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Introducing the 2022 MACTE Symposium Keynote Speakers

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Dr. Ana María García Blanco

Executive Director of Instituto Nueva Escuela

"How to Build a Community Connection Around Montessori"

Ana María is a Puerto Rican educator who pioneered Montessori public education in the Island. She is currently executive director of Instituto Nueva Escuela, nonprofit organization, devoted to the social and educational transformation of the public education system through the Montessori method.


Upon graduating from Harvard University - where she completed her doctoral degrees - she returned to Puerto Rico and, alongside a group of parents and teachers from Juan Domingo, reopened the public school since then known as La Nueva Escuela Juan Ponce de León. For 23 years she was the school’s principal, where she introduced the Montessori method and the Collective (participative governance model), increasing student achievement, reducing school desertion, eradicating school violence and engaging parents in the social academic project of the school.

Dr. García Blanco has served as the Instituto Nueva Escuela’s (INE) executive director since 2009 — the INE serves now 46 public schools around the Island. Dr. García Blanco has authored several publications, chapter and articles on education, including ‘‘A Community-Based Approach to Education Reform in Puerto Rico,’’ which appeared in Edwin Meléndez’s Colonial Dilemma, Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Puerto Rico, and coauthored ‘‘Entitlements of Latino Students and Parents in the Massachussets Public Educational System: Some Legal and Policy Considerations,’’ for the University of Massachusetts’ Mauricio Gastón Institute. She has taught at the University of the Sacred Heart, the University of Puerto Rico and Inter American University, and was teaching fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has also lectured in Puerto Rico, Massachusetts and New York.

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John Hunter

Founder of The World Peace Game

Embracing our Connections Around the World

John Hunter is an award-winning gifted teacher and educational consultant who has dedicated his life to helping children realize their full potential. Employing his background as a musician composer and filmmaker during a three-decade career as a teacher, Hunter has combined his gifted teaching and artistic talents to develop unique teaching programs using multimedia software programs in creative writing and film courses. In 1978, at the Richmond Community High School, Hunter led the first sessions of his World Peace Game. Over time, in a synchronous unfolding with the growing global focus on increasingly complex social and political conditions, the game has gained new impetus. As Hunter succinctly explains, “The World Peace Game is about learning to live and work comfortably in the unknown.”


Dr. Daniel Willingham

Professor of Psychology at University of Virginia

"How Montessori Education Aligns with Contemporary Science: The Vital Role of Knowledge"

Daniel Willingham earned his B.A. from Duke University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990. He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1992. Until about 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today, all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-16 education.

He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine, and is the author of Why Don't Students Like School?, When Can You Trust the Experts?, Raising Kids Who Read, and The Reading Mind. His writing on education has appeared in eighteen languages.

In 2017 he was appointed by President Obama to serve as a Member of the National Board for Education Sciences.

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Dr. Herman Bounds

Director of the Accreditation Group, Office of Post Secondary Education, US Department of Education (USDE)

"Why is Accreditation Evidence of Quality?"

Dr. Bounds administers the USDE's review process of accrediting agencies and state approval agencies for postsecondary education and continued recognition by the Secretary of Education. The Accreditation Group carries out the Secretary's responsibility to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies and associations which the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education and training offered by postsecondary institutions and programs.

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Tetiana Mykhalchuk

Instructor for UMC

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Tetiana Vakulemko

Instructor for UMC

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Nataliia Prybylska

Instructor for UMC

Ginny Cusack

Leadership Coach for UMC

"Educating Our Teachers in a Time of War"

Ukrainian Montessori Center (UMC)

The keynote speakers for Friday, December 9 at our MACTE 2022 Symposium "Embracing our Connections" will be faculty from the Ukrainian Montessori Center. These dedicated women will share their experience of preparing future Montessori teachers in the midst of a war.

MACTE Board Panel & Table Talks

Along with the keynote speakers, we will host a panel discussion with the MACTE Board of Directors. And as always, there will be the popular Table Talks session, a time for attendees to contribute to discussions of interest amongst colleagues. Please reach out to our staff should you have any questions. 

We look forward to seeing you in December!

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