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

 

 

Presenters

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

Keynote Speakers

Marybeth Ricks

Deanna Ramirez

With over 13 years of teaching, coaching and training experience across the higher education, non-profit, and corporate fields, I launched Wholeworx Initiative as a learning institute with the mission of helping people function better together.

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At its core, we seek to cultivate curiosity, embrace conflict, and create connections through transformative learning experiences.

One of our greatest struggles is our ability, or lack thereof, to get along. I struggled with avoiding conflict and having a “faking till I make it” philosophy for years and I realized I was holding on to past grievances, ignoring my emotions, abandoning myself and being generally unpleasant where I worked, with what I was doing in life, in my relationships, and more importantly with myself.

COVID happened and I decided to go back to school to get a Master’s Degree in Education for Mental Health Counseling. Three years of training as a therapist will teach you how to deal with all of your unresolved issues. Conflict is still a storm of possibility that I have utmost respect for but it is no longer something I avoid, in myself or with others. And there are skills for navigating conflict and connecting better with others that I learned through my training as a therapist that I felt had to be shared with others. These are skills everyone needs to know.

You can function better with your self and with others and feel more whole as you walk through life even at work, especially at work. It is not always pretty, most often uncomfortable, and always curious.

Marybeth Ricks

Sam Chaltain

Sam Chaltain (@samchaltain) is a writer, filmmaker and global design consultant dedicated to advancing people’s understanding of the future of learning — and what it requires.

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Sam’s writings about his work have appeared in both magazines and newspapers, including the New York TimesWashington Post, and USA Today. A former speechwriter for each of President Obama’s U.S. Secretaries of Education, Sam has also written for Oscar and Grammy Award-winning artists. A periodic contributor to CNN, Sam is the author or co-author of seven books; a co-producer of the PBS documentary film, 180 Days: Hartsvilleand co-creator of the 10-part online film seriesA Year at Mission Hill.

Sam has a Master’s degree in American Studies from the College of William & Mary, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University, where he specialized in non-profit management and organizational theory. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he graduated with a double major in Afro-American Studies and History.

Dr. Cindy Acker

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, …

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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.

Carrie Allen

Executive Coordinator for MEPI

Carrie Allen is currently the Executive Coordinator for MEPI (Montessori Educational Programs International). Carrie is also a Childcare Business Coach serving the …

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Central Florida ECE community with ELSSA (Early Learning Shared Services Alliance. 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 (NCME) and an Administrative Leadership credential through Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS). She is active in the early childhood and Montessori communities as a trainer, consultant, coach, and advisor. Carrie also authored and is the Director of the Montessori Teacher Training Program at Loch Haven in Orlando, FL; an MEPI affiliated MACTE program.

Dana Anderson

Author

Dana Anderson, MS, is a seasoned educator, writer, and children’s digital content specialist. Her 12-year tenure with the nonprofit Common Sense Media as well as extensive work with tech companies …

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on children’s and adolescents’ experiences with tech highlight her skills in high quality content assessment and creation. As Montessori teacher, Dana taught in traditional Montessori classrooms, as well as a Montessori environment created especially for neurodiverse students and students with special learning needs. Dana has taught at the Pre-K to High School levels and currently teaches Language Arts and Digital Citizenship to Middle and High School students at Bridgemont International School. Dana has served on the Tech and the Inclusion workgroups of the AMS Innovation Fellowship Think Tank. She is deeply committed to making education more responsive to and inclusive of kids and teens’ voices, particularly in the realm of Digital Citizenship.

Jessica Anyanwu

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Tamara Balis

Head of School at Greenspring Montessori School

Tamara Sheesley Balis is the Head of School at Greenspring Montessori School and the Executive Director at the Greenspring Center for Lifelong Learning in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. 

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Tamara is a Montessori teacher-trainer, consultant, and speaker, national conference presenter, as well as enjoying serving as the host of the Voices in Montessori podcast. She is also the writer, narrator, and producer of “Bringing Out the Brilliance in Your Infant: Montessori at Home” DVD and loves being a Leader for the Greenspring Center for Lifelong Learning’s Leadership Mentoring Community. Tamara began her education career with Teach for America. An educator for 29 years and a Montessorian for 24 years, Tamara spent nine years in the classroom before stepping into school leadership. Tamara is AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood, Lower Elementary) Tamara has her Masters in Integrative Education from The Institute for Educational Studies (TIES).

