11-12 AMS Report/2 cover.indd



11-12 AMS Report/2 cover.indd
Administrative Office
5006 Sunset Trail
Austin, Texas 78745
512-892-0253 (office)
512-891-9875 (fax)
[email protected]
Sunset Trail/Jones Road Campus
2904 & 2906 Jones Road
5006-5016 & 4910 Sunset Trail
Austin, Texas 78745
Great Northern Campus
6817 & 6819 Great Northern Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
512-323-2313 (office)
512-450-1940 (fax)
Gaines Creek Campus
5677 Oak Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78735
Our Mission
The mission of Austin Montessori School is to
guide the intellectual and character development
of each child along a path towards his
full and unknown potential.
We strive to cultivate compassion and respect,
independence and belonging, and
freedom and self-discipline
in rich academic and social environments
that are designed for each plane of development
and that honor the complementary needs
of the individual and the group.
We value an educational setting that is inclusive,
responsive to the authentic nature of the child
and reverent of the organic order of the universe.
Through parent and staff education,
we work to develop a school and family culture
that preserves and protects a healthy childhood.
Our aim is to serve children
possessing an ample range of temperaments
and a variety of learning styles and rates.
We seek to avoid labeling as pathological
the normal range of children’s behaviors
and differences in learning.
founded in 1967
We are dedicated to Montessori’s mission of
world peace through human development.
OUR Staff
Administrative & Support Staff
Board of Directors
Donald C. Goertz, PhD
Clara Serrano
Michelle Sweeten
Christina Pesoli
John Snyder, ex officio*
Chris Howard, ex officio
Dawn Glasgow, ex officio
Donald Goertz, Executive Director
Donna Bryant Goertz, Founder/Director Emerita*
Dawn Glasgow, Administrative Executive
Amber Miller, Director of Admissions/Parent Liaison
John Snyder, Assistant to the Executive Director*
Lois O’Brien, Office Manager
Jerry Pippins, Maintenance Director
Laura Yero, Campus Coordinator
Amanda Brown, Great Northern Campus & Commons Coordinator
Lori Friedman, Assistant to Director of Admisssions
Sonal Bowness, Librarian/Communications Coordinator
Gwen Logan, Parent Infant Education/Club Mundi*
Lucinda Castillo, Shuttle Bus Driver
Charlotte Kroger, Children’s House Mentor/Consultant*
Leslie Grove, School Counselor/Elementary Mentor
Patricia Oriti, Consultant*
Jenny Höglund, Consultant*
Megan Canney, Strings
Lani Hamilton, Strings
Brooks Whitmore, Piano
Debra Groves, Piano
Youngest Children’s Communities
Margarita Ruiz, Guide*
Gaby Molinar, Assistant*
Kadie Beasley, Guide*
Mary Collins, Assistant
Children’s House Communities
Valerie Monda, Guide*
Kate Hearn, Assistant
Natalie London, Guide*
Megan Haley, Assistant
Jesse Jahnke, Guide*
Socorro Aguilar, Assistant
Cheryl McGee, Guide*
Mary Ann Collins, Assistant
Yvonne Solorio, Guide*
Jessenia Giron, Assistant
Youngest Children’s Communities
Ages 18 months - 3 years
Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens
23 Students
Children’s House Communities
Ages 3 - 6 years
Cypress, Laurel, Redbud,
Pomegranate &
Persimmon Cottages
135 Students
Early Elementary Communities
Ages 6 - 9 years
Juan, Francesca & Robert Tejeda, Caretakers
Cleotilde Maldonado, Caretaker
Guidance & Assistance
Birdsong, Heartsong
& Windsong
89 Students
Upper Elementary Communities
Early Elementary Communities
Mary Long Geil, Guide*
Sasha Marble, Assistant
Erik Rivas-Rivas, Guide*
Jamie Stone, Assistant
Joseph Aken, Guide*
Janice Kearley, Assistant*
Upper Elementary Communities
Johnnie Denton, Guide*
Caroline Golden, Assistant
Kelly Jarrell, Guide*
Audie Alcorn, Assistant*
Adolescent Community
Thomas Logan, Instructor**
Jesse Gevirtz, Instructor**
Veronique Mareen,
Bill Sneed, Instructor**
Sheilah Murphy, Instructor
After-School Care
Angela Eagle, Casita
Devon Abbey, Casita
Mandy Klein, Clubhouse
Casey Neumann,
Clubhouse Assistant
*Has received an AMI diploma on at least one level
**Has attended the North American Montessori Teacher’s Association Orientation to Adolescence Training
Ages 9 - 12 years
Nova & Terra
53 Students
Adolescent Community
Ages 12 - 15 years
Gaines Creek
33 Students
333 Total Students in 2011-2012
346 Total Students in 2010-2011
A Message from
the Executive Director
Writing a retrospective letter each year
