Founding Team

History of the Founding Board
The decision to create a school of choice within a community needs to be carefully formulated, with a well-defined mission that would appeal to a broad spectrum of the community. Since May 2007, parents and educators in the greater Chico area have met informally to discuss the viability of a public Montessori-methods elementary school. The discussion focused on how the Montessori philosophy can be formulated into a pedagogical model that would allow for rigorous treatment of California State Standards. Also discussed was how to lay the framework for a long-term sustainable school, with clear governance and financial stability, while still remaining true to the fundamental tenets of the Montessori philosophy. An exploratory phase focused on surveying successful-and unsuccessful-Montessori charter schools and public schools in California and across the nation. Best-models were identified and discussion shifted to how to best implement these practices in the Chico community. The final stage comprised consultation with the California Department of Education, California Charter Schools Association, and various Montessori training centers.


At this point a lead petitioner (R. Shapiro) was identified and a volunteer board recruited. Qualifications sought after included a broad representation of skills and experience in non-profit corporate management, Elementary school education, contracts, financial accounting, and child development. While a commitment to the formation of a Montessori school was expected, training in the Montessori philosophy or an expectation to be a parent at the charter school was not required. However, all members of the founding board are parents of school-aged children within the boundaries of Chico Unified School District.


Once it appeared that the envisioned school model was legal and likely financially stable, Sherwood Montessori was incorporated as a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of California. None of the founding members has or will receive remuneration for this effort such as salary, stipends, or gifts. In addition, members of the founding board have met with legal consultants, assessment consultants, and California charter school consultants who have lent support gratis.


The result of this intensive, community-based effort is the petition herein. It is our hope that the Chico Unified School District views this petition as a positive addition to the district.


Composition of the Founding Board

Russell Shapiro, Ph.D.
Lead Petitioner


Jill Bailey
Governance Specialist


Joseph Cobery
Policy and Grants Specialist


David Green
Financial Consultant


Georgina Maltby, Ph.D.
Counseling Specialist


Harvey Rappaport
Education Specialist


Vivienne Singelis

Montessori Specialist