Kitty Bravo

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 …

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specifically how anxiety contributes to challenges in school. Kitty received her AMI Primary 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.

Martha Carver

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 …

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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.

 

Jayne Cobb

Teacher

Jayne Cobb is a graduate of New College of Florida and has been a teacher and coordinator of children’s educational and recreational programs for more than 40 years.

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She has worked in a Montessori environment since 1994. She received her Montessori 6-9 credential from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland, and her 9-12 credential from the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Cobb has completed the Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley, California and she holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. Ms. Cobb speaks locally on subjects pertaining to local food, composting, permaculture, and medicinal meals. She is a past board member of a local Slow Food Chapter. Ms. Cobb has presented at numerous AMS Conferences on the subject of Edible School Gardens across the country. She has most recently presented at the Montessori Foundation Conference in St. Petersburg in 2022. She is currently the Edible Garden Specialist at Center Montessori School while maintaining her position as teacher in a 9-12 Montessori environment.

Lorna Cohen

Director of Instruction and Curriculum

BA, Director of Instruction and Curriculum at Countryside Montessori Charter School. A Montessori educator, advocate, mentor, leader, and lifelong learner.

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Born in Puerto Rico in a large family with centered core service values and the importance of education. Married for 31 years, have two sons that grew up in Montessori. Lorna has worked for the past 30 years advocating and supporting advancement of Montessori education in both the private and public sector. Started to develop connections with local universities and educators to promote exposure of Montessori education to teacher students at the college level. In 2019, Recipient of the Florida Charter Schools Champions Award. First Montessori teacher to receive this award. Founder of Florida Montessori Partnerships, a Montessori advocacy state organization in the state of Florida. A Montessori consultant, she holds a bachelor Degree in Fine arts, holds AMS primary and elementary credentials, State Certifications in Elementary, ESE, Gifted Education, with reading and ESOL endorsements. Cohort 5 -AMS- ELF Graduated Fellow, serving as current mentor ELF cohort 7. Practicum advisor for Center for Guided Montessori Services teaching program, IMC Leadership certification, currently working on my coaching AMS certifications.

Nikki Conyers

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Chip de Lorenzo

Montessori Educator

Chip DeLorenzo has been a Montessori educator since 1995. Chip is the co-author, with Jane Nelsen, of Positive Discipline in the Montessori Classroom.

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As a teacher trainer and school consultant, Chip has worked with thousands of Montessori teachers and parents in teaching the principles and practices of Positive Discipline through various workshops and lectures. He is the former Head of School of the Damariscotta Montessori School, where he spent 20 years as a school leader and teacher. Chip holds Early Childhood, Lower and Upper Elementary AMS certifications, and has worked extensively with Montessori Adolescent students. He is the father of five Montessori children, and he and his wife, Kathy, live in Loveland, Ohio.

Renee DuChainey-Farkes

Head of 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 …

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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 experience 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.

Ola Elserwi

Montessori Guide

 

🌿 Montessori Guide, Curriculum Architect, and Artistic Visionary
🎨 Driven by a Passion for Islamic Geometric and Biomorphic Designs

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📚 Innovative Founder of Mansoura’s Leading Montessori School

🔹 My Journey: Transitioning from the pharmaceutical realm to Montessori education and artistry has been a vibrant odyssey. Over a decade ago, I embraced the calling to become a Montessori teacher, infusing my pedagogy with creativity and passion. Today, as an upper elementary Montessori educator, I harmonize my love for teaching with artistic expression. Islamic geometric designs and biomorphic patterns intricately weave into my teaching philosophy, enriching the educational journey of my students.

