Presenters

This year’s presenters are looking forward to sharing their knowledge with you.

Dr. Cindy Acker

Head of School, IMC Board Member

Dr. Cindy Acker holds degrees in human development, culture and spirituality and a doctorate in educational leadership from UC Berkeley. She is former VP of the National Child Care Association and has served as …

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a public policy adviser for Montessori schools and school associations. She is a five-time award winner in areas of social justice, and has created platforms for school social justice and protocols for school re-entry post covid-19. She was trained by Ursula Thrush and is head of The Child Unique Montessori School and Montessori Elementary School in Alameda.

Carrie Allen

Director of the Montessori Teacher Training Program at Loch Haven

Carrie Allen is currently the Director of the Montessori Teacher Training Program at Loch Haven in Orlando, FL; an MEPI affiliated MACTE program…

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She holds a BS and AA degrees in Early Childhood Education and is a credentialed Early Childhood Montessorian through the National Center for Montessori Education. Carrie is also a member of the first CGMS Leadership cohort and is excited about the new opportunities that continue to develop in the Montessori community.  She is active in the early childhood and Montessori communities as a trainer, consultant, and advisor. 

 

Charlie Biggs

Facilitator, Writer, Leadership Coach, and Consultant

Charlie Biggs is an Appreciative Inquiry facilitator, writer, and leadership coach/consultant for nonprofit organizations and independent schools…

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He has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit and school leadership, and he is in the final stages of receiving certification as an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator from the Center for Appreciative Inquiry. Charlie was Director of the Knoxville Montessori School from 2009-2017, and he currently serves as a Board member and Chair of the Education Committee for the Montessori Alliance of Tennessee. He is also a Board member of the Association of Infant Mental Health of Tennessee and a member of the Coaching and Consulting Team for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in Knoxville, TN. 

 

Kitty Bravo

Director of Teacher Education CGMS, IMC Board Member

Kitty has been a Montessori Educator for over 40 years. As the grandmother of a teen who has struggled with ADHD and Anxiety, she understands the complexity of this problem and specifically…

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how anxiety contributes to challenges in school. Kitty received her AMI Primary training from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta & has a BA in Human Development from Eckerd College. In 1984, Kitty founded New Gate School, Sarasota, Florida. She served as the Director of Teacher Education for The New Gate Center for Montessori Studies for 4 years. Over the years she’s been in every possible role helping to advance Montessori education. Kitty is committed to providing support to teachers, schools & families as they strive to develop positive environments for children.

She is passionate about preserving the legacy of Maria Montessori & believes strongly in Montessori’s mission of transforming society through our children. To this end, Kitty has made teacher education her primary professional focus & is truly committed to supporting CGMS students on their important journey of becoming extraordinary Montessori teachers.

 

Luz Casquejo 

Associate Professor in the Kalmonovitz School of Education

Dr. Luz Casquejo Johnston has been in the field of education for over 20 years and has been in the Montessori movement in every capacity. She started her Montessori journey in the 70’s as a primary student…

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She came back to Montessori as an adult and earned her AMS Lower Elementary I Credential. She has worked in charter schools as a Lower Elementary guide and served for seven years as a Montessori charter school administrator. Dr. Luz is currently an Associate Professor in the Kalmonovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California. She is also a consultant and has designed and delivered trainings on elementary Montessori and issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to schools in the U.S. She is an international speaker with specialities in Montessori elementary education, child development, DEI and school leadership.

Jayne Cobb

Lead Teacher, AMS

Jayne Cobb is a lead teacher in a Montessori 9-12 environment. She is an AMS Certified 6-9 teacher and attended IAMS. She is also an AMS certified 9-12 teacher and attended MIEPN. She has attended the Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard Academy in Berkeley, CA.
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She is also certified in Permaculture. She has been teaching in a Montessori environment for more than 25 years. She works with a team of teachers to prepare a congenial classroom community with inspiring academics. She also supervises and maintains a school garden and kitchen program. She has been on design teams for numerous school gardens in the Florida area. She has given talks on School Gardening, Permaculture, and Composting to adults, teachers, and children in the Tampa Bay Area and across the United States. She has been a conference speaker at numerous AMS National Conferences.

