Del Mar Union School District hires new head of child care, after-school programs

The Del Mar Union School District has hired a new director of childcare and after -school programs. Laurie Ildau was announced as the new administrator at the board’s Nov. 18 meeting.

“She was part of a very strong candidate pool and emerged as the most qualified leader for the program,” said Assistant Superintendent Shelley Petersen. “She has a wealth of experience in early childhood development…she is very skilled and will make sure the program soars to even greater heights.”

Ildau, a former high school English teacher in Denver, has experience as a preschool director in the Vista Unified School District and as the interim preschool director at King Chavez Academy of Excellence in the Barrio Logan community of San Diego. Most recently she was the owner and director of The Studio, a private preschool in her Vista home.

“I’m very excited to be part of this district,” Ildau said. “This is a really wonderful opportunity and I look forward to being a part of the community for a long time.”

Superintendent Holly McClurg said of all of her quality attributes, Ildau’s love of children shined the most.

Ildau replaces Julie Geisbauer, who held the position for five years.

Julie Nguyen, Torrey Hills preschool teacher, said that Gesibauer was an “amazing leader and mentor” and that the program grew tremendously while she was at the helm.

Geisbauer is still employed with the district, currently serving in a certificated teaching position.

During the meeting, three after-school childcare workers spoke during public comment about some of their frustrations with poor communication about changes during the transition between directors.

Sally Whitmore, a Torrey Hills preschool teacher who has been with the district since 1991, said issues revolved around not being notified that they would be required to work camps such as the Turkey Camp over Thanksgiving break, more mandatory meetings and not receiving schedules or benefits information in writing.

“We would just like changes more effectively communicated, (the lack of communication) makes us feel unimportant and irrelevant,” said Diana Cao-Nguyen, who works in the infant room at Ashley Falls.

The employees had not yet met Ildau and were introduced to her at the meeting along with the public. Not even officially on the job yet, Ildau made assurances that the program’s issues would be addressed: “I understand your concerns…We’ll get there,” she said.