AMS Teacher Educators Section Annual Meeting

Meet & Mingle: Wednesday evening, March 11
Meeting: Thursday, March 12, starts 7:30 AM
Location: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown—Book Your Room

Directors and faculty of AMS-affiliated teacher education programs are invited to this annual event, which offers networking and professional development and is held in conjunction with the American Montessori Society’s Annual Conference. Representatives from applicant teacher education programs are welcome to attend.


Now – March 1: E-mail Abbie Kelly
March 2 – 11: Registration closed
March 12: Register on-site, 7:15 AM – 9 AM ($75/per person)

Schedule At A Glance

Wednesday, March 11

  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: “Meet & Mingle”

Thursday, March 12

  • 7:30 AM – 8:15 AM: Continental Breakfast
  • 8:15 AM – 8:50 AM: TES Annual Business Meeting
  • 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM: Workshops: Session 1
  • 10:15 AM -10:30 AM: Morning Break
  • 10:30 AM -11:45 AM: Workshops: Session 2
  • 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM: Lunch on your own
  • 1:30 PM – 3:15 PM: Keynote Address: Jacqueline Cossentino and Keith Whitescarver, "The Role of Dispositions in Montessori Teacher Training”
  • 3:15 PM -3:30 PM: Afternoon Break
  • 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Breakout Discussions

Friday, March 13

  • 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Teacher Educators Networking Session

Schedule Details


7:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Meet & Mingle
Before rolling up our sleeves and diving into our meeting on Thursday, let's gather for a this informal chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones! This meet-up is a chance to socialize, network, and meet with TEAC members and AMS staff. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be open.


7:30 AM – 8:15 AM: Continental Breakfast

8:15 AM – 8:50 AM: TES Business Meeting

9:00 – 10:15: Workshops
Choose 1 of the following workshops.

Choice 1: Preparing the Digital Environment For Teacher Education
Presented by: Laura Saylor
Online and hybrid higher education and teacher preparation requires a very prepared digital environment and careful course design that is student-centered and promotes independence in our students. At this workshop you will learn about how to prepare quality digital environments, create digital instructional materials that are tied to course objectives, engage students and advance learning, and support the needs of individual learners. An introduction to the Quality Matters (QM) framework will be given with details for more information. Quality Matters (QM) is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning.

Laura Saylor, PhD, is assistant professor of inclusive Early Childhood education at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, OH. She holds AMS Early Childhood and Elementary I-II credentials. Laura served as head of school for twenty years and has also worked as a classroom teacher. She currently teaches blended (online and in-residence) classes to graduate and practicing teachers and is sharing her expertise in designing those classes today. Laura currently serves on the AMS Board of Directors.

Choice 2: It’s Not About the Materials, or Is It?
Presented by: Sharon Damore and TEAC
Walk into most Montessori classrooms or Montessori conference exhibit halls and you will see many materials that are not among those that Montessori described or developed. In what ways might these materials enhance or detract from the use of the “classical” materials and their subsequent outcomes? Are new teachers being prepared to evaluate the appropriateness of supplementary materials, to develop lessons for them, and to assess impacts before adding to or replacing the classical materials? Join this discussion about classical versus supplementary materials, how to instill some decision-making parameters in new teacher’s minds, and how some training centers are working with schools to increase their fidelity to the classical Montessori approach.  You will also have a chance to give feedback on the new materials lists for each level that were jointly develop by AMS Teacher Action Education Commission and AMS School Accreditation Commission.

Sharon Damore, EdD, is the executive director of the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools (AIMS) and is a member of the faculty at Seton Montessori Institute. She teaches educational leadership at DePaul University. With AMS, she is the Research Committee Chair Emeritus, Accreditation Commissioner, and a former Board member. She is also a founding member of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI), a recent collaboration between AMI/USA and AMS. AMS-credentialed (EC).

Dot Thompson, MEd, is a member of the AMS Teacher Education Action Commission (TEAC). She retired as director of Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO in 2013 and was also a TEP course instructor in Sensorial and Math for many years. AMS-credentialed (EC).

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM: Morning Break

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM: AMS Verifiers Training Workshop
Presented by: Barbara Ervin and Hilary Green
In our roles as directors and instructors of AMS teacher education programs, we engage in reflection and assessment during the affiliation and accreditation process. If we want to have our own TEP visits be effective and professional, we must be willing to “pay this volunteer act forward” in the service of other members of our Society. This workshop is for all TES directors and instructors.  It will help you understand the current AMS standards for Affiliation, TEAC’s expectations for quality, and help you bring your own course into compliance with all standards before it is time to write your next annual report or self-study. It will also increase the pool of knowledgeable and qualified individuals serving on on-site teams which will benefit all of us.

Barbara Ervin, MEd, is director of the Lander University Montessori Teacher Education Program. Lander is a public university in Greenwood, SC. She is AMS credentialed at the EC and EI levels and currently serves as the Chair of TEAC.

Hilary Green is the director of Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD and also a member of the administrative team at the Barrie School. She holds an AMS Elementary I Credential and has years of classroom teaching experience. She is an elected member-at-large for the AMS Teacher Educator's section and vice-chair of TEAC.

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 PM – 3:15 PM: Keynote Address

"Getting It Right from the Beginning: The Role of Dispositions in Montessori Teacher Training"
Presented by: Jackie Cossentino and Keith Whitescarver
Since its inception, Montessori teacher preparation has placed the cultivation of teachers’ attitudes and values at the center of the process of becoming a teacher. In this session, we explore how Maria Montessori’s radical vision of teaching led to the need for a radical teacher, one that has faith in a child’s developmental instincts and is committed to directing that development based on cues provided by the child. Three interconnected teacher dispositions lie at the heart of the Montessori approach: flexibility, restraint, and love. When these traits merge with the highly technical instruction that is the cornerstone of Montessori teacher education—observation, lesson presentation, and material making—the prepared adult that emerges is not just a teacher but a Montessorian that “serves life.” In this presentation Keith and Jackie describe in greater detail how each of these traits are developed and why they are transformative, while outlining ways to ensure that disposition construction and transformation remain central to the preparation of the adult.

Keith Whitescarver, EdD, is the founding director of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. He also directs “grantify”, an educational consulting firm. A nationally known historian who has written extensively about the history of the Montessori movement, Keith previously served on the faculties of the College of William and Mary, Ohio University, Wellesley College, and Lesley University. In addition, he taught social studies for ten years in public high schools in Atlanta. He received an EdD in History of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jacqueline Cossentino, EdD, is senior associate and director of research for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. Since 2001 she has drawn from her direct experience as head of an independent Montessori school and principal of a large, urban public Montessori school to produce an internationally recognized body of scholarship on Montessori education. Jackie's 26 years in education have included roles as a middle and high school English teacher, an elementary school principal, a professional developer for schools, districts, and museums, and a professor of educational leadership at the University of Maryland. She received a MEd and EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

3:15 PM – 3:30 PM: Afternoon Break

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Breakout Discussions by Level on the “Role of Dispositions”  Facilitated by TEAC Level Reps


12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: Teacher Educators Networking Session
This is a flexible, audience-driven networking opportunity for faculty and directors of Montessori teacher education programs to gather and talk briefly about a specific topic.  The topic this year will be effective ways of supporting and improving outcomes for individuals whose only option is to complete a self-directed practicum.  That discussion will occur in breakouts by course level.  We will use remaining time to hear announcements or to discuss other topics brought by attendees and provide a place and space to simply network with others.

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