Current Board

Dr. Ayize Sabater

he/him

Co-Human Relations Officer

Ayize is a dynamic social entrepreneur, researcher, author, and twenty-five-year veteran educator.  He has co-founded several non-profits, including an independent school, a White House award-winning non-profit organization, and a Montessori public charter school in Washington, DC. Dr. Ayize is an alumnus of Morehouse College, the Wesley Theological Seminary, and Morgan State University. He has also completed his Montessori primary assistant training at WMI. Dr. Ayize is the Head of School at Willow Oak Montessori, a Board member of WMI, and several other educational organizations.  One of his research article’s is up at MontessoriPublic.org: No More Hidden Figures: Black Montessori History.

Katie Kitchens

she/her or they/them

Co-Human Relations Officer

Katie has worked in public and private Montessori classrooms for the past 9 years. She is dedicated to uprooting white supremacy within herself and working in coalition toward what Dr. Montessori called Universal Liberation.  

Fabrya Hemphill

she/her

Partnerships Officer

Faybra Hemphill is the Director of Racial Equity of Forward Through Ferguson.  She specializes in next practices of  growing capacity for the successful development of anti-bias, antiracist institutions. She has dedicated 10 years of service to the St. Louis community within the Education and non-profit advancement sectors. She is an American Montessori Society (3-6)  Certified Educator, and has served Montessori students and families in both private and public sectors. She is the 2018 recipient of the Annie Turnbo Malone Trailblazer Award, presented by Annie Malone Children & Family Services, and the Power 100-Game Changer Award, presented by Delux Magazine. Faybra is a St. Louis Native and lives with her partner in University City. Faybra is thrilled to serve her second term on the board of MSJ as the Partnerships Officer.

Dr. Lindsey Pollock

she/her or They/them

Finance Officer

Dr. Lindsey Pollock is a public school principal at Garden Oaks Montessori (GOMM).   Located in the Houston Independent School District, GOMM is a diverse school community united in the common goal of working to make the world a better place through social justice. GOMM is an Human Rights Campaign Welcoming School.  Lindsey received the first national Leadership Award for her work as a champion of Welcoming Schools and as an advocate for LGBTQ rights. She has worked in a variety of school settings (private and public schools, residential facilities, secular and non-secular organizations and with students and families of privilege and disenfranchised)as a teacher, social worker and administrator.

She holds Master’s degrees in Social Work, Educational Leadership and Montessori Integrative Learning.  Her doctorate is in Educational Leadership. Dr. Pollock strives to create school learning environments that embrace diversity and that celebrate the strength of working together for positive social change.

D. Ann Williams

she/her

Marketing Officer

D. Ann Williams, a cis-queer individual, is the Co-Founder/Past Director of Zora Montessori, a preschool in Eugene, Oregon. In addition to her role on the Montessori for Social Justice Board, she is the Marketing Director for Soromundi Lesbian Chorus in Eugene and the Vendor Coordinator for Eugene/Springfield Pride Equity Project.  

D. Ann co-founded Queer Consultants to  provide consulting and professional development workshops for schools and businesses aiming to create LBGTQIA+ inclusive spaces. She spends her time giving workshops on Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism with a focus on queer inclusion/representation.

Clare Wittrock

she/her

Internal Communications Officer

Clare taught in traditional and Reggio-inspired programs before taking her AMI Primary Training. She worked in the 3-6 classroom and developed an outdoor education program. She is now an administrator and seeking to bring ABAR practices into her school and everyday life.  

Clare was always politically active, but after being shaken by recent events felt the need to dig deeper and raise her consciousness about her privilege and bias. She is committed to this work and helping other educators along the way. 

Clare Wittrock grew up moving around from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, and Michigan.  Philadelphia was always the home base and where her family is from. She followed her passion for Early Childhood Education out to California after college and has lived in the Bay Area for 10+ years.  

She lives in San Mateo with her husband, three children, and two dogs. 

