Head of School & Leadership

Head of School — Brian Corley

March 24, 2021

Dear Near North Community,

I am pleased to announce that Brian Corley has accepted our invitation to lead Near North as our next Head of School effective July 1, 2021. Brian will succeed Audrey Perrott, who has conscientiously and selflessly led our community for the last 13 years. Audrey and the Board will provide critical support and partnership during the 2021-22 school year, ensuring a smooth transition for Brian, his family, and our entire community.

Brian returns to Near North after years as a Middle School Director at The Roeper School in Birmingham, Michigan. He began his educational career at our school, where he first fell in love with the philosophy and pedagogy of Montessori and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion work. As an Assistant Teacher, he grew a passion for recognizing children as full human beings who deserve to be respected and heard. As Near North’s Diversity Director, he trained 175 teachers and community leaders as a National SEED Project facilitator and served on the Equity and Justice Committee for ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States), where he is now a member of the board of trustees.

Brian Corley, Near North Montessori Head of School, sits outside of the school building

"Brian spoke of his desire to plant roots and raise his family in a community that has been so formative in his own life."

In his letter to the Search Committee, Brian spoke of his desire to plant roots and raise his family in a community that has been so formative in his own life. Brian and his wife are excited for their two young children to attend Near North, where they will be equipped as change agents who can affect the world in a loving and just manner.

The selection of a Head of School is one of the greatest responsibilities of trusteeship, and is especially exciting during the first year of a new strategic plan. All of us in the Near North community can be proud that the scope of the search, initiated in December in response to the announcement of Audrey’s retirement in October, was extensive, and the qualities of the interested candidates outstanding. 

The Search Committee, chaired by NNM parents Lee Clark and Shawn Michael, including other current parents as well as Near North faculty and staff members April Jean-Baptiste, Molly Miner, and Kandyce Woods, worked diligently with the support of the search firm, Educators’ Collaborative, to review and vet those outstanding candidates.

I am thankful for our community’s active engagement throughout this entire process. The thoughtful feedback about the candidates from current and past parents, faculty, trustees, students, and alumni has reaffirmed just how deeply I know we all care about the future of Montessori, peace education, and NNM.

We look to the future of Near North Montessori under Brian Corley’s leadership with profound optimism and excitement - confident he will diligently and passionately lead our community through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the coming years.


Gary Cloudman
NNM Board President

Updates from our Head of School

Brian and Onyx

How often do you get a chance to think about how many different hats you wear in a day?

As I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many of you, I would guess that some of your hats might look like mine: parent to your children, partner to your significant other, friend, coworker, leader, listener – truly, our hats would stack to the sky if we named them all. 

So again, you might relate, but it’s not always clear which hat I have to wear and when. And sometimes I have to wear many hats at once.

As Head of School and a parent here at Near North, this tricky balance is always front and center for me.

Brian Corley, Head of School

I believe in Montessori education. I believe in Maria Montessori’s philosophy and her commitment to educating the whole child. Montessori education is timeless, adapting and evolving to meet the needs of all students regardless of their gender identity, race, social-economic status, or ability.

But what makes Near North Montessori unique from other Montessori schools? I think if you were to randomly ask students and staff in the hallway or parents in a carpool line, they would likely say, “the community.” 

The last 18 months have challenged and frayed our community in ways that few could have imagined. Yet, today I sense a special quality in our fabric that is still holding us together.

The 21-22 Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is comprised of twelve to eighteen NNM parents. The Head of School, Director of Finance and Facilities, and two staff members also serve on the board as non-voting members.

Near North's Board of Directors provides guidance and direction for the school, oversees budgeting to ensure financial stability and ensures that the school maintains its focus on its educational mission.

The overarching work of the NNM Board is to hold the school in trust for future generations. The primary work of the Board is to promote the school mission, vision and values; focus on long range and strategic issues; select, hire and evaluate the Head of School; and be accountable for the School’s financial stability. The Board is not involved in the daily operations of the school.

The composition of the NNM board is representative of our school community and each member possesses professional experience and talent to support the work of the board. Parents who are interested in joining the Board of Directors or a board committee should contact the Development Office for more information. Interviews for board positions are conducted in February and early March.

Individuals on the board are current parents and possess a wide range of experience and talents and also serve on Board Committees. Members of the NNM community are welcome to attend open board meetings. Meetings are held at least four times a year, typically on Monday evenings, and notification of such meetings are listed in the This Week and on the school calendar.


Sarah Berghorst
Mary Beyer
Frederic Boyer
Lee Clark
Gary Cloudman
Shubhra Jain
Ali Khan
Caroline Ko
Kerl LaJeune
Ariel Litvin
Sachin Master
Kim Nemirow
Erik Nordby
Rina Patel
Lesley Pinckney
Tony Sutton
Matt Zweifel


Gary Cloudman, President
Ali Khan, Co-Vice President
Kerl LaJeune, Co-Vice President
Frederic Boyer, Treasurer
Shubhra Jain, Secretary

Administrative Representative

Brian Corley, Ex-Officio
(Non-voting member)

Administrative Support

Robert Hart, Finance & Operations Director
Marcela Gomez Sixto, Advisor
April Jean-Baptiste, Advisor

Standing Committees


Annual Committees

TSA Investment
Strategic Plan