🌍 Notable Achievements: Among my proudest accomplishments stands the creation of the pioneering Montessori Arabic language curriculum, adopted by schools across Egypt and beyond. Additionally, I established Mansoura’s inaugural Montessori school, pioneering innovative education in the region. Recognizing the significance of professional growth, I initiated Montessori teacher training programs at Mansoura University, empowering future educators with Montessori principles. 🎨 Artistic Endeavors: Beyond academia, I find solace in crafting intricate geometric designs, honoring my deep reverence for Islamic art and culture. When not shaping young minds or designing curriculum materials, I immerse myself in nature, traversing scenic landscapes, embracing physical activity, and exploring literature.

Dr Ann Epstein

Professor of Early Childhood Education

Ann Epstein is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where she directs the undergraduate ECE program. She teaches courses addressing early childhood language, …

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emergent literacy, curriculum, and assessment. Ann’s research interests include supports for young children with disabilities and effective mentoring. Ann was a Montessori teacher with 3 – 6-year-olds before completing her doctoral studies in early childhood special education.

 

Andrew Faulstich

Social Studies Teacher

 

Andrew believes in the potential for education to be transformative for all students. He has worked across K-12 and higher education in the U.S. and China.

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He is the Curriculum and Pedagogy Coordinator and Social Studies Guide at the Oneness-Family Montessori High School and the Co-Founder of the Enlightened Educator Project. He holds a Masters in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, a Bachelors in Anthropology from the University of Rochester, and an AMI adolescent certificate.

Dr. Natasha Feinberg

Professor at Rhode Island College

Natasha Feinberg, Ed.D. is an associate professor at Rhode Island College in the Elementary Education Department. She instructs preservice teachers …

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in the areas of reading and writing as well as directs the Master’s of Education in Reading program. 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. She is also co-author of a book, Powerful Literacy in the Montessori Classroom (2023).

Dorothy Harmann

AMS certified Instructor

Dorothy Harman is an AMS EC credentialed Montessori guide, an AMS certified Instructor, and a retired public school Montessorian. 

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She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, a M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and a M. Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Integrative Creative Arts. She serves as an Instructional Guide, Practicum Advisor and Field Consultant for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She is the author of two books on parent engagement: Intentional Connections: A Practical Guide to Parent Engagement in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Classrooms for teachers and Building Parent Teacher Partnerships: Intentional Connections for parents.

 

Andrew Kutt

Founder of Oneness-Family School

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 …

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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.

Katrina Kumar

Trainer

My Montessori journey began at my parent Montessori school as a child. Following in their footsteps I have had a long career in Montessori working as an Assistant, …

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Primary lead, Lower Elementary Guide, and Art teacher for the past 20 years. For the past 13 years I have been sharing my experience with others training teachers and teaching professional development courses with CGMS.

Kathy Leitch

Executive Director of the IMC

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 …

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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.

Nicolas Lepine

Athletic Director

Nicolas Lepine is the athletic director, physical education instructor, and sports coach for Rogers Park Montessori School in Chicago, IL. 

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Before working as an AD and PE teacher, he was in the Montessori upper elementary classroom for over a decade. He has a B.S. in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois and a Master’s in Montessori Education from St. Catherine’s University, where he completed his AMS Elementary One and Two certificates. This unique combination of skills allowed him to create Montessori Physical Education, which is a curriculum that integrates the Montessori classroom curriculum with physical education games. You can find his website at montessoriphysicaleducation.com, where you can learn more about how PE games can teach Montessori concepts, a free resources section, and links to the weekly blog and store.

Sheila Linville

Director of School Accreditation

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.

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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

Montessori Coach and Consultant  

With two master’s degrees in special education and a Montessori credential, Christine has worked for many years with a range of diversity in a variety of settings including …

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founding, directing, and teaching in two inclusive Montessori schools.

With a focus on current research and evidenced based practices, she shares her knowledge of practices that align with best Montessori philosophy and pedagogy. Her areas of expertise are Inclusive education for Montessori schools with specific knowledge and expertise with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Sensory Processing disorder, behavior disorders, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Christine is well known for her online courses for school leaders and Montessori educators as she offers knowledge to deepen understanding with strategies and solutions for today’s classrooms. Christine provides engaging customized professional development, consultation, and coaching to Montessori schools and is well-known for her interactive and practical approach to adult learning.

