WMS people

Head of School Search

November 1, 2017
New Head of School Announced

To the Washington Montessori School Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Carney O’Brien as the Washington Montessori School’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2018.

As many of you were able to hear first-hand during her visit to WMS, Carney possesses a wealth of experience in the independent day and boarding school world; experience that will serve us well as we continue to look for ways to position ourselves in a challenging demographic market. That said, the board knows that our school’s greatest strengths are our Montessori educational program and our tight-knit community, and Carney’s recognition of and enthusiasm for what makes WMS special were apparent from the moment she arrived on our campus. Her warmth and energy are infectious, her educational philosophy is child-centered, her leadership style is collaborative, and Carney’s references were effusive in their praise for her ability to gather people behind a shared vision. These are precisely the traits we were searching for in our next Head of School.

There will be many opportunities to get to know Carney in the coming months. In the meantime, she asked that I share this message with you:

“It was abundantly clear from my earliest interactions with the WMS community that I had encountered everything to which I aspire as an educator and leader, and for which I had been prepared by the phenomenal mentors who have supported, counseled and pushed me since my earliest years in education. I am humbled by your confidence and genuinely excited by the opportunity to join this unique, innovative, warm, and inclusive community committed to a student-centered Montessori education. I look forward to partnering with your incredibly dedicated board of trustees, intuitive and experienced senior administrative team, talented and imaginative faculty, thoughtful and committed parent body, eager and authentic students, ready and willing local community, and – of course – the iconic Pat Werner, as we all forge forward to ensure the legacy, and discover the certain, compelling, and exciting future of Washington Montessori School.”

I will be forever grateful to the search committee for the incredible work they have done on behalf of our school. Finding our first new Head of School in 43 years has been an intense and emotional process, and Rob Copen, Betsy Deluca, Karyn Detje, Kerry Dorton, Matt Karpas, Sandy Neubauer, Peter O’Neill, Coco Sellman and Denise Trevenen all gave countless hours to the search over the last nine months

As Board Chairperson, I could not be prouder of our community’s active engagement throughout this process. The thoughtful feedback from the entire community – current and past parents, faculty, trustees, students – has reaffirmed just how deeply we all care for the school that Pat Werner has nurtured and built for the last 43 years. I am convinced that together with Carney we will continue to thoughtfully grow and evolve the Washington Montessori School for the benefit of all the children who come through its doors.

Please join me in welcoming Carney to our community!


Bill Dunbar
Chairperson, Board of Trustees




October 17, 2017
Meet Jon Deveaux, Finalist #2

October 10, 2017
Meet Carney O’Brien, Finalist #1

October 3, 2017
Two Finalists Named

September 25, 2017
Update from Search Committee

April 5, 2017
Opportunity Statement Prepared

March 7, 2017
Search Committee Announced

March 2, 2017
Independent Thinking Begins Process

January 31, 2017
Message from Board of Trustees Chair, Bill Dunbar

January 31, 2017
Message from Head of School Pat Werner