The governance of Montessori Academy of London is the responsibility of a volunteer Board of Governors; the board assumes strategic and financial accountability for the school. Its profile consists of alumni, alumni parents, current parents (percentage of representation is in accordance with our bylaws), community members, and ex-officio officers, including the Executive Director, Finance Director and Academic Director.
The recruitment of governors and officers is guided by the skill set that the board seeks to reflect among its members; the recruiting process for new board members is overseen by the Governance Committee. The board operates within what is considered best practise in the industry for charitable organizations. Resources that are utilized include Pillar Nonprofit Network and the Canadian Association for Independent Schools (CAIS) Governance Guide, which can be found in the main office.
Because the board assumes strategic and financial responsibility for MA, it meets regularly throughout the school year as a full board; members also meet regularly to support several board-mandated committees. It is the mandate of the board to ensure the legacy of Montessori Academy of London and that strong Montessori education in London is protected for years to come. MA families receive communication of the board’s work periodically throughout the year, including the Annual Report.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a board member, or joining a board committee, please contact Tina Sartori, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org For an interesting article that explains the distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit boards: https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/summer-2009/lessons-from-for-profit-boards/
View or download a copy of our new Strategic Plan document: “Building our Future Together – Strategic Plan 2017-2022” (PDF).
Our first Strategic Plan document, “Our Path to 2017” is also available as a PDF.
Learn more about our board members below…
Kevin Higgins, President, Current Parent
Kevin is a retired 3M vice president, whose primary occupation now is as care giver for his two youngest children. He is also an Executive in Residence at the Ivey Business School at Western University. He has served in executive leadership roles in a number of 3M’s businesses, ranging from Dental and Medical businesses to Aerospace and Automotive. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and an MBA (Marketing and Finance) from the Ivey Business School. He is also a graduate of Rottman School’s Executive Program at the University of Toronto. He has served his community on many boards, including as a community representative for the Animal Care Committee at Western University; past president London Squash Club; past member Mayor’s Advisory Council for Health Care Industry; and past treasurer of the CQI Network. Kevin’s two youngest children are in Elementary, and he has served as Parent Rep for Casa 4 in 2016-2017 and again in 2017-2018. In 2017, Kevin was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee – 2017-2022. He says it has been wonderful to get involved with the passionate educators who represent the Montessori teaching and know that they are the ones teaching our children.
Jim Middlemiss, Vice-President, Current Parent
Jim Middlemiss is a communications consultant and award-winning business affairs writer whose work appears regularly in North American business, legal and consumer publications. A former press secretary to an Ontario Attorney General, Jim provides media and strategic communications advice to a wide range of organizations. A member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Jim is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School. Born in Calgary, he holds a journalism and political science degree from the University of North Dakota and an Associate Arts degree from what is now Mount Royal University. Jim has taught at Western University Law School and Western Engineering. He moved to London in 2011, and his daughter attends Montessori.
Carl Hallberg, Treasurer, Community Member
Carl retired in April 2016 from BMO Bank of Montreal where he was a Commercial Account Manager in Dealership Finance for Southwestern Ontario. His previous experience includes Account Management and Personal Banking with RBC and Business Development Bank. Carl brings 30 years of financial and business experience to the Montessori Board of Governors. Carl has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McMaster University. Carl has a history of volunteering with various organizations, including United Way of London and Middlesex, where he was actively engaged in their annual allocations process. Carl and his wife Phyllis are enjoying retirement spending their time travelling and summers at their cottage in Northern Ontario.
Wilma McIntyre, Secretary, Community Member
Wilma is a business and technology professional with extensive experience in managing, leading and coaching businesses through process re-engineering and technology implementation. Over her career, she has worked in a variety of sectors, including the financial industry, municipal government, industrial wholesale distribution and as a self-employed consultant. Though retired from her career in IT, she continues to consult with organizations to streamline and improve their business processes and technology strategies. Wilma served for 10 years on the board of directors for the Women’s Canadian Club of London, a non-profit organization providing a forum for the London community to attend speaker events on a variety of topics. She also served as London Chapter Coordinator for the Tetra Society of North America (for 3 years), a non-profit organization that recruits skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices for people with physical disabilities.
