Dear Members of the Quest Community,
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Head of School Search Committee, we are pleased and honored to announce the appointment of Michael R. Barclay as the next Head of School of Quest Montessori School, effective July 1, 2014. The Search Committee worked carefully with nationally recognized Montessori consultants to identify Quest’s next leader and, upon doing so, both the Committee and the Board enthusiastically endorsed Mike’s candidacy and voted unanimously in favor of his appointment.
Mike holds a M.A. in teaching from American University in Washington, D.C. and brings nearly 20 years of experience in teaching and education-related positions to Quest. Most recently, he served as Dean of Students at Moses Brown. In that role he was responsible for developing and implementing programs to enhance the overall educational experience, including diversity and character education, as well as discipline, the Upper School Advisory and Middle School Transition Programs, and new student orientation, among others. This experience and level of interaction with students will be vital to the Head of School position.
In his present role as Assistant Head of School at Quest, Mike has been instrumental in growing enrollment, which has doubled under his tenure. He has already made enormous inroads with local stakeholders in our school’s future, such as the URI Foundation, which owns one of the adjacent properties to Quest, as well as town leaders who have been involved throughout the process of Quest’s move to Narragansett. Mike has strengthened Quest’s connections with other independent schools in Rhode Island by building new, long-term relationships with all area feeder schools as well as with those schools in which our students will enroll upon leaving Quest. We cannot stress strongly enough the value he has brought to Quest by facilitating this vital transition for our students.
In both his past and present educational posts, Mike has successfully provided outstanding leadership in all aspects of independent school life. The Quest Board is deeply impressed by Mike’s management experience and collaborative team spirit. He is energetic, approachable, and open to dialogue, in addition to becoming a widely recognized leader and champion of Montessori education. His passion for and commitment to authentic Montessori education, along with his outstanding record of accomplishment, made it clear that Mike has the essential qualities necessary to lead Quest through the next phase of its growth.
Now that Quest has built and occupied our own facility and populated it with an extremely strong and talented faculty, as well as with highly engaged families and students, the Board feels maintaining continuity is paramount. Mike’s commitment to the school’s Ends policy and strategic goals combined with his collaborative leadership style provides Quest with a level of continuity that the school needs and deserves.
Finally, the Search Committee carefully reviewed the community’s input on the Head of School survey. The results were critical to identifying the qualities that the community desired in its next Head of School. These included a commitment to providing an authentic Montessori education, strong communications skills, the ability to develop relationships and promote Quest Montessori both internally and externally, experience and dedication to grow the resources of our school, and the ability to foster excellence and engagement within the school community. Mike has shown himself to be skilled in all of these areas and is humbled by the opportunity to lead Quest:
“I am honored and excited to have been named the next Head of School for Quest Montessori. From the moment Kristin and I met with Paul and experienced the magic of the Montessori classroom, we fell in love with Quest and everything that the community represents. Quest has a very important history that I am honored to carry on and I thank Paul for his dedication in shepherding us all to this milestone. On a professional level, I look forward to working with the dedicated faculty, staff and Board of Quest while building on my own Montessori foundation and independent school tenure to ensure Quest becomes the best Montessori school in Southern New England. And finally, on a personal level, Kristin and I are elated to raise Chase and Greer within this strong and supportive community. As a family, we could not be happier that our future is with Quest.”
As we look forward to the future under Mike’s leadership, we also wish to thank and celebrate Paul Raymond for his eight years of service to Quest. His hard work and dedication have secured a bright future for Quest and our students have greatly benefited from his commitment to authentic Montessori philosophy and practice. To ensure a smooth transition, Mike will work alongside of Paul over the next eight months before taking over as Head of School.
We feel strongly that Mike Barclay is the best candidate to lead Quest into its next chapter. Please join us in congratulating him on his new role at Quest Montessori School.
Head of School Search Committee
Khalil Habib (Chair)
Position Type: Full time (12 months)
Start Date: July 1, 2014
The Quest Montessori School opened its doors in September of 2002 and today they serve 111 students from toddler through middle school.
The Head of School is responsible for the oversight of the faculty and curriculum as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the school. The HOS will be expected to carry out the mission of the school and work directly with the Board of Directors in achieving the established strategic goals. Prior experience in the Montessori environment is highly encouraged. Head of School must possess fundraising experience and skills and is expected to continue to enhance Quest Montessori School’s development and capital campaigns. The ideal candidate is a thoughtful, articulate and experienced leader who demonstrates the ability to create strong relations with the development team, faculty, staff and other school constituents and motivate them all toward common goals. This is an exciting opportunity for an inspired leader to carry forward the momentum of a young and energized Montessori community.
A statement of opportunity will be made available to candidates upon request.
The Quest Montessori School Head of School Search Committee highly values input and feedback from the entire community to help us establish goals and expectations for our next Head of School. We ask that you take the time to share your thoughts via a short, but important, survey.
