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Meet Gary Krahn of La Jolla Country Day School in University City and La Jolla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Krahn.

Gary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised San Diego and remain a proud Crawford High School graduate. I am also a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and served for over 29 years on active duty before retiring in the grade of Brigadier General. A significant part of my military career was as a mathematician, educator and problem solver; culminating as the Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point. My Ph.D. is in applied mathematics and my areas of research include cryptography, leadership, and learning. I helped redesign the mathematics program at West Point and consulted with Universities and Colleges to emphasize appropriate problem solving and reasoning in curriculum design.

Over the years, I have been an invited speaker at the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, the Mathematics Association of America, and at numerous Universities around the world. In 2004, I deployed to Afghanistan to help establish and build the 18th University in Afghanistan; hiring the initial 51 Afghan faculty members and shaping the curriculum.

As the Head of La Jolla Country Day School, my focus is on gently guiding students to become leaders of character who can anticipate and respond effectively to the uncertainties and opportunities of a rapidly changing technological, social, political, and economic world. I strongly believe that K-12 education will be the significant ingredient for the future success of our nation.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
With over 40 years in leadership positions, I have learned that leadership is the ability to create transformational change. If you want an organization to stay the same, hire a manager; if you want it to move forward, hire a leader.

Currently, our schools primarily train students. Training gives students the ability to solve problems they have seen before. A great education provides students with the ability to solve problems they have not seen before.

The struggle has and will always be reinventing education in order to make our world a better place. So what does this all mean for education? Computer scientist Alan Kay gives us a hint. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The struggle is creating the future of education.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the La Jolla Country Day School story. Tell us more about the business.
La Jolla Country Day is creating the future of education. Our students are positioned to seek out humanity’s most urgent, persistent challenges and are developing the passion and wisdom to solve these challenges. LJCDS is designed as an immersive experience to unleash students on a journey of learning and purpose.

Our promise is To Inspire Greatness for a Better World. It is founded on the understanding that people who achieve greatness have four attributes: a strong work ethic; a moral compass; access to resources and mentors, and the desire and ability to challenge the status quo. Bring your child of character to LJCDS who is willing to work hard and we will provide access to resources and mentors in a “what if” environment that surrounds your child with the greatest opportunity to achieve greatness

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have been lucky / fortunate to have remarkable mentors and colleagues. This luck seems to follow me. It has been the key to all my successes and most importantly, allowed me to continue during my failures.

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