We are pleased to announce the results of our first MSJ Board. 124 people signed the MSJ pledge and voted in our election. Here are our 2017-2018 Board members:
- Tiffany Jewell Co-President
- Althea René Miller Co-President
- Katie Kitchens Vice-President
- Amelia Sherwood, Secretary
- Lindsey Pollock, Treasurer
- Dale Amira Mogaji
- Ayize Sabater
- Christine Daisy Han
- Faybra Hemphill
- Luz Casquejo Johnston
- Sheri Bishop
- Trisha Moquino
- Mira Debs (Ex Officio)
Tiffany is a 6-9 Montessori teacher committed to social justice and peace education. She trained through the Center for Montessori Education CMTE|NY and has taught at the Montessori School of Northampton for twelve years.
She is dedicated to empowering her students, parents, and educators to trust themselves and to respect their diverse capabilities. Tiffany created a curriculum aligned with the Montessori philosophy that addresses social inequity through the lenses of race, class, abilities, immigration, and gender. She conducts an annual Activists/ Peacemakers Workshop in the Lower Elementary program where students are able to discover their inner peace, learn to resolve conflicts, and are introduced to people who have worked for peace across the world. Her recently created workshop, Reconnecting Our Classroom Community, provides a safe and nurturing environment for elementary age students and their teachers to further their cosmic education through exploring identity and self within their communities. Tiffany has shared these workshops with Montessori teachers, parents, administrators, and teacher educators at various conferences over the past few years (including the MEPI Conference, the Montessori Foundation’s Conference, the AMS Teacher Educators Section Annual Meeting, the MSJ Conference, and local traditional and Montessori conferences in Massachusetts).
Tiffany is excited to continue working with the Montessori for Social Justice community. (She has finally found her people among this group!) She hopes to successfully advocate for Montessorians of Color (Educators, Students, and Parents), establish and build relationships with Montessori communities across the country and around the world, and support classroom and school communities in implementing and following ABAR (Anti-Biased/Anti-Racist) practices.
When not teaching, she enjoys spending as much time as possible with her five and a half-year-old son (who loves being a Montessori Kid), toddler Stokely, and her partner, Clayton!
Althea René Miller
Althea René Miller is a Los Angeles native and Master’s student in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin – Madison, studying Multicultural Education under the guidance of Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings. In 2012, she earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she focused on developmental and clinical psychology with an added emphasis on stereotypes, prejudice, and stigma.
She is also a multi-genre artist who dabbles in poetry, spoken word, visual art and graphic design, dance, singing and songwriting. Althea prides herself in the powerful meaning of her first name, which, derived from Greek language means, “healing.” In an effort to live up to her name, she employs art a pedagogical tool and change agent, endeavoring to encourage psychological and emotional healing, as well as the advancement of various social justice agendas. Althea first encountered Montessori education through her work as an Inclusion Specialist, Professional Development Specialist, and Assistant Teacher at Woodland Montessori School (Madison, WI). She currently serves as an Assistant Teacher at One City Early Learning Centers in Madison, Wisconsin.
Katie Kitchens has has the honor of serving as a guide in both public and private Montessori classrooms for the past 7 years. She is dedicated to cultivating culturally responsive, anti-biased, anti-racist learning communities which balance academic rigor with unbridled joy and curiosity.
I have worked in Montessori spaces in New Haven for the last six years as an assistant, classroom teacher and currently the Family Partnership Coordinator at Elm City Montessori school. I am part of a grant-funded Anti-Bias Anti-racist school planning committee at ECMS and I am on the MSJ conference wellness committee.
Attending the 2016 Montessori for Social Justice Conference was my first encounter with other people of color in Montessori and has made me fired up about creating anti-bias/anti-racist culture in schools. I am still ignited from that experience and hope to be a part of Montessori for Social Justice in a larger capacity. I am committed to see this group grow and spread the word that this world so desperately needs.
