About Us

Strategic Plan 2016-2021

A comprehensive strategic planning project kicked off with a conference in the fall of 2014 that included nearly 100 parents, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and students. This vision statement informed their efforts:

Annie Wright Schools will be internationally recognized as educational leaders where tradition meets innovation and every student is inspired to make a profound contribution in the world.

Findings from this conference led to six task forces which honed initiatives identified from the conference. The Board of Trustees approved our new strategic plan in December 2015. It includes the following seven main initiatives:

List of 7 items.


    Annie Wright Schools will prioritize a globalized curriculum and experiences that take us off campus and connect us to Tacoma, the region and the world.

    Globalization propelled by technology and the marketplace creates growing integration and interdependence. A globalized curriculum will provide a means of understanding the world in the midst of these changes to foster visionary leaders.
    For the period of this Strategic Plan, Annie Wright Schools will:
    1. become a premiere IB Continuum School, working with the IB organization to become leaders in IB programming, including the possibility of becoming an IB Teacher Training site.
    2. be on the cutting edge of using and teaching social media and technology tools to maximize avenues of global communication.
    3. identify and intensify local partnerships (such as with local universities and service organizations) that will enhance academic and extra-curricular offerings and increase Annie Wright’s stature as a Tacoma institution.
    4. expand opportunities for direct international experiences for all students and faculty through virtual and actual exchange and travel, and create protocols with partner institutions to maximize benefits of exchange interactions.
    5. expect, enhance and benchmark progress toward student proficiency in a second language by the end of Upper School.
    6. research and implement best practices in global pedagogy and content specific to each discipline

    Annie Wright Schools will hire, develop, nurture and retain its excellent teaching force, and will share our expertise through the establishment of at least one center for excellence in teaching on campus.

    Excellent teachers represent Annie Wright’s single most valuable resource. This strategic goal is to raise the bar of expectations and define what constitutes excellence in any classroom and in any division. Our teachers and their practices must be highlighted publicly and widely while maintaining a focus on their primary responsibility to the individual students they teach.
    For the period of this Strategic Plan, Annie Wright Schools will:
    1. build an innovative and even more robust professional development program, blending institutional need with teacher choice and empowerment—particularly honoring those opportunities that bring innovative excellence into the community.
    2. encourage, support and expect our faculty to share their professional expertise at local, national and international conferences, workshops and publications.
    3. develop and implement a consistent evaluative system for each employee with an eye toward determining and recognizing true excellence as that occurs.
    4. formalize a teacher-leader training program.
    5. continue to make appropriate compensation a priority in each budget year, including salary, benefits and professional development.
    6. in partnership with a local university, plan and eventually establish a pre-eminent teacher training center at Annie Wright Schools.

    Annie Wright Schools will create, market and implement selective and highly competitive signature programs within the Upper School.

    This strategic goal builds upon our commitment to students discovering and acting upon authentic passions. An added benefit is tremendous marketing and recruitment potential in these centers of excellence that can lead to further international recognition.
    For the period of the Strategic Plan:
    1. the Board and Administration will commit to appropriate resources (funding and personnel) to ensure programmatic success at a level that can support true and lasting excellence.
    2. the Upper School will prototype two initial programs: Girls' Business & Entrepreneurship and tennis, beginning in the spring 2016 admissions season and throughout the 2016-17 academic year.
    3. the Upper School will work expeditiously, based upon lessons learned from the prototype, toward additional signature programs. These are initially likely to be holistic programs in 1) global politics and 2) coding / computer technology. 
    4. the admissions and communications department will work with the Upper School to develop and disseminate appropriate marketing plans aimed at maximizing candidate interest in the signature programs and Annie Wright Schools.

    Annie Wright Schools will diversify and enhance access to all programs and will build a community that appropriately represents our region and the world.

    Annie Wright will prepare innovative leaders who can actively contribute to a diverse world. We therefore need to take steps to ensure that our community appropriately reflects the kinds of diversity found in our region and the world and prepares our students to move and work effectively within that diversity.
    For the period of this Strategic Plan, Annie Wright Schools will:
    1. establish a committee for diversity, chaired initially by the Assistant Head of Schools.
    2. formally assess where Annie Wright stands against the strategic goal, NWAIS and NAIS standards.
    3. research and visit other NWAIS schools farther along in the process of developing a plan for diversity, use their successes and failures to inform our process, and engage them as colleagues in this important work.
    4. develop and follow a statement of diversity, as approved by the Board of Trustees.
    5. develop a five-year strategic plan for diversity, including goals, strategies and actions, and performance measures in the areas of:
    • teaching and curriculum
    • faculty / staff support, retention and recruitment
    • student support, retention and recruitment
    • outreach and community partnerships
    • communication
    • school climate

    Annie Wright Schools will create a phased plan for curriculum, finance and footprint (infrastructural needs) to support a boys’ upper school program—equivalent to but separate and distinct from the existing girls’ upper school. 

