susan rice

Susan Rice

Head of School, Palm Valley School in Rancho Mirage.

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susan rice
Susan Rice leads Palm Valley School, a private institution in Rancho Mirage with about 350 students enrolled in preschool through 12th grade.
PHOTOGRAPH BY IAN SPANIER

Susan Rice relocated to the Coachella Valley from San Francisco about three years ago to become head of school at Palm Valley School, a private institution in Rancho Mirage with about 350 students enrolled in preschool through 12th grade.

For 65 years Palm Valley School has provided what Rice calls “Small classes, big ideas.” Students experience a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum and get a lot of individual attention.

Each year, graduates complete 40 hours of service learning locally. Partnering with businesses and organizations like Eisenhower Medical Center and United Way, among many others, students help meet the needs of the community. “We want students to understand responsibility to self and others, and to develop that need to take care of their community and give back.”

All Palm Valley students graduate and go on to earn bachelor’s degrees. Many continue on to higher education and often return to the valley.

“Our students who go away get that global perspective, learn about the world, come back, and share that with the community,” she says. And the area offers ample work for healthcare professionals, lawyers, teachers, and many other professionals who seek worldly opportunities in a quaint community.

“One of the wonderful things about the valley is that it has all the amenities of a large city, but the wonderful sort of pace of life of a small town,” Rice says. That quality of life helps retain some of the valley’s best and brightest young talent.

VIDEO: Susan Rice speaks of Palm Valley School in Rancho Mirage.