Jane Childress has been a Carolina Day School Wildcat since 2014. She attended Sweet Briar College and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in English and a minor in Southern Studies. Her experience includes working in marketing, fundraising, advocacy, and membership in education, tourism, historic attractions, summer camps, festivals, and child abuse and neglect prevention. She is the former director of creative services for The Biltmore Company, and founder of Carolina Creative Services, a boutique ad agency. She was executive director of the NC Youth Camp Association as well as Blue Ridge Mountain Host. She has served as a board member for various nonprofits, as her church vestry's senior warden, and as president of the Junior League of Asheville. She has been honored with ADDY awards and other distinctions in marketing and advertising.
Jane and her husband Vince live in Asheville with their children, Thompson Murray ’23, Diana (Western Carolina University ’21), and James Murray (Sewanee ’21).
Get to know Jane Childress:
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “Variety: the spice of life! There is a bounty of interests here to spark my creativity and intellect. I also really like working with smart people ;)”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “Our faculty creates fertile ground for students to grow their intellectual capacity and explore their capabilities. Students are encouraged to not only try out their ideas, solutions, and creations, but to treat mistakes along the way as a positive part of the process.”
What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? “I feel most inspired by fiction in which deep hardship is overcome. Favorites of late include: The Last Thing You Surrender by Leonard Pitts, In West Mills by De'Shawn Charles Winslow, and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer. These stories remind me of both the great suffering and the great hope in the world.
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” —Einstein
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job? “My personal mission is to influence people in a positive way. In my work, this manifests in a creative, solution-oriented attitude. Greet hard stuff and work through it. Be forthright. FUN is essential. Creative that looks good is nice, but useless unless it’s on strategy and data-driven.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “Singing is top of the list, followed closely by exercise and reading. I have a strong need to be in wide, open, wild spaces, which reconnects me to the bigger, the greater, the most important.”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “I’m driven by a passion for excellence and motivated by mission.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “I was “raised” in an independent school, grades 1-12. It was an education era of sitting in desks and memorizing notes from the board. I was painfully shy and always had my nose in a book. I was an athlete, which probably saved me from complete social disgrace, and taught me lifelong lessons in leadership, teamwork and perseverance. CDS does a very nice job of really getting everyone oriented toward doing their best and being involved, even (especially!) the shy ones. In the classroom, there is an energy that is driven by the students. It makes for an organic learning environment in which students not only know the facts but understand them.”