Spreading Our Wings: 2018 Annual Appeal Lifts Off

At Mountaineer Montessori School, we’re spreading our wings!

Our elevated approach to education fosters learning without limits, freeing children to go as far and as high as they can.

We’re nurturing West Virginia’s future community builders, problem solvers, innovators, business leaders and peace makers…creating a brighter tomorrow…today!

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a world-class educational experience to 140 students ages 3-14 right here in Charleston–the heart of Appalachia.

“Spreading Our Wings,” the 2018 MMS Annual Appeal, will provide critical funding to help us meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and sustain our 42-year tradition of excellence and innovation in education.

Give now!

Your gift will help us:

  • Increase community access through financial aid. Our annual tuition support fund is approaching nearly $50,000!
  • Fund expansion of the early childhood program and enhance programs at all other levels. We have maintained a waiting list for Primary classes for several years.
  • Benefit our teacher appreciation and training funds.

The goal of this year’s campaign is $25,000. We plan for 100 percent school participation to meet that goal….

every gift of every size makes a difference.


Thanks to your generous contributions to the 2017 campaign, MMS was able to:

  • Implement several major upgrades to our facilities (including windows, air conditioning, flooring and furniture).
  • Sponsor out of state training for teachers, contribute to the staff retirement plan, and bring in national consultants to guide our curriculum alignment through the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement process.
  • Provide financial assistance to 12 percent of students/families.

Learn more about the milestones reached over the past year in the MMS Annual Report 2017-18.

At MMS, potential unfolds and possibilities take flight. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and our community in the year ahead. The sky’s the limit.


Giving Tuesday

The 2018 Annual Appeal got off to an early kick off with annual #GivingTuesday “Take Out, Give Back” coin/cash drive. Proceeds will fund specific classroom materials and projects. Learn more







Thank you!

To show our appreciation for your donation to the 2018 Annual Appeal, MMS is pleased to offer the following thank you gifts:








  • Donations of $50-$499 by December 21: Entered into a drawing for one of five wooden coaster sets handcrafted in Roane County, WV, from wild cherry by Mark Bolton/Bolton Design Build. (Drawing to take place on 12/21 at MMS winter concert.
  • Donations of $500-$999 by December 31: $25 Capitol Market gift certificate and “M” grocery tote
  • Donations of $1,000 and up by December 31: $50 Capitol Market gift certificate and adult fleece “M” pullover jacket



Meet the 2018 Annual Appeal Ambassadors:


El-Gammal Family

“We love that our children’s education is in the hands of professionals who truly care about them, their well-being, and their future. They understand child development and behavior. Our children are encouraged to learn in ways that work for them and are supported in learning when they are truly developmentally ready to learn various concepts with a highly individualized curriculum. This allows our boys to expand upon their strengths as well as develop and grow in areas that are more challenging. Our goal is for our boys to reach their utmost potential, spread their wings and fly to whatever heights they aspire to. With MMS, we feel we are giving them the best foundation possible.”

Amanda Fields with Dr. Ahmed, Jacob, Rayan, Zach and Jonas El-Gammal

Read the El-Gammal family MMS story



David Victorson

“My favorite memory is as a kindergartner, eating honeysuckles that grew behind the school with my classmates.  I was amazed to discover that their beauty, smell, texture, and flavor grew in nothing more than soil and water.  I wasn’t in a classroom or a traditional learning environment, yet I was learning about nature, the food chain, and sustainability.  As I look back, this memory fully encapsulates what makes MMS so great – every moment is an opportunity to learn and the teachers encouraged us to do so.    

MMS is a special place for my whole family.  My sister and I both attended, and both loved our time as students.  I think we were especially able to appreciate it after attending other schools and being exposed to other methods of education. The academic freedom that MMS provided was unlike anywhere else and allowed us to advance as quickly as we were ready, rather than being bound to a lesson plan designed without any specific individual in mind.”  

David Victorson, litigation attorney, BA/MFA, University of Southern California, JD Harvard Law School

Read David’s MMS story





The West Family


“When one of our children seemed to need more than we could offer as home schoolers, we immediately considered Montessori. We enrolled our second grader, who felt befriended and needed as an important part of the school community from the first day. The individually driven and paced environment, created by the kind and enthusiastic staff, eliminated frustration and encouraged her to explore her interests at her pace and comfort level. We quickly realized our first grader needed the MMS experience too. The exceptional staff and students swept her into the school community. Our middle schooler soon became envious of the exceptional education her younger siblings received. As we looked into Middle School, we realized it offered opportunities for our eighth grader to expand her horizons. I love that my children’s teachers see each of them as a unique being, perched daily on the ledge of the learning experience, ready for guidance on   how to spread their wings and fly to the adventure of their choosing.”