Lindsey Pollock is a public school principal committed to social justice! Her school is located in the Houston Independent School District and is a diverse community with the common goal of working to make the world a better place. Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet is a HRC Welcoming School and received the first national Welcoming Schools Leadership Award for our work. She has worked in a variety of school settings as a teacher, social worker and administrator; both private and public schools and residential facilities, secular and non-secular organizations and with students and families of privilege and at-risk. She has been a champion for the implementation of Welcoming Schools and advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Lindsey identifies as a white, cis female of European descent married to a Hispanic cis male from Venezuela. She has a blended family of 5 children and 2 grandchildren that honors both Christian and Jewish faiths in their home. Their adult children have chosen white, Asian and Hispanic partners to expand their family’s rich tapestry of love and traditions!
On the Board, Lindsey looks forward to the continued work of creating school learning environments that embrace diversity and celebrate the strength of working together. She and her school hosted this year’s MSJ conference in Houston.
Dale Amira Mogaji
I am a proud urban educator who has served as both a teacher and an administrator in Montessori and non-Montessori public and charter schools. I hold an AMS Montessori Administrator credential and I am working towards completing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Management through Capella University. Northglade Montessori, a Title 1 school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I serve as principal, has a focus of providing equity and access to a high quality Montessori education to all students.
In addition to serving in the district as a school administrator I also serve on the Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism (ABAR) committee at both the school level and the district level. During the 2017 AMS conference held in San Diego, CA I had the privilege of co-facilitating the Montessori for Social Justice Networking Session. I am also a newly elected American Montessori Society Board of Directors member and I plan to serve on the Peace and Social Justice Committee.
I am an African-American female Muslim. I am also a biological, adoptive and foster parent of African-American sons and daughters. It would be an honor to serve on the MSJ Board of Directors and work along with a group of people who are also passionate about providing equitable educational opportunities for all children through Montessori education.
Ayize Sabater is a dynamic social entrepreneur, author and twenty year veteran educator. He has co-founded several non-profits, including an independent school, an award-winning non-profit organization and a Washington D.C. Montessori Public Charter School. Mr. Sabater is an alumnus of Morehouse, the Wesley Theological Seminary and is currently an Urban Education doctoral student at Morgan State University. He also has completed Montessori primary assistant training.
Ayize’s innovative social justice work positioned him to be featured as the Keynote speaker for American University’s freshman class in 2009 and a 2010 recipient of a White House award for his non-profit organization, which was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2014 he authored a book “Tellin’ Children Our Story: A Fun Technique for Teaching History…” and has lectured internationally on cultural empowerment.
He has leadership, financial and grant-writing experience and helped grow his social justice educational non-profit from a $10,000 program into a million-dollar program. “I believe that Montessori education has a great potential to transform education, however it is far too often relegated to the wealthy and the well-to-do. I’d like to work with a cadre of others to bring Montessori to people of color.”
Christine Daisy Han>
Growing up the child of immigrants in low income and underrepresented communities, Daisy has experienced the harmful effects of segregation and ignorance firsthand; she has also experienced the power of education in nurturing resistance and dismantling systems of oppression.
For over 10 years teaching in public and private Montessori classrooms and serving as a socio-emotional learning facilitator, Daisy believes in the power of uniting people from diverse backgrounds (as young as possible) and providing experiential opportunities for meaningful community building. Daisy is a partner at The Wildflower Foundation and is a co-founder and Director of Curriculum at DEEP (Disruptive Equity Education Project). She has her AMS training in lower and upper elementary and secondary I and secondary II Montessori education.
“We must move beyond superficial discourse on diversity and bravely engage in peace education to dismantle power, whiteness, and racism. I hope to contribute my deep passion and commitment to this messy and important work so that we can continue to build a beautiful and intentionally diverse Montessori community.”
Daisy has experience and training in strategic leadership, community organizing, and partnering with schools and districts to embed equitable practices from a system-level standpoint. Daisy emphasizes teaching as a form of social activism and is eager to contribute her passion, enthusiasm, and experience to Montessori for Social Justice.