 

Dr. Michael Dorer

Author, Consultant,
StoryTeller

Michael Dorer, (Storyteller, Author,Speaker, Consultant) is a Montessori educator, with a doctorate in Instructional Leadership, and Montessori credentials from AMI and AMS for 3-6, and 6-12. …

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Michael has many years of experience in the early childhood and elementary Montessori classroom. He is a Montessori teacher educator and has directed three excellent Montessori teacher education centers. He is a specialist in the Montessori curriculum. His pedagogical interests include imagination, holism, classroom leadership, and storytelling in Montessori programs. He has authored seven Montessori textbooks, including The Deep Well of Time: The Transformative Power of Storytelling in the Classroom.

Hillary Drinkell

Educational Leader and Montessori Advocate

Hillary has worked in Montessori education for over 35 years. Being passionate about mental, emotional and physical health to empower and inform her Montessori journey, 

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she has developed a scientifically proven wellbeing program for schools and a Sanity Club for those in education.

She loves to work in the space of empowerment with all Montessori constituents.

Renee Du Chainey Farkes

Head of School at the Woodward School

Renee has been a Montessori Head of School (HOS) and Education Leader for 30+ years. She served as founding HOS of Kingsley Montessori in Boston from 1998 until 2018 growing the school from a one room preschool to a 350 student community. 

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She was HOS also at Woodward School for Girls from 2018-2021 working with both Middle School and High School girls. In 2018, she devoted a sabbatical year to exploring “Parents as Partners” and visited 65 Montessori schools throughout the world. In her words, “My findings were unequivocal that the experience of parents with schools is clearly two-fold: one experrience is about their child and his/her learning, and the other is clearly about what I have framed in my research: “Me as a Parent,” which relates to what support systems parents need and want from their child’s school. This could not be more applicable now as we navigate new waters together.”

She is a dedicated advocate for, and driver of, excellence in the educational experience of students and parents. Renee is passionate about children and their learning, the development of teachers, and partnerships with parents and the family to achieve the best outcome and learning experience. She is highly committed to assisting all schools to establish a successful path forward.

Renee has served on the American Montessori Society for two terms, with a focus on “Chair of the Head of School” Section and is most comfortable working with Heads of School and their roles. She is a 20+ year Board member of the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts.

Dr. Ann Epstein

Assoc. Professor University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse

Ann Epstein is Professor & Interim Director of the Special Education program at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in the Department of Educational Studies…

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She teaches courses that address early childhood language & literacy, and Kindergarten curriculum & assessment. She also coordinates a Professional Development School field experience. Ann’s research interests include accommodations for young children with exceptionalities and interdisciplinary teaching.  Ann was a Montessori teacher with 3 – 6-year-olds before completing her doctoral studies in early childhood special education.

Paul Epstein, PhD

International Speaker, Consultant, and Author

Paul has worked in Montessori education for over forty years as an administrator, teacher, researcher, consultant, international speaker, and author.

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He has been a Montessori classroom teacher in Montessori early childhood, middle, and high school programs as well as a university professor.

He is the director of early childhood and secondary teacher education programs. Paul’s most recent publication is An Observer’s Notebook: Learning from Children with the Observation C.O.R.E. He is also the co-author of The Montessori Way, a definitive work on the Montessori experience.

Natasha Feinberg

Ed.D. Assistant Professor at Rhode Island College

She instructs preservice teachers in the areas of reading and writing as well as directs the Master’s of Education in Reading program in the Elementary Education Department.

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Dr. Feinberg has 17 years of experience as a reading specialist/literacy coach in the R.I. public school system with an Ed.D. in Curriculum Leadership from Northeastern University. Dr. Feinberg’s area of expertise lies in the Science of Reading and teaching reading to all types of learners. She has worked extensively with Tier 2 and 3 literacy interventions identifying specific student literacy needs and matching evidence-based interventions and specific progress monitoring tools that address those needs. Her work focuses on supporting Data-Based Individualization and Data-Based Decision Making.

 

Christopher Gallagher

VP/Partner Hoyt Architects

Chris Gallagher, a partner with HOYT Architects, has 30 years of experience in design, planning, and construction. He is the designer of the acclaimed Citrus Square,

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a three-story, mixed-use, authentically-detailed, pedestrian-friendly project in downtown Sarasota. Citrus Square was awarded the Best New Low-Rise Development in the U.S. in 2011. Planning Edges called Citrus Square: “The most important building in Sarasota.”  Mr. Gallagher is also Headmaster Emeritus of the New Gate Montessori School.

