Former Head of Lake Country School, Author
Kathleen Coskran served as a Peace Corps teacher in Ethiopia from 1965-67, and later taught in Kenya where she became interested in early childhood education. Upon returning to the United States, she completed her Montessori training and opened a small school in 1974. In 1995 she became head of Lake Country School, a large, nationally known Montessori school that serves children ages 3 to 15. Under her direction, the school bought a 180-acre farm and created the Lake Country Land School to incorporate a six-week residential program for adolescents into the standard curriculum of the school.
Ms. Coskran’s short fiction and articles have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. Her collection of short stories, The High Price of Everything, won a Minnesota Book Award as did Tanzania on Tuesday: Writing by American Women Abroad which she co-edited. She is the recipient of numerous artists’ fellowships and residencies including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bush Artist’s Fellowship, and two grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Senior Associate and Director of Research
National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector
Jackie's Montessori career began as a parent, and quickly evolved into researcher and administrator, as well as university professor. An ethnographer by training, 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. Currently Jackie is a Lecturer in Loyola Maryland’s Montessori Studies program. She serves on the boards of Montessori Northwest and the Montessori Charter Management Organization. She received a B.A. in History from Smith College and an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
President, Association Montessori Internationale / USA Board
Gretchen serves as the director of training at the Montessori Training Center of New England (MTCNE). Gretchen holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University. She received her AMI primary diploma from Washington Montessori Institute and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. She is the director of the Montessori Magnet School, an urban public Montessori school in Hartford CT. Gretchen brings 18 years of Montessori experience to her role with the AMI/USA board of directors. She currently serves as the president of the AMI/USA board.
Steve Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN
Director, Center for Research on Developmental Education
Steve Hughes is Director of The Center for Research on Developmental Education, and current President of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology. He also serves as Chair of the Association Montessori Internationale Global Research Committee, and is a member of the faculty at the Maria Montessori Institute in London. He is also a Fellow at the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Researve University. Dr. Hughes is an advocate for activity-based, developmental approaches to education, and is a frequent speaker and consultant to Montessori education organizations around the world.
Dr. Hughes completed his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Minnesota and his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he joined the faculty of the Division of Pediatric Clinical Neurosciences in 2001.
President, American Montessori Society Board
MaryEllen Kordas’ career in Montessori education spans 40 years. She serves as the president for the American Montessori Society’s Board of Directors and is a member of the MPPI Council (Montessori Public Policy Initiative). In addition to that she provides consulting services to schools, boards, and staff (MEK Consultants), and was the founding president of the board of a Montessori Charter School in Vista, California. She is on the management faculty at the Center for Montessori Education in New York, and holds a Montessori Administrator credential. Mary Ellen developed and led the first AMS-accredited school in California which is one of the largest single-campus schools in the country, with a staff of 70 teachers and administrators serving 500 children from Toddler level through 8th grade.
President, North American Montessori Teachers Association Board
Jacquie Maughan received her AMI Primary Diploma in Palo Alto, CA. In 1980 she founded Woodland Montessori School in Spokane, WA. When she and her family moved to Seattle, she started Pacific Crest Montessori School. Opening in 1985 in a church basement with one primary classroom, it has grown to a vibrant school community serving children and families from age three through eighth grade. After her retirement from Pacific Crest in 2013, Jacquie began Access Montessori. The opportunity to reach children and families who have lacked access to Montessori education fulfills a dream to expand the reach of the Montessori movement. Jacquie brings her long history and commitment to the fundamental principles of Montessori education to her work. She is president of the Board of North American Montessori Teachers Association and serves on the AMI Board and is a participant in AMI’s Bold Goal and Educateurs sans Frontieres initiatives.
Executive Director, Trust for Learning
Stephanie is the Executive Director of Trust for Learning whose mission is to make ideal learning real for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic status. She has been working in the field of strategic philanthropy for twenty years, focusing on collaborative grantmaking in education and community development. Stephanie founded a national network of community literacy education organizations that served marginalized communities across the country. Prior to her work with Trust for Learning, Stephanie maintained a philanthropic advising practice, advising a wide range of private grantmakers.