for the Annual Report can be — and
should be — a somewhat repetitive
task. Reflected in that repetition, year
after year, is the reliability, confidence,
stability and faithfulness that a school
such as Austin Montessori School
provides to the children and families
it serves. Yet, we are not of a mind
to rest on our laurels. That we as a
community of educators, parents and
support staff will always be stretching,
growing, and challenging ourselves
individually and collectively to an even
deeper understanding of our Montessori
mission and practice is perhaps the
most unshakable and reliable promise
we renew with each other each year.
Looking back over the 2011-2012
school year, our 45th year of service
to children and families, I can say
without hesitation that this is a promise
we as a community of educators and
parents kept. Our long faithfulness was
of the utmost importance to the eight
young people who graduated from our
Adolescent Community, five of whom
had been with us since Children’s House
days, and one of whom is the first of our
alumni to have started in the Youngest
Children’s Community 12 years ago.
These eight graduates confidently
follow hundreds of their fellows into
the larger world to live their lives with
the same creativity, insight, passion,
resourcefulness, and kindness they have
cultivated in their school community.
Faithful and hard working, too, were
our guides and their assistants, daily
renewing themselves to bring the
best of Montessori education to the
children. Continuing education is an
important part of that renewal, and
with 20 of our staff in attendance,
Austin Montessori School had the
single largest number among the nearly
2000 participants at the AMI Refresher
Courses in February. Pedagogically, our
guides continued to have strong and
consistent support from Patricia Oriti,
our whole-school consultant, Charlotte
Kroger, our Children’s House mentor,
and Jenny Höglund, an AMI trainer at the
elementary and adolescent levels and
founder of Montessoriskolan Lära för
livet in Varberg, Sweden.
Austin Montessori School continues
to be an inspiration and model for
other Montessorians around the world,
as evidenced by the many keynote
addresses, workshops, presentations,
consultations, and articles members
of our school community provided
across the country and abroad. We were
likewise happy to welcome professional
visitations from colleagues in Alaska,
Norway, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland,
Romania and Aruba.
In the revitalization and expansion of
our Board of Trustees, we accomplished
a key step in the strengthening of our
school’s governance in preparation for
a transition to new leadership once a
suitable head of school can be found.
In large part because of the Board’s
leadership and many parent volunteers,
we had a highly successful Annual Fund
drive and were able to advance our goal
of increased financial strength.
We continue to be humbled by the trust
and support we receive day after day,
year after year, decade after decade
from families that care and think deeply
about their children’s education. It is
a trust we hold sacred, and we look
forward to many more fruitful years of
work together.
In respect and gratitude,
Donald C. Goertz, Ph.D.
Executive Director
A Message From
The Founder
When I embarked, some 45 years
ago, on my journey in Montessori, little
could I have anticipated the growth
and development of Austin Montessori
School. A journey is not truly a journey
without unsuspected twists and turns,
meetings with both great beings and
ferocious obstacles, losing and finding
one’s way, and relishing the joys of
serendipitous discovery. When as a
young, new guide, my first mentor Nan
Hanrath observed in my classroom and
pronounced, to my dismay, that “this
was not a Montessori classroom, but
that it could become one,” I did not
immediately understand how profoundly
she was describing the Montessori
journey as a perpetual “becoming,” as a
growth toward an authentic expression
of Dr. Montessori’s vision, education
as an aid to human life, education as a
road to peace for humanity. In meeting,
speaking with or working alongside,
parents, staff, children and board
members this year, I have seen with
what care and dedication our school
community continues to strive for the
most effective, authentic and expansive
Montessori education.
