy. As the director of marketing communications for this school, I am proud to share what ACDS is all about to our families and communities."
Mrs. Syma Latif is passionate about serving the ACDS community -- she served as a Trustee, PSA president, and is now leading development efforts for ACDS as the Director of Annual Giving Campaign and Special Events.
Mrs. Latif, with her International Marketing and Communications education, and considerable experience as an entrepreneur, understands how to connect with the ACDS community and bring us all together for an important cause.
“As a mother of three students at ACDS, I am deeply committed to the community that has given back so much to me and my family; from our wonderful parents and inquisitive students to our nurturing teachers and supportive administrative staff. Growing our community’s philanthropic future is the most rewarding part of the role.”
A London native and a graduate of the University of Greenwich, Syma Latif is a world traveler having had two children in Chicago and one child in Qatar, Middle East. While she still enjoys traveling, she can also be found living a quieter Almaden Valley life and is always happy to entertain her ACDS friends with a spot of tea and biscuits!
Mr. Crockett is a behind-the-scenes tech guru for ACDS and collaborates with the administration team to keep the computers humming, the network at full capacity, and the computer lab on the cutting edge.
Mr. Crockett has a M.A. in Teacher Leadership from Western State Colorado University. He has a diverse background in education and technology. He has worked in both urban and rural settings. While spending a year teaching in a Yupic village in rural Alaska, he realized how critical technology infrastructure is for supporting student learning. It was there he first began to work on improving technology literacy in schools, which led to his transition into System Administration and his current position at ACDS. His background in education and leadership allows him to better support both students and staff in their utilization and implementation of technology in the classroom.
"Many schools have legacy infrastructure and computer science is not part of the curriculum. At ACDS, student creativity is encouraged and some students are writing code for 3D printers, which is really cool and is an example of our students leveraging the power of technology. I am excited to support this ideal the best I can in my IT role at ACDS."
In addition to a passion for education and technology, in his free time Mr. Crockett enjoys various outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, road biking, fly fishing, and yoga.
Mr. Stevens comes to the ACDS community after eight years of teaching secondary math and science, split mostly between Ningbo Foreign Language School in Ningbo, China and neighboring Leland High School. Having always placed a special emphasis on using technology as a tool for both learning and instruction, he is looking forward to working with the ACDS faculty to implement various technology tools to enrich the learning experience.
Drawn by the ACDS philosophy of fostering a love of learning, Mr. Stevens is also excited to be helping students explore their creativity in the Imaginarium and showcase their creations. He is also looking forward to facilitating various design challenges, student exhibitions, and other student driven projects.
Originally from California’s high desert and central coast, Mr. Stevens first came to the Bay Area to pursue his Bachelors of Science degree from UC Santa Cruz in applied physics. He then went on to get his Masters of Arts in Education and teaching credential from Stanford University. In his free time, Mr. Stevens enjoys running, watching Marvel movies, going to renaissance faires, and BBQing with family and friends. Mr. Stevens also enjoys traveling, reading, and relaxing by the beach.
Alejandro De La Cruz is a California native who has worked in pre-K through 8th grade education for a better part of a decade. He has taught 5th grade at ACDS since 2015 and brings a variety of educational experience including teaching Kindergarten through 7th grade, working as an instructional coach and Director for Teacher Leadership, mentoring new teachers, and developing a variety of professional development for colleagues.
Mr. De La Cruz returns to California (currently residing in Oakland), after completing several years of educational work in New York City, where he earned his Masters from Hunter College and holds a NY State credential. He has a strong love and passion for teaching and learning, on the adult and student side, and credits much of his continued work in education to having amazing mentors along the way, and inspiring colleagues, family, and students.
When he is not engaged in teaching and learning, he is at home in his kitchen, with his partner and energetic and spirited two year old daughter.