A Message from the AMS Board Vice President and President-Elect

Anita Hanks

Anita Hanks is the current vice president of the AMS board of directors and will begin her presidential term in March, 2025.

I was initially introduced to AMS as a young child when my mother (and Montessori role model) completed her AMS Early Childhood credential. I clearly remember how proud she was of her AMS credential and to be a member of—in her words at the time—the greatest Montessori organization in the world.

I became more involved with the organization in my early twenties due to a passion for Montessori education and a desire to connect with other like-minded individuals in the field.

I have served on the AMS Board of Directors for the past seven years. My increased leadership as board vice president and president elect was driven by a recognition of the organization's importance in shaping the future of Montessori education and a desire to contribute more actively to its mission and members.

AMS has clearly evolved over time, adapting to changes in the education landscape and expanding its offerings to meet the diverse needs of Montessori educators and schools.

The work of AMS is crucial. Below are a few of the focus areas which I am especially proud to support and contribute toward.

Advancing Montessori Education

AMS plays a vital role in advancing the principles and practices of Montessori education—not only in the United States but around the world. By providing resources, professional development opportunities, and advocacy efforts, AMS helps ensure the quality and integrity of Montessori education setting the “gold standard” for all other organizations to follow.


AMS fosters a sense of community among Montessori educators, administrators, and parents. Whenever I attend an AMS event, there is a feeling of being amongst friends who genuinely want to support one another.

Advocacy and Recognition

By raising awareness about the benefits of Montessori education and advocating for supportive policies and funding, AMS helps ensure that Montessori schools and programs receive the recognition and support they deserve, no matter how big or small or type of program.

Professional Development

AMS offers amazing professional development opportunities for Montessori teachers, administrators, and school leaders. As my membership organization, AMS ensures I am living my mission of being a lifelong learner.

For Montessori teachers, administrators, and school leaders, I recommend that they take advantage of and engage with the Montessori community through AMS events, conferences, and online forums, and to network with other educators to establish a community support system.

By actively engaging with AMS and taking advantage of its resources and opportunities, Montessori teachers and heads of school can enhance their professional practice, contribute to the growth of the Montessori community, and make a positive impact on children's lives.

After completing my initial AMS Montessori certification over two decades ago, I am honored, humbled, and grateful to be asked to serve as president of the AMS Board in 2025.

At a Glance: Anita Hanks, M.Ed.

Home: Dallas, Texas

Role: Founder and Head of School / Executive Director

School: Starwood Academy of Frisco / North Texas Montessori Institute

Time in role: 23 years


  • Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Southern Methodist University
  • Master’s of Education (Early Childhood Education and Teaching), Texas Woman’s University


  • AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood), Dallas Montessori Academy
  • AMS-credentialed (Administrator), Center for Montessori Education

Seven years of service on the AMS Board

About the Author

Anita Hanks

Founder and Head of School

Anita Hanks, is the founder and head of school of Starwood Academy of Frisco and the executive director of the North Texas Montessori Institute. She is a seasoned educator and entrepreneur, possessing over two decades of expertise in operating an authentic Montessori school. As a second-generation Montessorian, she focuses on strategic planning, school leadership, and program development. She is committed to promoting an understanding, access, and appreciation of Montessori principles and practices while creating opportunities for advancement in her school and local communities.

The opinions expressed in Montessori Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of AMS.

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