About Country Day School
The Mission of The Country Day Schools is to provide a safe, innovative environment and high quality education for the students of our communities inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to education.
Vision & Values
All children are honored as individuals who are intrinsically motivated and are active participants in their learning.
Families, educators and children are partners in learning and research.
Environments are safe, nurturing, and designed to promote experiences that invite children and adults to enter into meaningful dialogues that foster children’s innate curiosity, creativity, and thinking.
Relationships are at the core of our educational approach and are built with our surroundings: people, materials, and environments.
Through documentation, the learning process of teachers and children is made visible for furthering understanding, expanding on concepts, and celebrating ideas.
Country Day School is owned by KLA Schools. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, KLA Schools opened its first school in 2008 in downtown Miami. KLA Schools of Brickell’s educational success has provided the opportunity for expansion in South Florida and, in recent years, throughout the United States. We are proud to have CDS be part of our growing family, and hope to share our love of learning with all of our new families in Huntsville.
Our educators believe in the child’s competency and potential. They embrace children’s ideas, points of view and participation in their learning experience. Our educators appreciate professional development in understanding more and more about the child’s thinking and learning processes.
Children have their own strengths and interests, and when given the opportunity to share, they support the expansion of the knowledge of their peers and teachers. We offer children a place to become aware of their love for learning. Children are honored in our program and acknowledged as the protagonists of their learning experience.
Country Day School is owned and operated by KLA Schools
Discover Our Unique School
THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (K-6th Grade)
We prepare students for the world that awaits them.
THE PRESCHOOL (6 Weeks – 4 YEARS)
We offer the highest quality early childhood education.
Our enrichment programs serve to complement and extend our curriculum.
Candy Ortega, her husband, Roberto and a group of investors and educators founded KLA Schools in 2008. They opened the first KLA School in Miami, FL, in 2008 and began franchising in 2010. For Roberto and Candy, the desire to provide an inspiring curriculum, a nurturing environment, and high quality education to pre-school students across America was deeply rooted.
Roberto, KLA Schools' CEO, inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who opened two schools of his own in South America. Candy, KLA Schools' Educational Director, grew up in Argentina and Brazil and came to the US in 1994. She earned an Associate’s degree in Child Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and began her educational career as a pre-school teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired school.
Candy and Roberto have attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and internationally. Additionally, they have participated in the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Anaheim 2011, Orlando 2011, and they have attended the 4th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Summer Conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer Conference Chicago, Illinois, 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove, California, 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountain View, California and the 11th NAREA Summer Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico among others.
President & CEO
Roberto Ortega is the founder and President of KLA Schools, where he is responsible for the development, operations and oversight of multiple high-performing preschools in the U.S. His scope of work encompasses the growth of the franchise arm of the company as well as the pool of corporate owned locations. Under his leadership, he manages a team of executives and educators with a passion for providing high-quality early childhood education.
Mr. Ortega inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who opened two K-12 schools of his own in South America. Together with his wife they wanted to create an impact in society by providing a quality early childhood education program. They knew the key was to have a curriculum suited for the 21st century and they selected the Reggio Emilia Approach hailed by Newsweek magazine as the best in the world.
Mrs. Candelaria Ortega is the co-founder of KLA Schools. She has been the Director of the first school since the company opened in 2008. Mrs. Ortega became the Pedagogical Director of the KLA School Franchise in 2010 to support the corporate owned and franchise centers. As the Pedagogical Director of KLA Schools, Mrs. Ortega supervises the development and implementation of the philosophy and curriculum of KLA Schools. She is also responsible for the continuous improvement of the curriculum and professional development initiatives.
Mrs. Ortega and her team provide the necessary tools and materials to ensure that the students are getting a quality early childhood education program. Mrs. Ortega is the company spokesperson on education and child-related topics.
