Presenters

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

Dr. Cindy Acker

Head of School, The Child Unique & Alameda Montessori School, CA

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,  FL

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 Member, FL

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 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.

 

Mercedes Castle

Educational Leader and Montessori Advocate

Mercedes Paine Castle, M.Ed. (Educational Leadership) is an Assistant to Infancy (AMS), Montessori advocate, wife, mother, and agent of change. She has been guiding toddlers towards independence since 2003…

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when she founded a little school in her home, called All Roads Learning Community. The little school grew into a bigger school, and then an even bigger one and now Mercedes is captain of the ship at Portland Montessori Collaborative (pdxMC), where teamwork makes the dream work. Mercedes is a Montessori teacher educator, and in 2014 co-founded Heart and Hand Montessori Teacher Education Program. Like Dr. Maria Montessori, Mercedes believes that “The task of educators is immense because human progress and world peace are in their hands” (Montanaro, 1991, p. 165)

Raj Chawla

Principal, The OCL Group, LLC

Raj Chawla, Principal of The OCL Group, has over 20 years of experience in leadership development and organizational and executive coaching, with a primary focus on helping leaders contribute to the well-being of people…

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Raj helps leaders achieve greater system-wide outcomes and effect deeper system reforms by creating influence strategies within their
organizations; forming and leveraging partnerships; and generating quantitative measures to guide, track, and unify critical work efforts and ensure the highest contributions to overarching goals and results. Raj makes building a “culture of accountability” integral to his work with leaders and stresses expanding leadership capacity at all levels to develop co-leaders who can advance the work and spread its impact. He is skillfully able to address the complexities of racial, class, and cultural disparities to root out the underlying causes of many program and policy failures.

Raj has guided many organizations seeking to transform their culture from a program- and/or grant-based framework to a results framework where stakeholders share a common population-level result as the focus of their work and align their actions to identify and meet measurable results in service of the populations they serve. He has helped build result cultures for Partners for Education at Berea College, the John T Gorman Foundation, Northside Achievement Zone, the Annie E Casey Foundation’s network, Foster America, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, and Living Cities, among many others. Raj is a master facilitator equipped to use and teach Results Based Facilitation skills, which enable groups and teams to move from talk to action while holding results in the center.

Raj holds a Masters in International Affairs from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Economics from Emory University. He is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation.  In addition, Raj has participated in Executive Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and George Mason University. Raj lives in Silverspring MD with his wife and business partner, Patton, and their children, Leena and Keva.

Helen Devere

Director of the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute

Helen DeVere has been director of the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute for early childhood studies in Florida, since 1990…

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She has a degree in elementary education from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree in early childhood/elementary education from Antioch New England Graduate School. Helen completed her AMS early childhood training in Boston with Ann Neubert in 1982, and her AMS lower elementary training with Seacoast Center for Education, NH, in 2006.  She has been a classroom teacher at both levels.  

Helen is the founder (1985) and former director of Heritage Montessori School in Ridgecrest, CA, and co-founder (1998), and former director/classroom teacher at the Montessori School of Celebration (FL). She was also on the Board of Directors of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) for 3 terms. 

Since retiring from her school, she is spending her time directing and teaching in OMTEI, teaching for other teacher education programs in the US and China, giving workshops and seminars, doing accreditation visits for MACTE, and seeing as much as possible of her grandchildren, who are 8, 7 years and 6  and 2 years old.

 

Dr. Michael Dorer

Author, Consultant,
StoryTeller, MN

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.

Kathleen Dzura

Head of School at Little Flower Montessori School, FL

Kathleen Miller Dzura has been a Montessorian for 55 years. She completed both the Primary Montessori(1965)  and Elementary training (1985) at The Washington Montessori under Elizabeth Stephenson…

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Upon completion of her Primary training, Kathleen was hired by Mother Isabel (a protege of Maria Montessori)  to teach a Primary class of children at Ravenhill Academy in Germantown, Pa. During the next 11 years, Kathleen taught in Primary classrooms, trained Montessori teachers, under Mother Isabel’s guidance and was head of the Montessori Lab school. During those years, she had the good fortune to meet Mario and Ada Montessori who, as friends of Mother Isabel, were frequent visitors at Ravenhill. Kathleen’s Montessori journey encompassed private school settings as well as working in Head Start and teaching Elementary Montessori in the Philadelphia Public School system. She founded and was CEO of The Philadelphia Montessori Charter School (2004-2009). Kathleen is currently working as Head of School at Little Flower Montessori School in Wilton Manors, Fla. In addition to her love for Montessori education, Kathleen is equally passionate about the need for healing life’s wounds, losses, etc. which often prevent us from living life to the fullest. Her own divorce, when her children were 3 months and 7 years of age, began her journey toward healing, forgiveness, and eventually a sense of peace. In addition, she worked with divorced and widowed people for 10 years, helping them to bring closure after their profound losses. She also taught Peace courses at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pa. 

