Welcoming Our New Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Staff Person: Maati Wafford
OCTOBER 26, 2020—Two years ago, the American Montessori Society Board of Directors voted to make inclusion and equity a strategic priority of our organization. With this in mind, we were thrilled to recently receive a major grant to support our efforts in this area.
Through these funds, we now welcome our newest member to our staff. She will embark on initiatives also made possible by the grant, such as developing content, materials, and resources designed to interrupt bias, dismantle oppressive systems, and elevate marginalized voices in the AMS and wider Montessori communities.
Meet Maati Wafford
Director of Anti-Bias, Antiracist Education
AMS-credentialed: Early Childhood, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Administrator
MSW, Howard University
Many of you may remember Maati Wafford from her presentation at the AMS Black Lives Matter virtual rally in August, where she spoke about the importance of Black Lives mattering—watch her full video here.
But Maati has been deeply intertwined in the fabric of Montessori for many years, so you may have crossed paths with her in other venues, too; for example, in her recent work with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, where she provided ABAR (anti-bias, antiracist) professional development training to Montessori teachers, assistants, and administrators across the country.
Maati was also an adult educator for the Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies, an AMS-affiliated teacher education program in Silver Spring, MD, where she was responsible for Montessori course design and development to include anti-bias and culturally competent curricular content.
As director of diversity, equity, & inclusion for the AMS-accredited Barrie School (also in Silver Spring), Maati led a team in crafting and actualizing the school’s 3-year diversity plan, creating a community model and intentional space for faculty to deepen ABAR instruction. Her leadership focused on building trust for engaging in direct, honest, and productive conversations about rooting the complex art and science of teaching in equity and justice.
A believer in “authentic, heart-centered Montessori,” Maati is founder of Radiant Mind Solutions, which provides K – 12 teachers and schools with culturally responsive professional development designed to inspire and enhance lifelong liberated learning.
Said Maati: “It is imperative that school leadership move past maintaining the status quo. This includes interrogating admissions practices and hiring biases and balancing the need to create and maintain a vibrant economic model for fiscal sustainability while also demonstrating an awareness of the intricate landscape of diverse people, backgrounds, and perspectives. It is a humbling opportunity to immerse myself in this important work.”
Please join us in welcoming Maati to AMS.