Director of Professional Development
Claudia Chaustre has 15 years of experience in the learning and practice of the Reggio Emilia approach to education. She was part of L’Atelier School - Miami’s first Reggio Emilia inspired preschool - for 14 years. Throughout this time she was a teacher in the different age groups (0 to 5), a Pedagogical Coordinator, and a Co-Director. Her relationship with KLA Schools started in 2008, by being their consultant during their first years through L’Atelier school. She joined KLA Schools in January 2015 as a full-time Pedagogical Consultant. Her role is to visit the schools periodically to provide pedagogical support in the ReggioEmilia approach.
Director of Finance
Ms. Dana Grimes has been in charge of the Accounting and Finance department of the KLA Schools Affiliates since 2008, and has served as our Director of Finance since November 2008. Mrs. Grimes has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and finance. She has worked in the public and private sector since 2001. She has an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Miami Dade College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Florida International University. She provides our staff and franchisees with training and support in the areas of Accounting and Finance. She holds these positions in our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
Adriana Lamas Ortega
Director of Admissions
A Miami native, Ms. Ortega has served as our Admissions Director since June 2013. Prior to that, she was a teacher for a KLA Schools Affiliate from August 2011 to June 2013. Ms. Ortega earned a Bachelors of Psychology from University of Miami in 2010 and has held these positions in our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
Director of Marketing
Jose Loor has held the position of Director of Marketing and the Director of Marking of the KLA Schools Affiliates since April 2013. Prior to that, he was the Operations Manager of the KLA Schools Affiliates from January 2010 to April 2013. He has help these positions in our corporate office in Miami, FL. Mr. Loor has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Miami and a Master of Business Administration from Universidad Complutese de Madrid, Spain.
Director of Operations
Gillian Gavurin has worked for the KLA Schools Affiliates since August 2013. She started her career as a teacher for preschool children. After participating in projects throughout the school year of 2014-2015 with the marketing department, she became Assistant Director of Marketing in June 2015 and was later promoted to Director of Operations. She has been working in the education field since 2005, received her Bachelors Degree in Special Education in 2008 from Boston University and a dual Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Touro College in New York City in 2010. She currently holds her position at our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
Maria Jose Morla
Director of Branding
Maria Jose Morla works for the KLA Schools Affiliates as the Director of Branding. She oversees marketing and advertising activities to ensure the right message is delivered among schools. Maria Jose received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Communications with a Major in Advertising from Florida International University in 2009 and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College in 2017. She holds her position at our corporate offices in Miami, Florida.
Magdalena Castro has worked for the KLA Schools Affiliates since 2008, before the first school was opened. She started her career as a teacher at KLA Schools of Brickell in the Class of the 2’s, Class of the 3’s, Class of the 4’s and Kindergarten. She later became the Co-Director for that school and served as the Pedagogical Consultant for the schools in Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines and Aventura. Following that she was named the Director of KLA Schools of Aventura. In 2016, Ms. Castro stepped down from her School Director position and now serves as the Pedagogical Consultant for all the KLA Schools across the nation.
Assistant Director of Professional Development
Raquel Roa has 15 years of experience working with children, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Catholic University Andrés Bello and a Minor degree in Early Childhood Education from Metropolitan University in Caracas, Venezuela. She worked for KLA Schools in Doral as a teacher from 2012 to 2015. In November 2017, she became the Assistant Director of Professional Development, where she oversees the pedagogical development. She holds her position at our corporate offices in Miami, Florida.
Over her career, her passion is being surrounded by children, she is a promoter and defender of children’s rights, she firmly believes in them and thinks that if we provide an education of quality we will have a better world because they are the future of our humanity.
KLA Schools is proud to announce it is being considered by Child Care Exchange as one of The Exchange Top 50 (North America’s Largest For Profit Child Care Organizations). In addition, we are in the process of applying for the AdvancED Schools and Corporation Accreditation. We look forward to updating this section of our website as these recognitions are granted.
Inc. Magazine ranked KLA Schools NO. 4185 on its 35th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.
- KLA's three year growth: 66%.
- KLA's Miami Metro Area Rank: 109.
- KLA's Education Rank: 63.
- KLA's Early Childhood Education Rank: 2.
KLA Schools ranked #310 in Entrepreneur magazine's
38th Annual Franchise 500.