A Long Look Back: Reflections from the AMS Executive Director

For Immediate Release

Contact: Timothy Purnell, EdD, Executive Director
Phone: 212-358-1250 x308
E-mail: tim@amshq.org

American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163

January 8, 2016.

It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce my retirement from the American Montessori Society, effective July 1, 2017.

During my tenure, AMS has experienced significant growth in school and individual memberships, accredited schools, teacher education programs and credential courses, annual conference registrations, and webinar offerings.

AMS’s global stance is reflected in our recent work with the Chinese Society of Education to help create standards for Montessori Early Childhood education in China, an endeavor related to work we are doing closer to home, to articulate quality and standards and assure that they are met.

I am especially proud of the work AMS has done with the Association Montessori International/USA to create the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI),  supporting collaboration with other education leaders.

The launch of the newly designed Montessori Life , the birth of the Journal of Montessori Research, as well as the production of Montessori videos (offered at no charge thanks to a generous gift underwriting a public awareness campaign), are significant recent achievements.Also of note is the financial stability of AMS: the steady increase in net assets each year, the growth of our “rainy day fund,” and our ability to maintain adequate resources to invest in new initiatives. Fundraising, including two of the largest gifts in AMS history, has been steady, as have awards of grants and scholarships.

Soon after joining AMS, I realized the importance not only of strengthening and expanding Montessori independent schools, but also of helping to develop and sustain Montessori public and charter schools. To this end, we were able to secure a major grant to create the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector and to support it in its initial years.

I have worked closely with the Board to strengthen our governance and to create a set of strategic goals and a living document to guide our long-term work.

In all of this, an outstanding staff has supported me. Without them, my accomplishments would have been minimal. My goal has always been to have high expectations, creating an environment in which others can flourish. As I look back on my time at AMS, and how my own skills and accomplishments have grown, I appreciate the reciprocity.

Having much to accomplish at AMS before my departure, I look forward more than ever to learning of your hopes and dreams for the future of Montessori.


—Richard A. Ungerer


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