1+941-729-9565 / 1+800-655-5843 [email protected]




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 is a six-time award-winning Montessori educator, author, playwright, social justice activist, and keynote speaker. She has become known for her work in diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice. She travels, training heads of…


schools about social justice policies and inclusion, and training teachers about navigating changing curriculum laws, while teaching with historical integrity. Her play, Words That Made the Difference: Brown v. Board of Education continues to tour the United States. She was trained by the late Ursula Thrush.

Cheryl Allen

Montessori Coach

Cheryl Allen is currently the Montessori Coach at Mountain City Public Montessori in Asheville, North Carolina. After teaching traditional high school and working with a tutoring program, Cheryl went back to Montessori to earn her 3-6 certification


and guide classes of young students. She later moved to Lower Elementary, earning her Montessori 6-12 certification. After nearly 20 years in the classroom, Cheryl focused on parent education and support through her work with the Montessori Foundation’s Montessori Family Alliance. Cheryl attended Montessori school as a child and has two children who attended Montessori school through their high school graduation.

Anya Bartlett

Elementary Director at The Center for Guided Montessori Studies

Anya Bartlett is the Director of the Elementary Program for The Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She resides in Glenn Dale, Maryland where she serves on the board of Montessori Schools of Maryland. Anya has presented workshops…


at local, national, and international conferences throughout the United States. She received her Montessori certifications through Pan American Montessori Society and The International Montessori Council. Prior to her work with CGMS Anya worked as the Lead Montessori Elementary teacher before transitioning into an administrative role and serving as Head of School at Free State Montessori. In addition, Anya has completed training in Montessori Leadership, Conflict Coaching, M-ERS, and worked extensively in curriculum construction and design. As a former Montessori student herself she has had the opportunity to experience and learn about Montessori from all perspectives, as student, teacher, administrator, teacher trainer, and parent of two Montessori graduates.


Kitty Bravo

Director of Teacher Education CGMS, IMC Board Member

Kitty Bravo has been a Montessori Educator for over 40 years, with experience as a teacher, administrator, board member, teacher educator, and consultant.  She received her AMI Primary Montessori Certification in 1977 and has a BA in Human…


Development from Eckerd College. Kitty is one of the founders of The Center for Guided Montessori Studies and currently serves as the Director of Education.  She is a member of the International Montessori Council (IMC) Board of Trustees and sits on the Sarasota University Board of Directors. Kitty is committed to providing support to teachers, schools and families as they strive to develop positive learning environments for children.

Martha Carver

Co Director Leadership Credential CGMS, Head of School at Rock Prairie Montessori school

Martha Carver is a Montessori Leader of Rock Prairie Montessori School in Janesville, Wi and the Co-Director of the CGMS Leadership Credential. She has been in the Montessori field since 1989 and is credentialed in Early Childhood…


She has a BA in Liberal Studies from Endicott College. Martha has many years of experience in working with Conservation Agencies in governance and non profit Montessori School boards. She also is a coach for Montessori Leaders. She is a trained facilitator of the World Peace Game and an advocate for environmental conservation. When Martha is not at her school or working with Montessori Leaders, she can be found outdoors in the woods and prairies of her home in northern Illinois working the land.


Dr Sharon Damore

Senior Consultant an Metro Consulting Services

Dr. Sharon Damore has over 35 years of experience working in Elementary and Secondary schools and higher education. Her credentials include Early Childhood (3-6) by AMS, a doctorate in Education Leadership. Sharon serves as an Adjunct…


Professor of Education Leadership and Principal Mentor at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois, and a lecturer at the AMS-affiliated Seton Montessori Institute. She is a former member of the AMS Board of Directors. Sharon is a founding member of several Montessori initiatives, including the AMS School Accreditation Commission (SAC) and the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI) between AMS and the Association of Montessori International (AMI). Currently, as Senior Consultant, Metro Consulting Services, she leads national searches for leaders for Montessori schools exclusively. Sharon is a regular presenter at the AMS and AIMS (Illinois) conferences; in 2021, she appeared as a featured speaker at the virtual AMS 2021 The Montessori Event (TME) conference. In 2002, she spoke to the Emerging Leaders Cohort about Reflective Practice. Her recent scholarly publications include topics on reflective school leadership and coaching with her research colleague. She also teaches in the new Ed.D. Montessori leadership program at University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Hillary Drinkell

