To my fellow TPMS parents—
As a new parent to TPMS, while my son is thriving in his classroom, I’m still trying to figure out my role as a parent at the school. Volunteer hours are required as part of our enrollment to keep us connected as a community and to help keep the tuition rates down. I’m totally on board with that because who doesn’t like saving a little money? If that means I give some of my time, I’m happy to help. I (sometimes) have energy to give!
I took it upon myself to attend the January PAC meeting to listen to Don Rushmer, Mike Kubler, and Pat Budo speak on behalf of the board about hiring an Executive Director (ED) for the school, not only because I work for a non-profit foundation and understand the field, but also because I recently joined the auction team (…to help complete my volunteer hours). I think all of the parents there were trying to understand more about why we need an ED for the school and what exactly that means for our children and for us. And so, I’m writing a letter for the parents who couldn’t attend but still want to know what is going on at the school; to help us all stay connected!
First of all, I’d like to say as someone in the non-profit world—“Wait, what?! You don’t have an ED? You mean Mary Hicks has been doing the job of both an ED AND a Head of School?” (It’s a good thing she loves the school because most people would have run away screaming after a year of that nonsense.) OK. So. We’re hiring an ED. This is fantastic news. An ED will be a huge change for the school. Huge. But in the best way. It will be just terrific, really.
In general, an ED is the face of the school in the community who asks donors for money to support our school. This is *vital* to making The Portland Montessori School financially secure in the future, because…did you know that the church where our school resides could decide to sell the building at any point, and we don’t have the funds to purchase it? I don’t want to think about all our adorable (though sometimes very frustrating) children out on the street with us scrambling to find a school even half as awesome as this one.
An ED will establish relationships with donors and friends in the community to help us grow in order to serve more children and families. An ED will write grants to secure funding for equipment needs or tuition assistance. An ED will promote the good work that The Portland Montessori School is already doing with our children and in our community. All of these are good things. All of these things will help create a brighter future for The Portland Montessori School.
I expect that the ED will also play a role in the annual auction as well because this is usually a component of their job (and something I know the PAC would appreciate). Implementing a large fundraising auction is an incredible task, and the vision and guidance provided by an experienced ED will ensure a smooth and fruitful fundraiser for our tuition assistance fund (so that this monumental task doesn’t fall completely on parental shoulders). And in case you weren’t already aware, the auction prep is in full-swing and the PAC can use all the help we can get! We need people to pick up auction donations, leave sponsorship and/or donations letters with their employer (if possible), and help at the auction itself on April 28 th . But I digress…
For anyone who might be concerned that the mission or the focus on Montessori will be affected by this change, take heart in knowing that the ED won’t dictate the schools core values—that is still why we need a Head of School. Mary can finally get back to the part of the job she loves the most! As the Head of School, Mary will be able to redirect her time toward ensuring our program follows Montessori guidelines, and that the guides and staff are getting the professional attention they deserve. The ED will take over the fundraising and many of the administrative tasks that go along with running a non-profit organization.
As parents, I don’t think we’ll see much change, especially at first. We may notice in a year or two that we’ve grown, but mostly I think we’ll see it more in the community. As more people become aware of our school, more might start asking us—“Doesn’t your kiddo go to The Portland Montessori School?” We can proudly say, “Yes. And here’s why you should, too…”