For nearly 21 years, Lander University has been a leader in Montessori education, with highly-qualified faculty from across the southeast region whose unique backgrounds create classroom experiences that are second to none.
In addition to its undergraduate education, in which students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in Montessori Education, the University also offers two graduate degrees in Montessori. Lander's M.Ed. in Montessori Education is designed for teachers seeking Montessori credentials, helping them earn both the M.Ed. as well as certification from the American Montessori Society (AMS). Meanwhile, the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning with a Montessori concentration is designed for teachers who are already Montessori certified, but wish to hold a master's degree.
No one is more optimistic about the future of education than Assistant Professor of Education Edward Jackson, a graduate of Kennesaw State and Loyola Universities, who joined Lander's faculty in August of 2020 to lead the University's Montessori programs as the director of Montessori Education.
Before coming to Lander, Jackson spent over 20 years as a Montessori advocate, consultant, principal and early childhood/elementary teacher, with the last three years in Charleston, where he led Montessori education for fourth, fifth and sixth grade at a public Title 1 school. Jackson says he comes from a family of educators, but he never saw himself as one. He began his career in finance in Atlanta, Ga., a job which he says funded his true passion: music.
At the time, Jackson was working closely with the Grammy award winning Atlanta Boy Choir, of which he is an alumnus, as an assistant tour director. It was this experience that regularly revealed another passion of his: children--and the importance of their education.
Soon after, Jackson shifted his career to Montessori education. He describes the career change as, "a bear," but worth it. He fell in love with working with the younger children he was assigned, which came as a surprise. Jackson loves the philosophy and process of Montessori education, and says that he learned a lot about it from reading Maria Montessori's The Absorbent Mind.
Going forward, Jackson plans on expanding Lander's Montessori program by making it more accessible online. Currently, South Carolina leads the country in public Montessori offerings, and Lander University offers the only state-sponsored Montessori training. Developing a greater online presence with the program would make the program more accessible for those who are unable to commute to Lander's campus.
Jackson says the AMS certification Lander University students receive alongside their M.Ed. is "like a passport to the world. We not only provide a rigorous Montessori credential through AMS, but also meet the standards for a master's degree of education--creating a professional that not only knows Montessori pedagogy, but also has the best practices to implement in public and private schools."
With so many opportunities in the area for growth in a career of Montessori education, Jackson is on a mission to supply public schools with first-rate teachers who can provide South Carolina's students with a quality education. Lander University is already recognized as a leader in Montessori education, and as the program grows the impact it will have on the students in our state, region and nation will grow right along with it.