Executive Director and Director of Primary Training
Montessori Center of Minnesota
Molly O’Shaughnessy is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) trainer, lecturer, consultant and national and international speaker. Since 1996, she has served as Executive Director and Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota (MTCM), as well as Community Faculty for Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul. She earned her AMI Primary (3-6) diploma from the MTCM in 1976 and holds an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. She serves on the board of the AMI in Amsterdam, NAMTA (North American Montessori Teachers’ Association), and is a member of the AMI Trainers Group. Ms. O’Shaughnessy served as a founding board member for the Minnesota Children’s Museum and has dedicated her life to education and children. She serves on the boards of Ready for K, The Family Place (a day center for families living without permanent housing), and other organizations dedicated to the welfare of children and families.
Joyce S. Pickering, HumD, MA, SLP/CCC, CALT, QI, AMS/EC
Executive Director Emerita
Shelton School and Evaluation Center
Joyce Pickering is a forty-year Montessorian, speech and hearing pathologist, and learning disabilities specialist. Currently, Joyce is Executive Director Emerita of Shelton School & Evaluation Center in Dallas, Texas, the world’s largest private school for children with learning differences.
Under Joyce’s tenure as executive director (1990–2010), Shelton saw significant growth and development, including an expansion of the application of the Montessori philosophy and practice and, in 2009, the launching of Shelton Montessori Teacher Education Center. Joyce also oversaw the creation of an outreach center that annually responds to more than 27,000 requests for information and resources and the development of a unique collaboration between Shelton, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of Texas Dallas’s Center for Brain Health. Joyce is the 2013 Living Legacy Recipient for American Montessori Society as well as President of AMS Board of Directors and an active member of several AMS committees.
Dr. Timothy Purnell, EdD
Executive Director, American Montessori Society
Dr. Timothy Purnell joined AMS as executive director in August 2017. Previously he served as superintendent for Somerville public school district in New Jersey. There, he and his team designed and launched a non-traditional high school with a focus on reaching academically at-risk students and students disenfranchised with the traditional high school educational experience. Throughout his career in education, Tim has filled many roles: part-time faculty at several colleges and universities, school principal, vice principal, science teacher, and summer camp guide at an AMS-accredited school. Dr. Purnell's honors are numerous. For example, he was one of just 100 educators selected to attend President Obama's ConnectED Initiative at the White House, he was selected as the 2016 NASS National Superintendent of the Year, and honored as the 2015 Highest Rated Professor in the nation. He is enthusiastic about Montessori education, and is looking forward to pursuing Montessori training.
President, Montessori Foundation
Chair, International Montessori Council
Tim Seldin’s almost forty years of experience in Montessori education includes twenty-two years as Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, his own alma mater. He has also served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and as Head of the New Gate School in Sarasota, Florida. He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University, and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Mr. Seldin is the author of several books on Montessori Education, including his latest, How to Raise An Amazing Child, The Montessori Way with Dr. Paul Epstein.
Film Development & Distribution Consultant
Lucy is a "citizen of the world" having grown up in Japan, France and England. After college, she lived and worked across the United States before settling in Minnesota. These days Lucy is on a personal sabbatical spending time as a community connector, leadership mentor and strategic planning partner. She recently left her position as Vice President of Minnesota productions and partnerships for Twin Cities PBS. In that capacity, she oversaw all broadcast and multi-media initiatives associated with local partnership and grant-based productions - telling high-impact stories across a wide range of social issues. She currently participates in multiple statewide collective impact endeavors including Graduation Minnesota, focused on eliminating the graduation rate disparities gap and just joined the board of the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. She spent over twenty years in marketing in the banking, consumer products, and healthcare industries before joining TPT. Lucy was selected to be in the first annual “Real Power 50” by Minnesota Business magazine. She majored in East Asian Studies as an undergraduate at Princeton University and received her MBA from Stanford University.