Greetings MSJ Family, I am Faybra Hemphill, Director of Community Engagement & Racial Equity at City Garden Montessori School. I am excited to share that I have been appointed to serve as the Director of Racial Equity, Curriculum and Training for the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to my involvement at City Garden School, I worked as an AMS certified Primary Guide. I am a contributor to the MSJ Teacher Training working group this year, and I am excited to continue collaboration and growing capacity for the development of anti-bias, and antiracist-centered teacher training. I hold a M.Ed. in Elementary Education, and an AMS Early Childhood Teaching credential. My Bachelor’s degree is in African-American studies, where I nurtured special interest in Critical Race Theory, and the African Diaspora. I’ve conducted research as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and I have a deep love for research in antiracism and intersectionality. I am a proud African-American woman, wife, sister, St. Louisan, and friend. I believe that my worldview, educational background, and passion for equity answer the call for action, diversity, and expertise in the Montessori for Social Justice community leadership. I want to serve MSJ and do my part in thrusting our Montessori communities forward by shifting our conversations, training sources, and support mechanisms into a more meaningful and equity-centered direction.
Luz Casquejo Johnston
My name is Luz Casquejo Johnston and I am grateful for the creation of MSJ. I have been involved in Montessori education for over 40 years. I say this proudly and loudly because I understand at my core what Montessori can be and can do for a child. 41 years ago, I was a Montessori primary child. This was the first place where I felt seen, heard, honored and celebrated. From that experience, I have been a Montessori parent, lower elementary teacher, charter school board member, principal and am currently an Assistant Professor in a Montessori Teacher Education Program at St. Mary’s College of California. These experiences have shaped my belief that Montessorians must use peace education to realize social justice.
As a Pilipinx woman, I am an ally for people of color. I have also worked among LGBTQIA youth communities to support them in their journeys and provide a safe space. As the mother of mixed children, I am working on my understandings of what it means to be an ally to this community. Montessori for Social Justice is the organization where I find complete alignment with my life’s mission. I would be honored to bring my passion to this position.
Hello, I have been in an interracial marriage for 26 years and am the mother of two bi-racial children. My husband and I discovered Montessori when our oldest was 21/2 years old. We sacrificed so each child could have a Montessori career. I love Montessori! In 2010, after 30 years as a Registered Dietitian, I left healthcare and enrolled in an AMI training program. In 2013 I began a career as a lead Montessori elementary teacher. I am disappointed that Montessori is not a typical mainstream option for every family. I want to do something about it.
Before Montessori, I managed a million dollar budget, designed and implemented new programs, and coordinated efforts between professionals with ease, but nothing inspired me to action more than the 2016 MSJ conference.
Since then I have been working on the MSJ Strategic Planning, MSJ 2017 Conference, and the MSJ Anti-bias-Anti-racist Rubric committees. I have found people with like goals and aspirations related to the education of children of color and those of varying socio-economic levels. This work is challenging. I want to be an integral part of the movement that can make a difference in how we prepare children for the future. My future career goal is to become an education entrepreneur. I want to establish a preschool and elementary program in my city that uses the Montessori approach.
Trisha Moquino sees serving on the MSJ board to help bring about a more just education for all children. Trisha is certified as an Elementary I (MECR)/Primary guide (UMA). She works toward helping redefine Indigenous education.
Inspired by her daughters’ Keres fluency, in 2006, Trisha co-founded KCLC and worked with the KCLC board of directors for 6 years to attain the Cochiti Tribal Council’s blessing to open KCLC, which opened in 2012 with a Primary Keres Immersion classroom and in 2015, opened a Dual Language Education Elementary I classroom.
Including the Indigenous voice is necessary to help create a just/peaceful USA. Trisha works to bring more light to the work of MSJ so that Montessori strengthens it’s pathways towards truly being “accessed by all”. Nationally,more light needs to be shed on the inequality/inequity in education that persists. Bryan Stevenson reminded all Montessorian’s about the need for Truth and Reconciliation in America starting with American Indigenous Peoples.
Trisha advocates for inclusivity, positivity and the use of a strengths based approach. Trisha participated in MSJ gatherings at AMS 2016/2017, she co-wrote the MSJ statement on the election and helped lead the Montessorians of Color Networking session at the 2017 AMS conference.
Mira Debs (Ex-Officio)
Mira Debs helped to “hatch” the MSJ community when she observed that many conversations about expanding Montessori access, equity and race were happening in the margins at Montessori gatherings. In 2013, she helped create a list-serv and Facebook group. Since 2014, she has worked to build the MSJ community through annual MSJ conferences. She is the executive Director of Yale University’s Education Studies program, a founding Board member of Elm City Montessori, and is completing a book on public Montessori.
Interested in getting involved in MSJ work? Email firstname.lastname@example.org