Dorothy Harman

Early Childhood Guide, NewGate School

Dorothy Harman is an Early Childhood credentialed Montessori directress at NewGate Montessori School in Sarasota, FL. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, 

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Master of Education in Curriculum and Instructions ​and a Master in Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Creative Arts.  Dorothy Harman serves as Montessori Consultant and Faculty for the College of Education at the University of Nebraska-Kearney where she trains new Montessorians in her passions: Cultural Studies, Parent Engagement, Art, and Peace Education. She proudly presents at IMC and AMS conferences and is the author of Intentional Connections: A Practical Guide to Parent Engagement in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Classrooms, published through the Montessori publisher Parent Child Press. Dorothy enjoys writing and directing children’s theater,  facilitating arts enrichment activities, performing music with several bands, and riding her purple motorcycle.  

 

Kathy Leitch

IMC Executive Dir., CGMS Infant/Toddler Program Director

Kathy Leitch has been involved with Montessori education for over 40 years. She taught at the infant, toddler, and primary levels for 20 years and founded Renaissance Montessori School…

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serving as Head of School for 27 years. She retired from the school in 2019 to focus on her current position as Executive Director of the International Montessori Council (IMC). Additionally, Kathy serves as Director of the CGMS Infant-Toddler Program and Co-Director of the Leadership Credential Program.  These positions provide Kathy the opportunity to support Montessori schools and adult learners throughout the world. In addition, she is passionate about assisting Montessori schools with improvement plans, professional development, and accreditation. 

Kathy continues to be active in Montessori education as a Montessori Teacher Trainer, International Workshop Presenter, and School Consultant. Kathy graduated from Barry University and earned her Montessori Credentials from the American Montessori Society for 0 – 3 & 3-6.  Kathy is also a certified Parenting Instructor and Stress Management Facilitator.

 

Sheila Linville

IMC Accreditation Director
& Founder

Sheila Linville, Montessori parent, parent and sister of ADHD humans, primary and lower elementary guide, Head of School, executive director of The Andrews Educational Institute
 
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and Dr. Alicia Braccia, Neuroschool psychologist, Montessori advocate, clinical director of The Center for Health Learning and Achievement. Together the team has 60 years experience with children and families!

Sheila is the director of IMC Accreditation.

 

Jennifer Littrell-Hesseldenz

Toddler Level Coordinator and Lead Teacher

My teaching career blossomed in the 1990s, during eight years when I taught a variety of art and science classes through the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky. 

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My students ranged in age from preschool to elementary aged children. After accruing a wide repertoire of subjects and honing skills in structuring and designing course curriculum, I became a head teacher for three to five year olds at the Fayette Cooperating Nursery School that was founded on principles of Piaget’s developmental theory. While most of my twelve years at the Co-op School was spent with older children, I finished my tenure there by splitting time between a newly developed two-year old program in the mornings, and the preschool students in the afternoons. In 2003 I began an affiliation with Providence Montessori School when my son Henry began his early elementary career there. I became a member of, and later coordinated the parent ed program, educating our school’s community about the Montessori method. I served on the school’s board of directors for two years until I became employed at Providence in 2012. I helped develop a second (extended day) toddler class added to the existing toddler program that began in 2009. I earned my infant toddler certification in 2013 and in that same year I became the level coordinator for the toddler program at Providence. I continue to coordinate the toddler program and am a lead teacher, with a wonderful staff and an exciting group of young children who each and every day teach me something new. When I’m not teaching I enjoy listening to music in the kitchen with my husband Peter, and listening to my 18 year old son, who seems to be turning into a strolling minstrel, play guitar, hanging with my Grandson and his parents Henry and Clara – and figuring out how to conquer the next thing on our never ending list of projects to do to our old house in Lexington, Kentucky.

 

Christine Lowry

Consultant, Montessori
NOW, Founder

Christine shares her many years of experience as a Montessori/special educator and founder/director and classroom teacher of 2 Montessori Inclusive schools…

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serving children with diverse behavior and learning needs. She offers professional development, consultation, and coaching for families, educators, and school leaders.

