Announcing Our Next Executive Director
Dear Attic Community,
The Attic Board of Directors is delighted to announce that Sandi Wollum will be The Attic Learning Community’s next Executive Director. Sandi’s selection is the culmination of a robust national (and international) search, and we couldn’t be happier to have found an exceptional leader with deep ties in our own Puget Sound region. Sandi’s extensive experience as a child-centered educational leader in a small school setting paired with her passion for progressive education, strong communication skills, and deep alignment with the mission of The Attic make Sandi an ideal choice to lead The Attic Learning Community into its future. She will carry the torch from Erika Wright, whose steadfast leadership ushered The Attic through a period of significant organizational growth during unprecedented circumstances.
Sandi joins us from a 20+ year career at Seabury School in Tacoma, WA, where she went from teacher to Head of School in 2005. Her work has focused on supporting a progressive
educational environment that cultivates students’ natural curiosity, honors their questions, and helps children discover their passions and develop their talents. For the past eighteen years Sandi has served as Head of School, leading Seabury as it has grown from being a young school finding its identity toward a mature and sustainable future. Sandi is a visionary leader who loves working with the Board of Directors to envision what is possible and create strategic plans that will help make dreams a reality. Her colleagues and community members at Seabury describe her in glowing terms: that she is an out of the box thinker, deeply cares about the children, leads by example, remains calm in the face of a crisis, gives 125%, and is regularly considered one of the best parts of the Seabury experience. Sandi also brings a wealth of knowledge about how to meet the needs of neurodivergent learners.
The Board is grateful for the efforts and thoughtfulness of the Search Committee which was comprised of Board members, Karen Lefohn, Raj Velji, and Laura Latta; teacher and Attic alum, Dylan Ruef; parent and former educator, Sarah Selkowitz; and former Attic teacher, counselor, and parent coach, Lyn Dillman. This group brought a diverse and invaluable set of perspectives to the committee while holding the current and future needs of The Attic at the forefront. We are grateful to the members of the Advisory Committee–teacher and parent alum, Jeremy Thomas; program coordinator, teacher, alum parent, and former Board member, Alison Farrell; math specialist, Jeanie Iida; staff member and alum, Zizi Smith; high school learner, Elizabeth Vanden Brook; high school learner, Trevor Wainright; and parent, Heather Johnson. This diverse multi-age group asked insightful questions of our three candidates and provided the Search Committee with valuable feedback. We are also grateful to Tracy Bennett and Evan Hundley, our consultants at Educators Collaborative, who nimbly guided us through the process.
The heart, warmth, strength, intelligence, and commitment of this community was on full display during the finalist visits. The Attic is regularly described as a home, and our candidates recognized and felt this while they were on campus. We want to acknowledge faculty, staff, parents, alums, and alum families for showing up, asking great questions, and sharing thoughtful, incisive feedback about our three wonderful candidates. We were moved and guided by this engagement, and feel tremendous optimism and excitement about The Attic Learning Community’s next chapter.
We will welcome Sandi officially as our Executive Director on July 1, 2024. Stay tuned for opportunities to get to know Sandi over the coming months.
President, Board of Directors
Erika Wright, Executive Director
We bid a fond farewell to our incredible Executive Director, Erika Wright, who has provided steadfast leadership and made a lasting impact during her tenure. We extend our warmest wishes to Erika as she embarks on her new venture!
Letters & Communications
May 1, 2023
Dear Attic Community,
It is with the deepest gratitude I wish to share with you that at the end of the 2023-24 school year Erika Wright will step down as Executive Director at The Attic.
First joining us in 2015 as a parent, serving as an Attic Trustee in 2018, and then becoming our Executive Director in 2019, Erika has been a passionate champion for our learners, a thoughtful steward of our whole-child education, and steady leader in advancing our mission. Erika has assembled and nurtured a strong leadership team, safely shepherded our community through a pandemic (with financial reserves), and made great strides in professionalizing The Attic, ensuring its sustainability. Our community has many reasons to salute Erika’s leadership and will have upcoming opportunities to celebrate her!
We are fortunate that Erika will be with us through next year and has afforded us the time to conduct a thoughtful, inclusive search for our next leader. The Board of Directors has engaged Educators Collaborative, a nationally recognized search firm, to guide us through this process. Our lead consultant, Evan Hundley, will be supported by consultant Tracy Bennett. This team brings invaluable experience as former Heads of School in the Seattle area, as well as having served as trustees, teachers, and senior administrators. You will have the opportunity to meet them in the coming months as they visit our campus and solicit your input regarding the opportunities and challenges for our next Executive Director and the qualities and skills we hope to see in this individual.
