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Save the Dates: AIMS 2015 Conference

Letter from the President

I hope that you all had some peaceful summer days to rejuvenate, and a smooth beginning to the 2014-2015 school year. The AIMS Board meets for strategic planning over the summer to prepare for the coming school year. I would like to share the goals and insights from that planning session with you. I would also like to acknowledge the board members, some new, some returning, for sharing their time and experience. Thank you to Debbie Senoff-Langford, George Markham, Lisa Kambich, Cheryl LaCost, Carol Martorano, Karen Zehnal, Blythe Silva, John Barrett and Sharon Damore for their participation.

I would like thank and honor Debbie Senoff-Langford, whose second term as AIMS President has expired. During Debbie's four year presidency, AIMS has grown with both stature and involvement in important advocacy for our member schools. Debbie will remain active on the board as a member at large focusing on advocacy, and I am so grateful to have her knowledge and experience supporting me as I begin my service in this role.

I would also like to express great thanks to George Markham, who left the board this past summer as he moved to California to accept a new position as head of Oak Knoll Kinderhaus Montessori in Pasadena. George has been a huge force in attaining AIMS not-for-profit status and in creating a well-run and rich conference experience for our member schools.

Thank you to Lisa Kambich, ending her term as 2nd VP, where she worked to improve the membership application process and increasing the number of member schools. Lisa will step in to fill the remainder of George's term as 1st VP.

Also, continuing on the board this year, Carol Martorano will lend her expertise with conference registration and our new online membership application process. Cheryl LaCost will continue as our Treasurer. Cheryl has been key to streamlining the accounting procedures and will continue her work there.

New to the board this year we have Blythe Silva, Head at Ronald Knox Montessori School, who will head Membership with a focus on spreading the word about the advantages that AIMS membership offers. Also, we welcome Karen Zehnal, who will assume the role of Communications Secretary. Karen is Head at Aurora Montessori and brings the experience of having gone through the ExceleRate process. She will be working on improving the website content benefits for our member schools.

While he is not an official member of the board, I would also like to acknowledge John Barrett, who has continued to improve our website and will be key in putting the conference experience together as well as implementing our new online member application process. We all appreciate the talent, hard work and patience he has had with us.

Our 2015 AIMS Conference Committee is already hard at work preparing an exciting line up of presenters with a wide variety of topics. Many thanks to Beth Norman, Debbie Kelly, Audrey Perrott, Sharon Damore, John Barrett and Debbie Senoff-Langford for their leadership.
Finally, I would like to thank our AIMS Executive Director, Sharon Damore. 

This past year she has worked on several important initiatives that strongly affect our members. Sharon was a key player in achieving approval from the Illinois Governor’s Office for AMS School Accreditation’s Crosswalk to the ExceleRate Gold Circle of Quality. Sharon provides more details in her own letter.

Sharon has and will continue to provide leadership guidance for the Illinois State Coalition as well. This committee is moving towards stronger representation in the Illinois Early Learning Council and keeps the Montessori community in the dialogue as the state pushes to improve early learning opportunities across the board. Sharon’s continued involvement in the annual AIMS Conference planning creates a richer experience for all who attend. This year, Sharon has taken on the role of chair and I am sure that the conference will provide excellent continuing opportunities for all attendees under her leadership.

AIMS Membership Renewals will be available online this year, and current AIMS members will receive priority registration for the conference registration. Conference registration will go live for member schools December 1st.

I would like to invite you to join our scheduled meetings for 2014-15. Attending AIMS meetings regularly is a great source of information from both the board and other member schools and provides a venue for the board to stay in touch with member needs. We are lucky to have such a strong State organization and that strength comes from the support and feedback from our members.

Meeting dates for the year are:

 October 8th   Montessori Academy of Chicago 
 December 3rd    Location TBA
 February 4th  Location TBA
 April 29th  Location TBA


2015 AIMS Conference Dates are:
Friday, February 20th and Saturday, February 21st

I am looking forward to growing with AIMS and into the very large shoes that Debbie Senoff-Langford has left to fill as president. This is an important time for Montessori education both in Illinois and throughout the country, and I believe that our greatest source of advocacy and growth is through the work of our schools and local associations. I am honored to serve in this position and will work to continue to improve the benefits AIMS offers to our member schools.


Denise Monnier
AIMS President

Head of School
Fox Valley Montessori School

Living Montessori

NBA superstar Stephan Curry is a Montessori grad! His mother runs a Montessori school…check out the video AMS has released!

Reading Corner

Daniel Goleman (author of “Emotional Intelligence”) has a new book out called “Focus: The Hidden Ingredient in Success” that addresses the major issue of today’s children’s inability to concentrate. Here is an interview with Goleman done by NAIS’ Independent Teacher magazine.


"We cannot create observers by saying 'observe,' but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses."

The teacher must derive not only the capacity, but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon.
Read more at"

Upcoming events

Saturday, October 25, 2014 8:30 AM • Fox Valley Montessori School, 850 N. Commonwealth Avenue, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Saturday, November 22, 2014 8:30 AM • Fox Valley Montessori School, 850 N. Commonwealth Avenue, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Wednesday, December 03, 2014 12:00 PM • To Be Announced
Saturday, December 13, 2014 9:00 AM • Fox Valley Montessori School, 850 N. Commonwealth Avenue, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Saturday, January 24, 2015 9:00 AM • Fox Valley Montessori School, 850 N. Commonwealth Avenue, Aurora, Illinois 60506



@ Association of Illinois Montessori Schools