Sarah Harding, Founding Member representation
Sarah was part of the first group of children to attend the Montessori Academy of London – a truly formative experience. As time went on her education took her across Canada (McGill and Dalhousie), to England (Oxford) and eventually to the United States (Yale). She is currently a law professor in Chicago. Her primary areas of specialty are matters relating to indigenous peoples, antiquities, cultural property and comparative constitutional law. Sarah brings Board knowledge and expertise to MA’s Board of Governors: for 11 years, she was a member of the Board of Trustees of Chiaravalle, her children’s Montessori school. During that time she served in almost every position on the Board including president. She has been involved in three head-of-school searches, three capital campaigns (one that she chaired), a complete overhaul and redrafting of by-laws and the creation of a new yearly head evaluation process. She was also on the founding board for Beacon Academy, an innovative Montessori-based high school that just opened in the Chicago area. She is currently president of the board of the Haymarket Opera Company, a small start-up Baroque opera company in Chicago.
Tyler Reavell, MA Alumnus
Tyler joined the Board on July 1, 2018. He fondly remembers his experiences as a student at Montessori as a child. Montessori provided Tyler with foundational skills for scientific investigation, self-directed learning and cooking that he continues to use today. Tyler works in the Risk Consulting and Forensics practice at KPMG in London. Tyler joined KPMG after fulfilling the requirements for the CPA, CA designation with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto and London. He completed the HBA (Ivey Business School) in 2014, shortly after completing a BSc (University of Waterloo).
Tyler is passionate about education and the London community, and hopes to contribute to the continued excellence of Montessori Academy in this role.
Suzanne Fratschko Elliott, Community Member
As the Manager of Dorson Holdings, Suzanne brings to the board a wealth of experience in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. Suzanne also currently serves as the Fundraising and Engagement Manager for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, where she leads the foundation’s fundraising team and collaborates with the Fundraising Committee and CEO to achieve revenue goals that support the strategic direction of the foundation. She has led the Major Gifts and Legacy Giving for Women’s Community House, and before that served as the Director of Advancement at Matthews Hall, where she co-chaired the school’s first capital campaign, successfully raising $2.1 million; increased planned giving participation and gifts to the school’s endowment funds; and implemented Annual Giving program, raising $100,000-plus each year for school operations. Suzanne has served as the Chair of the Board of Governors at Matthews Hall and as the Chair of the Congressional Church Council at Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Andrea Dean, Alumni Parent
Andrea is a seasoned organizational development practitioner and communications specialist with 25+ years of local and international experience. She is co-founder and lead facilitator of OD Solutions International (Canada and Bermuda), and has extensive experience in changes management, organizational communications and stakeholder engagement. She excels at aligning the internal and external realities of organizations, transforming how they impact and interact with stakeholder(s) to achieve their vision. In additional to consulting practice, Andrea is a current PhD candidate in Western University’s sociology department, and is trained in quantitative and qualitative research methods. As the parent of two MA alumnae, Andrea is an enthusiastic supporter of Montessori education, and has been an engaged member of the Montessori Academy community since 2004.
Sarah Tattersall, Current Parent
Sarah joins the board as a current MA parent. She brings to the board experience in Communications and Talent Management – including Learning and Development, Talent Acquisition and Public Relations, having spent her career working for large, global, diversified companies. The school and Board will benefit from Sarah’s years delivering innovative, high-impact development programs that prepare both employees and leaders to succeed in a diverse work environment. Sarah’s board experience includes being a current board member of the YMCA of Western Ontario and a past board member of Immploy (formerly LMIEC). She is an active member of the Conference Board of Canada’s Council on Inclusive Work Environments, and the Canadian Council for Learning and Development.
Dharshi Lacey, Alumni Parent
Dharshi joins the board as an Alumni parent. She has worked for over 20 years in the nonprofit sector. She leads a number of professional development workshops on board governance for Pillar Nonprofit Network and offers consulting services to nonprofit boards. For the past three years, she has taught Board Governance for the Nonprofit Management Post-Degree Diploma offered by Western University Continuing Studies. Dharshi also has many years of experience in Cultural Competency. She has facilitated sessions with boards and organizations to help them embed an inclusive lens in their leadership and operational activities.
Megan Komenda, Community Member
Megan Komenda is a philanthropic leader in her workplace. She ignites excitement around fundraising and non-profit support. Megan is passionate about childhood education and remembers her time in the Montessori school system with great endearment. She is a graduate of Western University, an experienced Project Manager with 10 years of HR experience in a local manufacturing facility. Within her workplace, Megan has been the Chairperson of her corporate United Way Workplace Campaign, the Chairperson of her workplace Public Affairs Committee, and held various other volunteer roles in an effort to make all of her communities a better place. Megan is also a member of the United Way Elgin Middlesex Campaign Cabinet. She excels in her ability to effectively connect with people, leverage diversity, and deliver the best result.
