I began my educational career as a Montessori classroom assistant way back in 1978 at a school in the Portland area, and liked so much what I experienced there that I took the training and became a Montessori Primary teacher in 1980. The philosophy and practice of Montessori aligned closely with my own values, thoughts, beliefs about the world and humanity, that it was a natural fit for me. I taught classrooms of 2 1/2 to 6 year-old children for several years, became involved in my professional community and in training other teachers, and gradually moved along into school leadership. I have been a head of school/administrator/executive director for nigh on 20 years now.
Most of the schools I have been associated with have been non-profit organizations. The non-profit world is fascinating, and is widely acknowledged to provide the backbone for social well-being and cultural expression in this country, as well as providing employment for over 10% of the working population. I became interested in studying just how a non-profit organization becomes the highest functioning and most effective it can be, and learned the ropes from graduate classes, writings from the best and brightest, and from the experience of being “on board”. Eventually, I began consulting and coaching for non-profit organizations, both schools and other types of community organizations.
At points in my professional life, I have also been a clinical counselor, specializing in children and adolescents and their families, especially those impacted by traumatic experiences. Having the Montessori philosophy at hand has been invaluable in helping young people and their families heal, which has proven to me the timelessness, the wide application, and the soundness of the principles that Maria Montessori assimilated through her life’s experience and molded into a body of work that informs so much of my own work as a leader and as a support for the growth well-being of others.