 

Cassi Mackey

M.Ed., Principal, Lead Elementary Guide

Cassi Mackey, M.Ed. is passionate about helping communities create spaces where people are encouraged to make changes to improve relationships. Cassi has witnessed the transformational power of communities that engage in Courageous…

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Conversation and Collaborative Coaching as imputable practices. It is a promise of more meaningful relationships, greater depth of experience, and a broader, more compassionate view of oneself and the world. She truly believes open, honest, and kind communication is essential for our children and the future of humanity. Cassi is currently a principal, as well as a lead teacher in a 9-12 classroom at Montessori Education Centre-Charter School in Mesa, Arizona and has successfully guided her school, as well as others, through this transformation. Cassi recently completed her AMI Administrator Certification.  She consults with and provides advice to Montessori communities that are intent on generating positive and lasting change.

Denise Monnier 

Advocacy Director, MPPI

Denise Monnier was a Montessori student, parent and school leader. She is a dedicated advocate, and advocacy coach, striving for public policy that supports universal access to Montessori education. 

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More than 15 years of teaching in and leading Montessori schools made Denise deeply aware of the need for equity in and access to high quality education. Denise‘s journey into education policy began when she founded an early childhood outreach program, securing local funding for families to access Montessori early childhood experiences. As a head of school and through her involvement in the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools where she currently serves as Executive Director, her advocacy efforts turned to statewide and national advocacy. Her work with MPPI is centered around supporting our state advocacy groups and equipping them with the tools and training they need to be effective advocates for children.

Ashley Morris,

M.Ed., Ed.S., Ed.D.

Director of the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta

Dr. Ashley Morris is the director of the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta. Ashley holds degrees from the College of William and Mary in neuroscience (B.S.) 

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and Kennesaw State University in early childhood education, as well as AMS and PAMS Montessori early childhood credentials. She serves on the MACTE board and enjoys working with Georgia’s Montessori advocacy group, Montessori Administrators of Georgia. She also serves on Grow Montessori School’s board as Vice Chair and The Suzuki School’s executive committee. Before teacher training, she worked as a primary teacher and then moved into administration as curriculum director at the Suzuki School in Atlanta.

Sarah Moudry

Founder and Author

Sarah Moudry creates Montessori environments for children and families and offers consultation services for parents of young children.  She is the founder and owner of Studio June (@thestudiojune)…

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a Montessori parent and child education studio and Family Friendly Home (@familyfriendlyhome),an educational environments design firm.  She is the author of First Foods to Family Meals, Toilet Awareness, In A Montessori Home, and What is the Montessori Toddler Community? The mother of three children, Sarah lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family where they bake together and enjoy family game nights.

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy, PhD

Founder 

Passionate about education, Barbara holds a PhD from Northwestern University and a Montessori certificate from CGMS. As the mother of two while living in Milan, Italy, she fell in love with Montessori. 

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After moving to Miami, Florida, Barbara founded Montessori Gym and Montessori Wellness, with the vision of supporting well-being in Montessori.

Marilyn Pearlman

LCSW, Clinical Social Work and Occupational Therapy

Marilyn has been in private psychotherapy practice for over 35 years, serving individuals, couples, and families, including clients ranging in age from adolescents to older adults…

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The integration of her professional background in both Clinical Social Work and Occupational Therapy provides her with a strong foundation in understanding the brain and behavior throughout the lifespan.

Rebecca Pelton

 President of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE)

Rebecca, as the president of MACTE has been active in the area of teacher program accreditation for the past 14 years. Prior to her work with MACTE, she served as the Vice President for Membership for the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). 

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She has presented at many national conferences and participated in over sixty on-site visits preparing for teacher program accreditation. Rebecca earned her B.A. in Music Education from Alma College and went on to teach in public and private schools for 20 years. She earned her M.Ed. from Bowling Green State University in Education with an endorsement in Gifted Education and continued to teach, as well as develop a number of programs in gifted education and gifted enrichment. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware. Her tenure at MACTE is based on commitment to supporting Montessori teacher preparation and thereby improving the educational experience of Montessori students.

