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Meet Dr. Jessica Palladino, Head of School

Dr. Jessica Palladino, who joined The Woods Academy as Head of School in July 2023, grew up in Montgomery County and attended St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She and her husband and their daughter reside in Kensington, Maryland. Dr. Palladino and her family are parishioners at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Palladino served as Principal at Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Montgomery County where she lead a student body of 750 and a staff of 120. Prior to assuming her position at Rolling Terrace, Dr. Palladino served as the school’s Principal Intern/Assistant Principal from 2015 to 2019. Dr. Palladino holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Her experience in elementary school settings includes serving as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, a reading specialist, and a staff development teacher. Dr. Palladino spent several years as an instructional specialist in Montgomery County’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction. She also has experience teaching at the graduate level. 

When asked to describe her interest in the position of The Woods Academy’s next Head of School, Dr. Palladino told us that one of the main reasons for her interest was the opportunity to combine her professional identity as an administrator and educator with her Catholic faith. When asked how she would lead The Woods as an inclusive and welcoming Catholic school committed to preparing students to lead lives of significance, Dr. Palladino described her personal experience of “the long-lasting, positive impact of a strong Catholic education, not only academically but in shaping … character.” Dr. Palladino further explained,

In my work both as an educator and as an administrator, I have sought to exemplify what I view as the guiding principles of my own personal faith, including love for one another, hope and belief in the goodness of others, and finding joy and light in our daily lives.

Board of Trustees

Donna Byrne, Chair
Robin Clark, Vice Chair
Marc Ferrell
Megan Ganguly
John Glennon, Jr. 
Steve Gobien
Martha Gutierrez
Dan Hickey
Mark Johnson
Rebecca Kennedy
Alfonzo Leon
Jamaal Mobley
Alison Plotas
Paula Pryor
Ines Vega


Lyndsey Canter, Director of Montessori
Caitlin Chalke, Director of Advancement
Molly McNamara Hugo, Director of Admission
Hasmig Mahshigian, Director of Finance and Operations
Paul Paoletti, Director of Middle School
Katya Pilong, Director of Lower School
Jodie Shoemaker, Assistant Head of School
Eric Smith, Director of Technology