Message from the Board of Trustees, 5/22

Dear Palm Valley School Community,

The Palm Valley School Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Jason Huskey Sr. (Parent ‘23) was appointed Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at our Annual Meeting held this evening, May 22nd, 2018. He will succeed Gail Gordon Kocen (Parent ’15, ’17) who has served as Board Chairperson and President for the past six years.

Jason Huskey is a Captain in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Chief of Police for the Cities of Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Indian Wells. He has served on the Palm Valley School Board of Trustees since 2012 as Chair of the Committee on Trustees, Development, Risk Management and Audit Committees and as a member of the Executive and Finance Committees. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, received his Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino, and his Juris Doctor degree from Western State College of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2002. Jason and his wife Kelley have a son at Palm Valley School, Jason Jr. Class of 2023.

As the outgoing Chairperson of the Palm Valley School Board of Trustees, I am humbled, proud, and feel extraordinarily privileged to have served as the Board President of a school that has changed so many lives, including the lives of my own sons. I was particularly fortunate to have taken this on when Palm Valley School was in such a strong position to work on so many forward-thinking initiatives. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with our spectacular Head of School, Susan Rice, and with the very dedicated and visionary members of our Board of Trustees. During my time as President, we developed and implemented an innovative strategic plan, renamed and rebranded our school, mission statement, and values, expanded and built a new Upper School, developed our Early Childhood Education Center, improved curriculum, and rigor across all grade levels, and actualized a Solar Energy System installation slated for this summer.

I always felt the best time to move on from my position as President would be when the school was flourishing, had strong and self-confident leaders, and when successors of obvious depth of talent and universal support were available and ready to take over. Thus, I feel the time is right for this change in our Board leadership. I look forward to the partnership between Susan Rice and Jason Huskey as I know their talents and vision, along with the rest of our Trustees, will advance Palm Valley School to new heights. I look forward to assisting them as I continue to serve on our Executive Committee as Chair Emerita.

I am confident that Jason Huskey is ready to set our next chapter into motion. His official introduction will take place at our Graduation and Promotion Ceremony this June. As my final remarks, I will have the honor to address our graduates one last time and send the Class of 2018 into flight!

With gratitude,

Gail Gordon Kocen
Chair Emerita
Palm Valley School Board of Trustees

Dear Palm Valley School Community,

Gail Gordon Kocen and her family have been an integral part of the Palm Valley School community for many years. Her children, David and Sam, are both "lifer" graduates of the school. Her husband, Bryan, has done tireless work with not only his sons but also many other students at Palm Valley through his roles with the Boy Scouts, Lion Club and our own student Leo Club. While Gail is stepping down from her current role as Chair of the Board of Trustees, she has held many other positions of merit that deserve recognition at our school, too. Starting from her most important and cherished role as Mother to David (PVS ‘17, Boston College ’21) and Sam (PVS ’15, Dartmouth College ’19, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine ‘23), she has served in many capacities from leading our Lower School Odyssey of the Mind, to her own volunteer work with the Boy Scouts at PVS, to chaperoning trips with the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) and other groups and clubs throughout her time as a parent, and much more that would take pages to list. A champion and advocate for all of our students, not just her own sons, Gail has been instrumental in encouraging the growth and quality of our College Counseling program, our AP curriculum, and much more. She also served as an incredible leader and President of our Palm Valley Parent Association for many years and has held many leadership roles on the Board of Trustees.
No one on this campus, past or present, could ever question the dedication and steadfastness of her leadership and service to the Palm Valley School. Her tireless commitment as Board Chair has no doubt been both challenging and rewarding, and she has overseen and driven many changes in her tenure. However, the thing that always impresses and inspires me about her is that she is the kind of unassuming personality that can easily shift between running a full board meeting and helping to create a strategic vision or making major decisions on behalf of the school one moment and then driving a carpool full of her sons and their friends to a Cross Country meet out of town and serving them snacks that she baked herself. She is truly a Renaissance woman with many talents and gifts who never fails to amaze me and everyone who knows her. A smart and savvy businesswoman, she and her husband also run a very successful financial firm together, The Kocen Financial Group, Inc., with locations here in Rancho Mirage, as well as in Philadelphia and San Diego. Her talents and gifts abound and we have been fortunate to have them bestowed upon us at Palm Valley School in so many capacities.
While Mrs. Kocen will be greatly missed in her role as chair, and Mr. Huskey will have big shoes to fill - both of them are incredibly capable people and loving parents of engaged students in our community who care about the school and its success beyond measure. I feel so fortunate to be able to have worked with and to continue working with them both. Mrs. Kocen has done so much to lead our Board through many changes and to ensure that the Vision for the future of the school is a solid and successful plan that will take us to new heights. I am incredibly grateful to have worked with her closely for the past three years - she has taught me a great deal and has been an incredible Board Chair and Leader. I am thankful for all that she has done for our school and will continue to do in her role as a Trustee. Mr. Huskey is also an incredible asset to Palm Valley School and brings with him an extensive resume of experience and knowledge along with a fresh perspective that I believe will take us into the next successful chapter of Palm Valley School's already rich history. I am grateful for his willingness and enthusiasm to serve as incoming Chair.
Mrs. Kocen will be speaking at Graduation this spring where she will congratulate our students on their grade level promotions and will help us to send off our graduates one last time. At that time, she will also introduce our new Board Chair, Mr. Jason Huskey Sr. to the community. I hope that you will all join me in thanking her for all that she has done for our school. We have been very fortunate to benefit from her leadership, vision, and stewardship.
With tremendous gratitude,
Susan Rice
Head of School