Janell West with Dr. Brian and Amanda, Eve, Caleb and Jessica West

Read the West family’s MMS story



Julianna Storm



“I have gone to Mountaineer Montessori my entire life. I have met so many great friends, teachers and families. Now being in the seventh grade, Montessori has impacted me a lot. It has taught me how to read, write, listen, and learn in an environment where I am able to express myself and be who I want to be. Montessori has showed me it is ok to ask questions and go deeper into what you already know.”

Julianna Storm, seventh year student

Read Julianna’s MMS story




Karen Kelly

MMS really is a family. We care about each other in a way that I have never experienced anywhere else that I have ever worked or attended school.

I have so many ‘Montessori’ moments, if not every day, at least once a week: Older children teaching younger ones how to play a game or going across the monkey bars on the playground. The look on a child’s face when we go to Kanawha State Forest and they catch a crawdad for the first time, or the pride and enthusiasm when an older child asks if they can read aloud at story time. But, one of my absolutely favorite memories was when I brought orphaned kittens to school for the children to care for. They were meticulous about measuring the formula, testing the temperature of the milk replacement, and feeding them. The tenderness, compassion and exquisite kindness that I saw took my breath away. (All the kittens were adopted by MMS families after they were weaned.)”

Karen Kelly, Plus Director/Science Specialist and MMS alumni parent

Read Karen’s MMS story


Give now!


Coin box drive kicks off #GivingTuesday at MMS

There’s a day for giving thanks. Two for getting deals. Another for Shopping Small.

Now there is  #GivingTuesday , a global day dedicated to giving back. Celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

As part of this worldwide celebration of thanks and giving, Mountaineer Montessori School will launch its “Spreading Our Wings: Elevating Education and Our Community”annual fund campaign.

The fundraiser gets an early start today, Friday, November 16, when coin boxes were distributed to all MMS students, who are encouraged to fill them over the Thanksgiving holiday and bring them back to school on or before #GivingTuesday, November 27.

Give now.



This year’s coin drive will fund projects depicted on each box:

* Primary: art supplies for all classrooms

* Lower Elementary: a water bottle fountain/refilling station similar to the one in Upper Elementary

* Upper Elementary: dissection kits

* Middle School: kitchen ware

The “Spreading Our Wings” campaign will unfold over coming weeks through social media, news coverage, collaborations, annual appeal ambassador stories and personal invitations to engage the entire community in meeting the demand for world class education and serving families of all income levels through a tax-deductible donation to the school.

Last year’s MMS Giving Tuesday/Annual Appeal enabled Mountaineer Montessori to implement major facilities upgrades, sponsor out of state training for several teachers and sustain increases in increase financial aid support.


Model UN Team hosts a culinary trip to Poland on November 15


The MMUN Polish dinner has been postponed until February 2019. Please watch for updates.

Polkas, pierogis and more!

Enjoy a culinary trip to Poland at a festive dinner to be presented the MMS Model UN Team on Thursday, November 15, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 36 Norwood Road.

The menu includes:

* Polish chicken soup
* Pierogis
* Kielbasa with Polish condiments
* Baby potatoes with dill
* Roasted carrots
* Dessert table
* Polish punch!

The evening will include polka music and presentations on Poland by sixth year students, who will represent the country at the 2019 Montessori Model UN this March in New York.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children; under five, free. Proceeds will benefit travel and program expenses.

Reservations are necessary and seats are limited. 


Emily is the lead guide for Upper Elementary II and is the faculty advisor for the MMS Model UN Program.

This marks a new tradition for MMS sixth year students, who participate in special projects and enjoy special privileges as they transition from elementary to middle school. For the past several years, they have worked on a year-long research paper and taken an exclusive overnight trip. Starting this spring, sixth years will participate in the Montessori Model UN program in New York.


About the Montessori Model United Nations:

Maria Montessori supported the work of the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations as a forum where peace could be created. She recognized the hope for peace lay in the education of children.

Montessori Model United Nations has partnered with the United Nations to create a program for Montessori students who at the sensitive period for reason, justice and morality can participate in a life changing experience.

