The Willow School Welcomes New Head of School
Willow is pleased to welcome Francisco Ayala as the new Head of School
The Willow School welcomes Francisco Ayala as the new Head of School. Francisco comes to Willow from Fusion Academy, where he held leadership positions for eight years, most recently as Vice President of the East Coast, and prior to that, Head of School of three Fusion schools.
“Francisco’s passion for education, coupled with his expertise in school leadership, student learning, and faculty development will be tremendous assets to Willow,” David Wolfe, President of Willow’s Board of Trustees, said. Wolfe noted that Ayala’s vast educational experience and dedication to innovative, forward-thinking models of education made him the ideal candidate. For Ayala, Willow is the perfect fit.
“I’ve spent my career finding really powerful, engaging environments where kids really learn to love learning,” said Ayala. “I want to work in a school that creates a phenomenal academic experience through an experiential, inquiry-based, individualized approach to learning, while also fostering a safe, welcoming community that focuses on the whole child. Willow does that.”
Ayala has an extensive background in education. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Bennington College, and a Master of Science in Administration from Pepperdine University. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Education at the Northeastern University College of Professional Studies.
Before he began his career in school administration, Ayala taught in a preschool/kindergarten Spanish Immersion classroom in Vermont, became a first grade reading teacher and then third grade classroom teacher in New Haven, CT, and also spent time in NEW Academy in Canoga Park, CA, as a second grade teacher. At the NEW Academy, Ayala then became Assistant Principal.
“I loved teaching, but there was a need for someone to step into that role,” Ayala said of his decision to move from the classroom to school administration. “I saw it as an opportunity to not just impact the kids in my classroom, but to impact every child in the school.”
Now, Ayala is looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference at The Willow School.
“I want to help establish Willow as a well-known, innovative, academically rigorous yet nurturing environment,” Ayala said of his goals for the school. “I want us to be known as a school that strikes that all-important balance between a strong academic program and ensuring kids are happy, safe, and content.”
Wolfe believes Ayala will make a huge impact on Willow and the surrounding community. “Willow’s Board is confident that he is the right Head of School to guide Willow forward as the leader in inquiry-based and ethical learning in New Jersey.”
Ayala lives in Morristown with his wife, Kate Riordan, and their 10-month old daughter.