Mary D'Anella, Executive Director
Carmel Melso Galati, Director of Education
Ashleigh Copeland, Lead Montessori Teacher
Candida Lowry, Director of Compliance
Our Executive Director, Mary D'Anella, is a South Philadelphia native, early proponent of the charter school movement. Mary led the turn-around team for The Philadelphia Charter School for the Arts and Sciences and later served as its CEO, spearheading a successful school-wide reading improvement program that included intervention, remediation, and enrichment. Previously, she was a founding board member of the city's largest charter, The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, and served as Director of Communications for its' management company, String Theory School Education. Mary has been an advocate for Montessori preschool education since her own children benefitted from the Montessori methods.
Our Director of Education, Carmel Melso Galati, is an award-winning Philadelphia educator with a Masters Degree and more than 25 years of experience in urban education. As a certified reading specialist in the School District of Philadelphia, she has implemented proven school-wide reading programs and interventions. Carmel has written curriculum, conducted professional development, and has received both the Rose Lindenbaum Improvement of Education Award and the Schoolmen's Club Service to Children Award for her stellar contributions. Carmel holds additional certifications in Elementary K-5, Elementary Principal, Reading Recovery, Nursery through 3rd grade, and Supervision of Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to being a reading specialist, she has held positions as a grade teacher, kindergarten teacher, regional literacy coach, professional development facilitator, and reading recovery teacher.
Our Lead Montessori Teacher, Ashleigh Copeland, received her Montessori Primary Teacher Certification from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education, Princeton, New Jersey. She is a member of the American Montessori Society and is a Certified Positive Discipline Classroom Educator. Ashleigh is a candidate of Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education at the College of New Jersey in association with the Princeton Center of Teacher Education and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Arcadia University, where she was a member of the English Honor Society. She began her teaching career at the Lawrence Montessori School in 2010 and continued as a lead teacher in Montessori programs across the region. She has served as an Executive Board Member of the NJAEYC, New Jersey Association for the Education of Young Children, Central New Jersey Chapter. Ms. Copeland fully embraces Montessori philosophy and believes Montessori is not limited to the classroom, but Montessori translates into a way of life.
Our Director of Compliance, Candida Lowry, whose two children graduated from a Philadelphia public charter school, is an educator with a Masters Degree, and certified in elementary education in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Candida has worked with student recruitment, which places talented children into academically demanding independent day and boarding schools. As our Director of Compliance she will maintain our high level of expectations for our staff and our school.