The Montessori Model United Nations program culminates classroom or after school study with a two day global education simulation experience at the United Nations that enables students in upper elementary, and middle schools to learn about the operations of the United Nations and its role as the world’s largest international peacekeeping and humanitarian organization. In addition, like the high school and university Model United Nations Programs, MMUN provides students from 9-15 years of age an opportunity to:

  • Learn about cultures, governments and peoples of nations throughout the world.
  • Use research skills, writing skills and written & oral communications skills.
  • Develop critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and evaluative skills.
  • Debate current global issues and world problems.
  • Practice and use leadership skills in a real life global situation.
  • Understand the need for peace and conflict resolution throughout the world while developing their own conflict resolution and debating skills.

Spreading our wings: Montes-SOARING into a new year at MMS

At Mountaineer Montessori School, we’re spreading our wings!

Our time-tested, child-centered approach to education fosters learning without limits, offering students the time, space and encouragement to go as far and as high as they can. Since our school’s founding in 1976, we’ve given wings to an estimated 1,000 children, freeing them to discover their passions, fulfill their unique potential and contribute to creating a better world.

MMS Annual Report 2017-18

“Spreading Our Wings,” the 2017-18 Annual Report, highlights how our school community “Montes-soared” over the past year, and helped us reach several major milestones, including:


  • Expansion of our early childhood program into a third Primary classroom. Total school enrollment has nearly doubled in the past seven years, reflecting a strong and growing interest in our world class education options at all levels.


  • Realignment and enhancement of our math curriculum, primary through middle school, through the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement program. MMS is the only full member school of the American Montessori Society and the only AMS Pathways school in West Virginia.


  • Major upgrades and enhancements of our main building on 20th Street, including new windows, new air conditioning systems, refinished flooring, new furniture and outdoor environment improvements.


We invite you to learn more in our annual report and join with as we enter a fifth decade of education that elevates. Working together, the sky’s the limit!


Montessori Math Journey to be held Saturday, November. 3

Experience the rare opportunity to learn through the eyes of a child on Saturday, November 3, as Mountaineer Montessori School presents a Math Journey and Discovery for parents, educators and interested community members.

Visit our beautiful classrooms, interact with Montessori materials….primary through middle school…and for a few hours, be the child!

We’re proud to showcase our comprehensive math curriculum, which was aligned and enhanced after working with nationally-recognized pedagogical consultants to incorporate best practices from the country’s premier Montessori schools, reflect latest research on brain science and support children the way each learns best. It’s part of our participation in the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement program and our 42-year mission to offer the best educational experience for your child.

All lead teachers, primary through middle school, worked with Montessori consultant Katie Ibes on this important curriculum project. In the year ahead, they will analyze and align our geometry curriculum.

MMS is the only AMS Pathways school and only AMS full member school in West Virginia.

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to touch, see and feel the Montessori magic. Whether you’re an experienced MMS parent or just curious about what Montessori is all about, you will see math in a whole new light, witness the power of the Montessori hands-on approach to math …and wish you were a child all over again!

The Montessori Journey and Discovery agenda includes:

  • 10:00 am: Journey through Montessori Math introduction
  • 10:20 am: Primary Journey
  • 10:55 am: Lower Elementary Journey
  • 11:35 am: Upper Elementary Journey
  • 12:10 pm: Drive to Middle School
  • 12:30 pm: Middle School Journey, including Math Seminar
  • 1:15 pm: Lunch and Journey discussion with Katie Ibes and MMS faculty
  • 2:30 pm: Closing

Space is limited for this special event. Please call or email Beth George at 304.342.787 or bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org to reserve your spot.


Middle School breakfast returns with Cafe 804 on Oct. 27

Mountaineer Montessori Middle School students will present their newest project, Cafe 804, on Saturday, October 27, from 8:00-11:00 a.m. at MMS Unity Church campus at 804 Myrtle Road.

Cafe 804 is a pop up restaurant offering a variety of breakfast favorites–including eggs, pancakes, turkey bacon, oatmeal and more–made with natural, organic, locally sourced products by our students. Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream milkshakes, an MMMS tradition, will also be for sale.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a delicious breakfast, get together with friends, and support our Middle School micro economy work. Our students have been working hard on all aspects of the event, from planning, to marketing, to shopping, to cooking, to serving. They look forward to welcoming you to their special restaurant on October 27.

Due to limited seating availability, admission is by reservation. Spaces are already filling up.

Please make your reservations online ASAP through this link.



