- Head of School
Jon is deeply passionate about education and the transformative power of schools in the lives of children. He has enjoyed mentoring students across a wide spectrum of age and diversity, collaborating with faculty colleagues to develop innovative curriculum, and partnering with parents to nurture the best possible school community. Before joining Park Day School, he served as Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning at the Drew School in San Francisco. At Drew he led the academic program, collaborated with students, parents, and faculty on student support, and worked with the Board on governance issues. Prior to his time at Drew, Jon served for four years as Assistant Head of the Pilgrim School in Los Angeles, where he led the middle and high schools, facilitated faculty professional development and curriculum, and initiated a one-to-one laptop program, while continuing to serve as a classroom teacher. Jon began his career at the Polytechnic School (his alma mater), where he co-directed the Skills Enrichment High School Program, and served as a middle school teacher in history and mathematics, coached athletics, ran the Writers’ Center, and directed the Outdoor Education Program. Jon holds a Bachelor's Degree in American Studies from Hampshire College and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from UCLA. His wife, Dr. May Hu, was the Executive Director of the University of California Press Foundation until taking on the work of a full-time mom. Together, they have a toddler named Reid. In addition to Los Angeles and the Bay Area, Jon has lived in Colorado, New England, and Australia. He has traveled extensively, enjoys backpacking and cycling, and is an unabashed science and history geek.
Margaret Piskitel - Assistant Head of School
Margaret joined the Park Day School staff in 2016 bringing 14+ years of experience working as a teacher, curriculum coordinator and division head in public and private schools in New York City and San Francisco. Before joining Park Day School she worked for 12 years at Children's Day School in San Francisco, most recently holding the role of Early Childhood Program Director where she served on the senior administrative team, led the early childhood program staff, ran parent education and and professional development initiatives, participated on the board, and collaborated with staff and families to meet student needs. Margaret brings to Park Day deep passion for progressive, child-centered education, a commitment to social justice, and dedication to helping children see that one little person can make a difference in the world. She holds an M.S. Ed in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education and earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Washington. Margaret lives a few blocks from the house where she grew up in Oakland with her husband, Noah, and two children, Zach (Park class of 2023) and Sebastian (in preschool).When she's not at school, Margaret enjoys yoga, reading, cheering the Warriors, and leading tadpole-finding expeditions in the hills of Berkeley and Oakland.
Josie has been working in youth-serving organizations for over a decade. She is a proud Park Day School alum, and credits her K-6 educators with teaching her how to love learning, approach challenges with creativity and kindness, and stand up and take action when something isn't right. She taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Montana, and has spent the majority of her career in community building and development. Most recently she worked for San Francisco's largest private preschool provider and supported fundraising for a variety of youth initiatives. An avid cook, Josie works on the side as a freelance recipe developer, and has taught cooking classes to first and second graders. She and her husband Alex have two daughters.
Karen Colaric - Lower School Director
Karen joined Park Day in 1985 from Pacific Primary School in San Francisco, and has been an educator since 1980. During her tenure at Park, Karen has taught second through fourth grades before taking the Lower School Director position in 2005. Park Day's progressive philosophy and political values have been a perfect match for Karen, who enjoys experimenting with and creating curriculum and grappling with issues related to school leadership and social justice. Karen migrated to California to put herself through school at SFSU, earning both her BA in liberal studies and completing post-graduate credential work. Karen has published Creating the Bedroom of Your Dreams in the California Mathematics Council Communicator in June, 2002, and was a contributing author to the Great Explorations in Math and Science guide, Math on the Menu: Real Life Problem Solving. She has presented several workshops for Oakland public school teachers and was the Keynote speaker for a seminar for California Subject Matter Projects, UCB in 2007 titled Educating for Sustainability: Principles and Projects that Build Ecological Literacy. In 2009, Karen presented Social Justice in Action: Proof and Practice at the Progressive Educators Network conference in Washington, DC. In 2011 she presented SDA: Support, Development and Assessment of Teachers at PEN. In 2004, Karen was awarded the Fulbright Memorial Fund and traveled to Japan with a contingent of 200 American teachers. She also had the privilege of leading a group of fifteen BHS students to Costa Rica, to take part in sustainability work through Ecology Project International. Recently, Karen attended the Project Zero Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she furthered her expertise in the Teaching for Understanding model in practice at Park Day.
