Head of School Search Update

Friday, October 21, 2016

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are pleased to announce that Conrad Wildsmith will become Bay Farm Montessori Academy’s next Head of School, effective July 1, 2017.

The Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Conrad was based upon the recommendation of the Head of School Search Committee, which embarked on a nationwide search process starting in August 2016. Guided by our consultants from Independent Thinking, the Committee reviewed an extensive, diverse and highly experienced group of applicants and invited 9 strong contenders to meet with the committee. After an intense interview process and a comprehensive review of their work history, the group was winnowed to two finalists who came to campus for an extensive visit with the Bay Farm Montessori Academy community. Thank you to the many of you who helped to welcome and host the candidates. Based on the thoughtful and insightful feedback received from students, faculty, staff, parents, Trustees and alumni, coupled with all that was learned in many reference conversations, the Committee determined that Conrad’s leadership, personality, experience, and insights were an excellent fit with our school’s character and mission.  Conrad will be able to move Bay Farm Montessori Academy forward in an effective manner while continuing to honor the school’s character and its important traditions.

Conrad will come to Bay Farm Montessori Academy from the Austin International School (TX), where he is serving in an interim post as the Director of Primary. Prior to taking on this role, Conrad was the founding Head of School for The French School, one of the St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, a position he held from 2009 to 2016. Under his leadership that school grew into a thriving environment of more than 200 students.  Conrad graduated Magna Cum Laude with his BA in Teaching from Saint Louis University and earned a Master of Education (Gifted Education) and an Education Specialist (Educational Leadership) degree, both Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Missouri Columbia. Conrad began his teaching career as a teacher for grades 4-5 in St. Louis’ University City school district. He continued his teaching career at the International School of Paris and returned to Chesterfield Day School as a grade 6 teacher before beginning his administrative career as interim Head of School at Imagine Schools, a role he held before launching The French School. Conrad and his wife Kristen have one son, Eric, who is 21 years old.

Conrad’s enthusiasm for student-centered education and his ability to build positive and meaningful relationships with families make him an inspiring independent school educator and administrator. Those who have worked with Conrad cited his thoughtful intellect, his ability to invite and authentically hear many voices and perspectives, and his strong integrity as a few of the qualities that make him a great school leader. His executive experience with leading a mission-driven charter school, The French School, has provided Conrad with important insights on finance, hiring, fundraising, and institutional advancement. In all, Conrad’s keen grasp of the contemporary challenges that face independent schools, his appreciation of the history and appeal of Bay Farm Montessori Academy, and his ability to collaborate effectively with all of the school’s major constituents make him uniquely qualified to lead us as we move forward.

From the outset, the Search Committee was determined to find a candidate worthy of our wonderful school.  We believe that Conrad is that person. We look forward to Conrad and his family joining the Bay Farm Montessori Academy community. We trust you will join us in welcoming them warmly. 
Christina Brown and Brian Sack   
Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees   

Chrissy Brodeur and Gary Plotkin 
Co-Chairs, Head of School Search Committee