Foothill Country Day is led by the Head of School and a team of administrators who join together in close partnership with teachers, administrative staff, and parent volunteers to create a thriving learning community for its students.
Mike Silva, Head of School
Mike Silva was appointed head of school in 2011, continuing his career as a teacher and administrator in independent schools in California, New York, and Virginia. A defining aspect of the experiences Mike brought to Foothill is that no matter these schools’ size or missions, each placed great value on the relationship between child and teacher, and the commitment to meet children where they are, so they are stimulated, challenged, and excited to learn. Mike deeply values Foothill’s unwavering commitment to improving pedagogy and curriculum—the teaching practices and the learning program—so students develop the ability to read and communicate well, think critically, embrace different perspectives, and act with kindness and courage.
During Mike’s tenure, enrollment at Foothill has grown almost 30% along with new programs and offerings such as the Foothill Orchestra, Speech & Debate program, a Singapore Math-based curriculum, expansions in middle school and arts. Mike partners closely with his board of trustees, senior team of administrators, faculty and staff, as well as our parents’ association, the Betty Webb Organization, to ensure Foothill students find stimulation, excitement, and challenge while the development of their character remains at the forefront of all priorities. Most recently, Mike led a very collaborative CAIS-WASC reaccreditation process which included the development of a new mission statement and core values for Foothill Country Day School.
Mike earned a B.A. in English Literature from UC Berkeley and an M.Ed. in Special Education from California State University, Northridge. He has served as a facilitator of New Trustee Workshops for the California Association of Independent Schools, is a past member of the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, and currently sits on the board of St. Mark’s School in Altadena, California. His wife, Debbie, is also a teacher in an independent school, and both of their children have been educated in independent schools. An avid runner, Mike enjoys reading and spending time with Debbie and the kids when he’s not with his Foothill family.
Danielle Witten, CFO
Danielle joined Foothill as Chief Financial Officer in 2015. Prior to her independent school experience, she obtained her CPA license and spent the first fourteen years of her career at a local public accounting firm in Glendora. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Cal Poly Pomona.
Danielle is responsible for various areas within the school community including finances, facilities, kitchen operations, the extended day program, and is also involved in technology throughout the campus. Her two young children attend Foothill and Seedling.
Danielle says she most enjoys the variety and challenge of every day at Foothill. “I feel lucky to experience this wonderful community as both a parent and employee, and I think that helps me appreciate a wide perspective when making decisions. I love being involved in supporting the programs and initiatives of the School on a daily basis.”
Margaret Lofgren, Director of Upper School
In her role, Margaret Lofgren oversees all school matters related to 6th-8th grade students and their families, including Student Council. She has been in this role the last three years. Having been at Foothill for 21 years, Margaret has worn numerous hats at the School, including Dean of the Upper School, 6th-8th history teacher, and 6th- grade Latin teacher. Before arriving to Foothill, Margaret attended Georgetown University and Teachers College, Columbia University and worked at two independent high schools in California. When not on campus, Margaret enjoys running and hiking in the hills of Claremont and spending time with her family.
Jody Lawshe, Director of Lower School
Jody Lawshe is the Lower School Director and oversees all school matters related to K-5th grade students and their families. She serves as an advisor to Foothill’s Student Council. Mrs. Lawshe began her tenure at Foothill in 1986 when she was hired to develop and teach the kindergarten through 5th grade science curriculum. Along with teaching science for many years, she has also taught PE, coached, and served as the K-5 Guidance Advisor before assuming the role of Dean of the Lower School, and then Lower School Director. Mrs. Lawshe is a graduate of UCLA.
Urmi Kar, Director of Advancement
Urmi Kar is the Director of Advancement and in her role oversees fundraising, parent and alumni relations, as well as marketing and communications at Foothill. Urmi has been in independent schools and colleges her entire career, in a variety of capacities in admissions, communications, and fundraising. Prior to coming to Foothill in 2016, Urmi worked at Echo Horizon School, Vistamar School, Marlborough School, and Whittier College. She holds a Bachelor’s in English and history from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and a Master’s in Communications from California State University, Fullerton.
Colette Sims, Director of Enrollment
Colette Sims was thrilled to join the Foothill community in Fall 2017. After graduating from the University of Redlands with a degree in History and German, she joined the Peace Corps and taught ESL in Ukraine. She realized that working with prospective families in the admissions process was the perfect fit for her at Idyllwild Arts Academy, where she served as Assistant Director of Admissions & Financial Aid. She now serves as the Director of Enrollment at Foothill and oversees all facets of the admission process, including communications with prospective families, student matriculation and re-enrollment, and promoting Foothill’s representation in the larger community. Colette loves the daily interactions with students, families, and the broader community on campus. Please stop by the Main Office for a cup of coffee and say hello!
Hytosha McDaniels, Director of Seedling School
Hytosha McDaniels has been in the field of early childhood education for 24 years, having taught at both public and independent schools throughout her career, and serving as the Director of The Seedling School for the past 17 years.
Hytosha received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Northridge in Child Development with a minor in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University, with a degree in Teaching/Administration. She also has a credential from the California Commission on Credentialing, and serves as a consultant for the State of California for teacher credentialing.
Her professional experiences include serving on the California Association for the Education of Young Children, and a member of Jack and Jill of America Inc. With her lifelong commitment to educating children and families about the importance of early childhood, Hytosha has worked with many decades of Seedling and Foothill students.