Our Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Timothy J. Purnell

Timothy J. Purnell, EdD, is an innovative leader, strategic planner, and inspiring educator who proudly serves as the chief executive officer of the American Montessori Society.

A Teacher's Perspective

Dr. Timothy J. Purnell

AMS Chief Executive Officer

So many people look at the world and are besieged by the strife and turmoil they encounter. Montessorians see the challenges as an opportunity to foster change through education. No matter where you live or what struggles you encounter, we believe there can be a better tomorrow—a tomorrow in which all peoples are celebrated and can live and work together in harmony, regardless of birth or background. By planting the seeds of compassion and social justice in today’s children, we are nurturing the peacemakers of tomorrow. As Dr. Maria Montessori said, “Education is the best weapon for peace.”

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In addition to his work at AMS, Dr. Purnell is adjunct professor at Montclair State University in the Health Science department. He is also an executive board member for both District Administration, a national publication for school-district professionals, and Hope + Future, an organization that provides students with training to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Previously, Dr. Purnell served as the superintendent of the Somerville (New Jersey) schools and on the New Jersey State Board of Examiners, superintendent of Harding Township, and as a principal, vice principal, and science teacher.

Striving for excellence in education has been of utmost importance throughout his dedicated career, as he has served as an educator, administrator, superintendent, and now chief executive officer.

Dr. Purnell is a nationally recognized presenter and keynote speaker. He has also held numerous honors and awards throughout his career. He was one of just 100 educators selected to attend President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative at the White House. In 2016, he was selected as the NASS National Superintendent of the Year. He was previously honored as the 2015 Highest Rated Professor in the nation, and he received the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation School Leadership Award for studying public education in Italy.

Dr. Purnell believes that children must have a voice in their own educational journey and provides advocacy for continuing the quality of Montessori education.

On a personal note, Dr. Purnell loves movie nights on the couch with his wife, 3 children, and dog. He also enjoys playing the drums and coaching his children’s baseball and football teams.