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For six years, Ali has led MMAEC to be a Montessori leader on the West side of the state, building the program (and the physical school) into a thriving community rooted in true Montessori principles. Beginning her career as a teacher, Ali eventually made her way to West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, a Choice Schools sister school that also featured an environmental focus, and eventually left to pursue leadership at MMAEC. Unlike WMAES, MMAEC doesn't sit on a large nature preserve - but it is right around the corner from Lake Michigan, and Ali's educator team works hard to instill principles of sustainability and global responsibility in their students, using the lake as just one learning tool. For every student at MMAEC, there is no end to the learning journey - kids are individuals who grow, beginning where they're at, with endless opportunities to set goals and achieve amazing results. Under Ali's leadership, the school continues to meet high standards - and expand meaningfully.
I’m proud to be a charter educator and administrator because I get to see and allow my teachers to be the professional educators that they are - they come up with great ideas, and take risks, and find new ways to get through content in a way that’s more applicable to the world around them. But above all else, I’m always seeing passion in what they da, because they get to help create the educational experience at our school.
Our teachers are amazing - that Friday when we heard we wouldn't return next Monday, their gears started turning and they immediately put together materials for our students. And while I confidently say our Continuity of Learning Plan truly started on day one, we've worked hard to improve and streamline as we learn - we've been graced with a tremendous gift from a donor, who supplied us with 125 Chromebooks that have been a huge access improvement for our kids. I'm so proud of my team, I'm proud of my kids - but I'm human, and I miss morning drop off and hugs after school. It's an emotional time.
Check out this collection of photos, submitted by Ali, and get a peek into her life as an Admin!
Hear from Choice Schools Associates CEO, Sarah Wildey, and MMAEC teacher Nicole Hutson, why Ali is deserving of the 2020 AOY Award!