Micki holds a BA in English, an MA in Education, and has been a credentialed AMS Montessori teacher since 1980. She has been a Montessori educator, leader and mentor for over forty years. In the span of her career thus far, she was chosen in a nationwide search as one one of several lead teachers to bring Montessori to the public school system to schools that were underperforming. She has been responsible for implementing learning plans in the Montessori classroom for differently abled children and, most recently, implemented and ran a Montessori program at a Head Start school in inner city Chicago. She has worked in small independent schools in Minneapolis and New York City and large urban public school districts in Milwaukee and Chicago. Her roles have been varied, from assistant teacher to lead teacher to program administrator. Throughout it all, her focus has remained steadily on the growth and empowerment of the children under her care.
She has profoundly influenced the lives of her students and their families. In the words of parents “Micki is absolutely wonderful!! She was my oldest daughter’s first Montessori teacher and I had the pleasure of spending many hours working with her as a parent volunteer and in school committees. My husband and I used to joke that she was an oracle: ever calm, incredibly insightful and wise.”
In describing her own journey, Micki says “for over 40 years I have been inspired by Montessori education. I have been the parent of children in Montessori schools, and, in a couple of years, I will be the grandparent of a Montessori child. Throughout this journey I continue to find proof that Montessori education works for children of all cultural, socioeconomic and developmental backgrounds. This is what inspires me. When I am in the classroom with children my heart is happy and my mind is stimulated.”
Lindy McGrail attended a Montessori school as a young child and has never forgotten the joy that was present as she built the pink tower, explored the various continent maps, and made connections among all the materials and other children in her Montessori classroom. This visceral memory of her earliest learning experience is what drives her each day to help guide young children in their self-formation through a meticulously and thoughtfully prepared environment at Dandelion Montessori.
Previous to her work with Dandelion and the Wildflower Network, Lindy worked in a variety of educational settings, most recently in administration at Duke University. As an undergraduate student at Fairfield University, Lindy researched the implementation of Montessori preschools in post-Soviet educational systems to help aid the development of global citizens and critical thinkers. This in turn led to a Fulbright Scholarship in Martin, Slovakia as a guest lecturer at a secondary school, Gymnázium Viliama Paulinyho Tótha. Lindy’s love of Montessori philosophy and lifelong learning grew when she returned to the U.S. and worked at Walnut Park Montessori School in Newton, MA. She received her primary Montessori certification through the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2012 under the direction of Bonnie LaMothe.
Lindy helped found and open Dandelion Montessori in September 2015 and is continually inspired by the passion of those she works with to use Montessori education as a catalyst for local and global change. Her personal mission is that every person who walks in or out the doors at Dandelion is able to witness and embrace the amazing faculties of children who have an incredible amount to contribute to the world.
Devanshi Desai has a BS in Molecular Biology and M.Ed with concentration in Montessori. She began her journey in Montessori 5 years ago. Along with working in three Montessori schools in the Boston area, she has explored Montessori schools in her travels to India, Turkey, and Germany, and continues on her voyage to open her own school within the Wildflower Network. She has volunteered for schools in Entebbe, Kampala, and Gulu in Uganda. These experiences have shaped her desire to open a school that will bring Montessori to all socio-economic groups.
Devanshi is inspired and lives by the following tenets:
Family involvement is key to the success of our school and the foundation of a supportive community. The classroom experience of our children, guided by our teachers, is supported by the family apprenticeship program, which is further supported by our community program.
Families will participate in several classroom observations. Any family member can attend these observation sessions, which allow family members to witness the Montessori environment in action, act as a guest of their child, and practice the art of Montessori observation.
Parent education evenings with our teachers provide the opportunity for parents to deepen their understanding of Montessori philosophy and how it informs their child’s experience at school and at home. These nights have been a key community touch point for parents this year, and will continue to be structured to promote social interaction and support alongside education and guidance from our teachers.
Families may choose to commit to offering additional classroom support, serving as a Montessori apprentice to the teachers in the afternoon (1pm – 3:30pm on a specific day of the week). Apprentice shifts will be filled on an application and opt-in basis by parents who are able to commit to consistently performing as an assistant teacher as a way to reduce tuition ($50 per shift), though these funds could also be donated to the school if the family wishes.
The Dandelion Community Program is a collection of optional events and activities scheduled throughout the year to foster connections between families, to support open communication, to nurture and celebrate our shared passion for this school, and to strengthen our sense of community. Lead by Dandelion parents, this program, comprised of optional coffee-breaks, after-school meet-ups, and potlucks, bring Dandelion families together through learning and play, providing opportunities for children and parents from different families to interact and bond with each other, and transforming our community into a big, extended family where we all care for each other.
The Community Program includes activities that invite families to support the Dandelion teachers and the school space itself, encouraging a community sense of ownership and stewardship of the school. It will include a variety of elements in an effort to appeal to a range of family interests and schedules, but be curated and focused so as not to add an overwhelming number of additional calendar events. We want to provide the clarity of an established, formal calendar of Dandelion events and activities, while leaving room for spontaneity and organic interest from community members. New ideas are always welcome!
Families are asked to participate in two committees to assist in the operation of the school. Each family will have a lead position on one of their committees and supporting position on the other, and committee work will be teacher-led, designed to support the needs of the school. The expected time commitment for both committees combined is approximately 4-8 hours per month.