A new leader will be at the helm of Westlake Academy starting June 1. After a search, Sean Wilson was named incoming executive director of the charter school.

Wilson will join Westlake Academy after working in academic settings in New Orleans for the past 16 years. He served as the head of school for the International School of Louisiana and most recently for the International High School of New Orleans—a public college-preparatory charter school that offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

Westlake Academy announced the hiring decision to staff March 23 and to parents March 25.

“Mr. Wilson stood out as an immensely qualified educational leader and will bring vast experience in school leadership to our organization,” Westlake Town Manager/Superintendent Amanda DeGan wrote in a letter to the Westlake Academy community.

“Wilson was selected for his broad experience in the head of school role, for his commitment to creating and enhancing academic teams and developing culture at all levels, his support in leading through the delivery of an [International Baccalaureate] education, and empowering staff with the tools and autonomy to do what they love most—teach our students,” DeGan said.

At the Westlake Town Council meeting March 28, DeGan said Wilson has a history of process and systems improvements in the school setting, including strategic planning, student enrollment, helping to align resources with funding and creating a collaborative culture for staff. Wilson also increased teacher retention at his previous school to more than 90%.

Current Executive Director Mechelle Bryson is retiring, and Wilson will visit campus intermittently before his official start date to transition into leadership duties.

Selection process

At the March 28 Town Council meeting, DeGan explained the five-phase process used to identify the school’s new executive director. The process began with the hiring of a consultant who sought candidates that fit the position profile. A nine-member selection committee was formed, which included representatives from teaching staff, counseling, human resources and school administration.

According to DeGan, about 80 candidates submitted applications or expressed interest in the position. The list of applicants was narrowed, first to 50, then to 27. After evaluating the candidates, the selection committee members each came up with their own top 10 list of candidates.

From there, the committee compiled a single list of the top 10 candidates with two alternatives. The list was narrowed down to five, and the Town Council discussed options before inviting three candidates to visit Westlake Academy’s campus in March.

“The finalists were evaluated through a multidisciplinary team approach of speaking with staff from all program areas and had conversations with our Town Council as the governing body of the school,” DeGan wrote.

An open house to welcome Wilson to Westlake Academy will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on March 31 at The Terraces business park in Westlake.

“Let’s make him feel very welcome. I encourage all of you to be there for the meeting on Thursday,” Westlake Council Member Chandrika Dasgupta said.

Westlake Academy is owned and operated by the town of Westlake. It is the only municipally owned and operated open-enrollment charter school in the state of Texas, according to the school's website.