Head of School at Claire’s Montessori International Academy Inc                                                                               

I’ve been involved in Montessori education for several decades. Early on, I came to realize that helping children find a healthy balance within their minds and bodies was key to every child’s success in school and in life. As the decades progressed, …


I noticed more and more students, their families, faculty, and administrators, struggling to find a healthy life-balance. A holistic approach to health and wellbeing has always been my passion so, I decided to study various wellbeing techniques which would enable me to help myself and others find and maintain a healthy balance within mind and body. Consulting and working within the Montessori education community, I hear about overwhelm, exhaustion and burnout amongst so many that I now focus on helping all school constituents discover holistic mental and physical health and wellbeing techniques to ensure ultimate central nervous system balance for success, wellbeing, and resilience. The best part about these techniques is that they are scientifically proven so we can use them in schools without offending anyone. If you are ready to uplevel your life and bring about wellbeing and resilience in your students, connect with me for my Empowered Wellbeing for Success® School Education Series or join my Sanity Club | A Self-Care Sanctuary for Empowerment. The Club is where I guide you in simple, easy-to-action wellbeing techniques for life-long mental, emotional, and physical health and vitality – it’s your personal monthly wellbeing spa.

Montessori Consultant M.Ed.

Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner

Chopra Certified Meditation Teacher

Chopra Certified Yoga Teacher – RYT200

Yoga Calm for Children® Teacher

Subtle® Yoga Teacher (Central Nervous System Regulation)

IIN Holistic Health Coach

Energy Alignment Mentor – EAM®

BioDivinity™ Levels 1 & 2 – energy psychology

Clinical Applications of Polyvagal Theory In Trauma –in training

Renee Du Chainey 

Montessori Educator/ Coach/ School Consultant at Renee Partners Company

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.


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

Professor of Early Childhood Education, Program Director at University of WI-LaCrosse

Ann Epstein is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in the Department of Educational Studies. She teaches courses that address early childhood language & literacy, special education, and…

kindergarten curriculum & assessment. She is also the Early Childhood Education program director. Ann’s research interests include supports for young children with disabilities, interdisciplinary teaching, and effective mentorship for early career teachers. Ann was a Montessori teacher with 3 – 6-year-olds before completing her doctoral studies in early childhood special education. Her recent publications include a chapter on inclusion in Bloomsbury’s Montessori Handbook (2023), a co-authored article addressing assessment (2022), and she is the editor of Montessori Inclusion – Strategies and Stories of Support for Learners with Exceptionalities (2020).


Vyvu Kadambi

MPPI State Advocacy

In her nearly 25 years as a Montessori educator, Vyju has served as a Montessori teacher, head of school and school founder.  She has worked in both private and public Montessori schools and strongly believes that there needs to be


greater access to high quality Montessori education for all families.  She is AMS credentialed for Primary and Lower Elementary and holds an AMS certificate in Administration and a master’s degree in Education from Xavier University.

Vyju focused on advocacy while serving on the United Montessori Schools of Indiana board of directors, working with Montessori leaders and licensing specialists to reduce policy obstacles to quality Montessori education.  She was instrumental in creating and implementing a verification program for Indiana Montessori schools.

Lori Karmazin

Early Childhood Program Education Director

Lori Karmazin started as a 3-6 Montessori Guide in 1990 and is currently serving as a Montessori Coach at Undercroft Montessori School in Tulsa. Her love of math led to the creation of her business, Great Extensions (great-extensions.com), …


which has served the Montessori community since 1994. Lori is the Director of the Early Childhood Program and a teacher trainer for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.

Andrew Kutt

Oneness Family School, Founding Head, IMC Board, MD

Andrew Kutt is head of Oneness-Family School, the Montessori-based, international peace academy he founded in 1988 in Bethesda, MD. He serves on the board of the International Montessori Council and is a founding member of the Montessori…


Peace Academy, which advises schools with a peace-centered curriculum. Academics, self-discovery, and world service are integral parts of the curriculum Andrew developed at Oneness-Family School, a curriculum that is sought after and has been adopted in schools around the world. The program is recognized for its success in preparing students with the leadership skills necessary to understand and meet the challenges of the 21st-century, global society.

