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Lisa Lalama and Sarah Williams

Last week, Head of Wilmington Montessori School, Lisa Lalama, announced that she will step down from her role at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Lisa has been Head of School for the past 10 years and has worked at the school for more than two decades.

“WMS is turning 60 this year, and I am proud to have been a steward of this campus and community for 22 of those years,” Lisa said. “A lot has changed since I first came to WMS, but what has remained the same is the strong commitment to Montessori principles. Our strong foundation guides us as we make decisions that shape our future. We will continue to do this work during this school year as we strengthen our commitment to initiatives such as outdoor learning, STEAM education, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, and aligning Montessori education with cognitive neuroscience. Our teachers and staff are fully committed to the vision of WMS and will continue to work with that vision at the center of all they do, sharing it with the next generation of students and families.”  

Paul Sakaguchi, chair of the school’s Board of Directors, spoke about the impact Lisa has made on WMS during her decade as head.

“Lisa has been an innovative leader, a forward thinker and a leader who is willing to challenge the status quo both at WMS and in education in general to improve the learning opportunities for all children,” Paul said. “We thank Lisa for her many innovations such as creating a technology program, a one-to-one iPad program, Arts Integration (with the Kennedy Center) and, most recently, Mind, Brain Education (with The Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning).”


He also discussed the Board’s deep appreciation for Lisa's leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although managing through the pandemic was an effort from the whole WMS community, Lisa's leadership and calming presence was an essential element.”

The Board of Directors has selected Sarah Williams, Assistant Head of School at WMS, to succeed Lisa as Head of School in July 2024.

“Sarah’s experience and passion for Montessori education make her the right leader for WMS as we continue to inspire young minds to be today's learners and tomorrow's leaders,” Paul said. “We eagerly anticipate the positive impact that Sarah will bring to our educational community under her leadership.”

Sarah first encountered WMS and the Montessori Method as a student teacher in 2001 as she completed her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Development. She continued her education, earning a Master of Education in Special Education, as well as her Early Childhood and Elementary I American Montessori Society (AMS) credentials. 

Over the years, she taught at WMS in a variety of roles in both the Primary and Lower Elementary programs and also spent time working in public and for-profit Montessori programs. In 2014, she began her career as an administrator at WMS, first as Early Childhood Education Director, followed by Assistant Head of School. Sarah’s work has also spanned the larger Montessori community, presenting at events including the AMS conference and serving as an instructor for a local Montessori teacher training program.

“I am honored to have accepted the offer from the Board of Directors to lead Wilmington Montessori School into the 2024-25 school year and to follow Lisa Lalama, a respected leader in both the Montessori and independent school communities, in that role,” Sarah said. “The opportunity to build upon what Lisa has accomplished is an exciting proposition, and I am looking forward to continuing WMS’s longstanding tradition of providing innovative learning experiences for students within a community that celebrates their strengths and values the significant role collaboration with families plays in their success.”