Because of the work we have all done
and are doing, Austin Montessori
School continues to be a model and
inspiration for Montessori practitioners
both here and abroad, in schools
private or public, secular or parochial,
AMI or otherwise affiliated.
It has been my privilege and delight this
year to present over a dozen parent
education topics to AMS parents and
staff and to share with you as well as the
wider world five articles on the popular
Montessori blog mariamontessori.com.
One of these articles, “Owner’s Manual
for a Child,” has now been translated
into Spanish, French, Portuguese, and
Russian for republication in various
Montessori forums worldwide. We have
heard from administrators around the
country who are using our book, Children
Who Are Not Yet Peaceful, for staff
development and that it is now required
reading for all Montessori teacher
trainees in Austria.
Don and I traveled to Tulsa, Denver,
Dallas and South Bend, Indiana, as
I presented to and consulted with
Montessori guides, parents and
administrators in those cities, sharing
the Montessori experience and wisdom
that has been mined and refined at our
school. These consultations, though
sometimes daunting, were ultimately
refreshing and revitalizing as again
and again i was witness to the beauty
of Maria Montessori’s universal vision
taking root and beginning to flower
in schools whose demographics,
resources, and challenges were often so
very different from our own.
On one of our trips, we met Rose, a
little Haitian girl of eleven who had lost
her parents and both of her legs in
the 2010 earthquake. Rose had been
adopted by a family at Good Shepherd
Montessori School in South Bend, where
she was welcomed into their loving and
peaceful community. I watched one day
as the children of the elementary were
preparing to go to recess. In her usual
high-spirited way, Rose was spinning
on the floor with both prosthetic limbs
in the air, when a bolt flew off one of
them. Seeing that Rose was upset over
the prospect of not getting to run and
play, the children searched vigorously
for the missing bolt, but to no avail.
Finally, an older and larger boy consoled
Rose, promising to carry her from place
to place and help her onto and off the
playground equipment.
It strikes me that this same spirit of
compassionate community is the
foundation for all our success as a
school — past, present, and future — that
it must continue to be our anchor and
our compass as together we write new
chapters to the history of this great and
confirmed experiment.
Donna Bryant Goertz
Introducing The
Board of Directors
Austin Montessori School was founded in 1967 and incorporated as a non-profit educational organization in 1994. Since that time,
it has operated under the close direction of a small board led by Don and Donna Goertz. To insure a strong, stable future, Don has
worked with the administrative team to rewrite the bylaws of the school to provide for a larger, more active Board of Trustees. This
new Board met for the first time in November 2011, and has already begun to provide invaluable service and advice to the school on
issues of finance, fundraising, governance and planning.
The bylaws provide for a Board of up to nine members, not parents with children currently in the school. The bylaws also reserve a
seat on the Board for a member of the Goertz extended family and provide for ex officio members to serve on committees of the
Board. Voting members of the Board serve renewable three-year terms; ex officio members serve renewable one-year terms. Board
members volunteer their time and efforts and are not compensated for their service.
There are three standing committees:
The Executive Committee
Don Goertz (President)
Clara Serrano (Vice-President)
John Snyder (Secretary, ex officio)
Chris Howard (Treasurer, ex officio)
The Finance Committee
Chris Howard (Chair, ex officio)
Don Goertz
Michele Sweeten
Dawn Glasgow (ex officio)
The Fundraising Committee
Clara Serrano (Chair)
Christina Pesoli
DONALD C. GOERTZ, PhD, is the Executive Director
of Austin Montessori School, a former Upper
Elementary guide, the founder of our school’s
Adolescent Community some 20 years ago, and
husband of founder Donna Bryant Goertz. Prior
to his work in Montessori, Don was a professor
of classics at Hollins College in Virginia, professor
and head of classics at Ball State University
in Indiana, and associate academic dean at a
local university. He holds three degrees from the
University of Texas at Austin, did graduate work at
the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, published
three books (all of them now out of print), and
is an avid student of history, especially Ancient
Rome, the Renaissance, and pre- and postWWII Germany. Don has led many groups of our
adolescents on a legendary trip to Rome that he
developed over a span of 10 years.
