Mission, Vision and Values

Welcome from the Head of School

Interim Head of School, Ted Kalmus

After twenty years of educational leadership, I found something remarkable at Westside School - a community of students and teachers living a commitment to a growth mindset. Whether you are learning to read, to compose or to code, at Westside the meaning of a “growth mindset” has many layers – authentic curiosity, openness to possibility, resilience in response to missteps, and a willingness to present one’s voice with clarity and confidence. It’s a place for deep, joyful learning, and for expanding our capacity to think, create, perform and do for others.

That may be why our preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms are so full of laughter and discovery, but it is also the reason Westside School students go on to thrive in high schools across Seattle. It’s certainly this vision of learning that propels our teaching across the school. The educational philosopher Parker Palmer might have been thinking of Westside School teachers when he said,

“Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.”

We invite our students to consider what and how their stories will unfold. When you come visit, I hope you will notice the ways our school helps each student begin to author their own experience. It’s a combination of diverse approaches to teaching, a strong commitment to developing creativity and, the practice of experiential opportunities that gives context and meaning to the work we do in the classroom.

Indeed, as you explore, you’ll find these three central Westside Stories shape our website:

Learning made personal, teaching made relevant
Creativity is an intrinsic part of learning at Westside School
Learning without boundaries

We look forward to meeting and sharing stories with you in person,

Ted Kalmus
Interim Head of School


Westside School prepares students for the world by challenging them to achieve academic success, and by connecting their human spirit and imagination to learning.


Westside School is recognized as West Seattle’s premier, accredited pre-kindergarten through eighth grade independent school program. We help students develop essential skills for the 21st century, including conceptual thinking, communication, and cooperation. Our students thrive in the safe, caring, inclusive community environment Westside provides.


Joyful Learning

We believe children experience the excitement of learning through academic achievement, creative expression, and cooperation with others.

High Academic Standards

We believe the cultivation of problem-solving, innovative analytical thinking, and complex communication skills provides a strong foundation for lifelong success.

Confident Learners

We believe children gain confidence through positive support and clear behavioral guidelines within a safe learning environment.

Caring Community

We believe students become caring members of a global community by treating each other honestly, with respect and generosity of spirit.