Kathleen Coskran

Former Head of Lake Country School, Author

Kathleen Coskran was head of Lake Country School in Minneapolis from 1995 until 2004. Under her direction, the school bought a 180-acre farm in Wisconsin and created the Lake Country Land School to incorporate a residential program for adolescents into the standard curriculum of the school. She is also a writer whose 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.


Gretchen Hall

President, Association Montessori Internationale / USA Board  

Gretchen Hall serves as the director of training at the Montessori Training Center of New England (MTCNE). 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, Connecticut. Gretchen brings 18 years of Montessori experience to her role with the AMI/USA board of directors, currently serving as its president.


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. He is an advocate for activity-based, developmental approaches to education, and is a frequent speaker and consultant to Montessori education organizations around the world.


MaryEllen Kordas

AMS credential: Administrator

MaryEllen Kordas’ career in Montessori education spans 40 years. She served on the board of the American Montessori Society’s recently as president and served as 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. MaryEllen has represented Montessori education internationally in China, Prague and Poland. She is on the management faculty at the Center for Montessori Education in New York and Westside Montessori in New York. 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. The school’s state-of-the-art facility includes a gym named in her honor, 24 classrooms, and a cultural center on 7 acres. In 2010, Mary Ellen was named Bay Area Woman of the Year for innovation in the financing of a not for profit organization. Through Mary Ellen’s expertise in financing capital projects the school raised over 2 million dollars in donations and funded the 50,000-sq. ft. campus using tax free bonds.


Jacquie Maughan

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, and in 1985 Pacific Crest Montessori School. After her retirement from Pacific Crest in 2013, Jacquie began Access Montessori. 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.


Stephanie Miller

Former Executive Director, Trust for Learning

Stephanie Miller is the former Executive Director of Trust for Learning whose mission is to make ideal learning real for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic status. She has worked in the field of strategic philanthropy for over 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


Molly O’Shaughnessy

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 Center of Minnesota (MCM), as well as Community Faculty for Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul. She earned her AMI Primary (3-6) diploma from the MCM 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.


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, she is Executive Director Emerita of Shelton School & Evaluation Center in Dallas, Texas, the world’s largest private school for children with learning differences. Under her 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. She 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. 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.


Tim Seldin

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. He 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.





We are deeply grateful for the contributions of these advisors. As we remember them, we will continue to work towards all children having access to quality Montessori education.


Jacqueline Cossentino

Co-founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector

An ethnographer by training, since 2001 Jackie Cossentino 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. Her 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. She is a Lecturer in Loyola Maryland’s Montessori Studies program and serves on the boards of Montessori Northwest and the Montessori Charter Management Organization.


Lucy Swift

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.