    The Board of Trustees is committed to educating high-school aged boys, believing that Annie Wright Schools have a duty to offer to boys the world-class education that our Upper School girls already receive. This additional educational option will support families and honor our founders’ intent to facilitate the development of Tacoma and the South Sound by offering high-quality independent school education that is attractive to many local families.
    Annie Wright has not been an all-girls’ school since the early 1970’s. The decision to educate boys has happened iteratively, first in the Lower School and then in the Middle School. The natural step is now to educate high-school aged boys. The enormity of this decision and the knowledge that we must honor tradition and not diminish our Upper School girls’ profoundly positive experience, however, demand more foundational work. We must ensure the eventual success of a boys’ high school program, but not at the expense of any other critical component of AWS, our community and, especially, our students.
    For the period of this Strategic Plan, Annie Wright Schools will:
    1. immediately and for the duration engage in staff research and training regarding best practices of gender-based learning and the brain. This research and training will be relevant to boys and girls of all ages.
    2. create and publish clear and compelling statements about the strengths of gender-based education.
    3. research and visit existing models of schools where boys and girls learn separately on the same campus.
    4. incorporate as a major piece of the Campus Master plan (see Institutional Sustainability) the location of a separate boys’ program, including potential off-campus venues.
    5. plan for funding, design, staffing and phasing in of the boys’ Upper School program and implement, if feasible, by 2021.

    Annie Wright Schools will deliver a top quality, developmentally appropriate athletic and physical education experience for every student.

    This strategic goal is a renewed commitment to achieve success in our athletics program. During the period of the strategic plan, Annie Wright Schools will:
    1. elevate the position of Director of Athletics to the senior leadership level.
    2. charge the Director of Athletics with developing and carrying out a comprehensive, developmental plan for athletic development and PHE (Physical and Health Education), including the creation of targeted signature sports in the Upper School.
    3. incorporate the new gymnasium and playing field as foundations for the next phase of development of our athletics program, including in the vision the possibility of a thriving high school boy’s program.
    4. develop and support at least two sports in which students perform at consistently high levels.

    Annie Wright Schools will complete the current capital campaign and simultaneously explore and develop financial support for future projects and growth beyond tuition dependence.

    To a great extent, the success of the other goals in the plan will be dependent on the work that must be achieved within this goal.
    For the period of this Strategic Plan, Annie Wright Schools will:

    1. redistribute human resources to maximize efficiency for enrollment, development and communications by adopting an institutional advancement model led by a single senior administrator.
    2. create a position to leverage opportunities, space, and other current and future resources—especially in innovative curriculum and pedagogy—beyond existing programs and tuition to assure additional revenue.
    3. create a multi-year development plan for a culture of philanthropy
    4. finalize a five-year Campus Master Plan, including any possible future building on the existing campus and / or purchases of properties elsewhere.
    5. explore and, if feasible, develop international programs or campuses

Task Forces

List of 6 items.

  • Annie Wright in Tacoma

    John Lantz (Chair)
    Kirsten Carlson
    Ryan Dicks
    Annie Green
    Helen McGovern-Pilant
    Kyle Price
    Tiffany Shaw
    Pamela Transue
    Susan Warner
  • Annie Wright in the World

    Amy Paulose '95 (Chair)
    Keliko Adams
    Diane Bai
    Rex Bates
    Meg Billings
    Alyssa Harvey '06
    Jessa Jeter '16
    Divya McMillin
    Pamela Hyde Smith '63
    Stephanie So
    Maggie Wang '16
  • Diversity

    Mo Copeland (Co-Chair)
    Rebecca Kirkpatrick '97 (Co-Chair)
    Vicki Ball
    Jan Buennagel
    Janna Bushaw Crist
    Sedia Dennis Bayard
    Jagmit Dhami '16
    Monett (Jenkins) Gibson '96
    Zach Hansen
    Emily Lynn
    Tessa Taylor '03
  • Educating Boys

    Jim Defebaugh (Chair)
    Bobbie Bailey
    Gayle Gray
    Jake Guadnola
    Lisa Hoffman
    John Long
    David Overton
    Allison Parks
    Carl Peterson
  • Faculty

    Cathy Schneider (Chair)
    Barry Bauska
    Angelica Calcote
    James Cardo
    Amy Eveskcige
    Bill Hulseman
    Bridgette McGoldrick
    Bill Schuver
    Katherine Steuart
  • Innovative Programming/Additional Revenue Streams

    Michele Cannon Bessler (Chair)
    Bob Crist
    Jake Guadnola '90MS
    Jennifer Haley '89
    Kristina Maritzcak
    Scott Moody
    Steve Parrott
    Joe Romano
    Dana Wasyluka

2014 Steering Committee

Julia Cho (Trustee, Chair)
Christian Sullivan (Head of Schools, Vice-Chair)
Susan Bauska (Asst. Head of Schools, Vice-Chair)
John Long (Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ex-Officio)
Jagmit Dhami ’16 (Student)
Kate Dorr ’96 (Alumna)
Jessa Jeter ’16 (Student)
Rebecca Kirkpatrick ’97 (Trustee, Alumna)
Bridgette McGoldrick (Faculty)
Divya McMillin (Parent)
Jamie Murray (Trustee)
Allison Parks (Past Parent, Former Teacher)
Joe Romano (Faculty)


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.