Executive Director Letter

WMA Executive Director

PhilWisconsin Montessori Association Members:

Greetings, fellow state Montessorians. I am honored to have been appointed to serve as the WMA executive director. WMA has, for the past five years, been a board run organization. Because of the growth of Montessori in the state in both the public and private programs, I felt the need to devote more of my time to develop this organization.

Upon my retirement from Milwaukee Public Schools in 2013, I have been working at the national and state level to advance Montessori education. At the state level, I served on the founding WMA board. In 2014, I returned to the board. During the 2015-16 year WMA successfully lobbied to provide a state licensing pathway for Montessori teachers. To find out
more about how the Wisconsin legislation was passed and how those with Montessori training can obtain the special Montessori license go to the Legislative Action tab on our website.

In September 2016, WMA planned the first statewide Montessori administrator retreat in Appleton hosted by Appleton Public Montessori. This retreat spotlighted the need to support current and growing programs in Wisconsin. WMA will offer an administrator’s track at the 7th Annual Conference and will continue to support administrators via on line professional development in the future.

This past spring the board met for a weekend retreat where we redefined the WMA mission and vision statements that are on the website. We also created a new website under the .org name. WMA.com is no longer an active website. I am currently working to further develop our new website so we can advance Montessori in the state. We have an excellent board that is made up of experienced, trained Montessori practitioners. Meet our board on the Board
Bios page.

At the Board Retreat in April, we developed a survey to learn more about Montessori implementation at the 72 reported Montessori schools in the state. About 50% of the public and private schools responded to the survey. The intent of the survey was to understand the level of implementation of Montessori standards developed by AMI and AMS. WMA wants to be able to support all Montessori programs in meeting these basic standards: a trained teacher in every classroom, three year multi-age groups, classrooms supported with an assistant and a full complement of Montessori materials to ensure authentic Montessori programs. The survey results are found on the Survey tab on the website. Montessori continues to expand in Wisconsin. This year two new public programs began: Penfield Montessori Academy, a UWM Charter in Milwaukee, and Racine Unified School District added a Montessori program. Both programs began with three year olds and plan to expand to 8th grade.

Currently, WMA provides consultation services to public programs in MPS, Racine, Viroqua, Mauston, and Tomah. Many rural public Montessori programs were started with state dissemination grants in the past five years. The past two years federal funds for new districtcharters have not found their way to Wisconsin, but we feel that may change under the new republican administration. If this does come to fruition, we expect to be supporting more Montessori programs state wide. There are also new and existing private schools that WMA wants to provide support to.

As we approach our seventh year of operation, I am excited to devote my time and energy to supporting Montessori education in Wisconsin. We are offering an outstanding keynote speaker and list of presenters for our annual statewide conference in Milwaukee on March 3rd and 4th. We hope you will join us and support WMA. WMA looks forward to supporting you and your school in 2017!

 

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