Wilmington Montessori School names new Head of School

June 25, 2013

Letter from Anna Quisel, Chair of the WMS Board of Directors

Dear Wilmington Montessori School Families and Friends,

I am writing on behalf of the WMS Board with long-anticipated news! After undertaking a national search seeking an experienced and dynamic Montessori educator, we discovered our most compelling candidate right here at Wilmington Montessori School.

We are thrilled to announce that Lisa Lalama, our 9-12 program coordinator and respected teacher, will become our next Head of School.

In Lisa, we are truly fortunate to have earned the commitment of a Montessori educator with 12 years of experience in the classroom. She is at the forefront of Montessori education through her work as an American Montessori Society instructor and lecturer, as a field consultant for the Princeton Center for Teacher Education and through her ongoing pursuit of professional development in many areas including Learning and the Brain Conferences. We appreciate her perspectives on Montessori education through her many years as a Montessori parent and as President of the Board at the Elementary Workshop.

Marie Dugan, who has looked after WMS so well, will continue as Interim Head of School for half of the 2013-14 school year, through WMS’s 50th Birthday on January 31, 2014. To allow for a smooth transition, Lisa will become our Assistant Head of School this summer.

We extend many thanks to Israel Floyd and the parents and teachers who served on the Head Search Committee, helping us reach a beautiful conclusion to our search for a new Head of School.

In Partnership,
Anna Quisel, Chair, WMS Board of Directors

Letter from Lisa Lalama

Dear WMS Community,

When I came to WMS a little over 12 years ago, I never thought I would be in this place. I was delighted to be a part of the community and to be able to share it more fully with so many students, families and staff. Like so many of you, I searched for a school for my children that would meet them where they were and honor them as individual learners, guiding them as they became more independent and able to advocate for their needs. That search led to Montessori education. What a find!

Shortly after Marie arrived at WMS, she approached me and asked why I had not considered applying for the Head of School. I had no answer other than it had not occurred to me as I was very happy in my role supporting students and teachers in the 9-12 program. As time went on, I had meetings with the WMS Board of Directors and Marie - many, many meetings. We shared our ideas about the future of WMS and discussed the work that lies ahead. Over time, we came to the mutual decision that my place is at WMS and my role was ready to shift.

You may ask why. I certainly have. I have thought, questioned, discussed and thought more about this. I believe that I am the person to continue to strengthen the confidence you have in WMS and all it represents. We have faced challenges and come through them with more resolve and a reinvigorated purpose. Our goal is much the same as mine was for my children. As Marie says, we want to be the best Montessori School and we are well on our way.

As I begin my work this August as Assistant Head of School, I will be learning more about WMS from a variety of perspectives. The Board has given me this time to understand the broader view of the school and I plan to take full advantage of this. I will be spending time with the staff to learn their piece of the WMS puzzle. I will be attending workshops to further hone my leadership skills and will be working with all of the constituencies at WMS to gain a deeper understanding of what makes our school the wonderful place it continues to be.

When you return to WMS this fall, Marie will continue to be firmly leading us and mentoring me as we plan for my taking her place in February. I trust that her experience and guidance will continue to strengthen WMS and lead us solidly into the future.

I look forward to our continued growth and a tremendous school year ahead.

Lisa A. Lalama


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