Christina Mack, Current Parent
Christina is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering. Her professional background has focused on lean, quality, and continuous improvement. Most recently she moved to rural Ontario where she owned a Financial Investment Business. Christina has served as a Governor on a local hospital Board since 2010 and has held the role of Vice Chair, Board Chair and now Past Chair. She is also a Governor on the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Board of Governors and brings a strong governance background to the Montessori Board of Directors.
Rachael Noye, Alumni Parent
Rachael says she is delighted to join the Board of Governors as an alumni parent, having had three children attend Montessori Academy over the years. Her time in the MA community has been “a wonderful experience.” Rachael is VP, Insurance Client Service & Claims, at Canada Life and is a collaborative and passionate leader. She brings to the board strategic guidance and skill as a conceptual thinker. Over the years, Rachael has held a number of volunteer positions with local organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Rural Resource Centre of Middlesex County and the London Chamber of Commerce.
Julie Elgie, Alumni Parent
Julie is a graduate from the Faculty of Law at Western University. She has worked and volunteered in the community economic development field for non-profit, charitable and academic organizations and has specific experiences with the design and coordination of community programs, and the development and delivery of training workshops. Her fund development background includes proposal writing, major and planned giving fundraising and partnership facilitation. She believes in the principles of a Montessori education and brings expertise and support to fund development and special event activities. She experienced the impact a Montessori education can have on a child each day as her twin daughters were longtime students in the school, graduating in 2017.
Kristen Crouse, Academic Director, Ex-Officio
Kristen was trained as a Casa teacher through the St. Nicholas program and has been working at the Montessori Academy of London for 15 years. Kristen has a Bachelor of Science degree (Foods and Nutrition) from Brescia University College and a Bachelor of Education from McGill (primary/junior divisions). She also completed the Special Education Part 1 Course at Althouse College at Western University. Kristen taught for two years in the Casa program, and then accepted a position in MA’s Junior High program, where she taught science, language and math for eight years. For two of those years, she worked part-time as the Coordinator of the Junior High program. Kristen then took on the full-time position of Coordinator for both the Junior High and Elementary programs for six years. In 2014, Kristen’s role evolved again into the Academic Director, overseeing all levels of the school. Kristen brings a broad vision of the Montessori Philosophy to the table, having taught in the Casa program at one end of the spectrum to Junior High at the other. She also serves on the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) accreditation team.
Tina Sartori, Current Parent, Executive Director, Ex-Officio
Tina believes that Montessori grads are the change makers in the world, which is why she profoundly trusts the method of education and strives to ensure its influence continues to grow in London. She has been a part of Montessori Academy since 2001 and took on the role of E.D. in July 2017. Being AMI trained from the Foundation for Montessori Education, she taught in the casa program for 12 years before moving over to the Administration team as the Admissions & Development Coordinator in 2012. After making this shift in her career, Tina successfully created and implemented a fundraising program for MA that raised half a million dollars for the school. In Admissions she guided new families through the process from inquiry to enrolment. Tina has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree (Child Studies major) from the University of Guelph. She participates as a member of numerous professional Montessori organizations, Pillar Non-Profit Network, London Licensed Child Care Network, and works with the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators to accredit other Montessori schools. Tina has been a parent in the school since her son joined the toddler program in 2010.
David Pasquino, Finance Director, Ex-Officio
A CPA, CMA with over 20 years of finance, accounting and human resource experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, David brings a wealth of knowledge to the Montessori Academy of London as the current Finance Director and as an Ex-Officio member on the Board of Governors. David’s previous roles at St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, College of Physiotherapists of Ontario and the United Way of Greater Toronto have given him a solid background in not-for-profit organizations, working with Boards and financial reporting for a wide variety of stakeholders. David also serves as the Chair for the Original Kids Theatre Company, and is an actor in London’s community theatres.
Our vision is a community of confident, compassionate and engaged citizens who think globally, act responsibly and collaborate successfully to create a humane world.
To provide a world-class Montessori education that promotes academic excellence and prepares children and young adults to engage the world as active citizens and successful leaders.