Montessori Matters

February 15, 2019

Chat with the Administrator Report

Tuesday evening’s “Chat with the Administrator” had quite a few parents in attendance to voice their concerns and questions about the recent personnel announcement. The conversation quickly turned to broader concerns and questions regarding the MSA Board of Trustees and Administration. Several parents indicated that they do not know who the board members are or have knowledge about how the board operates, so I would like to provide some of this information to you.

The board currently has seven members: Mr. Vince Fanello (president), Mrs. Jennifer Cline (vice president), Mr. David Rogers, Dr. Keremy MacDonald, Dr. Dan Keenan, Mrs. KD Simpson, and Mr. Chris Simcoe. Ms. Karen Holt, MSA Founder, and Mrs. Gloria Harmon also serve on the board as ex officio, non-voting members. The board meets monthly in the conference room of the main office to handle the financial business of the school.

Having served in the past as a board member and later as Administrator of MSA, I can tell you how important it is to have a board and an administrator who work together to advance the mission of the school. You should be pleased to know that the current board and I have a very positive and productive working relationship. During this time of self-assessment for re-accreditation, the board has worked diligently to ensure that we have and follow the documentation necessary to meet the standards for the governing body of an independent school, such as a board orientation packet, code of ethics, conflict of interest statement, and bylaws (available in the main office). The board also ensures that we have the financial statements and documents required as evidence to meet standards, such as budgets, compilation/audit, and annual report (available at the April Annual Meeting). Filling vacancies on the board,revising the bylaws to allow for non-parent MSA board members, and improving teacher salary and benefits has also been a goal of the board this year.

I have known most of the current board members for many years. Board president and father of three girls, Vince Fanello, has been a parent at MSA for 15 years. During that time, he has given consistently to MSA’s Annual Fund, sponsored the Spring Benefit, sponsored Fall Fest, and been a named donor during MSA’s Capital Campaign to support the high school program - funding the science lab. Vince, a successful business owner, was nominated to the board to share his business acumen. His primary focus during his service on the board has been to place MSA in better financial standing than when he began. As he approaches the end of his time on the board, he will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has done just that!

Board vice president and mother of two boys, Jennifer Cline, has been a parent at MSA for 12 years. She has been the coordinator of the Parent Panel since 2009, organizing all of the fundraisers/events on campus, such as Fall Fest, Book Fair, Field Day, etc. She also served on the steering committee for Spring Benefit for several years, supporting the tuition assistance fund. Jennifer was nominated to the board because of her fundraising knowledge and volunteer coordinating experience. She has far exceeded the “Two Hour” parent volunteer pledge serving as chaperone/driver for numerous field trips, organizing teacher recognition luncheons and holiday gifts, and much more. Her presence on campus is a welcome one!

Vince and Jennifer are just two of the board members who have invested in this school with their time and talents again and again. The others have similar stories of how they have supported MSA over the years and continue to do so for the purpose of continuous improvement for student success. Every decision made by this board is made with that consideration first and foremost. Many of the concerns that were expressed last Tuesday have existed for years, but the board we have now is not content with maintaining the status quo, committed instead to bring about positive change for the governance of our school. They would welcome other members who share that vision and they are working to bring that about.

Lastly, I would like to share that during the “priority” enrollment period, a majority of our families submitted their enrollment agreements to reserve their child(ren)’s place for the 2019/2020 school year. This sign of confidence in the education that MSA provides to all of her students is greatly appreciated. We maintain that even with the challenges we face, MSA still provides the best environment for your child(ren)’s education. Through it all, the Montessori Method and philosophy prevail and the successes of our students academically and in life are the proof!


Dr. Dana Hill, Administrator

Montessori School of Anderson

Dates to Remember

February 16 - 2019/2020 enrollment has opened to new families

February 18 - President's Day - All Programs Closed, Extended Day Available

February 21 - UE poetry night

February 22 - Last day to order yearbooks to be guaranteed a copy

February 23 - HS Mock Trial Regional Competition in Greenville

February 24 - MSA Open House, 1-4PM

March 11 - 21 - MAP testing

March 17 - MSA Open House, 1-4PM

March 22 - Teacher professional development day

March 25-29 - Spring parent conferences

March 30 - Spring Benefit at 6:30PM at the T. Ed Garrison Event Center

Book Fair - It's not over yet!

Did the truck with Clifford the Big Red Dog come to pick up the books before you had time to shop? Don’t worry - you can still shop the ONLINE book fair through February 23rd. Use this link to shop the Scholastic catalog with free shipping to the school and proceeds benefiting MSA. Many thanks to all of the parents and teachers who volunteered at our book fair this week! This fundraiser will provide additional books and materials for all classrooms across campus. And best of all we have so many happy students as they found exciting new books to read!
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The Benefits of Spring Benefit

Spring Benefit, the largest fundraiser of the year, funds the tuition assistance program at MSA. Offering tuition assistance is vital to fulfilling the mission of our school. It brings a socio-economic diversity to our community that is consistent with our desire to serve all children, despite financial need. Additionally, by increasing our enrollment overall by making MSA a more affordable option for dozens of students each year, the cost of tuition for ALL students is lower.

Spring Benefit By-the-Numbers:

  • Spring Benefit is being held on March 30, 2019 at 6:30 PM at the T. Ed Garrison Event Center.

  • Only 250 tickets to the event are sold.

  • A ticket costs $150 and admits 2 people.

  • Recipients of tuition assistance must sell at least 1 ticket to the event to “pay-it-forward” for the next year's fund.

  • Over the past ten years, Spring Benefit has raised approximately $38,000 each year for MSA's tuition assistance fund.

  • Approximately, 20-30 students are recipients of these funds each year, enabling them to attend MSA.

  • A student can receive up to 50% of the cost of tuition through assistance. No student receives more than 50%.

  • Over 60% of families receive some form of tuition assistance, including the military, alumni, sibling, and single pay discounts.

Please support this most important event through volunteer hours, ticket sales, auction item donations, and/or purchases the night of our event. It is a fun night to enjoy time with our community members and it is for a good, no, the best, cause - our children!

Dr. Dana Hill, Administrator

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Grandparent's/Special Person's Day

On Valentine's Day, Primary, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary welcomed grandparents and special persons into their classrooms for a bite to eat and to show them around the works and day-to-day activities. Students were excited to demonstrate their abilities for their loved ones. Several of the classrooms' visits were lucky enough to coincide with Singing Valentine deliveries, so they were also serenaded with songs dedicated to students and teachers.
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Upper Elementary gave their grandparents and special persons a sneak peak of this week's Poetry Night poetry readings.

Tom Sawyer

The Middle School did a wonderful job with their presentation of Tom Sawyer this past Thursday and Friday! Their resilience through a hectic last couple weeks before the play is a testament to the quality of their theater education and preparation. Thank you to all who came to see it! Look for many more photos in next week's issue of Montessori Matters.
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Yearbook Purchase Deadline

This Friday, February 22 is the last day to purchase your student's yearbook to be guaranteed a copy! After that date, our yearbook printing company will choose a limited number of additional yearbooks to print, and once that supply is exhausted, they're gone! Preserve the memories by purchasing a yearbook today at this link or by stopping by the front office this week! We will send home paper order forms this week as well. Feel free to check with Mr. Dabney at if you are unsure if you have already purchased a yearbook for your child or have any additional questions.
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Montessori School of Anderson

Our mission is to nurture the whole child, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, preparing students for academic excellence, lifelong learning and responsible, caring lives.