Families expect and receive responsive, thoughtful, effective, and efficient action from the Spruce Street School administrative team. This group is in charge of leading the school from the front desk to long-range planning and fiscal management.


Since 2002

Briel Schmitz

Briel has been Spruce Street School’s Head of School since 2002. She has ten years experience as a classroom teacher, both as a bilingual first grade teacher in the Houston public schools (through Teach For America) and as a multi-age early elementary teacher in Seattle. She is passionate about working with new teachers and women in leadership. She designed and ran a beginning teaching program from 1996-2002, coaches and mentors the interns at Spruce Street School and worked with NWAIS to establish Pathways to Leadership, a cohort for women interested in becoming heads of school. Briel studied Education Policy as an undergraduate at Brown University, and holds a master’s degree in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. She has served as a board member and chair for the Northwest Association of Independent Schools and the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. In her free time Briel enjoys reading and traveling with her husband.

Listen to Briel discuss the relationship between heads of school and board chairs on the NAIS Podcast: Member Voices. Click here to listen on Spotify or here to find other ways to listen.

Gene Carter

Since 2005

Gene Carter

Gene is the Director of Technology, a position that he has volunteered in for seven years prior to joining the staff.  Gene has Bachelors degree in theatre as well as several Microsoft certifications.  He likes Star Trek TOS, Shakespeare and pecans.


Since 2003

Jane Davis-Ward

Jane, our Business Manager, has been juggling the many responsibilities of the business office at Spruce Street School since 2003. Jane grew up in Berkeley and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a double major in Spanish and Art History. She has also completed graduate studies in Art History at the University of Washington and served as the Director of an art gallery in Pioneer Square for several years. Jane is the proud parent of a Spruce Street School alumna.  In her free time Jane enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring the Pacific Northwest by ferry.

Maddy Mele

Since 2021

Maddy Mele

Maddy, our Director of Admission and Communications, is originally from Bountiful, Utah near Salt Lake City. She graduated in 2019 from Seattle University with a degree in Humanities for Teaching and Philosophy. Prior to her position in Admissions, she taught in the Oldest Level at Spruce Street School. She also taught in Central Java, Indonesia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, and in public and private schools in the Seattle area. When she’s not working, she enjoys live music, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and spending time by the water.

Megan Schmidt

Since 2014

Megan Schmidt

Megan, our Development Director, is a Seattle native with a passion for fundraising. She has worked as a development professional in the Seattle area for 25 years, both at non-profit organizations and as an independent fundraising consultant.  Outside of work you will find her at one of her two sons’ many sporting events or enjoying one of Capitol Hill’s new restaurants with her husband. She also enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and spending time with family and friends.


Since 2024

Sadya Ahmed

Sadya, our Administrative Assistant, grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Russian History and Museology. Her previous roles were in finance and museum exhibit design. In her free time, she enjoys reading, rock climbing, and creating collages.

Shannon Orton

Since 2012

Shannon Orton

Shannon is our assistant head of school and the director of our extended day and summer camp programs.  She started working at Spruce Street School in 2012 and has been a teacher, admissions assistant, and communications director during her time here. Before joining our faculty, Shannon was a teacher in Seattle Public Schools for 13 years and taught students in first through eighth grades. She is a Seattle native, holds degrees from the Evergreen State College and Antioch University, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Committee for Children.