Montessori Leadership at Ross Through Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder:
Sonya Hemmen (Head of School) and Mandi Franz (Teaching Coach) of Ross Montessori School in Carbondale, Colorado, have almost completed the coursework for a Montessori Leadership credential. The courses began in January 2016 as we at Ross were moving into our forever home. The courses have focused on Montessori philosophy and curriculum, school operations and leadership, and current trends in the growing Montessori charter movement. Sonya and Mandi are currently finishing a full academic year's Practicum that concludes May 2017, both far surpassing the minimum required 1,080 hours. As a final requirement for this credential, Sonya will give a presentation called "Mission Creation and Strategic Leadership is a Journey and Not a Destination" and Mandi will "Coaching Montessori Guides."
This rigorous and rewarding program also required both Sonya and Mandi to be out of town for 36 days (mostly weekends) and on site in Boulder for coursework. Sonya and Mandi have made connections with other Montessori leaders across the state. You may have noticed some changes this year with Parent Engagement opportunities and classroom observing. These are just two examples of some new ideas that have been brought forth from this program.
According to the American Montessori Association, only 272 administrator credentials have been awarded to educators since 1994. According to MECR Director Merrie King, "given that the first Montessori Leadership credential was awarded in 1994, on average there were only 23 credentials awarded per year. Not a large number! I consider the members of the 2016/17 cohort group as pioneers of Montessori. Together, we will work to offer this opportunity to more people. Just the thought makes me smile." Both Sonya and Mandi have found this experience to be meaningful and energizing and plan to continue their involvement with MECR as adjunct teachers for this important program.