New Executive Director Announced

The Board of Directors of AMI/USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Debra (Debby) Riordan as the new Executive Director of AMI/USA.  Debby will assume her position by June 9, 2018, replacing interim Executive Director Alyssa Schwartz.  The Board will work with Debby and the AMI/USA office to create a plan that will ensure a smooth transition.  Debby has a rich diversity of experience to bring to the position and has demonstrated support to AMI/USA in numerous capacities; attached is a letter introducing her to you.

Currently, Debby is the founding head of Southlake Montessori; an AMI/USA recognized school in Southlake, Texas.  Debby started her Montessori journey as a parent and served on school committees and Boards before deciding to undertake AMI Elementary teacher training.  Since receiving her diploma, she has served as an elementary guide, an assistant head and founding head, all with  AMI/USA  accredited  schools.  Her passion for  Montessori  inspired  her  to additional service beyond her school communities.  Debby is co-chair for the Montessori Alliance of Texas steering committee, a collaboration of AMI and AMS schools that advocates on state requirements and regulations.  She has presented at AMI/USA refresher courses on topics related to advocacy and parenting.  Debby founded Montessori360, an education consulting firm grounded in AMI Montessori education.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Ohio State University.  Debby currently serves on the Board of Directors for AMI/USA as well as the MES fund board.  Previous to her work in Montessori, Debby worked in marketing and research, skills which will compliment her new position well.

The AMI/USA board is thankful to Heads Up Educational Consulting for providing a detailed process which resulted in a robust pool of candidates.  The AMI/USA Board began the search process by identifying important stakeholders in the Montessori community to serve as an advisory committee.  Heads Up interviewed each of the advisors, along with the AMI/USA staff, to identify key candidate criteria as well as to help us gain a deeper understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses as an association.  We were grateful for this valuable input, which informed us that our community wants a passionate, inspirational leader who will work collaboratively to move the association forward while honoring the rich history and authenticity that defines AMI in the United States.   We are confident we have found these qualities in Debby Riordan.

In her philosophy of leadership statement submitted with her application, Debby wrote:
There needs to be a “leader” who can see and guide towards a vision, who can be creative in approach, who can ensure that efforts are not stalled and who keeps enthusiasm and hope alive, who takes the problems and challenges that no one wants and turns them into opportunities and who, at the end of the day, knows that it is not by his or her efforts alone that incredible things happen, but rather by the efforts of a team that he or she has built and nurtured and supported and empowered.

The AMI/USA Board looks confidently towards a future focused on advancing AMI education in the United States, through the support of parents, teachers, schools, and training centers; through collaboration with AMI and their affiliates in the US, and through partnerships with those in the greater Montessori community and beyond.  We invite you to continue to work beside us in this vital mission.


Gretchen Hall signature

Gretchen Hall
President, AMI/USA
On behalf of the AMI/USA Board of Directors