Faculty Focus: Julie Margolis
As part of our Montessori Education Week activities, MMS is spotlighting some of the experienced and dedicated staff members who have built our tradition of excellence and innovation in education over the past 43 years. We are proud to highlight their contributions to our school over the years and their hopes for today’s students.
Julie Margolis has been at the heart of MMS for more than 20 years, serving our school in many key roles, including teacher, administrator and specialist. She earned a B.S. in education from the University of Vermont, and a M.S. from Penn State University. Her Montessori training is through the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies and the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program. Julie has returned to the classroom this year as a Middle School specialist, teaching advanced mathematics and physic education. She also provides invaluable guidance on school management issues and oversees our financial aid program, which was created during her three years as MMS Co-Director. A native of Vermont, she is a former public school teacher and a former computer programmer. Julie and her late husband, Jay, raised their four children in Charleston, two of whom are MMS alumni. Her personal interests include hiking, skiing, reading, and traveling to visit her family.
Favorite Montessori quote and why?
“The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.”
It’s quite difficult to select a favorite quote, as Maria Montessori was a profound and prolific writer/educator. This quote touched me because it represents the idea that time with a student is indeed a precious time. To be part of a child’s daily interactions, to have the opportunity to guide the child’s growth and education is not only an honor, but a solemn responsibility to understand and influence the child in respectful and kind ways. The child is a miracle of nature and we can stand in awe. I learn every day from my students, and I hope they learn from me!
Describe Montessori in three words:
Respectful, humane, engaging
Highlights of your time at MMS?
Beginning as a parent, and a few years later becoming a teacher, I didn’t know how long I’d work at the school. What I realized as my children aged out of the school is that it’s a special community of learners. It’s grown on me. It’s hard to pick highlights…it was wonderful to have my own children here, but that ended about 20 years ago! Working with amazing people, families and students has been the highlight.
Favorite Montessori moment?
My favorite moments, which may seem trite, are the “aha” moments when a child finally “gets” something they’ve worked hard to understand or do. The smile and wonder in their faces, the spine a little straighter, the shoulders held confidently, those are the treasured moments. It’s honestly what keeps teachers teaching. It’s a treasure to behold!
What do you hope your students will take away from their time at MMS?
I certainly hope that respect for others and honoring differences and diversity among people is one key take away. I hope they feel strong inside to stand up for themselves and others when they see wrongs in the world. I hope they are kind and understanding of others. I hope they’ve found confidence in themselves that they can learn and tackle the challenges ahead, that they can ask questions and seek the help they need, that they are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, try new things, and that they stay close to their parents and families throughout their lives.