Andrew has spent the past 30 years in Montessori education, guided by Maria Montessori’s adage “to follow the child” in his work as teacher, administrator, trainer, and educational consultant. In addition to academics, his curriculum materials address positive discipline, conflict resolution, diversity, happiness, and other extensions to the Montessori classroom. Originally from Massachusetts, Andrew earned his B.A. from Assumption College and pursued four years of graduate studies in languages, literature, and philosophy at the University of Tubingen and the University of North Carolina before earning his Montessori teacher certification at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland. He began his teaching career under the direction of the renowned Montessori educator Tim Seldin, who inspired him to found Oneness-Family School and continues to be a mentor.

Sheila Linville

Coaches/ Instructional Guides for CGMS

Sheila Linville founded Lake Mary Montessori Academy (LMMA) in 1995 where she was a beloved teacher and Head of School for almost three decades until her retirement in 2021. She is an educator, mentor, coach, and inspiration to the teachers, …

parents, and children in her local sphere of influence and beyond earning her Montessori Credentials in both Early Childhood and Elementary from the American Montessori Society. In addition to being a valuable resource to families, faculty, and leadership, Sheila is also a distinguished presenter and keynote speaker serving the National and International Montessori community. She is active with school leadership development through AMS’s Educational Leadership Fellowship Program (E.L.F.) and the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS) as a Leadership Program Practicum Advisor and Instructional Guide for Elementary and Leadership cohorts. Additionally, she created the Andrews Educational Institute, which provides consultative services to Montessori and other progressive educational school leaders, teachers and parents. The Institute promotes a holistic approach to creating safe and supportive learning environments designed to strengthen and empower families. She currently serves as the International Montessori Council (IMC) Director of School Accreditation and Affiliation

Christine Lowry

Consultant/ Coach/ Instructor at Montessori Inclusion for Today’s Child

With two master’s degrees in special education and Montessori credential, Christine has worked with a range of diversity in a variety of settings including the founding, directing, and teaching in two inclusive Montessori schools.


With a focus on current research, she shares her knowledge of evidenced-based practices as they align with best Montessori practice. Her areas of expertise include behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and autism. Christine created a Montessori-based Muti-tiered System of Support, a framework for Social-Emotional Learning, and guides Montessori school leaders as they implement inclusive education and positive behavior support plans.

Christine is an internationally known presenter and teacher educator. She offers professional development, consultation, and coaching to Montessori schools. [email protected]


Mary MacIntosh

Montessori Educator, Head of School

Mary MacIntosh is an experienced Montessori educator whose service includes classroom teaching, head of school, Montessori teacher education director, and instructor. Her insights on best practices in Montessori pedagogy and instruction


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.

Cassi Mackey

Montessori Coach and Consultant                       

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


Courageous Conversation, Collaborative Coaching, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices. It is a promise of more meaningful relationships, greater depth of experience, and a broader, more compassionate view of oneself and the world. These practices are essential in order to serve our children and the future of humanity. Cassi has been in the Montessori field for 30 years as a teacher and school leader. She is currently an American Montessori Society (AMS) School Accreditation Commissioner, Instructional Guide for CGMS Leadership Certification and a trainer for the AMI Administrator certification course. She is certified as an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) School Administrator and has completed AMS Anti-bias Anti-racist the certification course. She consults with and provides advice to Montessori communities that are intent on generating positive and lasting change

Jody Malterre

Consultant, Teacher Trainer, and Positive Discipline Trainer

Jody Malterre, MAEd Montessori Trainer, Positive Discipline Trainer Jody has over 30 years’ experience in education. She owned three accredited Montessori schools in Idaho for 17 years and enjoyed serving families as a teacher and administrator…


She holds Montessori credentials for children ages 2-12 and has worked for five Montessori training centers. Jody frequently consults for Montessori schools and regularly offers Positive Discipline workshops and consultations for parents, teachers, and professional leaders. She holds a certificate in Adlerian Studies through the Idaho Society of Individual Psychology and currently serves as a Co-Chair of the Educators Section of North American Adlerian Society of Adlerian Psychologists (NASAP).