CLARA SERRANO is former parent of three
daughters attending the school through the
Adolescent level. Clara has been working at
Freescale Semiconductor for 28 years, managing
global technical documentation teams and driving
cross-functional initiatives at the corporate level.
She has volunteered her time on numerous
school-related activities and also served on the
board of the Austin Waldorf School for 2.5 years
(one year as secretary of the board). She holds
a BS Electrical Engineering degree from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.
CHRISTINA PESOLI has long been associated
with the school, first as a student and later as a
parent. A native Austinite, she is a graduate of St.
Edward’s University and Notre Dame Law School. Christina has a weekly column in Culture Map
and her essays have also appeared in a variety of
other publications, including the Austin American
Statesman’s Raising Austin, Notre Dame
Magazine and KUT’s O’ Dark Thirty. Christina is
the founder of Emotional Hard Body, LLC, which
provides behavioral coaching for people who are
going through divorce. Christina is the daughter of
founder Donna Bryant Goertz.
MICHELE SWEETEN, the owner of a local CPA firm
specializing in small-business and non-profit
accounting, has been the school’s accountant
since 2004. She also serves on the board of
Badgerdog Literary Publishing, Inc., a local
organization that fosters young writers through
education and publishing, and was for a number
of years an instructor in accounting at Austin
Community College. Michele is a graduate of the
University of Maryland.
CHRIS HOWARD (EX OFFICIO) is former parent at
the school, having had three daughters attend
through the Adolescent level. He has 18 years
of experience in various levels of management
at Motorola and had operational responsibility
for the network processor division there. He has
also worked on several high-tech projects as an
independent consultant and is a certified tax
advisor. He holds a BS Electrical Engineering
degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chris is an avid traveler, and when he’s not in
Board meetings, you can often find him hiking the
Appalachian Trail.
Administrative Executive at Austin Montessori
School since 2002. Prior to that she worked
in various engineering, product and program
management positions at W.L. Gore and
Associates and Dell, Inc. Dawn has been
instrumental in bringing AMS into the world of
modern information technology. Dawn is the
mother of three daughters and one son, two of
them AMS alumni, one in the Nova Community
and one in the Adolescent Community. Dawn
is a member of the Montessori Administrator’s
Association. She holds a BS in Chemical
Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
JOHN R. SNYDER (EX OFFICIO), a member of
the administrative team at Austin Montessori
School, has been a Montessori parent since
1995 and a member of the school community
since 1998. He holds the AMI Elementary
Diploma from the Washington Montessori
Institute. John writes a regular column for
Public School Montessorian newspaper and is
a popular keynoter and workshop leader in the
states and abroad. He currently serves on the
Board of AMI-EAA, the professional organization
for AMI-trained elementary guides. Before his
Montessori career, John worked in academia and
industry as a computer science researcher and
educator, software engineer, technical manager
and management consultant. He holds degrees
from the U. of Houston School of Music, the U. of
Kansas and the U. of Washington-Seattle.
Tate Deskins, son of Andy and Janet
Deskins and brother of Bryce Deskins,
came to Austin Montessori School
from First Montessori School in
Atlanta, completing Upper Elementary
and the Adolescent Community at
AMS. He graduated from St. Andrew’s
Episcopal High School in 2009. Tate is
currently a senior at Kenyon College,
majoring in physics, with a special
interest in computational cosmology.
He has discovered a love of teaching
and aspires to someday teach at a
liberal arts college, where he can have
the sort of close working relationship
with students that he has experienced in Montessori and at Kenyon.
Tate writes of his Montessori experience, “I have had conversations with
many people about my Montessori education. It is without a doubt
what has allowed me to enjoy my schooling and be as successful as
I have been. My curiosity, my passion for learning, my approach to
problem solving and my desire to master something and teach others
- all have their roots in my days with the bead frame, the pink tower
and the binomial cube.