Marina Sáenz Luna

she/her or ella/elle

Co-Indigenous Solidarity Officer

Marina Sáenz Luna is a Queer Native educator and community animator from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, who has been working with young people since 1999. She spent many years dedicated to the struggle for respect and dignity for farmworkers through the Campaign for Fair Food, led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

While her family is not recognized by a particular tribe because of colonization, Marina was raised with Indigenous teachings about healing through comida tradicional, barridas, limpias, veladoras, prayers/intentions/dreams, hierbas, plantitas, story-telling, and love of self/self-respect passed on by her ‘Welita, Delfina Rico Luna, who is 90 years young. She is also bisnieta of Emilia Rico Olmos who escaped to freedom after being sold as a young teen when orphaned during the Mexican Revolution. Marina’s bisabuelas and tatarabuelas are from throughout North America, Spain, Portugal, North Africa, and West Africa.

This is her 5th year teaching lower elementary in a Montessori environment, currently in Houston. Marina holds a Masters in Education, with a focus on Montessori Integrated Learning, from Endicott College and is serving as Indigenous Solidarity and Sovereignty co-chair. She is also a fandanguera at heart, studying the Son Jarocho musical folk tradition of the sotavento region of Veracruz, México, where some of her family still resides.

Siobhan Juanita Brown

she/her

Co-Indigenous Solidarity Officer

Siobhan Juanita Brown (Mashpee Wampanoag) is from Roxbury, MA and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Performing Arts and African American studies from Emerson College, and is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. After completing Primary training with the Institute for Guided Study, she is currently in the practicum phase of the Lower Elementary training with the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC).  Siobhan teaches at Weetumuw Katnuhtôhtâkamuq (Weetumuw School) in the Wushkeenune8ak Weekuw (Young People’s House) lower elementary Wampanoag language and culture immersion school in Mashpee, MA.

Tanesia R Hale-Jones

she/her

Co-Conference Officer

Tanesia R Hale-Jones is a Montessorian, anti-racist educator, activist, poet, artist, and parent, who believes deeply in the importance of community engagement and teaching students to be global citizens.  Tanesia has over 15 years experience teaching adults to 18 month olds and currently serves as Adolescent Program Coordinator at Escuela del Sol Montessori, where she guides  7th and 8th grade students and oversees a team of teachers and community partners.   Tanesia holds an AMS diploma at the Elementary Level, and an AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescence Studies Certificate.  Additionally, she is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans where she earned her B.A. in English Literature/Creative Writing and San Francisco State University where she earned her MFA in poetry and poetics.  Active in Albuquerque’s arts’ community, Tanesia has a passion for creative collaboration.  She has performed her original poetry at Tricklock Performance Space, Harwood Art Center, Burque Noir & Chatter.  Her written work has been published in Callaloo, Sentence 5, 14 Hills, Mirage#4/Period(cial), and has been featured in exhibitions at Harwood Art Center. She is the 2018 recipient of the Bretta Weiss Award for Excellence in Montessori for Innovation. Tanesia was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and is proud to be of service to her community (local, national and global) through her passion for arts education, social justice and creative collaboration. 

 

 

 

Faiqa Khan

she/her

Co-Conference Officer

Faiqa is a co-founder and administrator at Midtown Montessori. She received her B.S. in Computer Science with a focus on Mathematics and Communications from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has completed all coursework in History at the University of Central Florida. Her hobbies include music, traveling, art and writing. Using this wide breadth of interests and experience, she has had the opportunity to guide children in Montessori environments since 2012. Faiqa is an Association Montessori Internationale certified Elementary Guide having trained at Montessori Training Center of New England in Hartford, Connecticut.

Tamika Cross

she/her

Communications Officer

Tamika Cross is a Montessori Consultant, Founder of Nebraska Montessori Project and Cross Montessori Angeles. She is certified in the Art and Science of Montessori Education in the areas of Infant, Toddler, and Primary from Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute. She has worked as a Montessori Assistant, Lead Teacher, and Building Director in various Montessori schools in Nebraska for over 15 years. She is a passionate advocate for Montessori for Social Justice and believes that Montessori education should be available more in urban and low income neighborhoods. She has a goal to spread awareness and to help build more Montessori Schools in underserved neighborhoods across the World. She is a published author of Montessori the Million Dollar Philosophy which is available on Amazon. When not focused on Montessori issues, she loves traveling.