About Us

Greetings from the Head of Schools

Welcome to Annie Wright Schools!

While this website will give you a sense of our schools' history, programs and mission, I encourage you to visit the Annie Wright campus to witness firsthand the professionalism, passion and care demonstrated by the faculty and the warmth of our community. 
Since 1884, Annie Wright Schools have provided a distinctive, academic education, first for the daughters of the pioneers of the Pacific Northwest and, more recently, for the sons and daughters of Tacoma, the United States and the wider world.

We provide a challenging, balanced program that helps our young men and women reach their academic potential. We are proud that, through small class sizes, differentiated instruction and engagement of our faculty, every student at Annie Wright is well-known and treated as an individual. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, we aspire to develop in our students a global perspective and understanding of their place in the world.

Call, email, visit. We look forward to sharing our passion for Annie Wright Schools with you.

Jake Guadnola '90MS
Head of Schools
    • the Guadnola family

Q&A with Mr. Guadnola from Strength magazine, Fall 2020

List of 9 items.

  • Favorite AWS tradition?

    I'm hard pressed not to answer Lip Sync. This tradition, which exists in the Upper School for Girls, builds community unlike any I've seen. 
  • Currently reading?

    Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Teacher who impacted you the most?

    The teacher who had the greatest impact on me was my high school basketball coach, Steve Anstett. He drove home to me the value of demanding excellence of yourself on a daily basis.
  • Favorite Tacoma restaurant?

    It's a tie between Asado and Brewer's Row. I'm comfortable with the tie given that these are two distinctly different types of restaurants!
  • IB learner profile you most relate to?

    I'm going to combine two and say reflective risk-taker. I greatly value reflective practices and then putting what I learn toward endeavoring into new spaces. Keeps me feeling young and fulfilled.
  • Favorite weekend activity?

    Disc golf in the morning with friends. Cooking breakfast for the family. Working in the garden. Running in Pt. Defiance with Stacey. Shooting hoops with Gus. Creating anything with Luke. 
  • Your song?

    An impossible choice! "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty is what I say right now!
  • First job?

    Paper boy for the Tacoma News Tribune at age 11.
  • Something that might surprise readers?

    When I graduated from college, I had every intention of becoming a sports psychologist. One day, a good friend asked me if I wanted to start a company with him. He said, "There are these things called MP3s, and they're going to be big." For the next two years, I lived the start-up life in San Diego. The company was eventually purchased by Intel.
    • Jake Guadnola '90MS, far right, was in the first class of boys to attend Annie Wright Middle School through Grade 8.


Jake Guadnola began serving as Head of Annie Wright Schools in July 2020, but his tenure at the school began long before that. He joined AWS as a second grader when his mother became the school’s Director of Communication. He stayed through Grade 8 and was in the first class of boys to graduate from the Middle School. After high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College. 
Mr. Guadnola returned to his beloved hometown of Tacoma in 2000 and launched his 20-year career at Annie Wright, serving in a range of roles including English & Humanities Teacher, Basketball Coach, Director of College Counseling, Director of Summer Programming, Interim Director of Admissions, Assistant Director of Upper School, and most recently, Director of Upper School for Girls. These two decades of service to Annie Wright were only interrupted by his master’s in education at Harvard University from 2002 to 2003.
During Mr. Guadnola’s tenure, the Upper School for Girls nearly doubled in size and retention reached more than 92%. He oversaw the flourishing IB programming, evolved signature programming, created models for revenue generation, and led a number of innovative student-centered initiatives, including a late start schedule to address adolescent needs for sleep and exercise.
Known and admired for his commitment to help students discover and nurture their individual passions, Mr. Guadnola and his wife, Stacey, helped develop a youth board for Make The Dash Count, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate and inspire high school students to become philanthropic leaders through community engagement and hands-on grantmaking. He also served on the board of directors for Harbor School in Vashon.
Jake, Stacey, and sons Gus ’27 and Luke ’29, enjoy dabbling in entrepreneurism through their home-based company Tubes + Timber, farming dahlias, walking their dog Chewbacca (“Chewie”), playing and watching sports, and taking in everything Tacoma and the South Sound have to offer. 


Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower  and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls  and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.