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Board Spotlights

The best possible education to prepare for the future

When baking a cake, simply assembling the ingredients does not make a cake; they must be mixed in the proper portions and baked for the appropriate time. The same is true for the “ingredients” of companies and nations. In our complex modern world, simply hiring engineers, financiers, lawyers, etc. will not make a successful company or government; they must all work together to achieve a successful outcome. Even for an individual working with others is a crucial ingredient for success. 

As an engineer, I have seen hundreds of knowledgeable engineers who live in a world of LaPlace Transforms and Bessel Functions but could not work with others to achieve a result. The Montessori philosophy addresses this issue in a way that public education does not.

Most instruction in public schools is by lecture; teachers talk, students hopefully listen. At Montessori schools like The Montessori School of Raleigh, students work together and explore and, in doing so, learn something equally as valuable as the subject material. They learn to work with others to achieve an outcome. They learn that others may have different opinions and methods of completing the task but must all work together to accomplish the result. They also learn personal responsibility; if they do not do their part in finishing the task, the task will not be completed. This knowledge of human relations is equally as important in later success as is knowledge of math, science, etc.

And the results of this ability to work together have been shown in numerous academic studies. Here is a quote from December 28, 2021, Forbes Magazine by Dr. Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia: “What surprised us is that pretty much everything in the sink turned out significant — on almost every survey, people who had spent at least two years in Montessori had higher well-being than people who never went to Montessori,” says Lillard. “This was true even among the sub-sample who attended private schools for their entire pre-college lives. We also found that the longer one had attended a Montessori school, the higher their level of well-being.”

Charles Bayless Trustee

When I was contacted to write my submission for the “Board Spotlight” section of the MSR e-newsletter, I was asked, “What are the highlights of being a grandparent of current MSR students?” My answer was easy, “I know that my grandchildren are getting the best possible education to prepare them for a difficult and uncertain future.”

[Charles Bayless is the retired President of the West Virginia University of Technology and former CEO of both Tucson Electric Power and Illinois Power. He is the author of numerous papers on the Electric Utility Industry. Charles has a BSEE from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology, an MSEE and a J.D. from West Virginia University, and a MBA from the University of Michigan. Charles and his wife Joan have triplet grandchildren: Paige, Madison, and Jonathan who currently attend MSR.]


Meet MSR Trustee Candace Waters

Candace Waters, MD (nee Candace Mitchell ’03) grew up in Raleigh and attended The Montessori School of Raleigh from Children’s House through grade 6. She is now an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology/Head of neck Surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. Her clinical focus is in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

When recently asked what the greatest values she gained from a MSR education were that she continues to use in her professional career today, Candace noted, “In surgical training, one of our classic mantras is ‘see one, do one, teach one.’ I think it was one of the things that drew me to surgery, as it felt so familiar from my Montessori days. The idea that you learn from those ahead of you, internalize the process, then pass it on to the next "generation" of learners is something that was instilled in me from an early age and I love that every day I get the chance to pass on the skills I have developed to the residents training with me.”

As an alumna of MSR, Candace has many fond memories of her time on the Lead Mine Campus. Her earliest memories of the physical campus include the Children’s House playground. She notes that her and her mom “still laugh about the pockets full of “fool’s gold” that I would come home with after exploring in the dirt during recess.” There is a true sense of exploration of the natural world that permeates the Montessori philosophy that continues to be passed down to the current generation of students at MSR. 

Candace also recalls the variety of lessons in her classes including “being so enthralled that you could take grammar and give it a graphic form…a few friends and I wanted to go beyond the sentences we had been provided and dedicated the better part of a week diagramming a Shakespeare sonnet in a large format for display in the classroom.” Candace notes that, though she didn’t realize it at the time, the penchant for  spatial reasoning  that drove that Upper Elementary classroom exploration  has also fueled her career as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. 

This is Candace’s second year serving on the MSR Board of Trustees. In her free time, she and her husband love backcountry camping and traveling to the far reaches of the globe, but those adventures are on hold as they adjust to life with their young son.




Meet MSR Trustee Patty Eggerding

When asked what is the value of a Montessori education, MSR Trustee Patty Eggerding responded, “We [educators] value curiosity in Montessori education. We want children to follow their interests and natural curiosity for learning; we want them to be excited about learning for their entire lives. We look to develop the whole child in Montessori including the child’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development.”

Patty currently serves as Head of School at West Suburban Montessori School located in the greater Chicago area. She has dedicated more than 30 years of her life to working with children. As a Montessori teacher and administrator, Patty believes in the power of a Montessori education and the difference it can make in the lives of children and, ultimately, in our world.

When asked what brings her the most joy working in a Montessori school, Patty noted, “I love knowing the children…seeing [their] growth, maturity, curiosity for learning, and development…it is a gift.” She continued, “I also enjoy listening to the perspective of each child. It is almost always uplifting, insightful, and positive. My best moments are spent talking with the children.” 

This year is Patty’s first year serving as a trustee at MSR, where she also participates on the board’s finance committee. Patty lives in La Grange, Illinois with her husband Scott and three children.  In her free time she enjoys exercising with friends, traveling, gardening, reading, and driving to countless soccer games and cross country meets.