Q and A: Emma Katznelson, Wildwood School’s New Director of Admissions


Emma Katznelson
Emma Katznelson, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Wildwood School

We’re delighted to welcome Emma Katznelson to Beyond The Brochure! Emma is the new  Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at Wildwood School.  Emma earned her B.A. from Columbia University and her masters in education from UC Berkeley. Emma began her work at Wildwood as a Division Three (9th and 10th grades) humanities teacher in 2009 and subsequently served as a division coordinator. She joined the admission team as associate director last year. I’ve written about Wildwood School’s beautiful outdoor space previously on the blog. Congratulations on your new job, Emma! – Christina


Question: You have a very busy job that involves interviewing lots of families and deciding who to admit. How do you plan to approach your new job?


Answer: First and foremost, at the heart of my job, is doing what’s best for students. I joined Wildwood four years ago as a 9th and 10th grade humanities teacher, advisor, and division coordinator (teacher leader). Each of these roles has allowed me to expand my understanding of how to prepare young people for today’s world.  As the director of admission, I continue to use my experience in the classroom to inform my approach to outreach, admission, and community building.  Wildwood is a progressive, college-prep school. Our program is unique and a large part of my job is to ensure families understand the benefits of an education that is student-centered, project-based, and multicultural. As families go through our application process, my goal is to assess the best fit for students, especially considering if they will be and feel successful here—academically, socially, emotionally and including extracurricular activities.  Part of what creates that success is our warm community.  An important aspect of my role is engaging current students and their parents in fostering an environment where all feel welcome.


Question:  What are the most important qualities Wildwood looks for in applicant children for kindergarten?


Answer: At our elementary school, life skills are embedded throughout the curriculum. These include concepts of flexibility, perseverance, curiosity, and integrity, to name a few. These qualities inform our practice. Our admissions process for students entering kindergarten includes a school tour, parent interview, Saturday campus visit day to explore school readiness, and a recommendation letter from the child’s current preschool director.  Our evaluative approach is holistic, looking at the whole child.

Wildwood Elementary School: Big Yard
Wildwood Elementary School: Big Yard


Question: Is there a certain type of family that Wildwood admits?


Answer: At Wildwood, we celebrate differences and value commonalities. The families who join us feel at home here, are eager to be part of an intellectually vibrant place, and want to connect—through volunteering in the library, cheering our athletes at a game, or sharing expertise and insights.  They believe in the power of personal discovery and the pursuit of passion.  When parents are key collaborators in their child’s education, their children thrive.


Question: Do you have any tips for parents who will be applying to Wildwood?


Answer: Admissions is a reciprocal process.  Our intent is to get to know prospective students and parents as authentically as possible. We invite families to do the same: get to know our culture and program, visit our website, attend open houses, parent education evenings, and school tours, and, most importantly, ask lots of questions. Take advantage of the many opportunities we provide to learn what differentiates Wildwood.


Question: If a child is wait-listed, is there any chance of being admitted at Wildwood? How does that work?


Answer: Every year, we have more students apply than the number of spaces available at each entry point. Our ability to accept children off the wait-list varies with each admission cycle. In any given year, if an opening presents itself, we look to our wait-list. We are intentional about considering the make-up of a particular class and the applicant as an individual.


Question: Can you give our readers a sense of the financial aid outlook at Wildwood for 2013-14?


Answer: Wildwood is committed to developing a multicultural school population that mirrors the broader Los Angeles community. Our endowment fund was established specifically for financial aid to provide students who could not otherwise afford a Wildwood education the opportunity to enroll in our school. We support the needs of as many families as possible and our fundraising efforts continue to allow us to uphold this important part of our mission.


For more information, please visit, www.wildwood.org


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at csimon2007@gmail.com

8 thoughts to “Q and A: Emma Katznelson, Wildwood School’s New Director of Admissions”

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Katznelson at recent event for all schools at the Willows. She’s extremely energetic, warm, and highly intelligent. If she’s the new head…Wildwood is headed to new heights!
    A pleasure:)

  2. I am such a huge fan of Landis Green, the Wildwood School director, and know that he and his team must have put great care and thought into the choice of Admissions Director. This role is a hugely important one in ensuring that Wildwood continues to attract families truly committed to progressive education & to their children’s school community. I’m very excited to see how Ms. Katznelson takes on the challenge of this position. Thanks for another insightful post, Christina!

  3. I believe Emma is a fantastic choice for Wildwood’s new Director of Admissions. I’ve worked with Emma over the past year and her vast knowledge of the school, its students, and the WIldwood culture is infectious to those who meet her. It is an absolute coup for Wildwood to have her as one of the first people that interested students and families encounter. I also find that her experience as a Wildwood teacher helps to enlighten perspective families about the school’s progressive philosophy and its curriculum.
    I don’t believe Wildwood could have selected anyone better for the role!

  4. I had the great pleasure of meeting Emma at the ESAD fair at the Oaks School last week. She had a couple Wildwood middle school students at her side who were chatting about their experiences at the elementary school – really insightful, self-possessed kiddos.

    I look forward to learning more about Wildwood and Emma too! Great post.

  5. The experiences we had going through the various admissions programs made a huge difference in our school selection – which was ultimately Wildwood! It’s a truly welcoming (and, dare I say it – FUN!) process at Wildwood and I’m excited to see Ms. Katznelson in her new role.

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