Our Next Executive Director!

Our Next Executive Director! 2022-07-29T17:17:44+00:00

This page was last updated on February 9, 2022.

After a national search and intensive process that engaged parents, alumni, staff, and past and present board members, the Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Ilsa Miller will join Pacific Primary this summer as the next Executive Director.

Throughout the process, we sought to find a strong leader who shares our values, has the experience to support and mentor staff, and would help us to shepherd the school community through this important moment of transition. Ilsa has consistently demonstrated a warmth, thoughtfulness and depth of experience that gives us the utmost confidence that we have found the next leader of Pacific Primary. 

In addition to her deep affection for the youngest learners and her impact as a mentor to educators, Ilsa brings more than 20 years of teaching and leadership experience with her. Her natural creativity, warmth, and ability to problem solve in the most challenging scenarios stood out to everyone involved in the search process. Ilsa comes to us from Guidepost Montessori in Marin, where she was the first head of school and helped build and grow the program from the start. Previously, she was also head of school at the Alt School, and spent many years as a classroom teacher at both independent and public schools around the Bay Area including long tenures at the San Francisco Friends School and White Oaks Elementary.

Working with young children brings me joy, and I find this same joy when supporting staff and families. I began my career in early childhood education, then in elementary teaching in both a public and an independent school in the city. After twenty years of teaching, I moved into administration as a K-8 Head of School at an ed tech start-up. The constant sense of urgency, sleeves rolled up, finding ways to push innovation led me back to the pace of early childhood education and in the development of a new infant through kindergarten center in Mill Valley. I now find myself where I hoped to be, joining a school community that has genuine respect for the importance of diversity in providing a nurturing learning environment for young children.

– Ilsa

I am very excited that Ilsa Miller has accepted the position of Executive Director. Ilsa understands that our school is a very special place to work and that children are our highest priority. She shares our values. She knows that supporting teachers and staff with respect, warmth, and enthusiasm is essential. I will be delighted to work with Ilsa as she steps into the Executive Director position, and am looking forward to spending time with her over the coming months as she prepares to take over leadership of Pacific Primary.

– Belann

Ilsa will officially step into the role of Executive Director in late June. The Board has begun the transition planning process, working in close partnership with Belann, Ilsa, and staff to ensure a smooth and seamless changeover this summer as we say goodbye to a beloved leader and warmly welcome a new leader to take us into our next chapter. 

Please join us in welcoming Ilsa to our Pacific Primary community!

Updated: November 2021


In summer 2021, our Search Committee began the process of filling the Executive Director role by first partnering with CalWest to develop a strategy that would meet the school’s immediate needs and that was also true to our deeper values. We gathered input from the Pacific Primary community, as well as engaged in conversations with staff, alumni, and board members.

Based on thoughtful contributions from all stakeholder groups, CalWest and the Search Committee have begun shortlisting and meeting with a number of extremely talented candidates. We continue to source additional candidates on a rolling basis. 

Our goal is to make an offer for the position in the first quarter of 2022.

Updated: October 2021


Belann Giarretto will be retiring from the position in July 2022 after an incredible 26 years of service. As the third and longest-tenured Executive Director in our school’s 46-year history, Belann’s unwavering commitment to all parts of our unique school community has supported generations of confident, caring, and curious learners, making Pacific Primary one of the best early childhood programs in the country.

This is an exciting opportunity for a leader who is passionate about supporting a love of learning through a play-based and emergent curriculum, promoting anti-bias educational practices, working with an exceptional group of educators, and championing a diverse and engaged school community. We welcome highly talented diverse candidates who are emerging early childhood leaders!

The Pacific Primary Board of Directors has retained CalWest Educators Placement to lead this search, under the leadership of Lois Mufuka Martin, VP, Search & Consulting and Dr. Jacqueline Olivier, Senior Search Consultant.


In addition to engaging the CalWest team, the Board has appointed a Search Committee made up of a diverse group of individuals, representing staff, families, and members of the Board:

Board Search Committee
Shivani Garg Patel (Co-chair)
Kate Norton (Co-chair)
Chris Edwards (Board President)
Rachel Rouda (Board Vice President)
My Le Adams (Treasurer)
Francis Ebong (Board Member)
Zac Rose (Board Member)
Belann Giarretto (current ED)

Staff Advisory Committee
Kelly Fox
Amie Haiz
Nadia Jaboneta
Natalie Karet
Brian Silviera
Eric Wilson

Alumni Advisory Committee
Ron Brown
Michael Dunn
Nina Kim
Gretchen Sisson
Katie Skoog
Tricia Stone

We are excited to have such a committed group of individuals to help us with this important process!

We will continue to update this page with communications about our search process. Please check back often!