18 Nov Head of School Transition
Dear Members of the MSSA Community:
The MSSA Board of Trustees and the Search Committee have the great pleasure to announce that Dan Ahlstrom has been appointed the new MSSA Head of School, effective July 1, 2020. The Board’s unanimous decision to select Dan followed the enthusiastic recommendation of the Search Committee.
Dan Ahlstrom succeeds Chuck Raymer, who will retire in June 2020, after skillfully leading the MSSA community for 12 years. Chuck and his team will work closely with Dan in the months ahead to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.
Our next Head of School comes to us from Beth Yeshurun Day School in Houston, where he has been Head of School from 2014 to 2019. While at Beth Yeshurun, Dan implemented curriculum mapping and professional development initiatives, collaborated with the Board of Trustees to create a strategic plan, established an endowment and successfully raised funds for a capital campaign. He also completed the school accreditation review for the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS). Dan also served on the ISAS Standards Committee, assisting schools in areas of governance, mission, staffing and strategic planning. In 2017 Beth Yeshurun was struck by Hurricane Harvey and devastated the school. Dan’s steady, resilient, and warm leadership style served him well as he went about the process of rebuilding both their learning spaces and the community. Prior to serving at Beth Yeshurun, Dan served as Assistant Head of School at Tucson Hebrew Academy, where he created the Tucson Association of Independent School summer professional development workshops for independent and public teachers. Dan initially started his career teaching music in Sacramento, California in 1995. While teaching music at Sacramento Country Day School, he also served as Department Head for Visual and Performing Arts and ultimately became Director of Co-Curriculum.
Dan received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Arts in Music from the University of Utah. In addition, he also holds a Doctor of Education in Leadership, Policy, and Administration from Pepperdine University. Dan is committed to upholding the mission and core values of MSSA and will begin his Montessori Administrator Training this spring.
In accepting the appointment, Dan said, “I am honored and humbled by the Board of Trustees’ decision to extend to me the opportunity to serve as The Montessori School of San Antonio’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 community during my time on campus. Under Chuck’s leadership, MSSA has done remarkable work in guiding children to be passionate learners, independent thinkers, and engaged citizens; I look forward to continuing that work into a thriving future. Shannon and I are thrilled to join this extraordinary community. Go Jags!”
The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees were immediately impressed with Dan’s inclusive leadership style, curricular and retention innovations, and involvement in the ISAS. From the start, the Committee appreciated his student-centered approach to learning and the leadership experience he brings to MSSA.
We are also pleased to welcome Dan’s wife, Shannon, and their children Alex, Emma, Will, and Tom. Shannon is not only an attorney, but an educator as well.
Dan was selected from a diverse pool of candidates following a comprehensive national search led by the highly regarded search firm The Education Group, which started last spring.
The seven-member Search Committee, comprised of past and current Trustees and Board Chairs, and the Board of Trustees are extremely thankful for the time and energy our community invested in the search process and are confident that Dan will take MSSA through the next phases of its development while maintaining the culture which makes MSSA so unique.
Please join us in celebrating and welcoming Dan, Shannon, Alex, Emma, Will, and Tom to MSSA and to San Antonio. We are delighted that they are joining the MSSA family.
Search Committee Chair