Beth Wilson will join our Upper Elementary teaching team this fall. Beth has spent the last 20 years at a Montessori school in Minnesota. She also has a decade of experience training Montessori educators at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs at St. Catherine's University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Beth earned her Master of Arts in Education with a focus on Montessori studies from St. Catherine's and her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She holds multiple Montessori teaching credentials spanning the totality of Elementary and Adolescent education (ages 6 to 18).
As Beth enjoys her last summer in Minnesota, we wanted to get to know her better in anticipation on her arrival. We recently spent some "digital" time with her learning more about her passion for Montessori education and her favorite flavor of ice cream. Here's our interview:
GMS: How did you learn about Greensboro Montessori School?
BW: I wasn’t actually looking for a new teaching position. I was casually browsing the Montessori Jobs group on Facebook, and a few clicks later I came across the job post on the American Montessori Society's [AMS] website. After reading the job description, I knew that I had to apply. It was like fate.
GMS: As an AMS-accredited school, we love that you found us through AMS. Why did you ultimately choose to join our School?
BW: After getting to know Kevin, meeting the staff, and spending time at the school, I knew it was the right place for me. I feel like it’s my “dream school” – the kind of place that every teacher hopes that they get to be a part of in their career.
GMS: We are equally excited to welcome you to our community. What is it about the Montessori method that inspires you the most, that keeps you teaching, learning, and growing in this pedagogy?
BW: I love the freedom to follow sparks of interest, that there is time to explore ideas and curiosities. I also love the interconnectedness of the Montessori curriculum: rather than each subject area being taught as a separate entity, the children learn about how one area cannot exist without another, such as how we cannot have art without geometry or science without math.
GMS: You will join our Upper Elementary division this fall. What is your favorite part about working with Upper Elementary students?
BW: I love the enthusiasm of Upper Elementary students. They are more independent than Lower Elementary students but still so excited about the world. Their imaginations are big and their wonder about how everything fits together is empowering to me.
GMS: Speaking of the students, what are you excited to learn from them, and what are you excited to share with them?
BW: I want to learn all about Greensboro Montessori and North Carolina! I’ve only visited the state once, and that was when I came to spend time at the school. I want to learn all the great places to visit, any cool history about the state, and what they think makes GMS special to them.
As for me, I really want to share my love of animals with the students (my bunny, Hufflepuff, and two leopard geckoes, Pinky and Floyd, are joining us in the classroom), and I have already asked Doug if we can help with the chickens. I also want to share my love of art, and I try to include as much creativity into our lessons as possible.
GMS: So Hufflepuff, Pinky, and Floyd are moving with you from Minnesota. Who else is relocating with you?
BW: My husband, John, and our 13 year old and youngest child, Melanie (pictured below), are embarking on this grand adventure with me. We’re also bringing along our big brown dog, Yoshi and our little kitty, Kasumi (also pictured below).
GMS: The family photo you sent us (at the top of this post) has a lot more people in it.
BW: Yes, that’s my whole beautiful, crazy family. It’s from a few years ago, but it’s the best one I have of all of us. From left to right: My son Zach (24), my husband John, my son Will (21), and my oldest son, Nate (27). Then, it’s me and our daughter, Melanie, who will be joining junior high at GMS.
GMS: We hope to meet the whole fam one day. In the meantime, we'd love to learn some more fun stuff about you. Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t learn from your résumé or CV?
BW: Hmm … I’m addicted to Diet Coke, and I’m a sucker for a good donut. Or cookie. Actually, pretty much anything that’s sweet. But not marshmallows. I hate marshmallows.
GMS: What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
BW: My husband would say that I have too many hobbies. Reading and drawing are my biggest loves, and then after that, I love quilting. I’m a big sci-fi fan, and although I do love Marvel movies, I’d pick Star Wars over them any day. I love to go camping and take hikes, and my life would not be complete without a horse in it.
GMS: Once you’re settled here, where are you most excited to travel to on the East Coast?
BW: I really want to go to the Outer Banks. "Misty of Chincoteague" was a favorite childhood book of mine, and I really want to see the wild ponies. I also want to see the mountains. We have lots of trees and lakes in Minnesota, but no ocean and no mountains.
GMS: Other than Dr. Maria Montessori, who would you like to meet from history and why?
BW: Oh, there’s so many people I would love to meet, and it’s hard to narrow it down. Jane Austin is a favorite author of mine, and I’ve always admired the art of Franz Marc. I would try not to pester them about their work so much, but rather I’d like to just hang out with them as regular people, maybe hit a brewery or catch a Twins game.
GMS: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
BW: Anything with coconut in it. I love the Almond Joy ice cream they have at fancy ice cream shops. If grocery store ice cream is what I’m choosing from, then it’s Breyers vanilla bean ice cream.
GMS: We have some great ice cream parlor's in Greensboro. We'll have to go once you're here. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
BW: Just that I am so excited to be joining the GMS family! And no, most of Minnesota is not like the Fargo movie, except those snow scenes. Those are pretty spot on.