 

Dr. Ann Epstein

Assoc. Professor University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, WI

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

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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.

Holly Earnest

Montessori Guide, Administrator, Consultant, and Trainer

Holly Earnest has been active in Montessori spaces for more than a decade, serving as a Montessori guide, administrator, consultant, and trainer…

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AMS-certified at the Primary level, Holly also holds an M.A. in Human Dimensions of Organizations from UT Austin and an M.B.A. from WGU. In 2017, Holly presented graduate-level research on incorporating Montessori principles into organizations beyond the education sector at the annual AMS conference, held that year in San Diego, CA. Holly is passionate about helping learners of all ages connect with the resources they need to succeed. Outside of her work in Montessori spaces, Holly officiates weddings in the Austin, TX area, and enjoys spending time at home and in nature with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

Elaine Glier

Instructor and Practicum Coordinator, CGMS

Elaine Glier is an instructor and practicum coordinator for The Center for Guided Montessori Studies, as well as a consultant and coach…

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for other infant/toddler training programs and schools. Previously she founded and directed a parent/infant program and toddler community which was her sole focus for nearly 20 years.

Tracey Hall

B.A. in Psychology, an A.M.S. Infant and Toddler, Janesville, WI

Tracey Hall has spent most of her weekdays with infants and toddlers for the past thirty years.  Currently, she is the lead teacher for the Toddlers’ House program at Rock Prairie Montessori School in Janesville, Wisconsin…

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She is a Montessori Teacher Educator for both the American Montessori Society and for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  She presents at both National and Regional Montessori Conferences and delights in the opportunity to visit schools across the country to support others who are passionate about guiding infants and toddlers.

Dorothy Harman

Early Childhood Guide, NewGate School, FL

Dorothy Harman is an Early Childhood credentialed Montessori directress at NewGate Montessori School in Sarasota, FL. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instructions and a Master in Education in Curriculum and Instruction…

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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.  

 

Jorge Haro

Instructional Guide, CGMS

Jorge was born in Zaragoza, Spain, and graduated with Bachelor’s of Arts in Economy (1998) and Sociology (2000). He worked in market research for 10 years directing my own company and participating as a guest teacher in several colleges in Madrid, Spain…

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In 2008, Jorge moved to Lakeland, Florida and decided to pursue my career as an educator and received my Florida Teaching Certificate for K-6 and Spanish (k-12) in 2010.

Jorge has been a Montessori Educator since 2010 first as an assistant and later co-teaching in the lower elementary classroom, always in charter public schools. Since 2013 he has been working at Magnolia Montessori Academy as a lead teacher in Lower Elementary. Jorge received his CGMS Montessori Elementary Certification (6-12) in 2014. He has been able to present at the IMC Conference (2016) and MEPI (2017 and 2020). Jorge has worked for CGMS as an instructional guide since 2017. 

 

Jana Morgan Herman

MACTE Teacher Education, US and Asia

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…

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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!

 

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 …
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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.

Kathy Leitch

IMC Executive Dir., CGMS Infant/Toddler Program Director, FL

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…  

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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.

 

Christine Lowry

Consultant, Montessori
NOW, NC

Christine shares her many years of experience as a Montessori/special educator and founder/director and classroom teacher of 2 Montessori Inclusive schools serving children with diverse behavior and learning needs…

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She offers professional development, consultation, and coaching for families, educators, and school leaders.

 

Cassi Mackey

M.Ed., Principal, Lead Elementary Guide, AZ

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.

Barbara Murphy

Dr. Stacey MacKinnon

Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island 

Dr Stacey MacKinnon is an Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada…

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She is also the designer and coordinator of First-Year Inquiry Studies for UPEI and developed a model for Montessori Adolescent programs as well. Dr. MacKinnon received her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in 2004. Her current research focuses on reigniting and maintaining curiosity and the “desire to inquire”, including both skills and attitudes toward learning. In addition to her university teaching, Dr. MacKinnon also taught inquiry studies for the adolescent cohort for a year at The Montessori School of Charlottetown. Her interest in Montessori goes back almost twelve years to her daughter’s toddler and CASA experiences and current status as an online student at the NewGate School transitioning into the secondary program. 

