Upper Elementary Guide – BMS
Director of Elementary Education
I learned about Montessori because my high school boyfriend’s mom owned a Montessori school in southern California where I am from. I worked there for years in various capacities as I put myself through college.
I took my training in Minnesota with Phyllis Pottish Lewis. Washington DC would have been easier for me but I admired Phyllis’s work in her classroom in Marin and wanted to learn from her!
I have a BA degree from CSU, Fullerton and a MEd degree from Loyola in Baltimore. I regularly attend the AMI Refresher Course as well as the AMI-EAA Summer Conference each year to keep up my Montessori chops.
I love Montessori because I am confident that when children are allowed and encouraged to become independent thinkers, problem solvers, and collaborators, they thrive both as individuals and as members of a community. I have not seen another school system or approach that allows this level of independence to happen. I also love that children in a Montessori setting get to know themselves intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically. Knowing who you are, both where you excel and where you struggle, allows for great progress and problem solving.
I am one of the most flexible people on the planet. I can live without most things and I can figure out a way to make something work without the things I’m used to. So, that being said, I probably still need to answer the question. Phone? Lived without it before. Foods I love? I’ll find new ones. My husband and kids are hilarious and make me laugh, so I’ll list them. Rowing crew keeps me sane, so I’ll list that one. Finally, I suppose I cannot live without justice and respect for children.
My husband and I rode our bikes from San Francisco to Los Angeles over eight days. While not our most comfortable vacation, it was the most educational. I learned how to be quiet for hours (no small feat for me!) riding across miles and miles of farm fields of central California. I learned that I can overcome deep, exhausting defeat and continue on the next day. This trip reiterated for me my firm belief that most of the people on the planet are helpful, kind, and watching out for others.
My favorite local treat is a gorgeous sunrise over the water of the Port of West Sacramento. So few people know what a stunning resource we have right in our backyard.
One rule I live by is that I have control over my behaviors and reactions. If someone I don’t know insults me or is mean, my first obligation to myself is to decide if I hold that person’s opinion in high esteem. If I don’t, their ugliness matters not to me and I get to let it go. If their opinion matters to me, I have so many options available to me…. I can seek more information, I can take their criticism to heart and develop a strategy to get better, I can wallow in the feelings their words caused, I can retaliate. I have so many options for action and I get to choose.
My favorite quote is, “It’ll all be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” -John Lennon. I regularly think about this when I am stuck in an issue that is not going well. It gives me confidence to know that when I look at the issue in a week or a month or possibly even a year, that I will have moved past it in some way and on to either new or more compelling problems!
Additional info about Wendy: “I worked at our Woodland campus for more than 20 years in various capacities. I am on the board of the Association Montessori Internationale-Elementary Alumni Association (AMI-EAA) and work to support AMI Montessori guides around the world. My work has taken me to schools across the US, the Netherlands, England, the Czech Republic, and Canada.
Outside of work, I row with the River City Rowing Club. I enjoy the competitive and intense nature of rowing. I am a constant reader and work to stay abreast of current topics in the Montessori world, child development, and in the world of public education.
I have been married to my husband for 21 years. Scott is the principal of Emerson Junior High in Davis. My 20 year old son, Drew, is attending college in Los Angeles, studying jazz drumming. My 15 year old daughter will be attending Davis Senior High this year and is also an avid rower. Both of our children attended Woodland Montessori School from early Primary through Upper Elementary.” – 2017