Bonjour, les enfants! Welcome to the garden!”

    As we parents and teachers have experienced, Madame Joelle Dumas is cultivating a place of magic for our children where their expressions, voices and curiosity are honored, transforming them into richer human beings for the betterment of the world. However, when the last child is picked up and the gates are locked for the night, Joelle’s work f or t he children continues. In addition to introducing a visionary educational philosophy in the verdant gardens of our campuses, she focuses on all of the students in our community .

    When we catch up with her, she pushes her hair back from her cheeks, smiles slightly, puts her hands on the table, and begins, “D’accord, ma belle” Nearly always in motion, she loves focusing on connecting with the community. As Chair of the Venice Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Mme. Dumas hosts the WAVE Awards, a spectacular evening honoring teachers who inspire their peers and students. The event is described as so moving that there is not a dry eye left in the house. However, in Madame’s world there is always more to be done… fluent in French, English and Spanish, she moves between the three languages while inserting her own flair that attracts ever more people to her work. 


    In her capacity of Chair of the VCCEC, Mme. Dumas, she hosts several annual events, including The Venice High School Jackets of Excellence honors outstanding alumni. The Holiday Reception for the Principals of Venice Family of Schools is a time to mingle with fellow local leaders, enjoy refreshments and share stories. Realtors Day invites realtors into our local schools to better understand the progress being made when introducing the Venice community to prospective buyers. And finally, she hosts the WAVE Awards. This spectacular event goes to the heart of the matter by bringing together our leaders in education to honor a teacher from each school. In the works is a beautiful afternoon of Gardens in Bloom that will see five schools open their gardens and bring in area restaurants with food to enhance our growing sense of community.

    Creating a world with purpose where children are able to discover their own… Known for enhancing Franco-American relations throughout the city, she is highly decorated by the French government as an exceptional educator and community leader. 

    We even unearth a hint of royalty… Mme. Dumas was awarded the prestigious title of ” Chevalier ” or “Knight” of the “Palmes Academiques,” by the French Ministry of Education for bridging culture and education between France and the U.S. This adds to her cooperation with the French Consulate, Alliance Française and Los Angeles Accueil. The list of titles becomes dizzying with the inclusion of Executive Director of Cultural Affairs for “Movement of French Abroad.”

    Never forgetting ECF, you may see her picking up a few extras for lunch at the Farmers Market in Venice on Fridays, but most of t he shopping is done early Sunday mornings when she buys 50 pound boxes of organic produce to keep the children healthy for the week. On Saturdays, Mme. Dumas can frequently be found with her hands in the soil at Westminster Elementary’s ” WE G a r d e n ” program in support of our neighborhood schools.

    Her work moves forward creative, respectful teaching of children, and t he development of Abbot Kinney’s vision for Venice as a Mecca of art, culture and education. Many an evening has been spent with the Venice Neighborhood Council, while others find her attending conferences on education with ECF teachers. She has also taken part in research with the Getty Museum, UCL A and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Mme. Dumas’ many projects are all aimed at creating a vibrant community for children to find their purpose. 


    Teachers have the power to change the world. They teach us to be intelligent thinkers, kind leaders and creative forces in our communities and beyond. The WAVE Awards ensures that exceptional teachers in our community of schools are honored.

    42 Teachers from our local schools and art institutions are among the honorees who re-envision and invigorate our local schools to cement the community that continues to grow with our children. Past honorees include ECF’s Laurence, Marina and Emilie.

    The sparkle of our greatest teachers is invaluable; thank you for keeping the flame alive.



    During my seven years as Chair of the Venice Chamber of Commerce Education Committee I have worked as the architect of bridges between local businesses and educators, developing a lasting forum where ideas and action meet for the betterment of our community and beyond, fulfilling Abbot Kinney’s vision for Venice as a Mecca for art, culture and education.

    The VCCEC promotes equality and inclusivity in our community of schools by fostering invigorating learning environments for local children of all backgrounds to be educated together, and so creating indelible bonds in our dear Venice.