AMS Seeks Conference Director

For Immediate Release

Contact: Timothy Purnell, EdD, Executive Director
Phone: 212-358-1250 x308

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

August 1, 2017, New York, NY


The American Montessori Society (AMS) is the foremost advocate for quality Montessori education, an innovative, child-centered approach to learning. AMS sets the high professional standards that inform Montessori education as practiced in AMS-accredited schools and taught in AMS-affiliated teacher education programs. A not-for-profit organization based in New York City, with more than 14,000 members world-wide, AMS is the hub of all things Montessori: an information center for its members, the media, and the public; a voice in the public policy arena; and a mobilizing force for the global Montessori community, through support services, research, and professional development events. AMS’s annual conference is the association’s most visible professional development offering, attracting an average of 4,000 national and international attendees. AMS also holds at least 2 smaller professional development events each year, geared toward heads of schools and administrators.


The Conference Director is charged with delivering value for AMS’s diverse constituencies by producing a high-quality, annual conference and at least 2 smaller annual symposia. Working collaboratively, s/he is expected to integrate the AMS community’s in-depth expertise in Montessori education with innovative approaches to convening thousands of people for a high-value, professional development and community-building event designed to make a difference in classrooms, schools and institutions of higher learning in the US and internationally. As a strategic thought leader within AMS, the Conference Director will guide multi-year conference planning aimed at increasing the impact and accessibility of the AMS conference and related professional development events. In addition to leading program development and future planning, the Conference Director is responsible for project management, and oversight of conference registration and on-site logistics.

Classification: Full-time (1.0 FTE), Exempt
Reports to: Executive Director
Supervises: Conference Coordinators/Registrar
Works Closely With: Senior Staff and Directors, Professional Development Staff, Contracted Meeting Planner and Exhibits Manager
Worksite: AMS Headquarters in New York City; travel required


STRATEGIC PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT. Partner closely with Montessori experts and AMS’s professional development staff to develop dynamic a conference program that addresses the interests of AMS’s diverse membership, and is informed by leading edge practices in conference design.

  1. Innovation, a spirit of experimentation and continuous process improvement are integrated into AMS’s conference and event design and planning processes.
  2. Systematic data-collection and feedback from conference participants inform programming and planning decisions.
  3. Collaborate with AMS professional development staff to generate new (or enhanced) professional development offerings and opportunities to tie these into the annual conference.
  4. Participation by AMS member-volunteers in conference planning and programming, and communications with keynote, general session, and workshop presenters are effectively supported.

LONG-RANGE CONFERENCE PLANNING & OVERSIGHT: Ensure that multi-year conference and event plans are continually updated and monitored, and that goals related to site selection, programming, logistics and finances are met.

  1. Long-range planning in partnership with AMS’s Contracted Meeting Planner and others ensures that decisions about conference locations and venues align with the overall strategy and vision for future conferences.
  2. Overlapping planning cycles are managed efficiently; regular monitoring and trouble-shooting supports reaching registration and financial targets.
  3. Conference and event budgets are monitored and managed within pre-established limits; conference income continues to underwrite AMS’s mission-driven programming.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT. Coordinate and integrate the work of staff, contracted meeting planners and volunteers with mechanisms to support timely communications, decision-making and trouble-shooting.

  1. Ensure that 18 – 22 month project calendars accurately capture key milestones, target dates, work assignments, and accountabilities for multiple annual conferences simultaneously.
  2. Plan and facilitate conference team meetings.
  3. Prepare and analyze pre- and post-event management reports, (e.g., registration data, budgets, etc.); summarize feedback and other relevant documentation, and facilitate discussion of key learnings to ensure that new approaches are integrated into future event planning and project management systems.

MEETING & EVENT MANAGEMENT. Ensure that people and systems are in place to support high impact meetings and events.

  1. Plan and organize pre-conference site visits and local volunteer events to support local leadership and build volunteer capacity.
  2. Approve space utilization plan developed by Contracted Meeting Planner; lead planning for space utilization for smaller events.
  3. Develop on-site conference staffing plan in consultation with senior staff; oversee on-site training and supervision so that all staff and volunteers understand their role and work assignments.
  4. Ensure that systems are in place for comprehensive, highly detailed coordination of all aspects of conference and event logistics.
  5. Review hotel and food and beverage charges on the master bill both prior to and after the conference and events; serve as primary contact for questions and changes regarding charges or corrections on the bill; confirm correct billing, allocation and coding of bills.


  • Minimum of 5 years’ leadership experience planning and managing large conferences and events in educational, membership associations, and/or other nonprofit settings
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively and identify innovations to enhance the conference and event experience and grow member value
  • Track record in project management with excellent priority-setting and time-management skills
  • Exceptional relationship-building and team work skills
  • Strategic thinker
  • Experienced in developing and monitoring budgets and tracking expenses
  • IT savvy
  • Excellent verbal and written skills
  • College degree required


Send a cover letter highlighting your qualifications for the position and a résumé to Dr. Timothy Purnell, Executive Director, at no later than September 7. Please use the following email convention: Subject Line: Lastname_DirConf. And for the resume and cover letter files: Lastname_Resume, Lastname_CovLet

The American Montessori Society is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, family responsibility, political affiliation or any other status protected by applicable.

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