Speakers at Lead Montessori Conference 2021

Keynote speaker: Jennifer Garvey Berger

Jennifer has been researching, writing and working with leaders in complex settings for 20 years. Her first real job was as a middle school English teacher, but her core interest became supporting adults rather than adolescents, first at a university (as associate professor at George Mason University in the US) and then as a consultant, researcher, and writer (like at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research).

Starting with a doctorate in ways adults make sense of complexity (Harvard University, 2002) and building through three books (and soon a fourth), Jennifer has developed a series of tools and approaches that help leaders around the globe use complexity to their advantage.

From high school leadership teams in Wellington New Zealand to senior leaders at large global organisations, the thing all these leaders have in common is their need to increase their ability to thrive under conditions of growing complexity, uncertainty, and change.  Jennifer now mostly works with executives and executive teams in private, non-profit, and government sectors around the world, like Google, Novartis, Wikipedia, and Oxfam International. Jennifer also speaks about leadership in complexity at conferences, guest lectures at universities around the world, and advises learning and development leaders about designing workplaces for complexity.

Keynote speaker: Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London.

After a first degree in mathematics and physics, and one year teaching in a private school, he taught in inner-city schools in London for seven years.

In 1984 he joined Chelsea College, University of London, which later merged with King's College London. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Dean of the School of Education at King’s, and from 2001 to 2003, Assistant Principal of the College. In 2003 he moved to the USA, as Senior Research Director at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. From 2006 to 2010 he was Deputy Director of the Institute of Education, University of London.

Over the last 15 years, his academic work has focused on the use of assessment to support learning (sometimes called formative assessment). He now works with groups of teachers all over the world on developing formative assessment practices.

Sue Pritzker

Sue worked as a primary teacher and administrator at Marin Montessori School before taking the position of Head of School at Childpeace Montessori in Portland, Oregon in 1987.  She helped to grow the school from 45 to 360 students and retired from that position in July 2020. 

Sue is a founder and presenter with Lead Montessori workshop in Prague. Her focus as a consultant, speaker and presenter is the primary classroom and administrative practice.  She is a board member and trainer for Whole School Leadership and a trainer for the AMI Administrators Certificate Course. Sue has been an AMI-USA school consultant at the Primary level since 1985.  

Kathy Minardi

Kathy Minardi is Executive Director of Whole School Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization founded to help Montessori administrators around the world to guide healthy communities of children, families and school staff. Kathy has 40 years of experience as a school leader and was the Head of School at Aidan Montessori in Washington, DC for nearly 20 years. Kathy presents for NAMTA, AMI USA, Montessori Australia Foundation, AMS and AMI.

Letty Rising

Letty Rising earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, obtained her State Teaching Credential through the California State University, San Marcos, and participated in AMS Montessori training for ages 6-9, before earning her AMI elementary diploma for ages 6-12 and M.Ed from Loyola University in Maryland. Ms. Rising moved into her first administrative role because she wanted a Montessori school for her daughters and there were none in existence where she lived, so she started one! She has held positions as a Homeschool Education Specialist, Montessori Elementary Teacher, School Director, Principal, Montessori Coordinator, and Consultant with several different Montessori communities over the years, throughout the United States and worldwide.

Elizabeth Slade

Elizabeth Slade has been a Montessori educator for over 30 years. She worked in both Springfield Public Schools and Hartford Public Schools building public Montessori programs, implementing systems to support all children through the Child Study process and developing the art of Montessori Coaching. For the past six years, she worked at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector leading school start-ups, designing Child Study trainings and bringing the Montessori coaching method to hundreds of schools across the country. Elizabeth has led a Montessori training residency and been a frequent presenter at regional and national Montessori conferences and contributor to Montessori and non-Montessori publications.

Elizabeth has recently published a book Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools. She earned her AMI Elementary Diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute, and her AMS Administrative Credential at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Studies. In addition, Elisabeth holds a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Spalding University.

Lisa Thauvette

Lisa Thauvette loves to combine her passion of child development with her years of experience  as a comedic improviser. Lisa served as the Head of School at International Montessori in  Brussels, Belgium for 11 years, and holds an AMI 6 - 12 diploma and a Masters of Education in  Montessori from Loyola College. She is the founder of Tilt Think, tilting scenarios and  perspectives toward peace through playful and interactive professional development sessions  for Montessori teachers and leaders.

Valaida Wise

Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is the president of Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting Inc. The firm is dedicated to supporting organizations as they work to improve a sense of belonging and engagement in their respective spaces. Dr. Wise is also a faculty member in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md where she teaches courses on social justice, diversity, equity and belonging.

An educator for more than 25 years, Dr. Wise has been a Montessori teacher and Montessori teacher trainer as well as the Head of 3 independent schools. As a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, her research efforts focus on the successful implementation of an equity lens in schools and in the workplace. Dr. Wise received her Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; a Masters of Art in Teaching in Early Childhood Education with a specialty in Montessori Education from Trinity College, Washington D.C., and earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the George Washington University.

Dr. Wise also holds an AMS Primary Montessori certification. She is a sought after public speaker with articles published in a variety of national journals.

Amy Williams

Amy Williams, MA, DTR, RMT, Founder and Executive Director of Amy Williams Academy, offering professional development, team training and individual coaching. Amy is a trainer and a professional coach with 25 plus years of experience in education and development. With long-term relationships with Montessori schools, businesses, and non-profit teams, Amy brings a variety of knowledge to the table. Having created independent art experiences her entire life, she uses the power of the arts to transform lives.

Mirka Vlckova

Miroslava started her Montessori journey 15 years ago, when her first child was born. She founded a Montessori family centre Andilek in Prague, which later evolved into a Primary and Elementary School Andilek. Andilek today offers Montessori programs for children 1,5 to 15 years, including a farm program for adolescents.

Miroslava also founded and has been running Montessori Institute Prague, an AMI teacher training organisation. She holds two BA degrees in humanities and several AMI certificates. She is currently enrolled in an AMI 0-3 Diploma Course. 

Jennifer Davidson

Jennifer believes that compassion, justness, and peace are skills that can be cultivated from earliest childhood, and she is committed to educational models that support this endeavor.  Jennifer loves her work as the Head of School at Montessori in Redlands in Southern California.  She holds an AMI Primary diploma from Montessori Northwest and an M.Ed. From Loyola College in Baltimore. 

She first encountered Montessori education in 2001 when she joined the staff of Montessori Northwest, the AMI teacher training center based in Portland, and served as Executive Director from 2006-2017.  Jennifer is active in the international Montessori community and chaired the steering committee for the 27th International Montessori Congress in Portland 2013. 

She volunteers her time for a variety of Montessori causes.  Her board service currently includes the Association Montessori Internationale, the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, the Montessori Global Growth Fund, and the Armantrout Montessori Education Foundation. 

And more speakers to come soon!

Have you already got your ticket for the conference?