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Love of Learning Leads Head of School to Kalamazoo

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Ann Pilzner - The Montessori School

Growing up Ann Pilzner called many places home. Her family moved multiple times throughout her childhood. As a result, her most meaningful connection to a community was three years in Royal Oak.

Now a wife and mother of two, Pilzner is growing roots in Kalamazoo and on track to set a new record for community longevity thanks in part to her position as Head of School at The Montessori School.

"We've lived in Kalamazoo for two years now," Pilzner said. "We love the community feel and how vibrant the area is. It's also a great place to raise a family."

Pilzner and her family lived in the Winchell Neighborhood for two years before she joined The Montessori School in April of this year. Even so, Pilzner said taking the position has allowed her to feel more connected to the Kalamazoo community.

"The Montessori School is a really special place," Pilzner said. "I love working with children on a daily basis and getting the message out in the community about Montessori education and what it can offer to families."

Based on the research of Dr. Maria Montessori, "the Montessori method emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and a respect for the child. Classroom spaces are purposefully designed and materials carefully curated in pursuit of an education partnership," according to the school's website.

With campuses in Kalamazoo and Richland, the school has educated students ages 3-12 for 40 years.

Pilzner was a traditional student herself and taught at a traditional school in Detroit for two years before learning about the Montessori method while searching for preschool options. She immediately connected with the methodology and went on to become a teacher at a Montessori school and later an administrator.

"I wish I had found Montessori earlier," she said. "I taught in a traditional way for the first part of my career never knowing that Montessori existed."

Working in education is difficult, but rewarding Pilzner said.

"Regardless of becoming an administrator, teaching is the hardest position on Earth," Pilzner said. "It is something that should be highly respected. I have such great admiration for the teachers I work with."

Prior to joining The Montessori School, Pilzner served as Head of School at Battle Creek Montessori Academy and commuted. Her husband works at Whirlpool in Benton Harbor and still commutes.

"It is really important to us to live in a place that has a lot to offer," Pilzner said. "Living in Kalamazoo is worth the sacrifices made as a commuter.

"I love that Kalamazoo is a college town. There's a lot of energy and lots to do from cultural opportunities to arts and entertainment," she said.

She and her family particularly enjoy the outdoor summer events and the Kalamazoo Public Library.

"Honestly, the library was part of our decision to move to Kalamazoo!" she said.

Enrollment for the 2016-17 school year at The Montessori School is underway. To learn more visit themontessorischool.org, connect with the school on Facebook, or call (269) 349-3248.

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