Quest Board of Directors, Search Committee Chair
Dear Members of the Quest Community,
We are writing to inform you that Paul Raymond has accepted a position in North Carolina as Head of School at Greensboro Montessori School beginning in July 2014 and that Cheryl Raymond has accepted a position at The Montessori School of Winston-Salem as Elementary Lead Guide/Level Chair. As a result, their family will be relocating to North Carolina following this academic year. The Board of Directors wishes to thank Paul and Cheryl for their commitment and years of service to Quest. We have been very fortunate to benefit from their talents and love of Quest since joining our community seven years ago.
Under Paul’s leadership, the school has transitioned from serving grades first through eighth to a dynamic, authentic Montessori school for students ranging in age from toddlers through middle school. Paul has been unceasing in his commitment and efforts to build a new home for Quest; working with the Quest community, USDA, Town of Narragansett and many others to make the founding families’ vision of a permanent home for Quest a reality. He was instrumental in overseeing the construction, ensuring that the project stayed on time and on budget, successfully opening our new building this academic year.
Throughout this time of transition for the school, which took us from the Canonicus campus to South Road to the new facility, Paul’s financial planning and oversight ensured that the school operated on budget for every year of his tenure. Finally, under his guidance the school’s enrollment has grown substantially, reaching 115 students this academic year. The school is exceptionally well positioned for the future under the stewardship of Paul’s talented faculty, staff and administrative team.
Cheryl has served the school as lead teacher for both the Upper Elementary and Lower Elementary programs. Her high level of training and strong background along with her irrepressible enthusiasm and dedication has provided a rich, authentic Montessori experience to her students at Quest.
The Board of Directors is already actively engaged in planning our search to fill the Head of School position, while Paul will spearhead the effort to identify and hire a new Lower Elementary teacher.
We are very pleased to announce that Quest parent and Board member Khalil Habib will lead the Head of School Search Committee. Khalil has over 15 years of experience in higher education. He has successfully completed many searches for both small and large institutions. Board Chair, Elisa Cardone and Board Vice-Chair Ady Wheeler have also joined the Search Committee. The Board is committed to working in concert with the school community to find our next leader who will continue the strong legacy of excellence at Quest. As such, we will also form an Advisory Committee of interested constituents to secure the community’s input with regards to the qualities of, and requirements for, our new Head of School. In the coming weeks and months you will receive more information about the search process.
We are in a strong position to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and want to assure the community that throughout this process we will maintain our commitment to the goals and mission that define Quest Montessori School. We are confident that Quest will attract the highest-caliber candidates from around the country.
Finally, it has been a pleasure and honor to work with Paul and Cheryl as they have immeasurably strengthened our school and programs. Quest Montessori School would not be where it is today without their dedication and hard work. Please join us in wishing them well as their family begins this new chapter in their lives.
The Quest Board of Directors
Dear Families and Friends,
In June 2006 I left the Montessori School of Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the role of Head of School at Quest. In all my initial meetings I was impressed by the vision of this fledgling school, their enormous pioneering efforts, and the dedication of the founding faculty and board to realize their dream. More than any other quality, the commitment to authentic Montessori education convinced me that I could lead the school to a permanent home.
In June 2012, after many trials and tribulations, we celebrated the singular event of ground breaking on our own land and over the next 12 months built our beautiful and purposefully designed Montessori schoolhouse. This last month we celebrated the completed project at the ribbon cutting ceremony, signifying to all that dreams really can come true.
This rare and proud moment is one of the greatest events of my thirty-year career in Montessori education. Yet I stand on the shoulders of giants, for without the founding families, dedicated faculty and staff, devoted board and families like you; we would not be at this proud moment in the history of the school. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the support and dedication to those that have helped along the way.
Over the summer a series of serendipitous events occurred, and unique professional opportunities for both myself and Cheryl developed, drawing us back to North Carolina, where Cheryl has family and where our daughter is attending college. These unique professional opportunities and the chance to return home to family and friends convinced us that the time was right to leave Quest.
Thanks again for your support. I hope you will share with Cheryl and me in the excitement of a new chapter in our professional careers and know our devotion and dedication to Quest will continue not only through the end of this school year but for many years to come.
Head of School
The Board of Directors is thrilled to finally begin an academic year in our new, permanent home! Our ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 20th was the perfect kick-off to this new chapter in Quest’s story and we thank all community members, both past and present, who helped us make that moment possible. Now that Quest has that big accomplishment under its belt, we are ready to tackle new challenges and goals and are looking for your help.
The Board is inviting all interested members of the Quest community to join us Wednesday, October 16th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. to form and task a Site Planning Committee. Development of the new school site is one of our strategic goals as outlined in our five-year plan. As such, the Board will host a meeting to solicit community input on this aspect of the school and to identify members of the community who would like to participate in this Committee.
- Create a plan for funding and installing a playground on-site
- Make recommendations to the Board for developing other areas of the site, such as community gardens, a basketball court, or whatever creative ideas the group would like to suggest.
Ady Wheeler (Vice-Chair)