Finding the School that is the Right Fit

By Lisa Bracken
Director of Admission, Lakehill Preparatory School

As a mother of twin girls, I think the thought of where we would educate our children entered our minds from the moment they were born. My husband and I debated public or private, big or small. Lengthy conversations ensued over the next two years until I got the magical advice to visit schools from another mom. So that’s exactly what we did.

I was working in the field of education, specifically early childhood, and was looking for obviously outstanding curriculum, but also a place where my children would feel loved, cherished, and appreciated for how different they are from one another. A place where they are celebrated for their uniqueness. No easy feat, we thought.

We read, poured over websites, and then started visiting many schools that were recommended to us. We decided we wanted a school that had a community-school feel with smaller class sizes. Finally, we started narrowing down our choices.

We walked into Lakehill Preparatory School, a place we had driven by a few times on scouting missions and had even pulled into the parking lot on one occasion. After attending an admission preview, my husband and I looked at each other on our way out, knowing we had found our right fit. He said to me, “I wish I had gone to school there.” At that moment, my non-educator husband knew our girls would thrive,  continue to grow into happy, emotionally healthy children, and have the academics to match. We started the admission process and held our breath.

Those twins are now in fifth grade at Lakehill, and the school has more than lived up to our expectations. I joined the Lakehill team as Director of Admission two and a half years ago because I believed in the passion of the teachers, the warm families, the diversity of the student body, and, without question, the top-notch education. I can’t wait to watch them continue to grow and mature under faculty and administrative leadership that cherish my girls, and strive to help all children reach their full potential.

I look back at that advice from a mom, and I am so thankful we made visits to schools. It helped confirm our “right fit” and will hopefully yours as well.

The Bracken Family



We’re ALL in!


By Ray Dent
Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Lakehill Preparatory School


I’ve served in a position of Director for educational Development, Advancement and Alumni Relations for just about two decades now. Three quarters of that time was spent in university undergraduate and post-graduate institutions. My experiences in those arenas have given me a unique perspective regarding the special place children, families and educators have in Lakehill Preparatory School.

It is refreshing to be in an environment where the faculty and administrators are not only talented, but also totally committed to the students. This is a place where children actually want to go to school and enjoy learning new things. I’ve never worked at a place where the families, and not just immediate parents, but grandparents and parents of former students, as well, will get involved on so many levels and support the school with their time and their money.

Their solid financial support of the Annual Fund Campaign each year is a major factor in the vitality of this special place. It is so important to Lakehill’s wellbeing that, for the sixth consecutive year, 100% of the Faculty and Staff have already made personal gifts to the Annual Fund.

Thursday, 9.22.16, Lakehill Prep will partner with The Communities Foundation of Texas for North Texas Giving Day to support Lakehill’s Annual Giving Fund. From 6:00 a.m. to Midnight that day, all gifts designated to Lakehill Preparatory School through North Texas Giving Day will go to the Annual Fund Campaign. These tax-deductible gifts will also be eligible for “Bonus Funds” through The Communities Foundation of Texas.

Be part of keeping Lakehill Prep a special place for children, families and educators by giving generously on 9.22.16 at

#NTxGivingDay   #WEareALLin



A Warm Welcome

By Haley James
First Grade Teacher, Lakehill Preparatory School

As a teacher, I frequently reflect on my experiences as a student. I hope never to lose that perspective; embracing the methods of the teachers I loved, and vowing never to mimic the ones I did not admire.

Shortly into my year as a first grade student, I switched schools. It was the only time in my life where I experienced being “the new kid.” It was terrifying. I was scared of my new teacher. I got lost in the labyrinth of hallways searching for the restroom. All of my classmates already knew each other, and I was the odd one out.

I did not feel that same apprehension again, until I became a new teacher at Lakehill. I joined a new school at the last minute. But this time, my experience was completely different. Since my first day, I felt completely welcomed by parents, students, and teachers. Everyone went out of their way to introduce themselves, and to offer a helping hand.

That’s a rare thing, and I wondered what made Lakehill different. When I learned about the Triangle Rules, specifically the Welcome Rule, it dawned on me. The Welcome Rule is so embedded in the culture of Lakehill that it has become second nature for everyone. Every single day I watch children including each other. I see teachers mentoring new members. It is clear that the Welcome Rule goes all the way to the top with Mr. Perry greeting each child in the morning.

Lakehill is not like most schools. And that’s a beautiful thing.



Off and Running

By Lara Gajkowski, Assistant Headmaster
Lakehill Preparatory School

We are quickly nearing one of my favorite events of the year – Trek for Tech.

I love Trek for Tech for several reasons. It is our best avenue for ensuring that our school is equipped with the latest advances in technology. It is also a time that I more seriously train to run (following Coach Karen Owens’s Training Schedule), and I renew my yearly pledge to challenge myself physically, mentally, and creatively.

