Head of School

Ray For Website Cropped

Meet Ray Wilson

I am excited about The Northwest School, our ability to meet students where they are, and our determination to provide them with a dynamic experience that will enable them to thrive in and outside of the classroom. 

The Northwest School believes in the importance of students gaining a deep understanding of how their classroom experiences directly connect to the world beyond our walls. Our challenging academic program intentionally integrates with environmental sustainability, global perspectives, and social justice. When we make the learning applicable to the lives of our students, it helps provide meaning and purpose throughout the curriculum. 

Our unique approach to teaching the humanities causes students to think critically, formulate strong opinions, and emerge as vibrant writers. Through strong partnerships with faculty, students develop a habit of mind that is grounded in intellectual curiosity. This curiosity extends throughout the academic program — the arts, sciences, mathematics, and physical education.  

At Northwest, all members of the school community are called upon to be their genuine and authentic selves. This is essential to our work towards building and sustaining an inclusive community. Whether it is in the classroom, dining hall, theater, gym, or in the dormitory, The Northwest School is an exciting place to learn and grow into the person our students want to become. 

I look forward to working closely with faculty, students, and their families to carry forward the inspiring vision that started The Northwest School in 1980. Our founders believed that school should be a place where all members work together to help make society conducive for sustained promise. This vision serves as a guidepost for our work today.  

I look forward to meeting you and sharing how The Northwest School will benefit from your presence. 

Ray Wilson

To learn more about Ray and his vision for the school, read the Questions and Answers, below. 

  • What do you value most about your role as head of school?

    The opportunity to lead and partner with colleagues in order to help students discover a sense of purpose and meaning in life through our academic program and focus on social justice, environmental sustainability, and global perspectives.

  • What has surprised you about The Northwest School?

    The NWS community is warm and welcoming—I have received an abundance of well-wishes from colleagues, families, and students since my arrival on July 1. While I am not surprised by these actions, I am grateful to be in a community where I can bring my whole self to campus each day.

  • What do you feel makes the school unique?

    The school’s intention is to ensure that all members of the community feel seen, valued, and heard through authentic and genuine conversations, informal exchanges, and curricular programming. Additionally, we mean what we say in terms of our commitment to our pillars: social justice, environmental sustainability, and global perspectives.

  • What do you most enjoy about your work so far?

    I enjoy the pace of my work. Even though my day is comprised of numerous meetings, I never feel overloaded. I look forward to each opportunity to hear someone’s story, contribute to solving a problem, or initiating an idea to move the community in a positive direction.

  • Even during this challenging time for our world, what inspires your optimism?

    It is important as the Head of School to remain optimistic that we can overcome any hardship. I always want to make sure that on an individual or an institutional level, we neither allow ourselves to sit in despair nor disappointment for any extended period.

  • As the school enters its 41st year, something you have coined “Chapter 41,” what does this new chapter mean to you?

    Chapter 41 represents an opportunity for Northwest to engage the internal and external communities in thoughtful dialogue about matters that are important to society. In addition, we have an opportunity to clearly define what we mean when we say, “academic excellence.” I am looking forward to fine-tuning our program, building lasting relationships, and creating new opportunities for students and colleagues to grow stronger in our commitment to education. By working in partnership, we can achieve our goals.

  • Why is belonging, the school’s theme for this year, so important to you?

    It is imperative that students and faculty view Northwest as a safe and nurturing community full of people who care deeply about each other’s well-being. I passionately believe that once we feel a level of safety and comfort, we can then bring our full selves to the campus. Without a sense of belonging, we potentially miss contributions from members within the community that could be instrumental to the school’s continued growth.

  • What will it take to ensure our students and community members feel a sense of belonging?

    Through intentional and structured opportunities to be in conversation, we will begin to develop a community that embodies a sense of belonging. I am committed to forming connections with families, spending time with faculty, and listening to students as they share their hopes and dreams.

  • As we prepare to begin the school year, how can we as a community help author the very best chapter for NWS?

    If we hold an optimistic disposition, we can weather any storm. We have a great deal of wisdom throughout the community—we must tap into it to write the best version of Chapter 41.