top of page


J.D. Childs

Job Title:





Phone: (510) 577-9100



Started at O'Dowd:



Notre Dame, BA, English, Philosophy, and Theology * Notre Dame, MTS, Systematic Theology * Marymount University, MEd, Catholic School Leadership

I've also co-authored two books and several articles. My experience in this regard was focused on exploring religiously-themed resources useful for more imaginative teaching of high school religion class.

Originally from:

South Bend, Indiana

Why I Teach:

I have tried always to be the kind of teacher and administrator for students and families that I most needed to have when I was in high school.

Mostly, it is important for students to be "seen." I want to convey to my students that they are important and that they matter. It's what we all want and need -- to be known and to be loved.
I consider working in Catholic secondary education my vocation that continues to deepen throughout the years.

Most powerful teaching technique:

I believe that engaging deeply with the ultimate questions of life's meaning and purpose is a special form of piety.

I appreciate the opportunity to work with students in small discussion groups.
At a conference last year, I learned of a new presentation style called pecha-kucha (a 20 slide ppt where the slides are auto- times at 20 seconds per slide). It's a challenging style to build to allow the pictures to enhance the story and to distill the spoken meaning to its essence. The entire experience is 6 minutes and 40 seconds of poetry!

Why are the subjects you teach important?:

Exploring the ways that people have tried to articulate meaning regarding the most ultimate questions of life is a worthwhile pursuit!

Catholic high school administration, the most important work I do involves enacting real partnership with families, sometimes on challenging matters involving their students. I really love making specific decisions that foster a distinctive campus culture. We all want O'Dowd to be its best self as a school community!

Favorite quotes:

Plato is inspiring to me: “Philosophy begins in wonder.”
“Lead with love. Low ego, high impact. Move at the speed of trust.”
In a Christian context, Memento Mori!
Bonaventure said in a sermon on love that our souls are like angels, insofar as we become what we gaze upon. Angels become more holy because they singularly direct their attention to God. I have to always ask myself the question -- on what am I filling my time and attention? It's who I become....

Favorite trivia:

I learned last year that the two end-zones in Notre Dame Stadium each have 9 stripes (18 total) and that they are striped at a 42*angle. This is symbolic of Notre Dame's founding in 1842!

Recommended visual media:

"Cool Hand Luke," "East of Eden," "Apocalypse Now," "Il Postino," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Do the Right Thing," "Bladerunner," "Annie Hall," "A River Runs Through It." So many great films to recommend!

Recommended reads:

In light of our national narrative, I've been thinking recently of an old JF Powers short story called, "The Trouble." I've also read Coates's, Between the World and Me, which has had a profound effect on my thinking.

This past summer I read several profound books, including Colson Whitehead's, Underground Railroad, and Ali Smith's, How to be Both. I also really enjoyed the first novel of writer Nathan Hill, called, The Nix.

I subscribe to a website that provides me with a daily poem from mostly current writers. On weekends, we get a sampling from classic poets.

Love Poems from God - is a collection of reflections, poems, songs, and koans from twelve sacred religious/philosophical traditions.

Hobbies or outside interests:

I enjoy hiking, writing poetry, traveling, and chasing my children.

bottom of page