Lorna McGrath

Program Director of the Montessori Family Alliance

Lorna McGrath, M.Ed, has been in the field of education since 1974. She has taught children from 18 months-6 years old and from 12-18 years old in traditional school settings as well as independent Montessori schools. Lorna holds an Early


Childhood AMS teaching credential, RIE Certification, and Parenting Instructor Certification. Ms McGrath is the former Associate Head of NewGate School and Director of IMC School Accreditation. She is currently Program Director of the Montessori Family Alliance for the Montessori Foundation, a Montessori adult educator, school consultant, and international speaker. She recently co-authored with Tim Seldin their book, Montessori for Every Family: a practical guide to living, loving, and learning. 

Nancy McNabb

Infant-Toddler Coordinator and Lead Instructor at Authentic Institute of Montessori  

Nancy McNabb holds an IT credential from AMS and an EC credential from Pan American Montessori Society. She has taught in, directed, and served as a Montessorian for 40 years. She is the Lead Instructor and Coordinator of the Infant Toddler…


Certification Course for the Authentic Institute of Montessori based in Bozeman, Montana, and a Montessori Consultant, She has four adult children, nine grandchildren, and has a passion for playing with and guiding children to become the best they can be.


Jana Morgan Herman

National Director of Montessori Education at Endeavor School

Jana earned her B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University, New Albany, and obtained her State Teaching Credential with a Reading Specialist Endorsement from the state of Indiana She earned her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in…


Montessori Education through the St Catherine University, St. Paul, MN. She holds AMS 2.5-6 certification, an AMI Assistant’s certificate for 0-3, and RIE Level 1 from Ruth Anne Hammond and Deborah Greenwald, and participated in CGMS 6-12 training, and Administrative coursework through the Montessori Foundation. Jana started her Montessori journey when her children were infants, and spent over 20 years teaching, before transitioning to a director position at one of the longest-running Montessori schools in Louisville. In 2001, she started as an instructor for an AMS/MACTE TEP. Today, she teaches for a number of MACTE teacher education programs in the US and Asia and is the Director of VMAT, a MACTE/IMC TEP in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has held positions as a long-term substitute, Education Specialist, Lead Teacher, Montessori Elementary Teacher, School Director, Montessori Level Coordinator, and Consultant. Jana developed online courses for Montessori teachers and homeschool parents and offers continued support to parents and mentorship to teachers, which brings her great joy!


James Moudry

Associate Head of School, NewGate

James has over twenty-five years in K-12 education. He was a founding Board member and initial charter co-author for Great River School (charter), co-founder of the Montessori High School at University Circle, and the founding Director of The 


Post Oak High School. James has served on NAIS regional affiliate accreditation teams, presented internationally, published articles, and advised schools on administrative/management matters and on areas specifically related to middle and high school programs. He has worked in schools as a teacher, athletic coach, division head, and head of school. James is currently the Associate Head of School at NewGate School and a senior consultant with the Montessori Foundation.

Sarah Moudry


Sarah Moudry is an education innovator whose work is focused on creating education environments and experiences that inspire growth and joy. Her work is rooted in Montessori philosophy and paired with her extensive experience as a designer. 


Her most recent projects include the founding of Studio June, a Montessori parent and child education center, and Family Friendly Home, an interior design company that creates inspirational home and school interiors.

Sarah’s most recent book, First Foods to Family Meals (2019), provides parents a Montessori grounding to help them include their children in preparing food at home. Sarah has created online courses that help parents, childcare professionals, and grandparents to incorporate Montessori theory into their lives.

Sarah has an M.Ed in Montessori education, a B.S. in environment and design, AMI Montessori certification for ages birth to six, and is an Associate Member of ASID.

