Join a small cohort of leaders, from schools similar in size and program scope to your own, in weekly 90-minute sessions on crisis management and contingency planning, facilitated by Montessori Foundation school consultants.
YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO . . .
- Present your school’s current challenges.
- Receive personalized support, strategies, and resources from the Montessori Foundation’s team of expert school consultants.
- Participate in in-depth discussions and results-oriented planning about tuition, enrollment, fundraising, home-based programming, parent relations, staff retention and morale, and the path back to normal operations.
- Option to receive one-on-one consultation and/or coaching from a Montessori Foundation consultant (additional fee).
Continue reading for Frequently Asked Questions and Cohort Consultant Bios
Please note: We will do our best to place you into a cohort that links you with your preferred day, time, and consultant, and with schools similar in size and program scope to your own. This will depend on program enrollment and thus first preferences cannot be guaranteed.
Why are you offering this support service?
The Montessori foundation's senior consultants have volunteered our time to assist thousands of schools through the initial phase of responding to the Covid-19 crisis. At this point, as schools look ahead, more and more school leaders are asking us to provide additional one-on-one school consultation and coaching.
There are not enough hours in the day to meet that demand, so, in response, we are offering a model that we believe will be more affordable and practical while providing expert advice and more individualized support— a small cohort group setting on an economical monthly subscription basis.
The Montessori Foundation will continue to provide a wide variety of free support and services to the global Montessori community.
Will this just be a group of school leaders sharing their challenges and concerns?
No, these will not be therapy sessions for stressed-out school heads. Cohort consultants will guide their groups to identify and develop practical solutions and viable strategies for school survival and stabilization.
How big will the cohorts be?
Cohorts will consist of no more than 12 people, ideally from schools of similar size and program levels served*.
*We will do our best to place you into a cohort that links you with your preferred day, time, and consultant, as well as with schools similar in size and program scope to your own. This will depend on program enrollment and thus first preferences cannot be guaranteed.
Once a cohort begins, can new members join?
Yes, each cohort will continue month-to-month. Members of a cohort can continue until they decide that they have resolved their challenges and achieved the strategic goals that they were seeking. As members leave a cohort, their seat may be opened to school leaders who are on the waiting list.
When will they meet?
Cohorts meet once a week, at a set day and time. When you register, you will have the option to select your preferred consultant, day of the week, and time.
What’s the difference between this and informal peer to peer school mentoring?
Each cohort will be led by a senior Montessori Foundation Consultant, who has years of experience as a school leader, consultant, and coach, and has ready access to the extensive archive of school leadership resources of The Montessori Foundation.
Are individual school consulting and individual coaching still available?
Yes, individual leadership coaching and school consulting are available at any time, for an additional fee.
Will I have an opportunity to address my school’s specific needs and challenges?
Yes, a standard part of every 90-minute, weekly cohort session will be an invitation for each participating school leader to share their current challenges and plans, in order to receive support and strategies from the Cohort Consultant as well as participating school leaders.
What happens if I have to miss a meeting?
There is no problem if you miss a meeting. You will have access to the contact information of the other school leaders in your cohort and can contact them for an update on what you missed.
Are the sessions recorded?
As a general rule, cohort sessions will not be recorded to allow for maximum confidentiality and comfort in sharing your school’s needs and challenges. We want people to be able to talk freely about what they are experiencing and trying to achieve. The members of a cohort can choose to record a session if they feel that archiving a presentation by the Cohort Consultant or a cohort leader would be beneficial.
Is financial assistance available?
If you are interested in this program for your school but are hesitating due to current financial constraints, please contact us. We will do our best to work with you to meet your needs.
Tuesdays, 10 am EST
Cindy Acker is in her 38th year as head of school at The Child Unique Montessori School/Montessori Elementary School of Alameda. She has served as president of one of California's preschool management associations and vice president of the National Child Care Association. She holds a Montessori elementary certification from Ursula Thrush and holds a master's degree in cultural studies and spirituality and a doctorate in educational leadership from UC Berkeley. Areas of expertise include school management, financial management, board training, social justice
Thursdays, 4 pm EST
Founding Head, Oneness-Family School, IMC Board,
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
Tuesdays, 2 pm EST
Montessori Foundation, IMC Executive Director
Kathy has been active in Montessori education for over 30 years. In addition to many years of experience in the classroom and as Head of School, Kathy has also serves as a Montessori Teacher Trainer, International Workshop Leader, School Consultant, Board Secretary for the IMC and School Accreditation Commissioner for the IMC. Additionally, she is a certified Parenting Instructor and Stress Management Facilitator. In 2018, Kathy has been appointed Executive Director of the IMC.
Mary Beth Ricks
Tuesdays, 7 pm EST
Bowman International Montessori School, IMC Accreditation Co-Chair
Mary Beth Ricks has been involved in both public and independent education for over 26 years as a teacher, division lead, Director of Curriculum, and Head of School. She has served the last six years as the Head of School at Bowman International School in Palo Alto, Calif. and, in that time, has raised enrollment from 180 to 225 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.
Tuesdays, 4 pm EST
President of the Montessori Foundation, Chair of the International Montessori Council, Head of the NewGate School
Tim's more than 40 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.
Wednesdays, 7 pm EST
Kristina (Stina) Torres is a Management Consultant with 15 years of participatory leadership experience in nonprofit, public, and private education. Her areas of expertise are complex systems, organizational behavior, leadership development, equity and inclusion, risk management, and policy. As the former Head of School at St. Croix Montessori, Kristina led the school through a period of systemic reorganization and improvement, resulting in being recognized in two university studies as one of St. Croix's most effective nonprofit leaders as well as being awarded "best independent school" of St. Croix two years consecutively. Kristina received her B.S. in Biology and her Masters from The Ohio State University was on personal narrative, Disability Studies, and social change. Kristina's career at Ohio State included project management, grant writing, communications, compliance and risk management, and inclusive practices in hiring, talent management, and leadership. She is a member of IMC, the Montessori Foundation, and AMI-USA. She is an experienced Art of Hosting practitioner and CliftonStrengths by Gallup coach.
Dr. Valaida L. Wise
Thursdays, 2 pm EST
Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is an educational consultant and a faculty member in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. An educator for more than 20 years, Val has served as the Head of School of several independent schools in the Washington DC region. Her most recent headship was at the National Child Research Center, one of the oldest inclusion model preschools in Washington DC. During her tenure, NCRC was named one of the top preschools in the nation by Town and Country magazine. Dr. Wise also holds an AMS Primary Montessori certification and Charlotte Danielson Teaching Framework Certification. She has been a Montessori teacher trainer and has written articles on Montessori leadership and issues of diversity and inclusion. Val's areas of expertise are in leadership, governance, and issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Mondays, 7 pm EST
Jonathan Wolff is a Montessori school consultant, leadership coach, teacher educator, and author, who brings to his work 40 years of experience in Montessori education as a classroom teacher and school administrator. He is the author of numerous educational publications, I including, The Self-Awakened Child – Character Education Program. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education from Temple University and a certification as a Primary guide from the Association Montessori Internationale. He studied with Mother Isabelle Eugenie, an early student of Maria Montessori.