Make no little plans: MMS maps path for 50 years of excellence in education

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big. ”  

                                                                          Daniel Burnham, American architect and urban planner (1846-1912)


MMS Strategic Plan_FINAL_nobleeds

Mountaineer Montessori School has launched “MMS@50,” a “think big” 10-year strategic plan to lead the school to a half-century of excellence and innovation in education.

“The future of education is happening today at Mountaineer Montessori,” said Head of School Dana Gilliland. “Since our founding in 1976 by Mary McKown, our school has opened new horizons for children in our community. This new plan builds on that tradition with an inspirational vision for West Virginia education as we approach our 50th anniversary.”

The plan was introduced at the school’s annual meeting on September 23. 2014.  The event was held in conjunction with an open house for the school’s new middle school program at Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle Road.

Implementation of a toddler program, exploration of a Montessori high school, development of a community outdoor classroom and construction of a new purpose-built facility to house all MMS programs are among the plan’s lofty aims.  Read more here: MMS@50 Strategic Plan

A volunteer committee spent several months benchmarking peer independent schools nationwide and surveying MMS faculty and families in developing the plan.



“MMS@50” identifies six priority areas:

Programs:  Build upon tradition of excellence and innovation to provide the highest quality Montessori education in the state with a complete range of integrated and fully developed Montessori programs.

Faculty:  Attract and retain the highest quality faculty and staff.

Organization:  Create and maintain a management and administrative infrastructure that offers the maximum amount of support to teachers in developing and executing quality programs.

Facilities:  Provide authentic, safe learning environments for students at all levels and maximize the use of facilities; enhance and maintain facilities and outdoor environments at all campuses; and assess and address facility requirements for future enrollment and programs.

Finance:   Establish a strong foundation that ensures financial stability and supports our goals for high standards for programs, staff and facilities.

Community engagement:  Model the Montessori philosophy by advocating for excellence and innovation in education for all children and through community service and partnerships.


Also at the annual meeting,  Head of School Dana Gilliland and Board President Harry Bell outlined school achievements from the 2013-14 school year that build momentum for roll-out of the ambitious “MMS@50” strategic plan.

These milestones include implementation of middle school program, addition of a second lower elementary classroom, hiring a full-time reading and learning specialist, enhancing foreign language, music and after-school programs and a record-setting year for enrollment and fundraising.


About Mountaineer Montessori School

Mountaineer Montessori School is the largest, oldest and most established Montessori school in West Virginia, serving an estimated 1,000 students since its founding in 1976 by the education pioneer Mary McKown. MMS provides a rich academic and cultural program to 120 students ages 3-14 at its Kanawha City/University of Charleston (308 20th Street) and South Hills (704 Myrtle Road) campuses in Charleston.

MMS is an independent non-sectarian, non-profit 501(c)(3) school governed by board of directors elected from the community.  All MMS faculty members train at programs affiliated with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) or the American Montessori Society (AMS), the two most recognized Montessori teacher training programs worldwide.  Tuition assistance and other support is available based upon financial need.

See more MMS news on our blog