Barbara Murphy

Claudia Mann

Certified Elementary I, II and Secondary I

Montessori education has been the gift of a lifetime! From my first experience as a young musician sharing music with Montessori children to my retirement from LePort Encinitas Head of School in 2018…

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I’ve seen the many benefits of Montessori in changing lives of children, young people and adults. I received Elementary I (Xavier University), Elementary II (CMTE/NY) and Secondary I (Houston Montessori Center) certifications between 1987 and 2003. After its beginnings in Cincinnati, OH, my teaching career took me to many places as guide, administrator, and teacher educator. I participated in the founding of two Montessori schools: Montessori de Santa Cruz in Tubac, AZ and Chaffee County Montessori School (now Salida Montessori Charter School) in Salida, CO. My work with Montessori teachers has included teacher training, mentoring, and coaching since 1988. Although I initially presented at the American Montessori Society National Conference in Princeton, NJ in 1993, I became an annual presenter for the national conference on a wide variety of topics since 2007, as well as dozens of regional conferences in the US and Canada.  My husband and I founded Fossilicious, an online resource for Montessori teachers that includes materials for the study of Cosmic Education and Big History. In 2020, I added www.inspired-learning-Montessori-education.com  to our two Earth Science sites: www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com  and www.rocksandminerals4u.com, rounding out our commitment to online support of Cosmic Education. These four sites are designed to help teachers and parents across the globe as they plan and deliver learning activities.  It brings me great joy to be able to serve teachers, administrators, schools, and parents as they strive to live the Montessori vision. 

Barbara Murphy

Danielle Manzo

Instructional Guide and Practicum Advisor for CGMS

Danielle walked off of the Quad at Hanover College in Spring of 2008 and right into the doors of Community Montessori in New Albany, Indiana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts and Secondary Education Certification…

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She is currently in her 14th year teaching here.  She was initially certified to teach Visual Arts, but she became certified in Language Arts, Health and Wellness, Business, and Information Technology.  She went back to Ball State University to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Education Technologies, then onward to Center for Guided Montessori Studies to earn her Secondary 1 and 2 Certification.  After receiving her certification she moved on to become an Instructional Guide and Practicum Advisor for CGMS.  During her summers she galivants through Europe with teen learners for a little adventure.  When she is not teaching you can find her creating art or hanging out with her fur children.

Barbara Murphy

Mary Ellen Maunz

Founder and Program Director of Age of Montessori

Mary Ellen Maunz has a BS in Child Development, MS in Integrative Learning Montessori certified EC and EL. She is the founder and program director of Age of Montessori (2011)… 

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Mary Ellen has 50 years of experience in Montessori education. She is an international speaker and presenter on five continents. She is a published author (Learning to Read is Child’s Play, 2001 and Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Life, 2012). Mary Ellen was a commissioner and board member of directors for Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) from 1992- 2001. She is also a mother of three grown children.

Barbara Murphy

Warren McPherson

Founder Athens Montessori School, Consultant, and Teacher Trainer

Warren McPherson is a lifelong Montessorian. He graduated from Cornell University (’69) and then received his AMI diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute…

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Later he received his Masters in Early Childhood. In addition to founding and directing the Athens Montessori School (ages 3  to 14) serving 240 students on a solar-powered campus, he served as a trainer, workshop presenter, and consultant over the last 25 years. His hobbies include theater, improvisation, gardening, and piano.

Barbara Murphy

Dr. Barbara Murphy

Founder, Montessori Gym

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

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Now the founder of Montessori Gym, Barbara is on a mission to support wellness 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.

Dane Peters

Advisory Committee for the American Montessori Society’s (AMS) 

Right after college, Dane served as a Captain in the U. S. Marine Corps, and 40 years later, he retired as head of Brooklyn Heights Montessori School (BHMS), a toddler through eighth-grade school in Brooklyn, New York…

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Prior to heading BHMS for eleven years, he served as head of Mooreland Hill School in Connecticut for eleven years. He recently completed his service as the administrator for the New York State Association of Independent School’s (NYSAIS) Experienced Leaders Advising Schools program. He is currently teaching and serves on the Advisory Committee for the American Montessori Society’s (AMS) Emerging Leaders Fellowship program.