Away We Go! Race for Education to be held October 18

MMS will be participating in the Race for Education this year on Thursday, October 18. This year’s run will be an uplifting celebration of Montessori Education on the lawn of the University of Charleston!

A kick-off packet will be sent home with your child next week! Please take a moment to read through the information so you will know what we will ask from you to help make this event a success. We look forward to having a fun and healthy activity that will also raise money for educational materials and financial aid.

The Race for Education is an all-school event. Parents, grandparents and friends are invited to support and attend. Please for information on volunteer opportunities and other details.

Our fundraising goal for the Race for Education is $12,500.

If we reach our goal, the funds raised will provide:

  • Montessori materials for Primary, including new puzzle maps and zoology and botany materials, as well as a new shed for outdoor environment storage.
  • hardwood floor refinishing and new, locally-made shelves for both Lower Elementary classrooms.
  • reference materials and technology upgrades for Upper Elementary.
  • atlases, maps, and other reference materials for the Middle School.
  • funds for three financial aid awards at 30 percent of tuition apiece (approximately $7,400 total).

We look forward to seeing you at the Race for Education – Away We Go!

M gear orders due August 31

It’s time to get your “M” on!

Orders for our singular “M” t-shirts and accessories are due on Friday, August 31.

Based on a design of our school sign by Charly Hamilton and students and design by Mark Wolfe Photographic, M gear gives you the chance to wear a work of art and celebrate our school in living color!

In response to your requests, our M gear line continues to expand and includes child and adult size shirts and hoodies, shirts and tanks for women, men’s tanks, fleece pullovers, Nike golf shirts, tote bags, drawstring bags and magnetic car decals. We are proud to partner with a local businessTgraphics, to produce our line of MMS gear.

For more information, please email Kristie Simmons at ksimmons@mountaineermontessori.org. Order forms may be dropped off at morning car line, mailed to the school, or sent to Beth’s office.



MMS Volunteer/Board Survey 2018-19

Want to make a difference for your child, your school and your community?

Be a part of a dynamic parent community that is helping create a world class education experience for our students–today and tomorrow.

Whether you can help out for a few hours or the entire year, your participation will be valued, honored and have an impact.

Please take two minutes to take a very short survey to let us know how you can help. We are seeking volunteers for a variety of committees and activities, classroom parents, and new members of the MMS Board of Directors. The survey also offers opportunities to share your ideas and suggestions for the school.

We are hitting the ground running this year as our school continues to raise the bar for education in West Virginia and experiences strong and growing interest in high quality education options.

Please complete the short survey by Tuesday, August 28, so we can all get to work right away creating the best year ever for your child and our school.

Thank you for being part of a community that has been remaking education since 1976. And we’ve only just begun!


2019-20 MMS Prospective Parent Tours Scheduled

Tomorrow begins today!

Tours for the 2019-20 school year at Mountaineer Montessori School have been scheduled.

Families interested in enrolling a student in Primary (ages 3-6) or Elementary (ages 6-12) classes next year are invited to reserve their space at one of the following upcoming tours:

  • November 5
  • November 26
  • January 10
  • January 14-FULL
  • January 17
  • January 24
  • February 4
  • February 14
  • February 28
  • March 7
  • March 23

All tours begin at the MMS main school, 308 20th Street. The tours provide an overview of Montessori education, information on MMS admissions procedures and policies, and the opportunity to observe classrooms in action.

New families interested in enrolling a student in our Middle School program (grades 7-8) should contact MMS Director Jennifer Carriger directly at jcarriger@mountaineermontessori.org.

TOURS ARE FOR PARENTS ONLY. Space is limited to three slots (three couples).

Classes fill up quickly and MMS has maintained a waiting list for the past several years. Future MMS families are encouraged to begin the admissions process at their earliest convenience.

To request a tour, please complete this online form.

MMS serves 140 children ages 3-14 in a fully implemented Montessori environment, offering a rich academic and arts curriculum, along with an extensive after-school program, summer camps, computer classes, foreign language, chess, robotics, individual learning support, cross country and other enrichment activities. Founded in 1976, MMS is the largest and longest-established Montessori school in West Virginia, and offers the only Montessori Middle School program in the state. MMS is an AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement school and the only full member of the America Montessori Society in West Virginia. Financial is available.

MMS considers all children for admission based upon their readiness for school, potential for success in a Montessori classroom and our enrollment capacity. MMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, creed, religion or ethnic or national origin in its admission policy.