2021 Annual Appeal Ambassadors: Young/Spangler Families

Mountaineer Montessori began its 45th year of excellence and innovation in education this fall.

While many things have changed over the years–including program expansions and a new campus–our mission remains the same: creating a better tomorrow through service to the child today.

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a premier, child-centered educational experience to 178 students ages Toddler-Middle School right here in the heart of Appalachia.

“Creating the Future, One Child at a Time,” the 2021 MMS Annual Appeal, provides essential funding that enables us to lead, adapt and meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, community builders and visionary leaders.

Text mmsfuture to 76278 or visit the campaign platform to give now

As a part of the campaign, MMS students, families, teachers and alumni are sharing their Montessori stories and the impact they’ve had on their lives.

This is the Young/Spangler families’ story and told by Jennifer Young and Darlene Spangler:


Jackson Young, Primary I, with sisters Madison and Blakely, parents Jennifer and Brian Young, and grandparents Darlene Spangler (MMS Reading Specialist and former MMS Co-Director) and Reed Spangler.


Why did you choose MMS for Jackson?

Knowing that MMS encourages independence even in its youngest students was important to us. Jackson has always been independent while playing, so we knew putting him in an environment where independence is nurtured in an educational setting would be a good fit for him.


What does Jackson like best about the school?

I think what intrigues Jackson are the sensory-based materials that are used for hands-on learning. The sandpaper letters, geometric solids, and the math beads are favorites. One thing I remember my mother saying about Montessori was a quote from Maria Montessori, ‘what the hands do, the mind remembers,’ and we find that to be true with how Jackson is learning.


Have you seen any changes in Jackson since he started at the school?

Since starting Montessori we have seen him incorporating the practical life skills he has learned in the classroom, at home. He puts on his shoes and jacket without assistance, he gets himself a snack, he takes his plate to the sink after a meal and will help clean the table.


Any noticeable “Montessori memories” since Jackson joined us?

Jackson started in the middle of the school year. As parents we were nervous about him making friends and adapting to a new setting. That morning his teacher sent us a photo of two older children in class holding his hands and showing him around. That not only calmed our anxiety but reaffirmed our decision to send him to MMS. That one moment embodies so much of what MMS is about. Having a classroom that spans age groups allows the older children to develop life skills such as inclusion while also setting an example from which the younger children learn.




The theme of this year’s campaign is “Creating the Future, One Child at a Time.” What are your hopes for Jackson’s future and how do you see MMS playing a role in influencing tomorrow, for him as an individual and collectively for the world?

I hope that Jackson finds what he’s passionate about in life and never stops learning. Having MMS as a foundation for his education will allow him to think independently and have confidence in his abilities. Most importantly, I hope that he is always kind. The education he is getting at MMS is more than just reading and writing, but also encompasses empathy and communication. He is learning to not only be a leader, but to be compassionate at the same time.


Any other ideas or thoughts?

Having the same teacher over the course of several years is beneficial. Every child learns differently and it takes time to understand how they learn best. We’ve seen his teachers begin to understand his strengths and weaknesses and adapt lessons according to his learning style. In a traditional school setting it may take some time for a new teacher to evaluate him each year and adjust accordingly. 




Darlene, what is it like to have a grandchild at your school?

Mountaineer Montessori has been my home for more than 25 years and I have watched children grow and become incredible individuals thanks to the education they are receiving there. I always hoped that my grandchildren would be able to attend MMS and benefit from such an amazing learning environment. Having Jackson enrolled at Mountaineer Montessori School has been so exciting. From day one we could see the changes in him, especially in his social skills. My mother always told me ‘never stop learning.’ I’m so proud that I have passed that philosophy on to my daughter who is passing it on to her children.” 


We invite you to create the future with the Youngs and Spanglers with your gift today…. text mmsfuture to 76278 or visit our campaign platform to give now.