Faculty & Staff (A-Z)

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Jeff Kalil

Faculty Information
Location(s) Middle School
Title(s) Middle School Principal
Contact Information
School Email
Degree(s) M.A.L.S. Religious Studies/ Theology, Georgetown University 2010
Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Belfast, Ireland 1991
Bachelors of Art, Philosphy, Haverford College 1990
Other Information
Jeff Kalil is the Middle School Principal and says he’s delighted to join the Wildcat community this year. Jeff has worked with middle school children for almost 25 years. He began his teaching career at Hazelwood Integrated College, while studying as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Upon returning to the States, Jeff was admitted to Teach for America and placed as a Washington, D.C. corps member, where he completed a two-year commitment to the students of Abraham Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, an under-resourced public school in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. It was at Lincoln where Jeff learned to motivate reluctant learners, develop academic and outdoor education curriculum from scratch, and advocate for schools with grantors. Jeff then began a 15-year career as a middle school teacher and administrator at Georgetown Day School, a Pre-K/12 independent school on the northwest side of the city. Georgetown Day is known for its commitment to social justice work and its creation of engaged citizens. Most recently, Jeff was the Middle School Director at The Orchard School in Indianapolis, Indiana, an independent school with historical and lasting ties to the Progressive philosophy of educational reformer, John Dewey. In all these varied settings, Jeff has practiced and fostered an engaging, experiential approach to teaching, learning, and curriculum development. Jeff earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Haverford College (Haverford, PA) in Philosophy and an MALS from Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) in Theology and Religious Studies. He is a bowhunter and tree climber/amateur arborist in his spare time. Jeff and his wife, Jan Brabham, are the proud parents of four boys: Murphy (14), Cannoy (12), Risher (12), and Keefe (10). The boys love hiking, waterfalls, soccer, reading, and spending time at their grandmother’s cabin on Roan Mountain.
"He has great ideas and radiates Carolina Day School values of character development and social responsibility." – Middle School parent
“Mr. Kalil says it's ok to make mistakes as long as we don't make the same ones over and over. He also says to ask plenty of questions. I like that!"- Middle School student
Get to know Jeff Kalil:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools?
“I’m delighted to say that CDS fits a pattern of my working at schools where relationships form the primary foundation of all learning, where students are deeply known on a personal basis, and where challenging intellectual inquiry happens in a climate of mutual curiosity and care.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS?
“I look forward to working with a team of faculty who clearly know and love children at this stage of development, who are passionate about sharing their expertise in content and skills, and who take considered risks in a continual effort to improve their teaching. I look forward to getting to know a new group of eager, energetic, and endearing early adolescents. I look forward to working with families who value education deeply, recognize the expertise of the CDS faculty, and are ready to partner with the school to do the great good work of developing the hearts and minds of their children.”
What books and authors inspire you?
Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner
Experience And Education by John Dewey
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
These books are classics on just some of the themes that I believe matter in the education of kids: making time to play, discovering a passion with adult guidance, and creating the conditions to find purpose and meaning in life; recognizing the importance of the lived experiences children bring to the classroom; benefitting from time spent in nature; developing the critically important home/school partnership; and addressing issues of equity and justice.”
What is your favorite quote about education? “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” --John Dewey
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less?
“Listening then acting to maximize authentic teaching and learning.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life?
“I try to maintain balance through exercise, meditation, spending time with family, and being outdoors...ideally at the same time!”
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