Hiring and supporting our school’s leader is the Board’s single most important responsibility, and we look forward to a thoughtful, inclusive process and successful outcome. In partnership with our search consultants, we will form a Search Committee representing our community. The group will bring an array of perspectives and experiences, as well as a deep shared commitment to The Attic.
Holding the mission of our school at the forefront, the Search Committee is charged with helping to develop a Leadership Profile articulating the desired skills and attributes we seek in our next Head of School. The committee will review all candidate applications, vet the pool of qualified applicants to identify semi-finalists and then finalists, manage the on-campus visits for finalists, and solicit feedback from the entire Attic community, including our high school learners. The Search Committee will then make a recommendation to the Board of Directors, who holds the ultimate hiring responsibility. Much of this activity will launch in the fall when classes resume.
The conversations The Attic is hosting with anthropologist Heather Clark in the coming weeks exploring our community culture will provide valuable insights for the Search Committee. We hope you will join Ms. Clark in exploring the current culture of The Attic. We appreciate your engagement in supporting the continued growth and success of our learning community.
We look forward to keeping you apprised of the search process and will provide regular updates on our work. Thank you for your support!
Karen Lefohn, Board President
May 1, 2023
When my contract came up for renewal this year, it was an opportunity for me to pause, reflect, and consider what was best for me, my family, and The Attic for the next few years. After much deliberation and reflection, I have decided that 2023-2024 will be my last year as Executive Director at The Attic and this year will be my childrens’ last year as Attic learners. As you can imagine, this was not a decision I made lightly. Two things are true: I have deep love for The Attic, its staff, learners, and families - and this is also the right decision for me (personally and professionally), for my family, and for The Attic.
When I stepped in as Interim Executive Director in July of 2019 it was supposed to be for “just one year” (in fact, I think my exact words were “I will do this for one year and not a day longer”) while the organization searched for a new Executive Director. I did not expect to fall in love with the job, or to find alignment with my skills, values, and strengths and the needs of the organization. It immediately felt like a natural fit.
No one was more surprised than me when the Board offered me the position on a permanent basis in…February of 2020. I did not know that just a couple of weeks later I would be trying to figure out how to keep The Attic going and our kids learning and connected during a global pandemic, nor did I know the ripple effects that crisis would have on our larger community, The Attic, and education as a whole. It was the biggest challenge I have faced personally and professionally. Fortunately, I had an incredible team of dedicated teachers, staff, and Board members to tackle it alongside me. I am so proud of our team, and I am so happy to see The Attic continuing on its path of growth and change while holding true to its mission and values.
I love that The Attic truly meets our learners where they are, and all three of my (very different) children have been well supported here since we started in 2015. They will be starting their new schools in the fall, and I love that they each took ownership of that process and have found their “just right place.” The gifts of The Attic are ones that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, and I am beyond thankful for every single teacher who nurtured those in them. They, like me, will deeply miss The Attic - and they are also excited for what is next. They are also looking forward to me “just being mom” again!
This is a huge step forward for The Attic, and I am excited for the next Executive Director to bring their skills, gifts, and talents to our organization and move us forward into the future. I am looking forward to partnering with our Board of Directors to support this transition and to enjoying every second of the next 14 months.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, my family, and my children over the last 8 years. The Attic has been transformational in our lives, and we will forever be thankful to every single person who cared for us, challenged us, and loved us. We will be rooting for The Attic always!
Erika, Nate, Kadence, Cash, & Emile
Consultants visit campus
Candidate recruitment / position posted
Consultants visit campus
Listening sessions & community survey
Semifinalist interviews & Finalists visits
New Executive Director appointed
Position start date
Our Search Partners
Hiring and supporting our school’s leader is the Board’s single most important responsibility. The Attic Board of Directors is proud of a thoughtful, inclusive search process and successful outcome.
The Board of Directors is grateful to Educators Collaborative, a nationally recognized search firm, who guided us through this process. Our lead consultant, Evan Hundley, was supported by consultant Tracy Bennett. This team brought invaluable experience as former Heads of School in the Seattle area, as well as having served as trustees, teachers, and senior administrators.