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Ben Payne

Ben Payne

Director of Upper School

We are thrilled to announce our new director of upper school, Ben Payne, who will officially join Greensboro Montessori School on July 1, 2019. Ben comes to us with a wealth of teaching and leadership experience in education, including: leading the creation of two charter schools; effectively leading a faculty of 60 professionals as their principal; raising over $1.5 million in capital funds; managing the school renovation of a $2 million, 32,000 square-foot historic property; and cofounding The Symposium on Liberal Education and African American History. And, just to lather it on, Ben received the award of “Second Best Principal in Savannah” in 2018 in the state of Georgia.

While Ben spent 13 years in independent schools as a student, his professional work in schools has focused on charter schools for underserved and disadvantaged populations in urban settings. All the schools where he has worked have focused on students’ inherent joy of learning, the uniqueness of every child, and developing the head, heart, and hand of every student to have the most opportunity to serve the world. (Does this sound like our School? We thought so, too!) Through our conversations with him, we know Ben is a Montessorian at heart. A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Ben is eager to jump into his Montessori journey and will begin his Montessori training in the summer of 2020.

Over the last year, Ben was the lead project officer charged with the founding effort of a classical K through 12 charter school in Washington, D.C. For the previous five years, he was the founding director and principal of Savannah Classical Academy in Savannah, Georgia. For five years before that, he was a faculty, administrator, athletic coach, and dorm parent at the West End School in Louisville, Kentucky. Finally, his first year of teaching math and being a faculty house sponsor at Highlands Latin School, also in Louisville, is what pulled him away from his 7-year career as an architect. Ben’s master’s degree is in architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his undergraduate degree is from the University of Virginia.

On relocating from D.C. to North Carolina, Ben shared that his in-laws live in the area, and he also has other family in Charlotte and Raleigh. Moving to North Carolina feels like coming home. Ben and his wife have three girls, who will also join our School in the fall, one in Primary and two in Lower Elementary. Ben’s wife, Amanda, is a forensic nurse, who is also a leading advocate for asylum-seeking women. She plans to work as a nurse in Greensboro and pursue another advanced degree in her field.