A small ceremony took place Wednesday morning to dedicate three young elm trees planted to acknowledge the contributions of former Board Chair Sandy Neubauer P ‘10 ’14. Washington Montessori School is deeply grateful to Sandy for his vision and leadership on both the 50th Anniversary campaign and The Pat Werner Fund for the Future of WMS.
Sandy joined the Board of Trustees in 2008 when his son was in Middle School and his daughter in Lower Elementary and remained a member even after both children had graduated. He took on the role of Board Chair as the school was approaching our 50th anniversary. “He had a very passionate vision of how we were going to take that anniversary, celebrate the school, celebrate the first 50 years and take the next step forward,” said Bill Dunbar who served on the Board under Sandy’s leadership and succeeded him as Chair in 2016.
Pat Werner, Head of School Emeritus, could not be present at the dedication ceremony, but she prepared comments to be delivered by current Head of School Carney O’Brien on her behalf.
Sandy joined the board in 2008 and devoted many hours and much energy to projects on behalf of the school from then until now. He served on most committees at some point in his tenure and, after saying no many times, he surprised us one year by saying yes and serving a four-year stint as board chair. He led with grace, optimism and a can-do attitude.
Pat noted his enduring sense of humor and his ability to always “tell a good joke.” She then went on to recall the constant support and advice she received from Sandy during his time on the board. She specifically mentioned his advice to read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” which describes how Lincoln invited his disgruntled competitors from the Presidential race to form his cabinet. The book illustrates Lincoln’s extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men and understand their motives and desires, which enabled him to rally support, preserve the Union and win the war.
I took this to heart and while I wasn’t as successful as Lincoln, Sandy’s advice made me a better person and helped me work more successfully with the board to lead the school through a challenging time. I think Sandy’s greatest gift is helping us all to be better people and in turn that has made WMS better too.