Symposium Description & Theme

The Montessori Consortium Symposium series is an annual, one-day event that fosters engagement, collaboration, and professional development among schools - Montessori and non-Montessori, public and private, independent and parochial, pre-K through post-secondary.

The theme of the 2019 symposium is Family Engagement with keynote speaker Lisa Thauvette of Tilt Think Montessori Training & Consulting.

Attendees will have an opportunity to earn up to 4 hours of American Montessori Society (AMS) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through participation in the following symposium sessions:

  • Keynote Address (1 hour)

  • Break Out Session #1 (1.25 hours)

  • Break Out Session #2 (1.25 hours)

  • Panel Discussion (0.5 hour)

For session descriptions, presenter biographical information, and detailed schedule, see below.

Registration Costs

  • Early-Bird (August 15 - September 14): $70

  • Regular (September 15 - October 12): $85

  • Week-Of & On-Site (October 13 - 19): $100

A limited number of discounted student and university faculty registrations are available. For more information contact the MCGL office.


Keynote Speaker


Lisa Thauvette
Tilt Think Montessori Training & Consulting

For 11 years Lisa Thauvette served as the Head of School at International Montessori in Brussels, Belgium after several years as lead guide in the elementary program. She holds an AMI 6-12 diploma from Washington Montessori Institute and an M. Ed. from Loyola College. Currently she is a consultant and trainer at Tilt Think, working with schools and communities in areas of transformative leadership. Her passion and experience in improvisational comedic theatre not only ensure lively and engaging sessions but also lend a unique perspective to applying improv theory for building trust, ideas, and relationships.



Break Out Sessions

Following the keynote address, symposium participants have an opportunity to select two break out sessions to attend within the following three topic areas:

  • Keynote Extension (Lisa Thauvette)

  • Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice (Dr. Mira Debs)

  • Building Montessori School Parent Culture From Scratch (Sara Gensic and Suzy Ulmer)

Each break out session will be repeated, guaranteeing that participants have an opportunity to attend their top two choices.

Break Out Session Presenters


Dr. Mira Debs
Director, Yale Education Studies Program
Author of Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice

Mira Debs is the executive director of Yale University’s Education Studies Program and a lecturer in the Sociology Department. Her research, teaching, and policy interests include school diversity, urban education, school choice, parent involvement, and progressive public schools.

Her public Montessori research, the focus of Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice (Harvard Education Press, 2019) has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Education Week and the Christian Science Monitor. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the American Educational Research Journal, Cultural Sociology,  Nations and Nationalism, and the Journal of Montessori Research.

In addition to her research in Montessori schools, Dr. Debs taught high school for five years in Boston-area public schools. She is a founding board member of Elm City Montessori School, a public Montessori school in New Haven, Connecticut, and she helped to start Montessori for Social Justice, a grassroots organization of Montessori educators.

Bio Courtesy of MiraDebs.com


Sara Gensic & Suzy Ulmer
Teacher/Leaders, Alyssum Montessori School

Suzy and Sara are the founding teacher/leaders of Alyssum Montessori School in downtown Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Alyssum opened its doors in Fall 2018 as a Primary through Upper Elementary micro Montessori school and is the first Wildflower School in Indiana. During the 2018 - 2019 school year, more than 50% of enrolled students qualified for free or reduced lunch.

Sara possesses a 6-12 AMI credential from Hershey Training Center, a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Grace College-Winona Lake, IN and a Master of Library Science from Indiana University-Fort Wayne. Suzy holds a 6-12 AMS credential from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN and a Masters in Education from Indiana University-Fort Wayne focused on marriage and family counseling. Together Sara and Suzy have more than 25 years combined teaching experience in Montessori environments.