about RPMS

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).  

Please refer to our RPMS Non-Discrimination Policy

RPMS at a glance

RPMS At a Glance: 2019-2020

Founded in Rogers Park in 1966
Student Body: 324 (ages 2-14)
Students receiving tuition assistance: 12%
Students of color: 30.3%

Most of our families live within five miles of RPMS and come from the following neighborhoods:  Andersonville, Lincoln Square, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Bowmanville, Lakeview, Ravenswood, and Lincoln Park.

virtual tour

please enjoy a stroll through our school

our history

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 1994, RPMS opened a 9-12 program and a year later, with the continued growth of the elementary program, new space was leased at 1020 West Bryn Mawr in the Edgewater Presbyterian Church. This building housed our 6-9 and 9-12 classrooms and after-school elementary program.  The combination of growth and separate buildings created the need to look for a single site to house both our programs. This search spanned over 10 years.

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.

academic staff

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.

early childhood
teaching staff

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.

middle school
teaching staff

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

Montessori teacher training is specific to age groups:

  • Toddler (2 year olds)
  • Children's House (3-6 year olds)
  • Lower Elementary (6-9 year olds)
  • Upper Elementary (9-12 year olds)
  • Middle School/Adolescent (12-14 year olds).

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.  

board members 


Ben Blair

RPMS Principal

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 an Upper Elementary student and a Kindergarten student in the Children's House program at the school.

Lori Morlock

Board President

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 (Class of 2021), Emily (Aspen), and Tessa (Upper Elementary). 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, "Among the Beautiful Beasts" will be published by SheWrites Press on June 1, 2021. If she's not writing, Lori can probably be found riding her horse, Schroeder, or taking long walks with the family dogs, Lucky and Clementine.

Anand Swaminathan

Vice President, Trustees Committee Chair

Anand joined the Board in 2019. He and his wife, Bethany, have a daughter Priya (Lower Elementary) and a son Pavanaj (Children’s House). 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.

Paul Herbert

Treasurer, Business Finance and Audit 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 part of the community since 2012 and have three children at RPMS, Nora (Upper Elementary), Josie (Lower Elementary), and Wes (Kindergarten). 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.

Kathy Barakat


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 was an active member of the RPMS Family Association, chairing the New Families Committee and co-ran Leadership Team from 2016-2019. Her son Omar is an 8th grader in Aspen.

Maggie Adams

Maggie and her husband Rod have been part of the RPMS community since 2013. Their daughters, Kayla and Siena are in Upper and Lower Elementary. Maggie is a Business Development Executive with Oak Point Partners and prior to that spent 23 years with PwC. In her free time she loves to travel, cook, play tennis and snowboard.

Kirsten Andersen

Kirsten joined the RPMS board in 2021. She and her husband, Phil, have two sons Kellen (Lower Elementary) and Harper (Kindergarten) and have been members of the RPMS community since 2017. Kirsten has a PhD in Sociology and currently works as an independent researcher. She also has experience in nonprofit strategy, fundraising and alumni relations. When not working, Kirsten loves to travel, take bike rides with the family and do just about anything outdoors.

Miguel Cano

Marketing Committee Chair 

Miguel joined the RPMS Board in 2019. He along with his wife Lee and son Max (Upper Elementary) 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.   

Timothy Dana

Tim joined the Board in 2021 after spending time helping on some Finance subcommittees. Tim, his wife Lindsey and their three children Nella (Aspen), Teddy (Upper Elementary) and Ruben (Kindergarten) have been a part of the RPMS community since 2012. He graduated from the University of Michigan and currently serves as a Managing Director for BMO Financial Group. Tim loves watching his kids grow and play sports (sometimes coaching), beach & mountain vacations and finding time for golf, tennis or at least a run.

Melissa Douglas

A 2021 addition, Melissa brings her almost 20 years of client advocacy experience and relationship building skills to the board. She thrives in the fast paced Fintech industry, finding opportunities to help North America's largest retailers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys spending time at her cottage in Southwest Michigan and riding the Peloton. She frequently participates in dance parties at the Douglas household with her husband, Ryan and daughters Norah(Upper Elementary) and Maddie (Lower Elementary).

Yvette Gonzales

Diversity, Equity, 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 (Aspen Middle School) and Emmett (Upper Elementary).  Yvette is a lifelong Chicagoan and works as a Software Engineer and Data Scientist. Yvette enjoys biking, hiking and camping with her family. 

Beth Kronfeld

Beth Kronfeld joined the RPMS community in 2017 and counts her two children, one in Lower Elementary and one in Children's House, very fortunate to be RPMS students. Beth started her career in investment banking in New York City and then pivoted to serve in the fundraising area of a non-profit where she traveled the world teaching the organization’s volunteers how to effectively fundraise. She currently manages the investments and financial activities of a private family office and is a member of the board of directors of ANDE, a global leader in rapid DNA technology. Beth graduated from Vassar College with a concentration in Economics and earned an MBA from The Wharton School. She loves theatre and has served as a Trustee of Writers Theatre (Glencoe) since 2010 and previously served on the Board of Governors of the Stratford Festival in Canada.

Jennifer Lakomy

Jennifer joined the RPMS Board in 2020 after working for a year as a non-board member on the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee and volunteering for several other roles within the school. Jennifer, her husband, Kevin and their two daughters, Avery (Middle School) and Madison (Upper Elementary) have been part of the RPMS community since 2012. Jennifer's experience includes various accounting and finance positions and she is currently a VP/Director at Diversified Financial Management Corp., a private family office. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, including cheering on her kids' sports teams, cooking, traveling, and playing tennis.

Katherine Minarik

Development 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 a third grade student in Lower Elementary. 

Nancy Nassr

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.

Dan Roberts

Dan is the Executive Director of a local youth development organization called CircEsteem. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector both in Chicago and overseas, and is excited to support RPMS by serving on the board. Before moving to Chicago in 2016, Dan and his wife, Renny, founded and operated a non-government organization in Indonesia called Red Nose Foundation for 9 years. They have two children at school (Upper and Lower Elementary) who continue to grow and shine with the kind support and encouragement from their incredible teachers and school staff.

Todd Schrade

Todd Schrade joined the building and finance committee in 2019 and accepted a position with the RPMS board in 2020. He has been a parent in the RPMS community since 2012, his son Henry will be a sixth grader in Upper Elementary. Todd is a partner at Midway Capital Research & Management, and he is a Certified Public Accountant. When he isn't reading or parenting, Todd enjoys competitive swimming, classical music, and Legos.

american montessori society accreditation

excelerate accreditation

isacs accreditation

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1800 W. Balmoral Ave Chicago, IL 60640

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