Among his years of teaching and coaching in education, ten were served in boarding schools.  A Klingenstein Fellow and former lecturer and graduate student field coach at the Klingenstein Center, Dane served as director of the New England New Teachers Seminar, on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) New Heads Institute, and as a mentor with the NAIS/E.E. Ford Fellowship for Aspiring Heads of School. He also served as the director of the NYSAIS Beginning Teachers Institute; served on the Experienced Teachers Institute; and chaired the Professional Development Committee and the Council for Professional Learning and Collaboration for NYSAIS. He has chaired many accreditation committees with NYSAIS, AMS, and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

He has served on thirteen non-profit boards, three as president and two as head of school.  He recently served as the vice president and treasurer of the AMS Board of Directors, secretary of the NYSAIS Board of Trustees, and the vice president of the Seacoast Repertory Theatre Board of Trustees in Portsmouth, NH. He currently serves on the Gather—a nonprofit food pantry—board based in Portsmouth, NH, as a volunteer with the Weeks Public Library based in Greenland, NH, and as a school reader with United Way K-Ready Readers program.

Dane has written over 100 articles that have appeared in 30 different publications, including Education Week; Montessori Life (where he served as chair and of the Editorial Advisory Board), M: The Magazine for Montessori Families, Montessori Leadership, Parents League Review of New York City, Public School Montessorian (where he had a regular column), Teaching Children Mathematics, NAIS’s Independent Teacher (where he currently serves on the Editorial Board), Independent School (where he served as chair of the Editorial Board), and The Savvy Trustee Newsletter; The Head’s Letter, and The Trustees Letter.  His first book Independent by Design was published in 2014, and his second book Design for Independence, Inspiration, and Innovation: The New York State Association of Independent Schools at 70 was published in 2017. You can read many of his articles on his blog (www.danesedblog.blogspot.com).

Lindsey Pollock

Montessori Administrator Credential and many more

Lindsey Pollock, Ed.D. she 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, a 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

Mary Beth Ricks

Head of Bowman School,
IMC Accreditation Co Chair, CA

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.

Marybeth Ricks

Letty Rising

International Montessori Consultant, Speaker, Writer, and Teacher Trainer

Letty is an international Montessori consultant, speaker, writer, and elementary teacher trainer at The Prepared Montessorian…

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She holds an AMI elementary diploma for ages 6-12 and an M.Ed from Loyola University in Maryland. She has held positions as a Montessori Elementary Teacher, Education Coordinator, Homeschool Education Specialist, and Head of School in several different Montessori communities over the years. 

Marybeth Ricks

Zoe Rising

B.S. in Biology from UCLA

Zoe’s specialty is transforming Montessori science education into entertaining exploration with Science Matters (https://www.sciencematterskits.com/)…

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She holds a B.S. in Biology from UCLA and enjoys finding innovative ways to share her love of science with others. She started as a young Montessorian scouring the house for scraps of material to conduct her own “personalized” experiments, and eventually became the “go-to” for giving science lessons when she assisted in a Montessori elementary classroom.

Erica Santana

Elementary Coordinator, Montessori Children’s School, NC

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.

Tim Seldin

President Montessori Foundation & IMC, Executive Director NewGate, FL

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.

Karen Simon

AMS Early Childhood and Elementary I-II

Karen Simon has been a Montessori educator for almost 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 United States since 1975…

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Karen holds AMS credentials for Early Childhood and Elementary I-II. She has worked in teacher education at all three levels and is currently involved in making Montessori teacher education more accessible in Spanish. She is a faculty member of several teacher education programs, Chair of the MACTE Board of Directors, as well as a Bilingual Specialist for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

 

Elizabeth G. Slade

Author and Educator

Elizabeth is an author and educator with thirty-five years of experience working in Montessori education. She has worked in both independent and public Montessori schools in New England and spent six years at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector…

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working with public Montessori schools across the country. She now serves as co-executive director of Public Montessori in Action, an organization created to ensure fully implemented Montessori education for children, families, and educators of the global majority.

Patty Sobelman

Head of School of Pines Montessori School, TX

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 a 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.”

 

Marybeth Ricks

Lisa Thauvette

AMI Elementary, M.Ed., Tilt Think Consulting and Improv

Lisa Thauvette, of Tilt Think Consulting and Improv uses improvisation theory to support Montessori Cosmic Education through storytelling, movement, integrated curriculum, and empathetic care of self and community…

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 Lisa served for eleven years as Head of School at International Montessori in Brussels, Belgium. She has her AMI elementary teacher diploma and Master of Education from Loyola College. Lisa coaches, consults, and delivers professional development trainings to Montessori schools nationally and internationally. During these COVID times Lisa has taken her training online, curating dozens of games and exercises to promote student and community joy and engagement.

Alanea Williams

Infant/Toddler Instructional Guide for CGMS

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

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a Montessori infant/toddler teacher for 12 years, followed 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, CA

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.

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