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Year-end Message 2017 – MA Board of Governors

Board of Governors year-end message

Dear Families and Friends of Montessori Academy,
Each year we look back at the past school year to thank the community for their support. This year is a bit different as we say goodbye and thank you to the Executive Director of our school – Margaret Whitley.

How do we even begin to thank Margaret for her leadership over the past 13 years? In her time as leader of Montessori Academy she’s overseen the school’s transition to a board-governed, not-for-profit model; the introduction of much needed fundraising and development efforts to help keep tuition manageable; licensing under the Ministry of Educations Childcare and Early Years Act (CCEYA); plus numerous, sometimes massive, renovations at several locations.

Staffing has always remained a top priority by Margaret, ensuring the school is supported by highly qualified Montessori faculty and administrative staff with a unified goal of providing the best Montessori education possible.

As well, the school has benefitted from an enhanced profile under her leadership:

  • Locally, through innovative partnerships with community organizations such as Growing Chefs! Ontario and Pillar Nonprofit Network, plus increased marketing efforts directed at local families seeking education choice and the best start in life for their children
  • Across the province, through her efforts to give all Montessori Toddler and Casa programs a voice under new early years licensing
  • Nationally and internationally, as a highly sought-after speaker with expertise in Montessori education, and as an active member of Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA).

Through all of her efforts outside our walls, Margaret continued to be present and involved in the school’s day to day activities, greeting everyone with bubbling enthusiasm – never once losing sight of our school’s Mission and Vision. Yet if you ask her, she’ll gladly share credit with the school’s faculty, staff and parent community. … And so do we…

The Board offers a sincere thank you to the faculty, staff and you, the parents of our school, for another fantastic school year filled with activity, energy and learning.

Among the many highlights was the Grand Opening and celebration of the courtyard and dedication of the Gage Mackay Memorial Outdoor Classroom in September. This beautiful outdoor space is enjoyed daily by our Elementary students, families and visitors.

Shortly after the Winter Break, the school introduced an innovative new composting program, partnering with Waste Management Canada and Orgaworld Canada, which saw a huge reduction in landfill waste and garnered the school some media attention in The Londoner and on CTV London’s website. The story helped us demonstrate the leadership and innovative thinking that Montessori education inspires.


In April, the school presented an original musical production, “Finn’s Montessori Journey,” written by Elementary teacher Meghan O’Brien. The students did a fantastic job bringing this performance to life and relished the opportunity to perform three shows at the historic Palace Theatre

We welcomed Tonya Dendrinos into the role of Development Director. Tonya will oversee our future fundraising initiatives and opportunities. This year’s fundraising efforts focused on much-needed Elementary upgrades, and a Whitley Tribute Gift set up to honour Margaret’s legacy. In total, the annual campaign raised close to $73,000 so far, and is open until June 30.

As we wrap up another academic yearwe are excited for our students, especially those moving up to new levels in the school next year – and our Year 8 Graduates. We congratulate our Grads on wrapping up the Montessori chapter of their education journey and heading off to high school. We are so proud of all of them.

Together our community looks forward to next year and all of the excitement it brings. We welcome Tina Sartori into the role of Executive Director of the school starting on July 1, and will gear up for the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations on June 1 & 2, 2018.

This milestone marks a special time for the school – and for our community past, present and future, as we continue on our Montessori journey together.


Julie Elgie
President, Board of Governors

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