Carolyn Pinkerton

Director of Communications & State Relations at MACTE

Carolyn shares vital information with accredited programs as well as connects others in the Montessori teacher education community. She has been involved in all parts of the accreditation process, including the review of Self-Studies, onsite visits, and trainings.

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Prior to her tenure with MACTE, Carolyn worked with children teaching English as a second language and creating an elementary reading program. Carolyn received her doctorate in the Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia. 

Lindsey Pollock

Montessori Administrator Credential and many more

Lindsey Pollock, Ed.D. is the Program Director for To Educate All Children, a non-profit in Houston.  She recently retired after 13 years as the principal of Garden Oaks Montessori a PK3 – 8th grade, public school in the Houston Independent School District since 1998…

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Her professional experience includes 25 years in public school (teacher, social worker and administrator), private school administration, small retail business owner, and national speaker/consultant.  Dr. Pollock has written many articles for national Montessori publications and has written a monthly parenting column for the Garden Oaks Gazette for the past 13 years.  She serves on local, state, and national non-profit boards.  Her dedication to Social Justice has been recognized by numerous organizations including the Human Rights Campaign.   Dr. Pollock holds a Montessori Administrator credential along with her Texas Teaching certifications in Elementary Education (1st – 8th grades), Special Education (PK – 12), English as a Second Language, Speech Communications (1st – 8th grades), Mid-Management Administrator (PK – 12) and Superintendent (EC – 12).  She has earned a Master’s Degree in Montessori Integrative Learning, Educational Leadership, Social Work as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.  She and her husband (a retired teacher/principal) share 5 children and  2 grandchildren!  You can find them on the beach whenever they have free time!

Marybeth Ricks

Paula Preschlack-Lillard

M. Ed, Writer & Speaker

Paula is a writer and a speaker. She has spent 25 years as a teacher and the head of school at Forest Bluff School. She is currently working on a book about Montessori education.

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Paula Preschlack has given over 100 talks at Forest Buff School and at other Montessori schools, teacher training courses, and conferences. Her work focuses on the principles and successes of the Montessori approach learned from over 25 years of teaching and observing children from birth to adulthood.

Paula is a graduate of Hampshire College and has a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University, Baltimore, MD. She is AMI certified for all Montessori age levels: Assistants to Infancy, Primary, and Elementary, and she audited the NAMTA/AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies in 2018.  Paula is married to Jim Preschlack and lives in Lake Forest with their son, Stanley (age 19), and daughter, Lillard (age 17).

Marybeth Ricks

Mary Beth Ricks

Head of Bowman School,
Co-Chair of the IMC Accreditation Committee

Mary Beth Ricks has been involved in both public and independent education for over 32 years as a teacher, division lead, Director of Curriculum, and Head of School. She has served the last 13 years …

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as the Head of School at Bowman International School in Palo Alto, Calif. and, in that time, has raised enrollment from 180 to 300 students, garnered accreditations from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the International Montessori Council (IMC), and brought innovative programs focused on experiential learning to the school.

She has previously taught at the Program for the Gifted at the Education Research Institute at Purdue University. Ricks received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Purdue University, her Montessori training at St. Mary’s College, and completed her Head of School training from The Center for Montessori Education at the College of New Rochelle. Ricks is an active education advocate and serves as president of the Bay Area Montessori Association, Co-Chair of IMC Accreditation Commission for the IMC, and a board member for the American Montessori Society.

Claire Salkowski

Principal Consultant for C. J. Consulting and Services, IMC board member

Claire J. Salkowski is the Principal Consultant for C. J. Consulting and Services, a circle and retreat facilitator, and a Montessori educator having worked as a school founder, teacher, administrator, accreditation specialist…

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teacher trainer and presenter, nationally and internationally for over 40 years.

She was also the Director of the Montessori Education Program at Delaware State University and Mediation and Educational Programs at the North Baltimore Center of Mosaic Community Services and currently serves with several Montessori, Quaker, and Restorative Justice organizations.

