Thank you Ann!
Letter from the Board of Directors to the Bright Water community
Dear Bright Water Community:
We write to you today on behalf of the Bright Water Boards of Directors to announce that Ann Johnson, our beloved head of school for the last two years, will be retiring at the end of the current school year. We are excited for her-after decades of tireless work for children in Minneapolis and across the country and world, no one deserves a change of pace more, but it is hard to imagine Bright Water without her. She is a devoted educator, a loving and welcoming presence for our entire community, and fierce advocate for Bright Water’s children. Her passion for Bright Water has inspired so many of us.
We are sure it will not surprise you to hear that Ann will continue to serve children and the cause of equity even in retirement. She and her family plan to move to St. Augustine, Florida, where warmer weather can support their continued health, and she will be taking on a part-time role at a small Montessori school there. This is a great loss for us, but we are excited for Ann and everything that lies before her.
Reflecting on her decision, Ann shared: “Bright Water will always be my heart. The hardest part of this decision is how much I will miss all of you and the students, who give me so much joy each day.”
While we will miss Ann dearly, Bright Water is a strong institution with a promising future. We have a diverse staff of dedicated, incredibly talented educators and administrators; an extraordinary group of families and volunteers; and a growing community of alumni, community champions and supporters.
Last summer, we developed a new strategic plan, clarified our values, put in place plans to integrate the preschool and elementary school as “One Bright Water” and serve more children through the expansion of our early childhood and upper elementary programs and the launch of a middle school. This is an exciting time for the school, and we are grateful to Ann for giving us a strong foundation for the next phase of our journey.
As the boards, we are currently considering a plan for interim management to assist with Ann's transition, which includes identifying a Transition Director and the initiation of a careful and comprehensive search process for a new Head of School. We will be providing more information about the next steps in the coming week.
Leadership transitions can create anxiety for a school community and we want to make communication between our parent community, our leadership and the board as easy as possible. If you have questions to ask or thoughts to share, we invite you to join Ann and members of the boards for informal discussions about Bright Water’s future on either Monday evening, February 20th, at 6:30pm at school, or Wednesday morning after drop-off at 9am. Please let us know if you will be joining us. Other opportunities will follow. We look forward to connecting with many of you in the coming weeks.
Please send Ann your support and appreciation throughout the rest of the school year.
Matt Kramer, Chair, Bright Water Elementary Board of Directors
Rebecca Parrell, Chair, Bright Water Montessori Board of Directors