When Pat arrived as a young teacher at Washington Montessori School, she brought a rug from home to cover the floor and had her husband build the shelves of her makeshift classroom. She taught eight children. There weren’t any models of what a Montessori elementary education could look like at the time; but Pat, with her particular fusion of vision, grit, loyalty and love, began transforming this small setting into an extraordinary educational institution, one serving 240 children that is now itself a model for Montessori schools nationwide.
And what Pat created not only transformed WMS, it transformed our children’s lives. Those of us lucky enough to have children or grandchildren pass through the doors of WMS know the meaning of free-thinking, autonomous learning, of love and support, of nurturing teachers who value creativity, and of community.
We asked ourselves what we possibly could give Pat in return?
The only thing we can offer Pat—of course—is the knowledge and comfort that her school will continue to survive, thrive, and serve children for generations to come.
Our gift to Pat needed to be WMS itself.
Which brings us to The Pat Werner Fund for the Future of WMS, established in Pat’s honor.
We want The Pat Werner Fund for the Future of WMS to have the clout to move the needle toward WMS’s financial independence: a freedom to offer tuition assistance to families in need even when the economy is down; or to maintain faculty salaries to appropriate levels even when the roof springs a leak. No school in times of stress can lay off teachers as good as ours and hope to recover them a year later; nor can tuition be raised beyond slender levels without sending away the parents whose children call WMS home. Her Fund, managed with care and built upon over years to come, will allow the school to take intelligent risks into expanding markets and to secure its existing families and staff.
In sum, we want this Fund to celebrate Pat Werner’s achievement and guarantee her legacy, so future generations can look back and remember what Pat Werner did for Washington Montessori and, through the Fund, continues to do for the school.