Erica Santana

Elementary Coordinator, Montessori Children’s School

Erica Santana is the elementary coordinator and a lower elementary teacher at Montessori Children’s School in Jacksonville, NC. She holds a B.A. in Communication, a M.A.T…

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in Elementary Education K-6 from Montclair State University, and a Lower Elementary Certification from Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE) accredited by AMS. She has presented at multiple conferences, including NJMAC, IMC, and MEPI. Erica has been a teacher trainer at PCTE and WSMS-TEP. She writes curriculum for ETC Montessori and has written articles for MontessoriViews and Tomorrow’s Child.

She is a storyteller at heart and enjoys dressing up and sharing her treasures (bones, shells, nests, etc.) with the students. She loves inspiring students and teachers and guiding them while they find their cosmic place in the Universe! When she’s not working, Erica can be found spending time with her husband, Anthony, and her son, Leo. She loves to read, write stories and poetry, correct grammar, collect rocks and bones, and look at the stars.

Marybeth Ricks

Dr Laura Saylor

Dean of The School of Education at

Mount St. Joseph University

Dr. Laura Saylor earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a concentration in Educational Policy and Higher Education with a focus in STEM education from The University of Cincinnati. 

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Previously, she earned her Master of Education from Xavier University with a concentration in Montessori Education. Her 25 years of practical experience include teaching in inclusive and multi-age settings and serving as the Head of School for an independent Montessori school. Laura is a frequent presenter at national conferences. Her research includes the importance of learning and reading science in teacher preparation as well as assessing performance of pre-service teachers in clinical experiences. Dr. Saylor’s interests also extend to best practices in educational assessment, and collaborative work between P-12 and Educator Preparation. Her recently published research includes mathematics discourse with pre-service teachers and the effects of teacher-centered mentorship.

Tim Seldin

President Montessori Foundation & IMC, Executive Director NewGate

Tim Seldin is the President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. His more than 50 years of experience in Montessori education, includes 22 years as Head of …

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the Barrie School in Silver Spring, MD. Tim was the co-founder of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. He currently serves as the co-Head of the New Gate School in Sarasota, FL. He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University; an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University; and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Tim is the author of several books on Montessori Education, including How to Raise An Amazing Child; The Montessori Way with Dr. Paul Epstein; Building a World-Class Montessori School; Finding the Perfect Match – Recruit and Retain Your Ideal Enrollment; Master Teachers – Model Programs; Starting a New Montessori School; Celebrations of Life; and The World in the Palm of Her Hand.

Terri Sherrill

Associate Director, CGMS

Terri has spent almost 30 years in the Montessori Community working with children and families in inner-city, public, and private schools (at the Infant-Toddler and Early Childhood level)…

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She contributed to the development of the CGMS Infant-Toddler Course and now serves as its Associate Director. 

Terri holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Cognitive Science and Leadership) from the University of Central Florida. Her Montessori training includes the Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood levels. 

Located in Orlando, Terri enjoys spending time outdoors, learning new things, cooking, singing, and being with her grandchildren.

Patty Sobelman

Head of School of Pines Montessori School

Patty Sobelman is the Head of School of Pines Montessori School in Kingwood, Texas.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education…

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She is a trained Early Childhood Montessori teacher, a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business and a facilitator of the CEO Roundtable. 

She leads a team of 42 employees with an enrollment of 180 children from 6 weeks through 15 years.  She is the founding Head of both the Infant and Middle School communities.  

Patty is an internationally published author and speaker.  Her consulting work has been with private school startups and continuing business development such as finding markets, driving business, culture development, setting tuition and compensation.  Basically… a Montessori business nerd.  She does not like writing in the third person but she does love her work!

 

Jocelyn Swanson

CGMS Director of Secondary Teacher Education

Jocelyn Swanson writes: “The best part about being a Montessori guide is the privilege of helping students in their irresistible quest to discover their potential – a journey from discovery to …

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exploration, to invention.” Her specialty is in Language, Arts & History. As a Montessori parent, she watched her little school grow beyond its original Children’s House level to add an Elementary program. Eventually, she agreed to become Montessori certified and open a Secondary program. Her school has a thriving Middle School in the heart of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Her work in the Humanities has centered on the Socratic method of discussion, a key takeaway from her Montessori training & philosophy that she finds essential to feeding the curiosity of the young adults she guides. She has discovered that it also supports a Montessori model in her classroom. In addition to working w/young adults, she enjoys working as a guide to full-blown adult learners.

