Head of Schools Christian Sullivan to Leave in June 2020

Head of Schools Christian Sullivan and the Board of Trustees announced today that Mr. Sullivan will leave Annie Wright Schools at the end of this academic year. He will begin a new headship at Bullis School outside Washington, DC, beginning in July 2020.

"His decade-long leadership has been transformative for Annie Wright Schools," said Michele Bessler, Chair of Annie Wright's Board of Trustees. "I speak for the entire Board of Trustees when I express our sorrow at his leaving and gratitude for his service. We are deeply cognizant of the strength and stability he has brought to our institution, which has become a premier independent school on the west coast largely due to his leadership."

During Mr. Sullivan's decade-long leadership, enrollment reached a historic high of 605, an extensive journeys program became a defining part of the Middle School experience, and a year-round Preschool program evolved to serve a range of families. The school implemented the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate, making Annie Wright one of fewer than 20 continuum schools, offering IB programming from age 3 to Grade 12, in the United States.

Mr. Sullivan has overseen several strategic initiatives, including prioritizing an institution-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; strengthening athletics; growing the endowment to its current level of $27 million; opening an Upper School program in Qingdao, China; creating a boys’ Upper School division, and building an all-weather sports field, a third gymnasium with swimming pool, and a new state-of-the-art academic building to house the Upper School for Boys.

"I feel honored and fortunate to have been part of a historic period in the storied 135-year history of AWS," Sullivan said. "During the last decade, so many extraordinary people coalesced around the idea of making this school a beacon of excellence on the educational landscape of Tacoma, the South Sound and beyond. The school has tremendous momentum, and the opportunity is there for the next Head to lead it from strength to strength."

The Board of Trustees is moving steadily forward with succession planning to secure exceptional leadership and will communicate details about the hiring of the next Head of Schools in mid November.


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.