About Us

Greetings from the Head of Schools

Welcome to Annie Wright Schools!

I love Annie Wright Schools. I love its strong community and decades-old traditions. I love the autumn sun shining in the leaves of the big, old tree below the Bamford Commons, the creak of the Great Hall floor under the weight of a high school dance, and the explosion of fourth graders into recess. I love how this school shapes lives. I love how it has shaped mine and now shapes the lives of my own children.
 
I love the solemnity of Lessons and Carols. I love the euphoric cheers of a successful (or unsuccessful!) egg drop. I love the focused preparation of the AWS Dance Team, the joyful caroling at the Middle School Holiday Tea, and the utter adorableness of the Kindergarten soccer team in their blue and gold uniforms. I love how this school prepares students inside and outside of the classroom. I love hearing from alumni how it prepared them.
 
Over the past 29 years I’ve been humbled and inspired to walk these halls as a student, teacher, coach, administrator, and parent. I’ve been challenged, inspired, and compelled by superlatively talented colleagues. I’ve come to believe that strong relationships make all the difference. Annie Wright teachers work diligently to know their students, garner their trust, encourage appropriately, and challenge constantly. Every student is capable when they feel cared for, believed in, and pushed. The same is true for adults. Teachers, administrators, and staff want to be known and appreciated for the work they do. They want to be challenged, encouraged, and inspired. At its best, AWS ensures such relationships exist in the classroom, and it intentionally builds them with its faculty, administration, staff, parents, and alumni.
 
And why is all of this so important? Because it’s about students. Because every single decision we make must be focused directly on improving the experience of our students. Annie Wright is, and must forever remain, a student-centered institution. Value, support, and encourage the adults, certainly, but always at the service of students. They are why we do this work; they are why I do this work. They are why I love this school.

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

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

    • Jake Guadnola '90MS, far right, was in the first class of boys to attend Annie Wright Middle School through Grade 8.

ABOUT MR. GUADNOLA

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. 

Contact

Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403
253.272.2216

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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.