Head of School Blog

Announcing the Portrait of a Graduate

October 31, 2018

As I stated at convocation back in August, one of the primary goals of our strategic planning over the past year has been to craft a "Portrait of a Graduate" that defines the major skills and habits of thought that we seek to develop within each student by the time that he or she graduates from the Academy. The "Portrait of a Graduate" will be used in conjunction with our mission statement and our core values to define the desired outcomes of an MA education.

Last year, we formed a faculty committee to define portrait components and to draft our portrait. The committee, chaired by Lower School STEM Teacher Dinah McLemore, included faculty members from all three divisions. The other committee members included: Richard Armstead, Ana Baker, Jennifer Grant, Andy Roth, Caroline Sease.

At the beginning of this school year, Dinah McLemore presented the committee's work to the full faculty and staff as well as the Board of Trustees. Here are some of the comments from her presentation:

"The idea behind all of this is to help us as a school community - faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni - have common language that clearly articulates who we are as a school. When we know who we are as a school, we can market and communicate that to existing and potential families. The Portrait of a Graduate is one element that helps to do just that.

Our group worked to come up with a description that both serves as a general, but honest, snapshot of our graduates, and can also be used set of goals as to what sorts of qualities our graduates should have. Not an easy task!

Our biggest concern was how do we accurately represent all of the very different individuals that graduate from this school, and avoid the idea that all of our graduates meet these descriptions 100 percent? We tried to craft language that describes our graduates, but is loose enough to allow for individuality in our students as well as our teachers and teaching styles.

While there may be some elements of the Portrait of a Graduate that we as a school haven't mastered yet, with a common language and expectation, we can all work toward the same goals. I say all of us, because these students don't just become who they are in the last three or four years of their career at MA. We should all have an idea of what we are all working toward in respect to our students."

I am extremely thankful to this committee for their dedicated work on this project, and I am thrilled to share their important work with all of you. I am hopeful that this document will help guide our faculty and staff as they guide our students through their academic journey at MA, and I also hope that it will help us articulate the value of an MA education to the community.

We have already spent time in a recent full faculty and staff meeting defining the ways in which we help "paint" this portrait within our current students as well as the ways in which we hope to enhance our efforts in order to help our students achieve these skills and habits of thought. Furthermore, in the weeks and months to come, you will see that many of our marketing efforts will highlight the "Portrait of a Graduate" as we see to celebrate MA in the community. The portrait will also be featured on our website.

You can read our portrait below and I hope you enjoyed the video above that shares the perspective of several alumni on how MA cultivated the many skills outlined in our portrait. These graduates are living out our mission of being "leaders committed to honor, scholarship, service and the pursuit of excellence." Enjoy!

Graduates of The Montgomery Academy are confident, balanced individuals who

CHALLENGE themselves to

  • Think critically, solving problems creatively and ethically
  • Demonstrate initiative and curiosity
  • Listen and communicate effectively


  • Promoting service locally and globally
  • Uniting and motivating others to improve their community
  • Modeling integrity and resilience


  • Diversity in its many forms
  • Honor as reflected in our Honor Code
  • A healthy lifestyle through arts and athletics