Cassi Mackey

Montessori Coach and Consultant  

Cassi Mackey MEd, is a Montessori leadership coach & consultant in Phoenix, AZ. She has been in Montessori for 30 years. A former principal and NCME 9-12 teacher at a charter …

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Montessori, she has presented nationwide and written for several Montessori publications. She is an AMS School Accreditation Commissioner, trainer for AMI’s administrator course, CGMS leadership course instructional guide, and is a leadership mentor for Greenspring Lifelong Learning.

Kathy Minardi

Trainer for NAMTA

Based in Washington, DC, Kathy Minardi continues to leverage her extensive career as an educational leader providing guidance and training to school leaders through Whole School Leadership’s …

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Institute throughout the world. She contributes her expertise as a Montessorian with extensive training in transformational leadership and organizational development.  Kathy has been a school leader for over 40 years, including 17 years at Aidan Montessori School, one of the oldest Montessori schools in the US. 

Kathy holds a BA and MA in Education with executive certificates from Georgetown University, Harvard, Yale and MIT in areas of leadership, adult development and emotional intelligence.  She served as a trainer for NAMTA’s Tier I and II courses for administrators, on the founding board of Montessori Administrators Association and the board of the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools.  She holds a background in family systems theory and practices, sustainable community building practices, and is a trained peace and conflict resolution facilitator.  She is a Margaret Wheatley Warrior for the Human Spirit and a sought-after speaker and retreat and workshop presenter. 

She has been busy giving a TED talk, being a frequent lecturer throughout the world, and co-founding Prague-based Lead Montessori. She dedicates her life to supporting the work of child advocacy, equity and inclusion, and social justice and public policy on behalf of children. She is a member of Whole School Leadership Institute’s core teaching faculty for the acclaimed Montessori Leadership master course, “Transforming Self, Community & Society.” She sincerely hopes, however, that her most important work will be helping you.

 

James Moudry

Associate Head of School

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), …

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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

Author

Sarah Moudry is an education innovator whose work is focused on creating education environments and experiences that inspire growth and joy.

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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.

Tammy Oesting

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 Classroom Mechanics and partnership with Trillium Montessori and …

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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).

Catherine Oudjit

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Sumaira Olla

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Lindsay Osborn

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E Scott Osborne

President of Through Women’s Eyes

Scott Osborne has been a teacher, lawyer, non-profit director, writer, and gender equality advocate. She is currently President of Through Women’s Eyes, a gender equity organization.

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Her teaching experience includes the Peace Corps in West Africa, followed by years as a Secondary Guide at the NewGate School, with a law firm in Belgium, and as a tutor in India. In between she has worked with international development organizations, living in seven countries on four continents. Most recently, she lived three years in India, working with small NGOs and teaching English. She has Montessori Elementary I and II certifications as well as a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from New York University, and an MPA from Princeton University. Her writings on Montessori have appeared in Montessori Leadership and Tomorrow’s Child magazines. Her forthcoming book on Competencies, A Guide for Today’s Young Adults, was inspired by the Montessori practical life curriculum. www.escottosborne.com

Cathie Perolman

Reading Specialist

Cathie Perolman started as a classroom aide and quickly moved to her role as a classroom teacher and tea leader at the 3-6 level where she spent significant time. She has been …

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a workshop presenter, teacher educator in various education programs, a school consultant and an individual coach for students in training as well as guides who needed extra support in their professional lives. Her passion for Montessori education led her to create a small business which sells printable materials that makes it easier to be an authentic Montessori guide. She is the creator of the Color Coded Sound Games and Rainbow Reading System: a phonics based system for teaching reading to young children using the Montessori Method. You can find her materials at cathieperolman.com

Cathie has a BS in Early Childhood Education and a MEd in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She completed her Montessori teacher education at CMTE in North Carolina. She is a regular contributor to Tomorrow’s Child and Tomorrow’s Leadership magazines.

 

Vicky Promenzio

 

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Tim Seldin

President of The Montessori Foundation

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, …

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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.

