Wisconsin Montessori Association
Phillip J. Dosmann, M. S. ED. Leadership, is the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Montessori Association (WMA), an organization dedicated to high quality fully implemented Montessori that supports public, charter and private Montessori programs in Wisconsin. As a senior associate with NCMPS, he has conducted research on executive function and creativity in Milwaukee Public Montessori programs and coordinated the Teach-Montessori.org teacher recruitment program in the Midwest. During his 30 years of service to the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), he has taught, coordinated curriculum, administered four Montessori schools, and was instrumental in establishing many of the current Montessori schools for MPS. He assisted in establishing a charter IB Montessori high school for MPS and facilitated its merger with MacDowell Montessori in 2013 to create the first public K-12 Montessori program in the United States. Mr. Dosmann coordinated the landmark Montessori study “Evaluating Montessori Education,” which was published in the September 2006 issue of the journal Science, while he served as principal of Craig Montessori. As a semi-retired Montessori public school administrator, Mr. Dosmann continues as a consultant to Montessori programs throughout Wisconsin and the US.
Mr. Dosmann holds a BA in psychology from the University of Louisville, an AMI Montessori elementary diploma from Bergamo, Italy, and an MA in administrative leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee.
Nick Beermann, WMA Board Secretary is the Adolescent Program Coordinator and Science Chair at Milwaukee’s MacDowell Montessori School where he teaches 11th and 12th grade International Baccalaureate Biology. Previously, he served as science teacher at the Montessori High School, also in Milwaukee. He primarily focuses his energy on building inquiry-based science curriculum. He has developed two sets of curriculum on cutting-edge science work being done in the fields of evolutionary biology and regenerative medicine. In his time away from teaching, he coaches for MKE MTB, a local mountain biking team and cooks for his family of three (soon to be four!).
Nick earned his Bachelor of Science in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology from the University of Minnesota and his Masters of Teaching from Cardinal Stritch University. He attended NAMTA’s Adolescent Orientation.
Geoffrey E. Bishop, WMA Board President, West NSW, Australia. His childhood spent on his family’s sheep station. He studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in universities. In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute of Wisconsin, Inc. The Nature’s Classroom Institute program helps students understand the natural environment, participate in ecosystem exploration and study, and work together with their peers and teachers as a community. He formed Nature’s Classroom Montessori School that blends the core philosophy of Montessori with his environmental principles. Geoffrey’s passionate and sustained focus over the past 15 years has been on organics and sustainability in schools while promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the natural world.
Geoffrey Bishop hails from the bush in North West NSW, Australia. After his childhood spent on the sheep station he went to an agricultural boarding school for five years then to University in both Sydney and Melbourne where he Studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
For the next 10 years he traveled the world, visiting over 80 countries, where he spent most of his time trekking in rural areas, learning cultures and understanding his place in the world.
In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute of WI. Inc. NCI is a residential environmental education program serving schools throughout the Midwest. The Nature’s Classroom Institute program will help students understand the natural environment, participate in ecosystem exploration and study, and work together with their peers and teachers as a community. The program serves over 4,000 students across the Midwest and in Texas which includes over 60 Montessori school.
After developing a strong academic and environmental outdoor based curriculum, he formed Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori School that models the core philosophy of Montessori with a marriage to his environmental principles.
Nature’s Classroom is on 400 acres in a small rural community of Mukwonago, WI. Geoffrey’s focus over the past years has been on organics and sustainability in schools and promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the nature world.
Melissa M. Droessler, WMA Board Vice President M.Ed., AMI Montessori Primary Directress, AMI Montessori Elementary Teacher
Melissa’s family has lived in Madison for 15 years, but it was in her hometown, just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Melissa first experienced Montessori education: from the ages of three to six, Melissa attended Golden Valley Montessori School.
After completing her undergraduate degree from UW Madison, Montessori found Melissa again as she was applying to graduate school for social work. As an assistant in Carrie Marlette’s classroom, Melissa became fascinated with the children and their excitement for their work. Realizing that she was too old to be a student again in a Montessori classroom, Melissa decided to take the Montessori training and become an AMI Montessori elementary teacher with a Masters in Education in 2005.
