Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to MA!

I am thrilled to welcome you to The Montgomery Academy and our homepage on the internet. I hope that you will take some time to get to know us by exploring the sections focused on Admissions, Academics, the Arts, Athletics, and Campus Life. In each section, you will get to know more about the MA community, and I’m hopeful that our web presence will inspire you to visit our school!

I first arrived on the campus of The Montgomery Academy as an eighth grade student in the fall of 1991, and, since then, I have been associated with this school over the past 31 years as a student, an alumnus, a teacher, a department chair, a division director, the Associate Head of School, Acting Head of School, and now the Head of School. Ever since my first moments at MA, I have been inspired by our school motto -- “the pursuit of excellence.” While at MA, I had the opportunity to pursue excellence in the classroom by taking challenging and engaging courses in all academic areas. I had the opportunities to pursue excellence outside of the classroom by playing varsity tennis, performing on the stage, singing in the chorus and participating in our speech and debate program. And, as a result of my experience at MA, I had the opportunity to pursue excellence at Yale University, Dartmouth College and in my career as an educator. Pursuing excellence did not always meant that I achieved it, but that ongoing pursuit -- developed by the faculty and staff at The Montgomery Academy -- created a mindset for growth and learning that I still carry with me every day as a school leader.

Throughout my years at MA, I have marveled at the wide variety of opportunities offered to our students -- opportunities to explore an advanced academic curriculum that prepares students for colleges and universities here in Alabama as well as across the country and globe, opportunities to explore the potentialities of the human experience in the arts or the athletic arena, opportunities to serve others in the community, opportunities to forge meaningful ties with teachers, coaches and mentors, and, ultimately, opportunities to learn how to be a “leader committed to honor, scholarship, service and the pursuit of excellence.”

As you peruse our web presence, I hope that you will get a sense of the totality of the MA experience, and I hope that you will contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a tour! We look forward to welcoming you!

Soar, Eagle, Soar!

John McWilliams
Head of School

About John McWilliams


A 1996 MA graduate, John McWilliams is the first alumnus to lead the school. Mr. McWilliams received his B.A. degree in history from Yale University, and he also holds a master's degree in liberal studies (MALS) from Dartmouth College. Upon his graduation from Yale, he returned to Montgomery Academy to teach in the history department and coach Speech & Debate before becoming Middle School Director in 2011. He has acted in various capacities since then including Associate Head of School, Acting Interim Head of School, and Upper School Director. John is married to Sarah Strickland McWilliams, and they have two daughters, Anna Elizabeth and Alice.