In her pre-teaching career, she ran her own marketing business, starting out first as a writer/editor. Her undergraduate degree in Business & Communications and subsequent master’s degree in Education from Xavier University have come in handy! She lives in Williamsburg, Virginia on a farm with her husband & children & a fun variety of animals who fulfill a huge role in mini-Montessori Erdkinder experiences for children in the community.

 

Cathy Tobin

Principal  Innovation Montessori Ocoee

Cathy Tobin was born and raised in Cork, Ireland. In 1994, one year after moving to the US, she embarked on Montessori primary training at the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute. 

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Cathy taught at private Montessori schools in Central Florida for many years before earning her state teaching license and moving to teach in the public sector. After a year of teaching at a Title I school in Orlando, she was invited to join the faculty of Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School, now Innovation Montessori Ocoee (IMO). Cathy pursued a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, after which she spent five years as assistant principal at IMO The 2022-2023 school year marks Cathy’s second year as principal at Innovation Montessori, a public charter Montessori serving 800 students from primarythrough 8th grade. Cathy is forever grateful to have trained under and learned from some incredible Montessorians over the course of her career, including Helen DeVere, Sr Anthonita Porta, Lorna
McGrath, Karen Simon, Dr Michael Dorer, Jonathon Wolff and Patrice Cherico. She looks forward to continuing to learn and grow.

 

Julia Volkman

Founder Maitri Learning

Julia Volkman has been guiding the learning of children, teachers, and adults since 1997. She is the Founder/President of Maitri Learning and a Teaching Fellow in the Neuroscience of Learning course at Harvard University (Extension School)…
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Among other things, she has also been a consultant and thought partner with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS), an Advisory Panel Member for and contributor to the Annenberg Foundation’s Neuroscience & the Classroom course, and a Dekyong at Buddhist family camp. Ms. Volkman earned her AMI 3 to 6+ diploma from the Montreal Montessori Training Centre, a bilingual program. She earned her master’s degree from Harvard Extension School where she won the Dean’s prize for her research on preschool literacy/the Montessori movable alphabet. Most importantly, she is the mother of a young adult (by birth) and high school junior (by adoption) who have taught her most of what she knows. She enjoys hiking with her Husky, kayaking, research, and conversing with her family at the dinner table.
 

Alanea Williams

Infant/Toddler Instructional Guide for CGMS

Alanea has her B.S. in biology from Florida Tech and M.S. in Fisheries from Louisiana State University. She also holds an AMS Infant/Toddler Credential and was

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a Montessori infant/toddler teacher from 12 years, followed by 6 years as school administrator. Alanea is currently the Infant/Toddler Instructional Guide for CGMS. 

Jonathan Wolff

Senior Consultant / Montessori Foundation, Learning for Life;
IMC Board Member

Jonathan Wolff is a senior Montessori school consultant and leadership educator with the Montessori Foundation. He is also the Founder & Director of Learning for …

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Life and Montessori Leadership. Jonathan is a teacher trainer, speaker & author who infuses his work in leadership development with 30 years experience as an educator & administrator. Through the Montessori Foundation and Learning for Life, he provides retreats, workshops, consultations & coaching for parents, educators, leaders, Boards of Directors, community organizations & learning communities around the globe. The best-practice leadership retreats & workshops he leads facilitate community building, strategic planning & improved organizational effectiveness.

Susan Zoll

Associate Professor and Co-Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program at Rhode Island College

Dr. Susan Zoll is Associate Professor and Co-Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program at Rhode Island College. 

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She has served in leadership roles on several Early Reading First projects (ERF 2004, 2006, 2009) funded by the U.S. Department of Education and her work on the development of Personal Literacy Plans, a tool to share individualized assessment outcomes with teachers and families, was recognized by the Doing What Works initiative. Her dissertation, “From “at risk” to “at promise”: An Evaluation of an Early Reading First Project” speaks to the need for increased access to high-quality early language & literacy opportunities to prepare all children for reading success. Dr. Zoll is a Montessori educator (AMS) having served as a primary (3-6) educator, teacher trainer (Language curriculum), and Head of School. Her recent research includes historical analysis of early adopters of Montessori education (2017), the development of a Montessori logic model to inform education research (2019), and an overview of assessment and observation practices in Montessori classrooms (2023).

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