Take Five: Meet Julie Means, CdM PTA president and longtime Home Tour volunteer


The 48th Annual Corona del Mar Middle and High School PTA’s Home Tour returns March 1 with the theme “Welcome Home,” which is fitting after a COVID year where all the home tours were virtual. This year, the tour returns with all the in-person bells and whistles, from a pre-tour breakfast and a later luncheon and boutique at the Newport Beach Civic Center to tours of beautiful local homes and an after party – all part of the PTA’s only fundraiser each year. I caught up with PTA president and longtime Home Tour volunteer Julie Means to learn more. 

Take Five Julie Means

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Courtesy of the CdM Home Tour

Julie Means, CdM PTA president

Q: You’ve been part of the CdM PTA Home Tour before you even were part of the CdM PTA. Can you tell me about the first time you went on the Home Tour and what brought that about?

A: My first time going on the Home Tour was actually an assignment from (Stu News editor) Lana Johnson, who was my supervisor when I was the Real Estate Editor at the Daily Pilot – talk about full circle! She gave me her camera, then sent me out to take photos and write about the homes that were going to be on the tour. I’ve been hooked ever since. Now I’m a Home Tour junkie and love being involved behind the scenes and seeing the homes and spending time with my friends on the day of the actual event.

Q: When did you become active as a volunteer, and what jobs have you held over the years?

A: I’ve been volunteering since elementary school, when I was a Campfire Girl back in Minnesota – do they still have those? When I first moved to CdM, I volunteered at the library in the Friends of the Library Bookstore. Volunteering is the best way to meet people, because you share a common goal of wanting to make a difference and help others. There are so many ways to get involved, use your skills or learn new ones, and there are ways to connect at all ages, all stages of life. Through the years, I’ve volunteered for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), at my children’s preschool, Mariners Church, BCYC and Harbor View Elementary – Go Vikings! That’s where I first really connected in an educational setting with so many parents, students, teachers and staff. While there, I started the first ever Jog-A-Thon to raise funds, which is still going strong and is now held at all elementary schools on this side of the bay. We also started a track team, and I coached for seven years. I also spent many years advocating for the new track and sports fields that are now at CdMHS. At CdMMS, I began with the Renaissance Program, then did PR for the CdM cross country and track and field teams. Because of that, I connected with friends who were involved in the CdM PTA, which has been such an amazing experience. I began as vice president of programs and this is my second year as president. What I’m most proud of is our amazing team. They have done so much to continue to make things happen throughout the past few years, no matter what comes our way. They’re also the kindest, most giving and most fun group I’ve ever been involved with. We’re also very diverse, representing all of our public elementary schools in the area, and private schools as well, with our board. It is the most extreme privilege and pleasure to have this journey come full circle. CdM Home Tour is always one of the best events and to view spectacular homes and to see first-hand what is accomplished from the funds that are raised and how it improves the lives of our students is the best feeling in the world. We have an amazing executive board, and we work so well with our CdM Principals, Josh Hill and Dr. Rebecca Gogel, as well as our school board trustees Karen Yelsey and Carol Crane. The funds raised have paid and continue to pay for impactful things such as student scholarships; technology; a new mural that includes the mascots for the Tritons (middle school) and Sea Kings; updating the high school office; outdoor tables and umbrellas for students; teacher grants and so much more. Currently, we’re working on outfitting the Zen Den in the middle school, where the counselors have created a calming and creative space for students to spend time.

Q: Is there a single home that stands out to you from all the Home Tours you’ve been a part of that was especially magical, that really spoke to you, or impressed you, or had a feature that you just never forgot?

A: There are so many amazing homes and spectacular residences that it would be difficult to choose one. What really stands out are specific features, and the love and care people put into making their house a home. Highlights that I would include are a display of covers from past CdM Home Tours arranged like artwork in a dining room; the waterslide from the top of a family’s backyard into a pool; the oversized tennis racket in a teen’s bedroom; the musical notes of “What a Wonderful World” on a wall next to the piano; the thousands of pebbles hand set into a beach-themed shower; a spa and family oasis just above Big Corona Beach; cookbooks displayed on custom shelving like you would see in a bookstore or library; a shelf designed to display nail polish; a movie theater on a bluff in CdM; the living wall that was two stories high…There was also a home that was very well thought out with a study nook next to the kitchen so parents could keep an eye on kids during meal prep; a storage space next to the family room that held all the holiday decorations; and next to the pool and sport court, another kitchen/family room. We’ve had homes on the tour that belong to CdM PTA board members, Home Tour chairs, CdM parents, friends and a former CdM PTA president, as well as interior designers, celebrities and a lot of very gracious and kind people. We’ve also had three homes on my block on the tour at separate times. When we were looking at the house we’re now living in, we met one of our neighbors while she was outside gardening. I remembered her home from the Home Tour – it had been one of our favorites. I was gushing about her home, and the woman invited us in, gave us a personal tour and introduced us to her husband. Her friendliness was one of the reasons we moved.

Q: What should people know about this year’s Home Tour?

A: This is the best and most fun way to support our CdM Middle and High School students. Our students really are our future, and they will be the ones taking care of us at some point. We can show them how much we value them by raising funds to support their education and their social and emotional health. The past two years have been extremely challenging for them, and this is one way to show them how much we care. Revenue from sponsorships, ads, underwriting and ticket sales directly benefits our students. We are most excited that the 48th Annual Corona del Mar Home Tour is going to be live and in person again. We will be featuring magnificent homes in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach that show the latest trends, spectacular views, custom and personal touches and really showcase our community in all its glory. We’re also excited about having our breakfast and lunch at the Newport Beach Civic Center for the first time. It offers an abundance of space both indoors and outdoors, provides more room for our boutique and easy parking. We are also thrilled that VALIA Properties and Barclay Butera Interiors are on board as our Presenting Sponsors once again.

Q: What are the biggest logistical challenges with putting on a Home Tour?

A: The Home Tour is like having 10 separate events all in the space of 10 hours. There is a breakfast; a tour of five to seven homes that are all staged with extra touches of decor; a luncheon with a boutique; and an after party. There is also a kickoff party/underwriter’s party before the event begins. There is a lot of work behind the scenes with our website, ticketing, venues, sponsorships, ads, coordination of students, promotions, publicity, etc. – all of this is organized, managed, publicized and actually happens because of the hard work of our event chair, Gina Jaha and an incredible team of hundreds of volunteers. The past two years have been especially challenging, yet our team has made the impossible, possible. They are caring, creative and can do anything, and usually with a smile. They make magic happen.

Editor’s note: The CdM Home Tour will take place Tuesday, March 1. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Amy Senk is a long-time resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.