We are a community of families and educators guided by the philosophy of Maria Montessori
Rogers Park Montessori School (RPMS) is a not for profit (501)c3, non-sectarian, educational organization located in the Andersonville neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. It is a co-educational day school that enrolls children from ages 2 to 14. We are a community of families and educators guided by the philosophy of Maria Montessori. RPMS is accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS).
RPMS admits students of any race, color, sex, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. No student, on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any RPMS education program or activity.
RPMS at a glance
RPMS At a Glance: 2019-2020
Founded in Rogers Park in 1966
accreditations and affiliations
RPMS is accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS), the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS), and is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education. The early childhood program carries the Gold Circle of Quality awarded by the State of Illinois' ExceleRate program, and the toddler program is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
The school holds memberships in the following associations:
please enjoy a stroll through our school
Rogers Park Montessori School was founded by ten Rogers Park parents in September of 1966 in a converted space at St. Ignatius parish and has provided quality education to the children of Chicago ever since.
In 1975, the school moved its site to Bethany Lutheran Church at 1244 W. Thorndale. RPMS gradually expanded to offer a Toddler class, five Children's House classrooms, and after school care for working families. The RPMS elementary program launched in 1991 and in three years, the class grew from its initial enrollment of 7 to 18 students.
In 2004, RPMS purchased and began construction on our current home, a 47,000 sq. ft. educational facility at 1800 West Balmoral. Thanks to the hard work, support, and continued energy of RPMS parents, a state-of-the-art school that incorporates the Montessori philosophy into its design opened in January 2006. The facility includes Montessori programming from Toddler to Middle School, two gyms, library, green roof, playgrounds, and green space.
In 2014, enrollment demands and a desire to expand led the school to develop plans for a 14,000 square foot addition to the existing building. The expansion allowed the school to add a middle school wing with science stations, a central group presentation area, and breakout learning spaces. Dedicated library, drama, music, and resource rooms were added along with additional administration office space and rooftop recreation playspace and gardens. The large gym was retrofitted with commercial grade lighting, sound, and audiovisual equipment for use in staging performances and hosting events. The expansion also enabled the school to grow its lower and upper elementary program by renovating the existing building to add two new classrooms.
Rogers Park Montessori School attracts and retains an experienced and dedicated faculty. Our teachers hold Bachelors or Masters degrees, are Montessori certified, and have many years of in-class experience.
Our early childhood staff creates a special sense of continuity and belonging for the youngest members of our community. Their knowledge of child development and Montessori education, as well as their practical expertise, make for an environment that is both child and parent friendly.
At the elementary level, our Montessori trained classroom teachers are joined by specialists who lead the co-curricular programming of Spanish, drama, art, music, and physical education. Many of our teachers have taught at RPMS for over 15 years. Their loyalty, talent, and professionalism are exceptional, and their dedication and commitment to children have garnered RPMS a reputation for excellence in Montessori education.
Montessori teacher training is specific to age groups:
RPMS partners with a variety of both AMI and AMS Montessori training centers throughout the United States for teacher training.
RPMS is a board-governed 501(c)(3) organization. The Board of Directors meets approximately eight times per year, and focuses on the school’s strategic direction and long term sustainability in line with our mission and core values. Committees of the board include business finance, diversity and inclusion, marketing, committee on trustees, advancement, and alumni relations.
Ben Blair, the Principal at Rogers Park Montessori School, holds a Bachelor's in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Columbia College Chicago, and a Montessori I & II Elementary Credential. For the past 14 years, he has served the RPMS community, first as a classroom teacher and more recently as the Elementary Program Director. In addition to his work at RPMS, Ben has served as a site consultant for Montessori training centers. Montessori's focus on the whole child, coupled with her vision of children as humanity's best hope for peace, has imbued his life as an educator. He values the compassion, mutual respect, and adaptability of his staff and faculty above all else. In addition to serving as the school's principal, he is the parent of a second grader and first year in the Children's House program at the school.
Lori joined the Board in 2015 after helping with the school’s Raising Our Future Capital Campaign. She and her husband, Lee, have three children at RPMS: Taryn (Walnut), Emily (Oak), and Tessa (Poplar). Lori graduated from Harvard Law School in 2004 and worked in private practice in Chicago before turning her attention to writing fiction. Her first published novel will be released in April 2021. If she’s not writing, Lori can probably be found riding her horse, Charlie, or taking long walks with the family dog, Lucky.
Board Vice President
Mark has over 20 years experience working with startups to multinationals. He has been both an IT and a Management Consultant assisting a wide variety of clients including Kellogg's, SnapOn Tools, and a satellite phone startup. He took an active interest in the internet, both working for, as well as founding, his own Internet Consultancy. Most recently he has combined those experiences and is working in IT compliance for a global financial services firm. He has one son at RPMS who started at Kindergarten and is currently in 7th grade.
Board Treasurer &
Business Finance and Audit Committee Chair
Chris joined the Board in 2015 and serves as Chair of the Business, Finance, and Accounting Committee. He and his wife, Monisha, have been involved with the school since 2008 and have two daughters attending: Anna (Aspen) and Mae (Sycamore). Chris is Chief Operating Officer of the National Center for Teacher Residencies, still tries to swim competitively, and plays bluegrass music whenever possible.