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy, PhD

Founder of Montessori Wellness

Passionate about education, Barbara holds a doctoral degree 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 …


pedagogy. After moving to Miami, Florida, Barbara founded what is now Montessori Wellness, with the vision of promoting a deeper understanding of the connections between Montessori education and wellness practices, so as to support the well-being of children and adults alike. As speaker, Barbara has presented on wellness-related topics at several international, national and regional Montessori conferences.

Tammy Oesting

Co-founder/ Faculty/ Recruiter and Course Creator

Tammy Oesting MEd (she/her) is a teacher education instructor and self-identifies as a practitioner of awe and wonder. She serves educators globally through her company ClassrooMechanics and partnership with Trillium Montessori and …


her professional passions include issues of social justice, educating support staff, neuroscience as applied to educational practices, and exploring the magnificence of the universe. Tammy is widely published and is a faculty member of The Institute for Educational Studies. AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood, Elementary).

Rebecca Pelton

President of MACTE

Rebecca Pelton is the President of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). MACTE serves as the national accreditor for Montessori teacher preparation programs and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 


Rebecca 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). 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.

Dr. Lindsey Pollock

Professor, Sarasota University 

Dr. Pollock has 35+ years of education experience. She currently serves as the Provost of Sarasota University and teaches for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. From 2008-2021 she served as the principal of Garden Oaks …


Montessori a PK3 – 8th grade, Houston ISD. She served 25 years in public schools as a teacher, social worker, program developer and administrator. Dr. Pollock has consulted with schools across the United States and has been an international speaker/consultant to school systems/organizations in Sweden, China, Brazil, Mexico, and Ghana. She has written for various publications including a monthly Houston parent column that ran for 13 years. She serves on various non-profit boards including Montessori for Social Justice. Her dedication to Social Justice has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign. Dr. Pollock credentials include Montessori Administrator and Texas certifications in Elementary Education Special Education, English as a Second Language, Speech Communications, Mid-Management Administrator and Superintendent. She was a Fellow in the Rice (University) Education Entrepreneurial Program, a US Fulbright Exchange Principal and she attended Harvard with Raise Your Hand Texas for certifications in Educational Leadership. She holds Master’s Degrees in Montessori Integrative Learning, Educational Leadership, Social Work and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership

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 as the Head of School at Bowman…


International Schools 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.

Tanya Ryskind

Head of NewGate School

Tanya Ryskind, J.D., AMS, IMC Tanya is the Head of NewGate School, the lab school of The Montessori Foundation. Her understanding of Montessori philosophy and her expertise in the legal and educational domains have positioned her as a …


respected contributor in the field. Tanya’s diverse professional background allows her to bring unique skills and experiences to her work. She has served as a Montessori teacher trainer, empowering aspiring educators with the knowledge and tools necessary to foster a nurturing and effective learning environment. Tanya lends her expertise to schools worldwide, offering valuable guidance and support to ensure the successful implementation of Montessori. Beyond her educational work, Tanya is a motivational speaker, captivating audiences with her passion for Montessori and her ability to inspire positive change. Tanya’s commitment extends beyond her work with individual schools. For over two decades, she has served as a dedicated member of the School Accreditation Commission for the International Montessori Council, ensuring the highest standards of quality and integrity within the Montessori community. She continues her commitment to Montessori educator preparation as a board member of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), an agency officially recognized by the United States Department of Education to accredit Montessori Teacher Education programs.She has presented at many national conferences and participated in over sixty on-site visits preparing for teacher program accreditation.

Erica Santana

Creator/ Consultant at The Montessori Journey

Erica Santana is currently working as the Education Director at Topsail Montessori School in Hampstead, NC. She is passionate about making sure each child is getting an authentic Montessori experience…


and enjoys observing the Montessori process at each level. She earned a M.A.T. in Elementary Education K-6, and a Lower Elementary Certification from PCTE. She has presented at multiple conferences, created and designed curriculum, worked as a trainer, and written articles. She loves telling stories especially when dressing up, sharing her treasures (bones, shells, nests, etc.), and inspiring everyone around her!

