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The Core Values of our Mission

By Bill Mulcahy, Head of Lower School

When I first visited Country Day when I was interviewing for the Head of Lower School position, I was drawn to our school mission.

I feel even more connected to it now, particularly seeing how it plays out in classrooms, on the playground, and throughout campus on a daily basis. The foundation of Country Day—the core values of our school mission—are at the heart of what we do. Every decision we make, we make with these core values in mind.

Academic Excellence. Our students love to learn and we create learning opportunities for them that are rigorous, engaging, and fun. Our teachers are exceptional and balance high expectations for our students with deep care. By all measures, our students thrive and I have the good fortune of seeing it in action. Learning is joyful and hands-on. Our students learn by doing, by actively engaging in the learning process. In the early grades, young students develop talents and passions, and it is a wonder to see them grow throughout the Lower School years and into the Middle and Upper School and beyond.

LS Teacher and Students

Character. We are a school that has always balanced academic development with character development, and this starts with our youngest students. Character skills like resilience, empathy, and respect for others are taught at a young age. I see it in the classrooms, at times like morning meeting, where our students confidently share and respectfully listen to one another. I see it on the playground, where students thoughtfully interact with their peers, but also learn to manage their feelings and be respectful of others feelings. A personal highlight for me is seeing our youngest students grow into Lower School leaders in 4th grade, confidently modeling leadership skills to our younger students, and understanding the responsibility that comes with being looked up to by others.

Community. The strength of our community was one of the main draws that brought me to Country Day. Simply put, we’re a school that knows what we are and who we are. We’re an inclusive community, and our affirmation of community provides a wonderful blueprint for how we aim to intentionally build and maintain our community. My favorite line from the Affirmation of Community is, “Our commitment to community recognizes and affirms the richness brought by difference and discovered through commonality.” We as a community know that there is a direct correlation between the strength of our community and positive outcomes for our students, and recognize that if we forge strong relationships with our school families, and if our students feel a deep sense of connection within our community, that they’re going to thrive. On a personal note, a point of pride for me as a community member was how we successfully came together to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and provided an exceptional education for all of our Lower School students during a very complicated time.

 Service. Starting at a young age, our students learn the value and critical importance of supporting others. They learn to be stewards of our school, the Charlotte community, and of our world. At each grade level, our students partner with local organizations in Charlotte to learn more about how people help others, and what they can do to become thoughtful, supportive citizens.  

The foundation of Country Day—the core values of our school mission—are at the heart of what we do. Every decision we make, we make with these core values in mind.