As I was running/walking my three miles last night, I thought about all of our students and a sudden rush of mental connectedness and empathy came over me. The first few weeks of a school year are challenging. The first few weeks of training are challenging. As I was struggling with my ¼ mile running lap, concentrating on my strides, breathing, and self-talking (“You can do this”), I thought, this is how the kids must feel. They are concentrating on getting to class, keeping up with their studies and activities, and self-talking (“I can do this”). I was humbled and encouraged by the daunting fortitude it takes to be a Lakehill student. I thought, if the kids can do it, I should give my best effort. Newly inspired, I wiped my brow and ran another lap.

I hope you will join me in my support of our students and our common journey of striving and working to be the best we can. I challenge you to challenge yourself. Coach Karen is only a walk/run away.

Save the date for Trek for Tech – Saturday, November 5, 2016.

Look for more information on Coach Karen’s Couch to 5K in the September 22 issue of The Warrior Weekly.

 Trek for Tech


Finding the Joy

Becca and RJ Yttredahl, with mother Renee, greet Roger Perry at the front door.

Becca and RJ Yttredahl, with mother Renee, greet Roger Perry at the front door.

By Bob Yttredahl, Parent of RJ (4th grade) and Becca (kindergarten)

We, as a society, take things for granted. We are selfish and refuse to take the time to look around and be thankful for the things/people in our lives. Instead, we focus on a bigger house…the next trip…a newer car….a bigger paycheck…..signing our kids up for multiple activities. We are caught up in this whirlwind called life.


All of this finally surfaced for me this morning – on our first day of school. With all of the anxiety, excitement and trepidation that comes with the first day of school – I found my calm – my joy.


My kids are in a safe environment where the adults treat them like their own. I didn’t walk away concerned or nervous. I walked away feeling “lucky” to have them in such a great place. They are going to be challenged and loved and disciplined and guided….and successful.


So shame on me if I don’t step out of the whirlwind for a minute and be thankful. Thankful for Lakehill and Headmaster Roger Perry and the school he has created. It’s not about brick and mortar he tells us. Its about the people inside it.


Stop – reflect – be thankful – don’t take it for granted. We are more than lucky to have our kids at Lakehill.

Finding Blance

By Heather Dondis
Director of College Counseling, Lakehill Preparatory School

Since I am in the middle of the course selection process for next year and in the middle of AP testing, I have been thinking a lot about the structure of a high school student’s day. I find myself coming back to the word BALANCE.  Lakehill encourages students to explore their interests, both inside and outside of the classroom. We want our students to excel in their academic interests, but we also want them to explore new subject areas. Our students have two electives each semester for several reasons:  we want them to perform, create, look at texts in a new way, and explore non-traditional subjects.

As a college counselor, I am often asked, “What do colleges want to see?” But there is no magic formula. Colleges want students to follow a curriculum which challenges them, but is one in which they can be successful. They want to see that students can read, write, and think critically, creatively, and independently. Colleges want well-rounded students who are enjoying what they study and enjoy what they do in their “free time” so that they can contribute to their future campuses.

If a school offers AP classes or honors classes, students should be encouraged to take a class or two to further their knowledge and interest in a particular subject area, but only if it makes sense with the students’ learning profiles and other components of their lives. Students should not be tempted to choose an AP class because “it looks good on a high school transcript for colleges.” The same is true for activities and electives. Students should be encouraged to explore different activities and fields of interest, and to stick with those they like in order to develop their skills and leadership roles in those areas.

BALANCE is key to healthy, happy children. There are only 24 hours in the day, and 9.5 of those hours should be spent sleeping, so students should be encouraged to spend the other 14.5 hours in ways that will foster their personal and academic development in positive and healthy ways.

Heather Dondis

Planet Protectors: Lakehill Students Educate Others at Earth Day Texas

The 2016 Earth Day Texas was the planet’s largest Earth Day Expo ever. The 130,000 visitors who attended the event, held April 22-24 at Fair Park, were treated to 700 interactive exhibits showcasing leaders in the corporate, academic, and non-profit worlds, including a booth featuring Lakehill Preparatory School. 
Students in Lakehill’s AP Environmental Science class showcased a variety of environmentally friendly projects. Their exhibits included an interactive game to determine the rate of decomposition of eight common household items (Afton Guedea and Reed Henry), a station for visitors to make composters out of recycled soda bottles (Audrey Castaigne and Guilia Ferguson), a water table which demonstrated how surface pollutants can contaminate water (Kevin Lantz andKason Burt), a station to test the different pH levels of batteries, (Adam Muncaster and George Cheng), an interactive fishing game to highlight the impact of pollution on lakes and streams (Kaeli Bunger and Camryn Thompson), a simulated oil-spill with suggested solutions for safe clean-up (Charlie Pippen and Zain Imam), and a world map for attendees to add their personal Earth Day pledge (Charlotte Abate and Tata Fortune).
Visitors to the event could also tour the tiny house village, test drive electric bikes and cars, and see NASA’s Space Station exhibit.
Earth Day Texas is an annual festival seeking to elevate environmental awareness and change the way North Texans think, live, and work. This is the fifth year that Lakehill has been featured.
By Afton Guedea
Marketing Intern, Class of 2016
Earth Day 1 Earth Day 2

