Head of School Announcement

September 26, 2019

Dear CWA community members,

We are pleased to announce that Susan Rice has been selected to be the next Head of School for Charles Wright Academy, effective July 1, 2020. Susan succeeds Matt Culberson, whose service to CWA will conclude June 30, 2020, after skillfully leading the CWA community for four years. Matt and the rest of the CWA administration will work closely with Susan in the months ahead to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

Susan comes to us from the Palm Valley School, a P-12 school, in Rancho Mirage, California where she has been serving as Head of School since 2015. Before that, Susan was the Project Based Learning Coordinator and Performing Arts Director at the Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco, California. Susan brings to CWA both experience as a Head of School and performing arts educator, having received her bachelor’s degree in music education in 1998 from the University of Nevada, Reno, and master’s degree in music conducting from the California State University at Los Angeles in 2010. She is currently completing her certification in executive leadership from Cornell University. Susan and her husband Tim hope to enroll their daughter in CWA’s preschool program in 2021.

Susan is a proven leader and looks forward to supporting the mission, values and culture of our school. Fully embracing CWA’s mission of active and joyful learning for all students, Susan is excited to begin building, expanding and deepening her relationships at CWA and understands the importance of cultivating community both within the school and in the larger community. Her professionalism, warmth, and enthusiasm were felt by all constituencies at CWA, and Susan enjoyed widespread support from the community during her two-day visit in September.

Susan’s selection is the result of a long and thoughtful search that began last June when the Head of School Search Committee launched a national effort to recruit the strongest and best matched candidate to our school. From an initial pool of 29 individuals who expressed interest in the position, the Search Committee eventually reduced the pool to eight candidates who were invited to confidential interviews on August 5 and 6. Following these interviews, three candidates and their spouses were invited to visit the school this September, where they met with students, faculty, staff members, parents, administrators, alumni and trustees. On September 21, the Search Committee unanimously supported Susan as its nominee to the Board of Trustees and on September 23, the Board of Trustees enthusiastically accepted that recommendation.

The selection of the Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. The depth of interested candidates reflects how special Charles Wright Academy is, and all of us in the CWA community can be proud that Susan has accepted the Head of School position.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we extend our deep gratitude to all members of the CWA community for your commitment to the search process and for your invaluable and thoughtful feedback. We are especially grateful to Search Committee members Carie Ward, Laurel Webster, Rob Scotlan, Sue Mayer, Dale Sowell, Blake Goldberg, and Ben Sclair for their countless hours of dedicated service to this search and our school. We are also grateful for the guidance and support of our search consultant, Joan Beauregard of Educators’ Collaborative.

Please join us in celebrating and welcoming Susan, Tim and their family to Charles Wright Academy. We are delighted they are joining us and look forward to a bright future with Susan as our next Head of School.


Mark Hood Chair, Search Committee

Nancy Schauer Chair, Board of Trustees

Dear Charles Wright Academy community,

I am profoundly honored and humbled by the Board of Trustees decision to extend me the opportunity to serve as Charles Wright Academy’s next Head of School. I am grateful for the work of the search committee throughout the hiring process and for the enthusiastic and active participation of the entire community during my time on campus. I continue to be inspired by Charles Wright Academy’s long-standing tradition of excellence, your desire to embrace the ongoing work of diversity and inclusion, to provide students with meaningful experiential and hands-on learning opportunities, and to provide a fulsome education for all students in your care. It is my privilege to join you in those endeavors and more.

In each of my visits to the Charles Wright Academy, it was such a gift to engage with so many articulate and passionate members of the community who shared their diverse perspectives, ideologies, experiences, and personal stories. I look forward to learning more about each of you, individually and collectively, as we work to further our shared mission to “inspire active, joyful learning while nurturing and challenging our students to develop the character, creativity, and skills to successfully navigate the future with confidence,” and to live the values of Excellence, Respect, Compassion, Integrity, and Perseverance together.

My husband, Tim, our daughter, Marcella, and I, are very excited to be joining the community at Charles Wright Academy. As my family and I will be visiting throughout the winter and spring, we look forward to learning more about the community and exploring more of Tacoma and the surrounding areas. When I assume residency full time in July, I hope to have as much “open door” time as possible to get acquainted with every member of the community. It is through those meetings and connections that we can best begin celebrating together what makes Charles Wright Academy such an incredible community. Go Tarriers!

With gratitude,