Karen Simon

Montessori Educator

Karen Simon has been a Montessori educator for over 30 years, teaching children 2 ½ – 12 years old, as well as adults. She was born and raised in Venezuela and has lived in the USA …

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since the mid-1970’s. She holds a BA in Modern Languages and AMS credentials for Early Childhood and Elementary I-II. Karen designed, implemented, co-directed and taught at a Montessori school for children 2 1/2 through 15 years old in Central Florida for 20 years. She is currently focused on teacher education and making Montessori education more accessible in both English and Spanish. She is a faculty member of teacher education programs, former chair of the MACTE Board of Directors, and works as a Bilingual Specialist, Instructor and Coach for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Elizabeth Slade

Author and Educator 

Elizabeth Slade is an author and educator with thirty-six years of experience working in Montessori education. She has worked in both independent and …

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public Montessori schools in New England and spent six years at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector working with public Montessori schools across the country. She now serves as the Executive Director of Public Montessori in Action International, an organization created to ensure fully implemented Montessori education for children, families, and educators of the global majority. Her book Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools was released in July 2021, and her historical fiction novel Momentum: Montessori, a Life in Motion was released in August 2023. Elizabeth holds an AMI Elementary diploma, an AMS Montessori Administrators credential, and an MFA from Spalding University.

 

Patty Sobelman

HOS 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 …

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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!

Cassie Tolman

Holistic Nutrition Educator

Cassie is a holistic nutrition educator for The Wellness Wheel for Life program at Desert Garden Montessori. Cassie’s skill and experience in the kitchen are mixed …

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with a heaping dose of imagination and an appetite for new flavors. She is a graduate of the Chef’s Training Program at The Natural Gourmet Institute, NYC and is currently working towards her Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health. Many years ago, Cassie helped begin the organic lunch program at Desert Garden Montessori. Later she founded and operated Pomegranate Café, a popular organic plant-based eatery in Phoenix. Cassie’s passion for cooking and teaching is rooted in a desire to empower people of all ages to live a vibrant life while creating a healthier earth and a sustainable future.

Julia Volkman

Founder Maitri Learning

Julia Volkman has been teaching children and mentoring teachers in private and public schools since 1997. She is a Faculty Member of the Brain Health Initiative, …

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guest lecturer for Harvard University’s Neuroscience of Learning course, an educational researcher, a teacher mentor, and the founder and president of the educational project Maitri Learning. Ms. Volkman earned her AMI 3 to 6+ diploma from the Montreal Montessori Training Centre and her master’s from Harvard. Her graduate research on the Montessori movable alphabet won her the Harvard Dean’s prize for outstanding research. Her work focuses on transforming education into a transdisciplinary, scientific pedagogy grounded in mind, brain, and education.

Mare Weitzman

Technology Integration Specialist

Mara Weitzman, M.S., is the Technology Integration Specialist at Wellan Montessori School in Newton, MA and a member of the 2024 AMS Innovation …

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Think Tank. She holds an AMS-credential in Elementary I (6-9) and was a classroom teacher for 13 years, followed by various specialist roles in math and science curriculum development.

Tammy Willen

Head of School at Bay Montessori

Tammy Willen graduated from UNC at Charlotte with a Master’s degree in School Counseling and later obtained her Montessori credential at the Early Childhood level. 

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She has 25+ years of experience in the early childhood field as a developmental therapist, child development specialist, and Montessori teacher and currently serves as the Head of School at Bay Montessori School where she has been for the past 13 years.

Jonathan Wolff

Senior Consultant at The Montessori Foundation

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

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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.

 

Dr. Susan Zoll

Professor at Rhode Island College

Dr. Susan Zoll is associate professor (Early Childhood Education) at Rhode Island College. She has served in leadership roles on several Early Reading …

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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 and has also served as a teacher trainer (Language), and Head of School. Her recent research includes the development of a Montessori logic model (2019), an overview of assessment and observation practices in Montessori classrooms (2023). She is also co-author of two books, Powerful Literacy in the Montessori Classroom (2023) and Powerful Literacy in Practice: A Guide to Implementing Research-Based Instruction in the Montessori Classroom (2025).

Keynote Speakers

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