Karen is the mother of two Park alums, Celeste ('99) and Spenser ('02).
Lizette has over 20 years of experience in independent schools. Prior to joining Park Day School, she served as Dean of Equity and Inclusion at the Athenian school, as the Co-Chair of People of Color in Independent Schools of Northern California, and as Co-Director of the Youth Leadership Conference of the White Privilege Conference. She began her teaching career as a Multicultural Alliance teaching fellow at the Potomac School in McLean, VA., traveled to Japan as a Fulbright Memorial Fund fellow, and writes and choreographs performance pieces throughout the Bay Area. She is the daughter of Costa Rican and Nicaraguan immigrants, and is a native San Franciscan. She began school as an English Language Learner, and graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in 1994. She earned her B.A. in History and Dance with Minors in Education and Drama from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. She graduated with honors for her thesis entitled "Living and Dying for Red and Blue: This history and evolution of Latino youth gangs". In 2002, Lizette earned her Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education with an emphasis on female adolescent identity formation and urban education. She also earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s College of California. She was awarded the Kalmanovitz School of Education Award in Spring 2013 and was invited to serve on a newly created Alumni Board. She has presented both nationally and locally on issues of teacher excellence, recruitment and retention of people of color within independent schools, and cultivating inclusive learning environments.
Lizette lives in Pleasant Hill with her partner, Matthew, and two children, Lucas and Lilliana.
Shailendra joined us from Washington DC bringing along with him more than 15 years of working experience in the field of Accounting, Finance, Audit, Tax and ERP implementation. During the span of his career he has worked in Big4 public accounting, manufacturing industry, Forbes 2000 multinational bank, management and non-profit consulting (charter and private school management). He has worked as Chief Financial Officer with Firstline Schools Inc at New Orleans. He is a Licensed CPA from Colorado, an MBA from Iowa State, a Fellow chartered accountant with ICAI, has a Law degree with Honors from DAVV University and post graduate diploma in computer applications from SATI. He is a member of AICPA, ICAI, ISACA, PMI and a life time member of IIBF. On the personal front he is a trained pilot who loves to fly whenever he gets a chance and during his leisure time enjoys playing golf and cooking. His love for community service evolved while working with Mother Teresa.
Jeanine HarmonJohn Orbon - Director of Development and Communications
- Director of Community Outreach and Service Learning
Jeanine Harmon has over 25 years of experience working in both public and private schools as a classroom teacher, administrator and consultant. Prior to her position as Director of Community Outreach and Service Learning at Park Day, Jeanine was the public school liaison for the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI). Jeanine has taught courses for student teachers in math and science curriculum development at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. She has a master’s degree in Educational Technology from San Francisco State University and is rarely seen without her camera. Jeanine enjoys working with PDS staff and students to design service learning projects that connect the students with the local community and the world at large.
John joined the staff at Park Day in 2012. Prior to Park, John was a partner for 13 years at a San Francisco branding and graphic design firm. In this role, John led the firm's relationships with some of the area's largest and best known organizations, and was integral to the firm's business development, marketing and strategy efforts. John has been a member of the Park community since 2005 when his oldest child entered the Kindergarten. He now has three children–Alex, Isa and Rose–at Park Day.
- Assistant to the Head of School
Jennifer brings over 15 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant, having worked for several area businesses including Autodesk and Leapfrog. A lifetime Bay Area resident, she is passionate about all things Oakland and currently spends her free time acting, motorcycling throughout NorCal and volunteering at a local animal shelter.