News Item

Summit for Montessori Education This Friday at Lander University

September 07, 2015

 Molly Spearman
State Superintendent of Education and Lander University graduate Molly Spearman

A host of nationally recognized Montessori education experts – led by State Superintendent of Education and Lander University graduate Molly Spearman – will  gather at Lander this Friday, Sept. 11, for a summit on Montessori education in South Carolina public schools. The summit is open to anyone with an interest in Montessori education.

Sponsored by Lander’s Montessori and Teacher Education programs, the summit will be held in Lander’s Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is $60, and includes morning coffee and lunch.

Joining Spearman at the summit will be, among others, Drs. Keith Whitescarver and Jacqueline Cossentino of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, and Dr. Brooke Culclasure, research director of The Riley Institute at Furman University. Culclasure will share preliminary findings from a five-year study of public Montessori in South Carolina, which is funded by Greenwood’s Self Family Foundation.

Continuing professional development credit from the American Montessori Society will be provided to AMS credentialed educators attending the event.

Barbara Ervin, director of Lander’s Montessori Education program, said, “If you are interested in starting or enhancing a Montessori program, Lander is the place to be on Sept. 11. We’ve assembled a panel of leading experts in public Montessori education. While the material discussed will be primarily for school administrators, anyone with an interest in Montessori education is welcome to attend. Whether you’re a parent interested in the benefits of a Montessori education for your child, a teacher wanting to know about the latest data-supported trends in the field, or an educator interested in organizing a Montessori program, we would love for you to join us for this summit,” she said.

Other topics to be covered during the summit include:

• Serving 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in full-day Montessori programs

• Multi-aged grouping: Maintaining fidelity to the Montessori model

• Montessori programs for adolescent students

• Montessori in charter schools

• Fundamentals of establishing a Montessori program

Other notable speakers include:

  • LaDene Conroy; Montessori Coordinator for the Charleston County School District
  • Candi Wilson; Montessori Coordinator for Richland County School District One
  • Jody Swanigan; Principal, East Cooper Montessori Charter School
  • Dr. Nathalie Hunt; Director of Coastal Montessori Charter School
  • Lillian Atkins; Principal, Lexington Four Early Childhood Center
  • Tara Dean; Assistant Superintendent, Laurens 55 School District
  • Dr. Ginny Riga; Former Coordinator of Montessori at the SC Dept. of Education

For more information about the summit and to register, visit or contact Barbara Ervin,, 864-388-8751; and Martine Fezler,, 864-388-8628.