This is the 11th and final installment of our series, T
he Principal’s Office
, in which we brought you interviews with the leaders of La Jolla’s elementary, middle and high schools. Two area principals declined our requests for interviews: Margaret Gale Baer, director of The Evans School; and Sally Viavada, principal of Bird Rock Elementary. To see the previous stories and videos of all other principals, visit
As a child growing up in Pittsburgh, Bishop’s Head of School Aimeclaire Roche knew where education ranked on her family’s priority list: at the top.
“My parents prized education in all that they did. That was what we talked about: investing in school,” Roche said. Her father, an obstetrician and gynecologist; and her mother, who earned a law degree and Master’s in social work after raising her own children, were part of the first generation of their families to attend college. As parents, they sacrificed to give Roche and her four siblings an independent high school education.
“The idea of going to school and gaining knowledge to contribute to the world was a part of our lives,” Roche recalled. “Education was always seen as the great ideal and the thing that no one could take away from you. It was the thing beyond financial success and other measures of success that would always hold you in good stead. It was always the thing we sought.”
It still is. Roche has spent her life as a scholar, teacher or administrator at some of the most prestigious independent schools on the East Coast, including Harvard, Wellesley, Columbia and Phillips Exeter Academy. Four years ago, she shifted coasts to become head of The Bishop’s School, a grades 6-12 independent school in La Jolla’s Village, where her dedication to education continues.
“It has been phenomenal. I’m the luckiest person in the world,” she said. “Bishop’s is as it was advertised. It is a place where being authentic matters. It isn’t just academic rigor. It is about curiosity and being a life-long learner. If you live to learn, this is the school for you.”
An enthusiastic and warm person who is equally quick to laugh or to become philosophical, Roche (who goes by the nickname “A.C.”) has been immersed in school culture since she began at Exeter in the tenth-grade. A focused and motivated student, Roche studied Greek and Latin and thrived in the atmosphere of learning at the New Hampshire boarding school. “I loved that you could go to a school that was all about going to school. As much as you missed your family, it was all about investing in that experience,” she said.
Roche attended Wellesley College for two years before transferring to Harvard University to pursue Greek and Latin at a larger department.
“For me, it was similar to math,” Roche said of her interest in Latin and Ancient Greek. “The details of the text really spoke to me. I loved that one letter alters meaning.” She also relished being able to access traditions, values and theories from 2,000 years ago through the “dead” languages.