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2014 Annual Meeting Summary

February 19, 2014
Each year, Wilmington Montessori School’s Board of Directors holds an annual meeting that is open to the entire community. At last week’s meeting, WMS leadership shared news regarding the school’s financial status and strategic plan progress, responded to questions and announced results of this month’s Board election.

Board Treasurer Paul Sakaguchi summarized WMS’s 2012-13 finances. Paul shared that WMS has balanced its operating budget for the 2012-13 school year. This provides the strong foundation needed as we move forward. The 2012-13 annual report, available online later this week, will provide additional information regarding the fiscal year that ended on August 31, 2013. Paul also spoke about Marie Dugan's time as interim head of school and thanked her for her service. He described how Marie stepped into the interim role and provided a solid foundation for economic recovery. He spoke of her ability to bring people together and her adeptness at raising funds for WMS.

Board Chair Anna Quisel and Head of School Lisa Lalama discussed the 2013-16 Strategic Plan. At the Annual Meeting, we focused on where we are now with the strategic plan, but it might be good to provide a little background first. Our strategic planning process began with Independent School Management’s (ISM) guidance as we collected feedback from our community. ISM provided us with survey tools that we could compare to their international database of school data. We discovered that our faculty has an extremely high ethical and cultural foundation, and our focus needs to be on improving compensation. We learned that our students’ classroom experiences are highly valued by our parents, and WMS would benefit from a focus on technology/science and arts.

Since the plan was published, WMS’s Board and administrative team have been laying the groundwork (see image below) for moving forward on these initiatives, starting with research, fundraising and hiring our new Head of School. Lisa and the administrative leadership have already begun a focus on technology (discussed in this week’s Wednesday Weekly), STEM and parent communication. Going forward through 2016, as each initiative is fully outlined, our WMS leadership looks forward to sharing the plans with the community.

Meredith Amado, chair of the WMS Development Committee and co-chair of the Marie M. Dugan Fund for the Future (WMS’s 50th Anniversary Comprehensive Campaign with a $3.5 million goal), was thrilled to share that WMS has raised more than $1 million to achieve the $1 million challenge match ahead of schedule. Some of these funds were used in 2012-13 to support a faculty bonus; other funds will be held in reserve for emergencies, and about $1.5 million is now available to support strategic plan initiatives. These investments in WMS have already begun and will continue through 2016.

Although the available funds seem generous, there is a lot of work to be done — the WMS building and grounds are in need of several updates and repairs (like the gym floor!), and enhancements in technology, STEM and the arts will require equipment and affect the way in which the building is used. The Marie M. Dugan Fund for the Future will ensure that these plans can be carried out in the best way possible. Our WMS leadership is working hard to meet this campaign goal.

Finally, Board Secretary Pam Politis announced that parent Zehra Wamiq, new to the Board, and Israel Floyd and Anna Quisel, continuing Board members, were elected by Members to serve on the WMS Board until 2017.

As always, we are grateful to our staff and parents who joined the annual meeting.

In partnership,

Anna Quisel, Board Chair

Strategic Plan Journey
Strategic Plan Journey

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