Josh is a leader in developing and advocating for quality Montessori education in both the United States and abroad. He began his education career in 2001 after practicing law at the firm of Arnold and Porter in Washington, DC. He holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood teaching credential and holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. He is the Executive Director of the Metro Montessori family of schools in the Washington DC metro area, where he co-founded the Franklin Montessori School (Accredited AMS), the White Flint Children’s House (Accredited AMS), the Broad Branch Children’s House (Accredited AMS), and the Fernwood Montessori School (Recognized AMI). He is the founding Chairman of Maryland’s state Montessori association (Montessori Schools of Maryland) and currently serves as a Board Member. He is a current member of the American Montessori Society School Accreditation Commission and sits on the Board of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a joint advocacy organization for AMS and AMI USA. He has consulted on the establishment of multiple Montessori preschools and teacher education programs worldwide, including the establishment of the first MACTE accredited Montessori teacher education program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Joe has extensive experience in educational law and business development. He has taught at the preschool level, served as a Head of School and has been intricately involved in the ongoing management and development of the Metro Montessori system of schools. He is the co-founder of the Franklin Montessori School (Accredited AMS), the White Flint Children’s House (Accredited AMS), the Broad Branch Children’s House (Accredited AMS), and the Fernwood Montessori School (Recognized AMI). He was trained as a primary Montessori teacher at the Montgomery Montessori Institute. Joe is Co-Chair and a Founding Member of the Washington DC Montessori Coalition. In his role as Coalition Co-Chair, Joe was instrumental in the drafting and adoption of Washington, DC’s Education Regulations regarding Montessori. He is also a Member of DC’s OSSE Private School Advisory Board. He has consulted internationally with schools in the developing world, including India and the Republic of Georgia. He is a co-founder of Artists and Makers – an arts center complex with over 150 resident artists in two Washington, DC area locations, offering gallery and studio spaces and art education programs. He also co-founded ZavaZone, a chain of indoor fitness and family adventure parks, where he is currently overseeing the ZavaZone national franchise system. Before becoming a principal of Metro Montessori, Joe was a practicing attorney and holds a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law.
Lisa is an experienced Head of School with demonstrated expertise in educational leadership, crisis and transition management, executive coaching, business, financial and operational systems and parent engagement. Prior to her role as the founding Head of an AMI-recognized Montessori school, Lisa made a name for herself as a business consultant specializing in international finance and economic policy in the Energy sector. Lisa holds an MA in International Finance and Business from Columbia University, a Certificate in Montessori Leadership through Loyola University's Whole School Leadership program and a BA in Spanish from Grinnell College.
Dr. Sharon Damore has over 35 years of experience working in Elementary and Secondary schools and higher education. She has an AMS Early Childhood credential, and from the University of Houston, an EdD in Education Leadership and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Sharon is an adjunct professor of education leadership at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois, and a lecturer at the AMS-affiliated Seton Montessori Institute in nearby Clarendon Hills. She also currently serves as the AMS Vice President. Sharon has founded several Montessori initiatives, including the AMS Accreditation Commission, the AMS Policy Committee, and the Montessori Public Policy Initiative, of which she is the Board Treasurer. Previously she was head of school of the AMS-accredited Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston, Illinois, among other many other positions in private and public schools. Sharon is the former executive director and a current active member of the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools.
Charis has over 25 years of experience in education, with extensive training in organizational development, leadership and Montessori administration. Her early career focused on teaching in both public and private schools where she quickly found a love of working with adult educators. She conducted numerous professional development programs and taught in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Antioch University – Seattle. She has direct experience in school administration including fundraising and marketing, community development, and as head of school, where she first connected with the Montessori community. Additionally, Charis has considerable knowledge and experience in organizational development, professional development, teacher training, school accreditation, and non-profit governance. She holds a Master’s in Teaching from The Evergreen State College, a Masters in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University, and a Doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She has served on several state and national education boards and committees including the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association, and Montessori Public Policy Initiative, in Washington D.C., where she currently serves as the Board Chair.
Since earning her B.A. in linguistics and cognitive science at Pomona College, followed by her AMS Early Childhood teaching credential, and M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Kentucky, Laura has accumulated over 15 years as a educator of young children and an educational leader. Laura has taught in public, non-profit, and private schools.
As an experienced Head of School, as well as the Director of the Metro Teacher Training Institute, Laura's areas of expertise include program design, professional development, staff and parent engagement and systems implementation.