Room 110 for Rent

By John Trout
Fourth Grade Teacher, Lakehill Preparatory School

This is my fourteenth year teaching fourth grade at Lakehill. Same hall for fourteen years.  Same room for fourteen years. Same desk for fourteen years. It’s been my home away from home. In fact, I’ve “lived” in room 110 longer than any of my actual homes over the years! It has been a familiar, comfortable place for me even when other parts of my life have been in transition.

Of course, the room itself has changed. New windows, new desks, new tiles, and every year, a new crop of eager learners to share this home away from home with me for a year. Together, we’ve created memories of adventure, realization, and triumph. Together, we’ve enjoyed days of excitement, accomplishment, and determination. And, peppered in amongst them, there have been days with frustration, setbacks, and uncertainty. But, like a family, we’ve been there for each other through thick and thin, making the best days even better and even the lowest days less intimidating. That’s what families do, and Lakehill has, since day one, felt like my extended family.

Fourteen years of memories, home, and family. That’s going to be hard to beat! Part of me yearns for a fifteenth year (and a sixteenth, and a seventeenth) in room 110. But, a bigger part of me is excited at the notion of new adventures, new challenges, and a hike down the road less traveled. And, that’s exactly what I’ll get next year as I take on my new role as Head of Lower School. And, I’m not losing my home-and-family-away-from-home. Instead, it’s growing! It’s always a little scary leaving behind the comfortable and familiar. But, I’ve got a huge and loving family to help me along the way.

John Trout

The Spirit of Growth

By Kaye Hauschild
Head of Middle School, Lakehill Preparatory School

One of the things I love about working in Lakehill’s Middle School is the constant growth and change that surrounds me. We have obvious growth in Middle School where students will grow a foot or more during their four years of attendance. Major changes indeed! But the changes that I also love are the changes that we make in our activities so that we create an educational experience unique to each group of students.

One example is in our Ancient Civilizations history class led by Patty Pippen.  This year, the class was given the opportunity to create their own Olympic games.  This two -afternoon event was filled with historical fun with a modern twist or two that brought our students an opportunity to run in someone else’s sandals.

Another addition this spring is a new team sport – math! In the middle of April, Coach K (Ms. Kuffel) and her math teams will participate in the Purple Comet Math Meet.  It is great to see students who are excited to work together to solve challenges!  I am looking forward to more mathletics next year!

Adding to spring time fun, we are welcoming the Yo-Yo Club the final month of school!  Coach Cayme and I will be sponsoring lunchtime meetings with demonstrations, opportunities to teach and learn, and conversations among like-minded yo-yo aficionados.

I love the spirit of growth and change that partners with our love and respect for our traditions. It is part of doing things the Lakehill way!

Kaye Hauschild

Growing Together

By India Miles
Middle School Teacher, Lakehill Preparatory School

Originally, this piece was supposed to be about the growth of my students. I was prepared to wax philosophical about the maturity of my students and how much more of their “peopleness” I saw and liked, this, their sixth grade year. However true, I wonder if it is really our relationship and my understanding of their struggles that I better appreciate this year.

As their fifth grade teacher, it was largely my duty to not only provide engaging content, but to facilitate the transition to middle school. Students spent the first half of the year triumphing in the exhilaration of being with the “big kids” while navigating lockers, acclimating to different teachers for each subject, and figuring out how to take care of their business within a five-minute passing period. The second semester dawned cold and bright, and though this would be their last January as the newbies of middle school, they still showed signs that they were not quite ready for independence. I’ll never forget one sweet student asking me if she should use a second sheet of paper to finish her work, since she’d filled up the first. Looking back, I realize that it was not a lack of problem-solving ability, but merely the need for assurance: “am I doing this right?

At the time, I was fairly stupefied by this question. With time and understanding, and by seeing a new fifth grade class exhibit those same assurance-seeking behaviors, I’ve come to the realization that so much of what I do in the middle school classroom goes beyond instruction, curriculum, and content. Though I’ve known for a while how we educators do much more than teach, it is in this, my fifth year of teaching, that I have a better understanding of my students’ minds, how they work, and the soon-coming but not yet achieved “light bulb” moments that every teacher longs to see. In short, it is not just my students who have grown; I believe I have as well.

India Miles