The Steamboat Springs School District's search for a Montessori teacher ended Tuesday when Arkansas elementary teacher Linda Stansbery accepted the newly created position.
Stansbery, a 32-year teaching veteran from Little Rock, will begin Montessori training in Boulder on June 7.
"I know I'm going to really enjoy it," Stansbery said. "I'm the type of person that when I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."
The hiring ends a search that began in March, shortly after district officials decided to create a multi-year Montessori pilot program at Strawberry Park Elementary School. The decision was part of a settlement agreement with Steamboat Springs Montessori, a group of parents that filed a lawsuit against the school system after it refused to approve a Montessori charter school application. Steamboat Springs Montessori dropped the lawsuit as part of the agreement.
The program will start this fall with 23 students in one first- through third-grade classroom.
Stansbery, who has a master's degree in early childhood education and has taught in public and private schools, now teaches second grade. She has no Montessori experience but has taught in learning centers where students move throughout the classroom and work independently in various subject areas -- characteristics of Montessori programs.
She said she's excited to begin Montessori training and learn a new method of educating children.
"I'm not afraid of change," Stansbery said. "We need new challenges. I'm just ready to do it."
The district had hoped one of its existing teachers would step forward to train in Montessori and accept the position, but the three teachers who showed interest weren't able to devote their summer to the nine-week training. The district then advertised the position and attempted to recruit Montessori-trained teachers, but to no avail.
Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal John DeVincentis described Stansbery as someone who possesses a great deal of professionalism, a great personality and a good sense of humor.
"I think it will be a good match," he said.
So does Stansbery.
"I loved Strawberry Park," she said. "It's a wonderful school. I like the way it's set up, and the people made me feel very comfortable. I was really impressed."
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