After teaching in Madison for many years, Melissa received her state teaching license and taught in Milwaukee at Craig Montessori School until her son, Roman, was born. Passionate about early childhood development and education, Melissa completed her AMI Montessori Primary training in 2009. Melissa thoroughly enjoys speaking Spanish with her students, as well as playing the flute and piano in her classrooms. Above all else, Melissa adores working and learning with families and children of all ages.
Melissa has been in Montessori primary and elementary classrooms for thirteen years, she serves on the board of the Montessori Institute of Milwakee and as Vice President of the Wisconsin Montessori Association, and she is excited to be a part of this growing AMI Montessori community in Madison!
Rebecca Katzenmeyer is the Director and Founder of Toad Hill Children’s House and Blooming Grove Montessori. Miss Beckie holds her International Montessori Teaching Diploma from Montessori Centre International, London. This training is in addition to Graduate coursework in Early Childhood Education at the University of Colorado, Denver, and her BA in Modern Languages, Art History, and Museum Studies from Beloit College, 2000.
Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, Miss Beckie discovered Montessori Education through her world travels, and enrolled her daughter in a Montessori Children’s House while studying Montessori education and living in Centennial, CO. In 2005 she and her husband purchased Heistand School; an historic one room schoolhouse, on Madison’s East Side, and opened Toad Hill Children’s House. Ten years later on a nearby 4.5 acre lot, Blooming Grove Montessori was founded as a Montessori Infant and Toddler Environnement. Miss Beckie continues to travel around the world consulting, visiting and studying Montessori classrooms.
Carrie Marlette, WMA Board Treasurer, joined the Wisconsin Montessori Association in the spring of 2016. Carrie is a co-founder and co-head of school at Isthmus Montessori Academy in Madison, Wisconsin.
Carrie Marlette earned a Journalism Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978. She managed the Olin House, residence for the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin- Madison for 13 years. Carrie completed the Association Montessori International training at the elementary level (for students aged six through twelve) in 1995 and received her M.A. in Education at Loyola College on Baltimore, Maryland that same year. Carrie also attended Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin to study the Orton-Gillingham program to help students with reading, spelling and writing. Carrie taught at Madison Central Montessori School for 15 years. During that time, she served on the curriculum committee and the Retention Task Force. Both of Carrie’s children attended Montessori at the primary level and her son continued in the elementary class through the fifth year. Implementing true Montessori methods with a thriving “Going Out” program is Carrie’s goal for this new school.
Carrie has lived in Madison for more than 30 years. She fell in love with the city as she studied at the university and met her husband soon after graduation. The Marlettes chose to raise their children in this progressive city filled with education, diverse culture and arts. In her spare time, Carrie practices Scottish Highland and other dance forms. She is one of the founders of Gaelic Fusion Dance Company. Carrie and her family love to travel and enjoy nature.
Deepa Shreekumar grew up having a diplomat father enabling her to experience varied countries and cultures. Just when she thought life was settling down, her husband, Rajesh’s job began to take them to many different countries and they moved to Milwaukee over a decade ago. Deepa has a Masters Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from India and has worked in radio, made documentary films and taught film making before arriving at teaching. Her interest in Montessori began with her mother’s teaching experience and resurfaced when her older son, Advik, now a college student, attended a Montessori school. When her younger son, Arjun now in middle school, started at a Children’s House, her fascination with the Montessori philosophy peaked. She completed her Early Childhood training from Seton Montessori Institute, in 2006 and began working at Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori the same year. Deepa enjoys meeting people, cooking, reading and listening to music. She greatly appreciates a sense of humor and friendship especially when made in lands far away from her own.
Gay Ward, Ph.D., a Professor Emerita of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, joined the board in 2016. She is currently co-chair of the American Montessori Society Research Committee. She works as a Montessori program and curriculum consultant and facilitates professional development workshops for Montessori educators. Formerly, Gay was the director of the Montessori Graduate Teacher Education Program at UWRF as well as an instructor of child development, literacy and research courses. Before relocating to Wisconsin in 2001, Gay was an adjunct professor, a Montessori elementary teacher and administrator in Perth, Western Australia. In 2015, Gay was awarded the Celebrate Literacy Award by the Wisconsin State Reading Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Research, Scholarly or Creative Activity Award by the UWRF College of Education and Professional Studies. In 2016 she was the recipient of the MACTE Dennis Schapiro Innovation Award.