Kathy is an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1998. For the past 17 years, Kathy's practice has focused primarily on employment law. Most recently, Kathy held an Of Counsel position at Barakat Law Group and served as Senior Counsel in the City of Chicago's Department of Law Employment Litigation Division. Kathy also has been an active member of ROOTS, RPMS's parent organization. Specifically, Kathy chaired ROOTS' New Families Committee and co-ran ROOTS' Leadership Team from 2016-2019. Her son Omar is a sixth grader in Sequoia.
Marketing Committee Chair
Miguel joined the RPMS Board in 2019. He along with his wife Lee and son Max have been members of the RPMS community since 2013. Miguel is a native Chicagoan who grew up in Albany Park. He is a business owner (The Coffee Studio) and designer (Design Union) who spends his free time drawing comics, perfecting simple cocktails, and making music.
Vasili became a Board member in 2016, after joining the Business Finance and Audit Committee a year earlier. Vasili, his wife Caroline, and their two daughters, Vivian (Oak) and Juliet (Palm) have been part of the RPMS community since 2013. Vasili is VP, Finance at OppLoans, an online lender. In his free time, Vasili enjoys playing guitar, bike riding and playing games.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair
Yvette joined the RPMS Board in 2018 and currently chairs the Diversity and Inclusion parent committee at RPMS. Yvette and her partner, Eileen Murphy, have two sons at RPMS, Colin (Walnut) and Emmett (Palm). Yvette is a lifelong Chicagoan and works as a Software Engineer and Data Scientist. Yvette enjoys biking, hiking and camping with her family.
Alignment Committee Chair
Paul joined the RPMS Board in 2018 after working as a non-board member on the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee for a year. Paul and his wife Karen have been a part of the RPMS community since 2012. Daughters Nora and Josie are currently students in Hawthorne and Magnolia/Ginkgo Kindergarten, respectively, and look forward to their younger brother Wes enrolling in the school in the future. Paul is Managing Director at Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc., an investment management firm. Paul likes hanging out with the family, and playing guitar and tennis.
Mita joined the RPMS Board in 2017 after working as a non-board member on the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee for a year. She and her husband, Manu, have two daughters, Riya (Aspen) and Sonali (Sequoia). Mita has held various roles in finance for more than 20 years and is currently the SVP of Tax & Treasury at Edelman, a global public relations company. When Mita has free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking, and learning to cook new vegetarian recipes.
Immediate Past President
Having joined the RPMS Board of Directors in 2011, and serving as Board President through May 2019, Danielle is currently serving as Immediate Past Board President. She has been active on both the Trustees Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is mother to two RPMS graduates (Carter and Ethan), and one current student Oliver (Sycamore). Danielle had a career in mediation, facilitation, and training, and is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for Beacon Academy Montessori High School. Danielle enjoys playing as much tennis as possible, as well as reading, biking, and hiking.
Advancement Committee Chair
Katherine is the Chief Administrative Officer and Global General Counsel at cleverbridge, one of the world's leading ecommerce solutions companies. Katherine is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Katherine is a past-President of the Coalition for Women’s Initiatives in Law and a founding member of the US Soccer Development Council. She is also a former McKinsey consultant and, after law school, clerked for the Honorable Diane P. Wood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. And in her free time, Katherine co-hosts the legal podcast Heels of Justice. Katherine’s daughter Lois is in the Maple and Ginkgo Kindergarten classrooms and will begin the 6-9 Program in the fall.
Nancy Nassr is an experienced educator and Head of School at the Ancona School, a Montessori-inspired school in Hyde Park. Nancy joined the Ancona community in 2016 as Assistant Head of School and served as Ancona’s Interim Head of School during the 2017-2018 school year. Nancy has been an educator for over 15 years: as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and school leader.
Nancy has presented at national and international conferences on issues of restorative practices; creativity in the classroom; and using games and digital platforms to engage, challenge and assess student learning. She is an active volunteer in several nonprofits serving the Muslim community. She believes that teaching and learning are fundamental human experiences and is dedicated to cultivating school environments built upon respect, collaboration, and educating the whole child. She is dedicated to social justice—both in and outside the classroom— and committed to the use of restorative practices for conflict management.
Alumni Relations Chair
Chris became a member of the RPMS community in 2003. He and his wife Susan Bennett have two children: Anya (alumnus; class of 2014) and Ben (alumnus; class of 2015). He has participated in many activities at RPMS throughout the years including coaching basketball, building the playground, chaperoning field trips, TS Love, carpool and many more. Chris is a woodworker/furniture builder. He stays fit by playing basketball and soccer.
Trustees Committee Chair
Anand joined the Board in 2019. He and his wife, Bethany, have a daughter Priya (Redwood) and a son Pavanaj (joining toddler program in the Fall). Anand was a Montessori kid long ago, and these days spends as much time as possible on the ground with the kids. He also enjoys cooking, biking, basking in the sun, and buying books he never makes time to read. Anand is a civil rights attorney at Loevy & Loevy.