Montessori Leadership Forum September 2012 Communique
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard A. Ungerer, Executive Director
American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163
September 20, 2012
The Montessori Leadership Collaborative group members convened in Washington, DC, on September 15-16, 2012, to continue their work in planning for a more collaborative future for the Montessori Movement, with the unanimous goal of bringing Montessori to more children in this country.
As the makeup of this group is fluid and dynamic, 5 new participants were invited to join, each of whom bring enormous assets and perspective to the work. They are: Jacqueline Cossentino (Senior Associate, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector), Jennifer Davidson (Executive Director, Montessori Institute Northwest and Chair, Planning Committee for the 2013 International Montessori Congress), John Moncure, (President, Montessori Educational Programs International), Rebecca Pelton (Executive Director, MACTE), and Tim Seldin (President, The Montessori Foundation). Rebecca and Tim have agreed to join but were unable to attend this meeting. In addition, Megan Tyne, the Executive Director of The Montessori Australia Foundation, joined the group as a special guest to act as a resource in sharing the learnings from a similar collaborative leadership process in her country.
It was an exciting meeting, which resulted in a deepening relationship between the leaders and an unwavering commitment to collaborate in the work ahead. There is a palpable excitement about the future and its potential, generated by a trust and unified purpose that has been established among the members of the group.
There were a number of concrete next steps worth noting here:
1. The McCall Kulak Family Foundation and the McTeague Catalyst Fund continue to act on our behalf in their fundraising efforts and have succeeded in generating interest from a number of grant-making foundations to support Montessori in the U.S. They will be convening these funders in advance of and during the Congress so that they may learn more and support this work in a strategic and collective way, using the information and goals generated by MLC to inform that strategy.
2. A decision was made to build the capacity of the movement to communicate its work, to gather and engage with media, and to advocate on its own behalf through unified and strategic messaging. The foundations have offered to put a professional in place to do that work with and for the group, with the goal of responding quickly and articulately to media, thought leaders and government in a way that elevates the voice of Montessori in all discussions related to education, early childhood development, and more.
3. The group unanimously endorsed a collaborative research agenda to be led by Steven Hughes and Jackie Cossentino, who are focusing on a national Montessori census, critical outcomes studies, development of a widely accessible Montessori data set, and more.
Other significant directions in early development stages are addressing the need to examine and expand delivery infrastructure, ages 0 – 6, quality assurance and parent/alumni engagement – all directly related to increasing the reach and effectiveness of Montessori in the US. We will continue to share the progress of the group and we are thrilled with the potential as demonstrated by all this weekend.
Virginia McHugh Goodwin