Adolescent Program Director Announcement

Dear MSLF Community,

We are pleased to tell you that we have succeeded in filling the role of Montessori School of Lake Forest Adolescent Program Director. Since Ann Jordahl left this position in order to lead the school in June, 2013, we have conducted two formal searches and directly approached several individuals, in ongoing efforts to fill this position. We are grateful to Bev Adamczyk who agreed to temporarily direct the Adolescent Program during the 2013-14 school year.

We searched carefully for an individual to fulfill our Adolescent Program’s distinctive criteria, including:

  • A wide range of experience in working with young people; developing and leading programs; teaching, collaborating with colleagues, students, and parents; expanding enrollment; managing critical issues-all skills necessary to ground the Adolescent Program.
  • The capacity to continue to build our Adolescent Program by developing local, urban, national, and international connections both within the Montessori community and within the larger worlds of higher education, sustainability, arts and culture, and service.
  • The ability to engage in critical thinking across the disciplines; offer sound and well-proven leadership skills; collaborate with and support parents; and serve as a good guide for students as they prepare to enter high school and college, and to develop part-time and full-time job opportunities.
  • Teaching experience with a wide range of youth; familiarity with Montessori education; possessing an advanced degree; the insight to engage successfully with the challenges of Montessori philosophy, and the maturity to collaborate well with our high performing faculty, our sophisticated parent body, and our richly varied and high-potential student body.

After a 3 year search, MSLF has appointed Stephen Sennott, a teacher and youth mentor who worked at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he served 14 years as Assistant Dean and adjunct professor in the College of Architecture. Steve is already known to many in the MSLF community, most recently as a Chicago tour guide for the Adolescent Program, a former committee volunteer, an alumni parent, and the spouse of Ann Jordahl.

Steve’s application and qualifications indisputably established him as our single strongest candidate for the position. His deep familiarity with Maria Montessori’s collaborative approach to education and community has informed his teaching, advising, and administrative tasks. The Adolescent Program students will be well served, too, by his experience as a mentor for Chicago-area middle school and high school students engaged in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Saturday Studios and as the director of IIT’s summer high school workshop, “Experiment in Architecture.”

We have worked carefully with MSLF’s Board of Directors and have pursued this opportunity fully aware of the challenge and promise it offers.  Per their guidance, candidate interviews were conducted by a team. The selection process prompted a useful review of procedures, and to maintain the integrity of our employee communications we have added a formal whistleblower policy to the Employee Handbook. In addition, Ann has taken steps to insure that Steve’s formal report and review process will be conducted by another employee than herself.

We are confident that Steve will foster the MSLF Adolescent Program as a teacher, mentor, and program director. To this end, he will seek to develop relationships with the full MSLF community beginning this spring, before he formally joins the MSLF faculty this fall. He will be reaching out to faculty and students and there will be opportunities to meet him during the spring and summer. Please feel free to invite him to events or to contact him with ideas or questions.

We are fully committed to maintaining the Montessori School of Lake Forest as an open learning community, focused on serving the parent-child-teacher triad, on behalf of all of your children. To that end, we seek to hire only the very best in faculty. Please contact either of us with comments, questions, or concerns. As you know, the door is always open.

Best wishes to all of you, and please join us in welcoming Steve to MSLF.

Ann Jordahl
Executive Director
Tom Zengeler
President, Board of Directors

Feeding the Powerful and Hungry Mind

Christian Noble webDear MSLF Families,

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”  — Albert Einstein

MSLF Elementary students see problems all around them and find solutions.  Imagine the level of commitment and thinking they will bring to the world-problems they will face as adults.

Over the past school year, MSLF’s Elementary students:

  • Have raised money for UNICEF, organized a book drive, donated class funds and labored to repair the story ring wall, volunteered to help in Toddler classes, persistently communicated to avoid fighting, raised money for rainforest preservation.
  • Managed classroom budgets based on necessities, savings, and discretionary spending, differentiated between needs and wants and set priorities of needs.
  • Committed themselves to lesson and practice work schedules, drew maps, created posters, wrote reports, built models, drafted timelines, studied civics, practiced math facts and vocabulary words, learned pre-algebra and geometry by hand, learned the parts of speech through action and symbolizing, learned engineering by building a computer, developed focus, memory and high standards by writing in cursive using cartridge and dip pens, published newsletters, used microscopes to study cells, identified evolutionary sequences, performed complex dissections, and much, much more.

Elementary education is the great Montessori secret!  Elementary children grow fast, focus on problem- solving, use compassion to face loss, want to work in groups and learn how to lead.  These qualities point to the Elementary child’s strongest trait:  A powerful and hungry mind.

Excellent Elementary education is vital, for a child’s brain will never again be as receptive and powerful as it is during the years from 6 to 12.  Elementary age brains need to be stimulated and guided by inspiring and knowledgeable educators who feed learning via the vast Montessori Elementary curriculum of “cosmic education.”  MSLF Elementary students connect to the world in complex and challenging ways.  They grow up to join the ranks of the innovators and problem-solvers who make their childhood visions come true.

Join an Elementary class for an observation.  You’ll see that these students have things to learn and places to go, and they’ll reach their goals by hand, on foot, by telephone and Skype, through planning, hard work and practice, by committee and meeting, by appointment, by car and public transit, and on the wings of their soaring imaginations!  Travel with these adventurers as they investigate the myriad realities of the cosmos they call home.

Best Wishes, and see you down in Elementary!

Ann Jordahl

Executive Director

Summer Camp Details

summersplash_postThis year’s MSLF Summer Camp will feature a different continent each week; the schedule follows below. Along with exposure to each continent’s history, culture and traditions, campers will have opportunities to swim twice a week with Michael Shanahan, the new swim instructor, cook once a week with Julia Lunn, visit the local Farmers’ Markets, and take trips to the Lake Bluff Library and Lake Forest Beach.

The Elementary Camp activities will be nature-based, academic, customized to the campers’ interest levels, student-driven, and will place an emphasis on team-building. Opportunities may include working with tools to learn some basic woodworking skills and gardening; exploring outdoor environments both at MSLF and area forest preserves; bringing back samples from their explorations to study under a microscope; and studying various cultures. Plans include hosting Pioneer Week, where students will learn to cook outdoors using Dutch ovens, play colonial games, and experience an Oregon Trail simulation. An Overnight Camp-Out on the MSLF property may be offered once per session.

Week 1:  Asia

Week 2: Africa

Week 3 & 4: North America

Week 5: Europe

Week 6: South America

Week 7: Australia

Week 8: Antarctica