Ayize Sabater is a dynamic entrepreneur, educational researcher, author and twenty year educator. He earned his doctorate at Morgan State University in 2018. Dr. Ayize has co-founded several organizations, including a Montessori Public Charter school in D.C.. He is an honors graduate of Morehouse and Wesley. Ayize’s been featured as a Keynote speaker for American University and, a 2010 educational excellence award recipient, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. He is published, some of his research interests include: family engagement; culturally relevant pedagogy; Montessori for Black people. The Black Montessori Educational Fund is his latest venture.
Denise is the Director of Membership and Database Operations at AMI/USA, coordinating memberships, advertising, conference registrations, and MES activities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and held various customer support and management positions in the corporate world for 20 years prior to joining AMI/USA in 2009. Denise is married with two children and resides in Rochester, NY
Lynne is the Director of School Affiliation and Consultation at AMI/USA, guiding the process of the AMI recognition and consultation programs. With over 20 years of experience, she has seen the power that Montessori education has to create a more peaceful world. Previous roles included conference manager for the North American Montessori Teachers Association, co-chair of the Ohio Montessori History Project, and primary guide at Ruffing Montessori. She holds an AMI Primary Certificate, and a Masters of Education degree.
Peggy received a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and a Certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University. After working as an executive in the software industry, Peggy was inextricably drawn to the Montessori world. She held both finance and advancement roles at two AMI recognized schools for eighteen years. Peggy served on the finance committee of the Montessori Institute of North Texas training center, as a Board Member/Communications Chair for the Montessori Institute of Texas, and has been involved in numerous collaborations to advance Montessori education through professional development events, community education and funds development. She is honored and delighted to continue serving the child with AMI/USA.
Sarah is the Director of Communications and Digital Strategy at AMI/USA, responsible for managing the online bookstore and developing AMI/USA’s membership communications, including the e-news, journal, and directory. She also maintains the AMI/USA website and social media accounts. Prior to joining AMI/USA, she worked in communications and program development in the environmental education field. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband.
Samantha is the Director of Events, responsible for brainstorming and implementing event plans and handling logistics to improve member loyalty, and enhance the brand-to-member experience. Originally from Chicago, Samantha graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and currently resides in Austin; she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in Radio Television and Film. Previous to joining the AMI/USA team, Samantha worked for Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference in a variety of roles (most recently Marketing Director), inspiring and championing the work of storytellers.
Gretchen Hall 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.
Zachary Nauth for 10 years has been the Administrator of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Benefit Funds in Chicago. He manages the day-to-day operations of a 50-employee office providing service to 21,000 health and pension plan participants who work in health care and social services. He has worked for 20 years for SEIU in various capacities—from organizing contract negotiations, to strategy and politics, to employee benefits. Prior to that, he founded and ran a non-profit organization in Louisiana dedicated to improving the environment, education and social services. Mr. Nauth is a journalism graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and has worked as a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. He has served on the board of Human Rights Watch (Chicago).
Mary Levy, Head of School at Mountain View Montessori School in Reno, Nevada, brings a unique combination of experiences to the Board. Mary has worked in Montessori for the last eighteen years, the past twelve at Mountain View Montessori. Prior to her Montessori experience, Mary worked in banking and business. Mary holds a B.A. in History from Knox College, has completed graduate work in education at the University of Nevada, completed University of Nevada Non-Profit Professional Studies Program, and is certified in Positive Discipline.
KaLinda Bass-Barlow joined the AMI USA board July 1, 2018. KaLinda Bass-Barlow serves in the Kansas City Public Schools District in Kansas City, Missouri. She holds an AMI Primary Diploma, Montessori Core Principles Certificate, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (K-12), M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education (Montessori Concentration), BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and is currently pursuing an EdD. In 2016, her career shifted from a conventional educational school leader to a Montessori school leader when she began serving as the proud principal of Harold Holliday Montessori (HHMS) – a KCPS Signature School. KaLinda is a passionate advocate for children; she understands the urgency of learning for children and does not compromise at their expense. In her short tenure as the leader of HHMS, she has worked relentlessly with stakeholders to transform Montessori practices at HHMS, where she and her team works with the mindset of Good, Better, Best to offer the children they’re privileged to serve rich Montessori experiences. KaLinda appreciates serving in the public sector and considers it an honor to be part of the public sector Montessori movement. She is married with four sons and 2 bonus daughters.
Connie Black serves as Director of Outreach at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. In that role she leads the Montessori Partners Serving All Children initiative, whose mission is to bring high quality, authentic, early childhood Montessori experiences to children who are usually denied access due to a lack of resources. It has been a long term vision of the Montessori Center of Minnesota to bring the movement back to its roots, making Montessori accessible to all children, all families, all cultures and all communities, no matter the income level.
Connie holds a B.A. in English and Theatre from the University of Tennessee Martin as well as a M.Ed. from Loyola University. She brings to her role more than 15 years of experience in Montessori Children’s Houses, as well as eight years in public school settings working with children with special needs. Connie is an AMI Primary Trainer, examiner, guest lecturer and consultant. She also currently serves as the Director of Training for the Boston Satellite Primary Course for Montessori Training Center Northeast.
Durkin Ledgard practices law, and consults on energy, infrastructure and transportation issues. He served as Chief Legal, Commercial & Administrative Officer of BPZ Resources, Inc., a publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production company focusing on Latin America. Mr. Ledgard also served BPZ as Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. Prior to joining BPZ, Mr. Ledgard was a Partner of the law firm Eastham, Watson, Dale & Forney, LLP, where he specialized in Admiralty and Maritime law. Mr. Ledgard was an Assistant Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of the Navy. He has over 30 years of experience in the energy and marine transportation industry and holds an Unlimited Tonnage Master’s License issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. He earned his B.S. in Marine Transportation from Texas A&M University in 1982 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1992. He is active in the local community as a past President and current Member-at-Large of the Memorial Meadows Homeowners Association, and serves on the Troop Committee of Boy Scout Troop 673 where he was the past Committee Chair.
James Moudry has a master’s degree in Montessori education, holds the AMI Primary Diploma, and a BA in mathematics, philosophy, and psychology. He joined Post Oak School in 2010. Prior to that, he served as the director of administrative affairs at the Montessori High School at University Circle in Cleveland, Ohio. James has worked in Montessori adolescent programs since 1999 as a teacher, program coordinator, administrator, and soccer coach. He has presented at the North American Montessori Teachers Association’s Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies and has spoken on program design and community-centered education nationally and internationally. James attributes his decision to work in Montessori education to his parents who sent him and his brother to Montessori school through middle school. He is dedicated to Montessori education, and he and his wife (also Montessori trained) have three children. James enjoys home renovations and snow.
Michele Shane is the Head of School at The Children’s House in Traverse City Michigan where she has worked for 21 years. Michele completed her AMI Primary training in 1998 from the Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, OR. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, and an MEd from Loyola College in Baltimore, MD. Michele was on the Board of Trustees for the Montessori Administrators Association (MAA) for 7 years prior to joining the board of AMI-USA. Michele enjoys mountain biking, paddle boarding, running, golfing and going to the beach. She enjoys living in Northern Michigan with her husband and teenage daughter and son.
Promote global peace, human development, and human rights through
the application of Montessori principles.