Marc Seldin

Co-founder of The Center for Guided Montessori Studies

Marc Seldin helped to found The Center for Guided Montessori Studies, Rising Innovator, and two Montessori schools. A serial entrepreneur with a history of successful education businesses, his first career was in technology management  …


where he worked at several Fortune 500 companies. A student of philosophy and pedagogy, Marc grew up immersed in Montessori within a family of educators. Marc’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, an MBA from the Robert H. Smith school at the University of Maryland, and he is currently pursuing an Ed.D. from St. Edwards University. Marc is a member of the international Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for business excellence.

Tim Seldin

President of The 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 …


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.

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.



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!

Sara Suchman

Executive Director, NCMPS

Sara Suchman is the Executive Director of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS). Sara was one of the original 3 founding members of NCMPS in 2012, served in various capacities during its start-up years, and has been…


the Executive Director since 2020. She leads a dedicated team committed to strengthening and expanding equitable, accessible and sustainable publicly funded Montessori.

A passionate student of teaching and learning, Sara’s interest in Montessori began during her own middle school years in a Montessori program. After years as a teacher and leader in public and private schools, Sara returned to Montessori for her doctoral research, determined to (re)introduce this substantively different approach to education into current education discussions. Using public Montessori as a case study, Sara’s research  examined the intersection of learner-centered education methods and government-mandated standards and testing. Today, Sara blends her expertise in education reform and her commitment to humanizing, child-centered education through NCMP’s work to make Montessori not only accepted but expected in any head start, charter, or district portfolio.

Sara holds an MAT in English as a Second Language (ESL) from the School for International Training, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an Ed.D. in Education Policy, Leadership and Instructional Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mercedes Thrush 

Primary Montessori Guide

Mercedes is a Primary Montessori guide with 20 years of experience developing and implementing curriculum in Spanish and English. Completed MACTE Montessori Leadership in 2022, and have taught Middle School, Elementary, and Primary Montessori students. She founded a Spanish Immersion Montessori Farm School. Hosted the MACTE Primary training for Montessori guides. And invited local Montessori schools to join in hosting a Peace Conference. I am also a bilingual specialist in translation, interpreting and editing. It has been my pleasure to serve in many capacities and communities of learners.


students. She founded a Spanish Immersion Montessori Farm School. Hosted the MACTE Primary training for Montessori guides. And invited local Montessori schools to join in hosting a Peace Conference. I am also a bilingual specialist in translation, interpreting and editing. It has been my pleasure to serve in many capacities and communities of learners.

Marybeth Ricks

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)…
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.

Jonathan Wolff

Senior Consultant at The 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 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.

Keynote Speakers

Marybeth Ricks

E Scott Osborne

Lawyer, Writer &
Gender Equality Advocate

Scott Osborne is a writer, teacher, lawyer, and international development professional. She is President of Through Women’s Eyes, a gender equality organization. Scott has lived in seven countries on four continents, working with schools, international development agencies, and local non-profits. She is currently writing a book about the lives of women and girls in India.


Scott’s life changed in 1994 when she stumbled on The Springs, a Montessori school in northern Virginia, while searching for a school for her then 3-year-old daughter. Both her children later attended Montessori schools in Washington DC, Brussels, Belgium, and Sarasota, Florida. Scott obtained her Montessori teaching certifications (Elementary I and II) and taught at both the lower elementary and middle/high school levels. Her writings on Montessori have appeared in Montessori Leadership and Tomorrow’s Child magazines.

Chronically peripatetic, Scott has also been a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, directed summer programs for disadvantaged teens in upstate New York, lived in Nairobi where she was Director for Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan for an international nonprofit, and worked in a girls’ orphanage in India where she researched gender issues and developed a play about violence and masculinity.

She was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (BA), Princeton University (MPA) and New York University School of Law (JD). She is on the boards of the Barka Foundation, based in Burkina Faso, and the Museum of Political Corruption, based in New York. She serves on the Transformation Grant leadership team for Together Women Rise, a US national giving circle.

Scott is an avid amateur athlete and will be running the NYC Marathon on November 5, 2023. She puts high value on a sense of humor, always looks forward to tomorrow, and sincerely hopes we all do our part to raise conscious, well-educated 21st-century citizens.


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.

Marybeth Ricks

Kathy Leitch

Executive Director
International Montessori Council

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 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.

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