“Recently, I was able to use
my tactile knowledge of the
binomial cube to help with my
honors research. I was trying to
figure out how to solve a coding
problem in my research dealing
with the initialization of the
momentum modes of a gauge
field. I realized that if I divided
the momentum space like one
would the binomial cube [a key
Montessori material in both
primary and elementary], the
initialization problem became
trivial. It is amazing how much
my Montessori education has
made me who I am.“
Tate working with cubing material in Nova
2012 Gaines Creek Commencement Ceremony
High Schools of
2012 Gaines Creek Graduates
McCallum Fine Arts Academy (3 students)
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
Liberal Arts & Sciences Academy
Anderson High School (2 students)
Austin High School Global Studies
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy
Bowie High School
Colleges & Occupations of Some
2012 High School Graduates
Austin Community College; Austin, TX
McNally Smith College of Music; St. Paul, MN
Mount Holyoke College; South Hadley, MA
Texas State University; San Marcos, TX
US Naval Academy; Annapolis, MD
Living in the community of children,
parents, guides and staff is both our
joy and our work as we educate for
peace. Here are just a few of the
memorable community events that
served to knit us together.
The Great Northern Family Picnics brought
families together to enjoy each other’s
Families and staff
loved working
together at our
Outdoor Environment
Days, renewing and
beautifying the
gardens and play
areas. Side by side
we cared
for the land that is
our home.
The Terra/Nova Candlelight Poetry Night
continued the long tradition of giving
and receiving poetry as a community
of adults and children.
Bluegrass Night at the Center for
Adolescent Work and Study at Gaines
Creek continued to be a hugely popular
whole-family event, full of good food, fun
activities, and entertainment, all hosted
by the adolescents in our community.
The Terra/Nova Geography
Fair allowed the older
children to showcase
dozens of displays of their
geographical research.
Fall Festival
brought us
for fun, fellowship, food
and fundraising, as each
classroom community
sponsored a healthy activity
or cultural presentation.
In addition to much-loved
story times from guides, the
Annual Book Drive prompted
the donation of 284 new books for our
library and classrooms.
education for staff,
facility improvements
and tuition assistance
for families. Parent and
staff participation raised
$86,000 toward providing
for these needs.
We hosted a full slate
of Parent Education Events, including
over 100 Parent Gatherings, Open
Houses and other meetings, several
Conversations with Donna Bryant
Goertz, GNPA presentations, the How
to Talk So Kids Will Listen workshop,
and many
with Sandy
First Friday
brought us
together for
informal community time to make or
refresh materials for the classroom
Our gala Fiesta silent and live auction
was a night to remember, netting
$39,000 for our school.
The school’s Annual Fund directly affects
all of our communities by providing
funding for things like continuing
Statement of
Financial Activities
The Board of Trustees of Austin
Montessori School is the custodian for
the financial stability of the school and
ensures operations with predictable
revenue and well-managed expenses,
all to a board approved budget.
Revenue for the year ending July 2012
totaled $3.12 million, down slightly
from $3.31 million in 2011. Fiscal
Year 2011-2012 operating expenses
increased slightly to $3.09 million. In
addition to its core operating expenses,
the school made principal payments of
$193K on debt of $1.5 million.
The focus for Fiscal Year 2012-13 is
to continue building our reserve fund
up to the equivalent of 4 months
of expenses (currently the reserves
average about 1.5 months of expenses),
to exceed enrollment goals and plan for
a significant decrease in debt over the
next 3 years.
As a non-profit school, our future
success depends on maintaining
a strong financial foundation, and
philanthropy plays a significant role.
A strong Annual Fund combined with
a disciplined operating budget helps
keep tuition affordable for our families.
% of Revenue
Tuition & Fees
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year
Fundraising & Grants
Other Income
Salaries, Benefits,
Staff Development
Building Expenses,
Repairs & Maintenance
Utilities, Insurance
& Operations
Classroom Supplies
Tuition Assistance
Net Increase/(Decrease) in Unresticed Net Assets

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