We are a community of families and educators guided by the philosophy of Maria Montessori
Rogers Park Montessori School (RPMS) is a not for profit (501)c3, non-sectarian, educational organization located in the Andersonville neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. It is a co-educational day school that enrolls children from ages 2 to 14. We are a community of families and educators guided by the philosophy of Maria Montessori. RPMS is accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS).
Please refer to our RPMS Non-Discrimination Policy
RPMS at a glance
RPMS At a Glance: 2022-2023
Founded in Rogers Park in 1966
Rogers Park Montessori School was founded by ten Rogers Park parents in September of 1966 in a converted space at St. Ignatius parish and has provided quality education to the children of Chicago ever since.
In 1975, the school moved its site to Bethany Lutheran Church at 1244 W. Thorndale. RPMS gradually expanded to offer a Toddler class, five Children's House classrooms, and after school care for working families. The RPMS elementary program launched in 1991 and in three years, the class grew from its initial enrollment of 7 to 18 students.
In 2004, RPMS purchased and began construction on our current home, a 47,000 sq. ft. educational facility at 1800 West Balmoral. Thanks to the hard work, support, and continued energy of RPMS parents, a state-of-the-art school that incorporates the Montessori philosophy into its design opened in January 2006. The facility includes Montessori programming from Toddler to Middle School, two gyms, library, green roof, playgrounds, and green space.
In 2014, enrollment demands and a desire to expand led the school to develop plans for a 14,000 square foot addition to the existing building. The expansion allowed the school to add a middle school wing with science stations, a central group presentation area, and breakout learning spaces. Dedicated library, drama, music, and resource rooms were added along with additional administration office space and rooftop recreation playspace and gardens. The large gym was retrofitted with commercial grade lighting, sound, and audiovisual equipment for use in staging performances and hosting events. The expansion also enabled the school to grow its lower and upper elementary program by renovating the existing building to add two new classrooms.
Rogers Park Montessori School attracts and retains an experienced and dedicated faculty. Our teachers hold Bachelors or Masters degrees, are Montessori certified, and have many years of in-class experience.
Our early childhood staff creates a special sense of continuity and belonging for the youngest members of our community. Their knowledge of child development and Montessori education, as well as their practical expertise, make for an environment that is both child and parent friendly.
At the elementary level, our Montessori trained classroom teachers are joined by specialists who lead the co-curricular programming of Spanish, drama, art, music, and physical education. Many of our teachers have taught at RPMS for over 15 years. Their loyalty, talent, and professionalism are exceptional, and their dedication and commitment to children have garnered RPMS a reputation for excellence in Montessori education.
Montessori teacher training is specific to age groups:
RPMS partners with a variety of both AMI and AMS Montessori training centers throughout the United States for teacher training.
RPMS is a board-governed 501(c)(3) organization. The Board of Directors meets approximately eight times per year, and focuses on the school’s strategic direction and long term sustainability in line with our mission and core values. Committees of the board include business finance, diversity and inclusion, marketing, committee on trustees, advancement, and alumni relations.
Ben Blair, the Principal at Rogers Park Montessori School, holds a Bachelor's in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Columbia College Chicago, and a Montessori I & II Elementary Credential. For the past 14 years, he has served the RPMS community, first as a classroom teacher and more recently as the Elementary Program Director. In addition to his work at RPMS, Ben has served as a site consultant for Montessori training centers. Montessori's focus on the whole child, coupled with her vision of children as humanity's best hope for peace, has imbued his life as an educator. He values the compassion, mutual respect, and adaptability of his staff and faculty above all else. In addition to serving as the school's principal, he is the parent of an Upper Elementary student and a second grader.
Paul and his wife Karen have been part of the community since 2012 and have three children at RPMS, Nora (Middle School), Josie (Upper Elementary), and Wes (Lower Elementary). Paul joined the RPMS Board in 2018 after working as a non-board member on the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee for a year. Paul is Managing Director at Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc., an investment management firm. Paul likes hanging out with the family, running, playing guitar and tennis.
Anand joined the Board in 2019. He and his wife, Bethany, have a daughter Priya (Upper Elementary) and a son Pavanaj (Lower Elementary). Anand was a Montessori kid long ago, and these days spends as much time as possible on the ground with the kids. He also enjoys cooking, biking, basking in the sun, and buying books he never makes time to read. Anand is a civil rights attorney at Loevy & Loevy.
A 2021 addition, Melissa brings her 20 years of client advocacy experience and relationship building skills to the board. She thrives in the fast paced Fintech industry, finding opportunities to help North America's largest retailers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys spending time at her cottage in Southwest Michigan and riding the Peloton. She frequently participates in dance parties at the Douglas household with her husband, Ryan and daughters Norah (Middle School) and Maddie (Upper Elementary).
Treasurer & Business and Finance Committee Chair
Todd Schrade joined the building and finance committee in 2019 and accepted a position with the RPMS board in 2020. He has been a parent in the RPMS community since 2012, and his son Henry is in the Middle School program. Todd is a partner at Midway Capital Research & Management, and he is a Certified Public Accountant. When he isn't reading or parenting, Todd enjoys competitive swimming, classical music, and Legos.
Marketing Committee Chair
Yvette joined the RPMS Board in 2018 and currently chairs the Marketing Committee. Yvette and her partner, Eileen Murphy, have two sons, Colin (RPMS Grad) and Emmett (Middle School) and have been part of the RPMS community since 2010. Yvette is Senior Director of Data Science at Nuro Retention, a student success software company. In her spare time she enjoys biking, hiking and camping with her family.
Alumni Committee Chair
Kirsten joined the RPMS board in 2021. She and her husband, Phil, have two sons Kellen (Upper Elementary) and Harper (Lower Elementary) and have been members of the RPMS community since 2017. Kirsten has a PhD in Sociology and currently works as an independent researcher. She also has experience in nonprofit strategy, fundraising and alumni relations. When not working, Kirsten loves to travel, take bike rides with the family and do just about anything outdoors.
Maggie and her husband Rod have been part of the RPMS community since 2013. Their daughters, Kayla and Siena are in Middle School and Upper Elementary. Maggie is a Business Development Executive with Oak Point Partners and prior to that spent 23 years with PwC. In her free time she loves to travel, cook, play tennis and snowboard.
Tim joined the Board in 2021 after spending time helping on some Finance subcommittees. Tim, his wife Lindsey and their three children Nella (RPMS Grad), Teddy (Middle School) and Ruben (Lower Elementary) have been a part of the RPMS community since 2012. He graduated from the University of Michigan and currently serves as a Managing Director for BMO Financial Group. Tim loves watching his kids grow and play sports (sometimes coaching), beach & mountain vacations and finding time for golf, tennis or at least a run.
Scott joined the RPMS Board in 2022. He and his wife, Alison, have two daughters, Elliott (Upper Elementary) and Barrett (Lower Elementary). Scott is an attorney at a law firm that focuses on education law where he represents public schools throughout Illinois. Scott lives right around the corner from RPMS and in his free time he enjoys travel, reading, outdoor activities and running along the lakefront.
Julie Hopmayer joined the RPMS Board in Spring 2023, serving on the Business, Finance and Audit Committee. She brings 20+ years of experience in corporate finance spanning commercial lending and real estate, banking, and manufacturing. In her current capacity, Julie is an Executive Finance Director, at Jones Lang LaSalle responsible for the company’s strategic planning and forecasting operations. Julie graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Finance and earned her MBA from Loyola University Chicago. She enjoys family ski trips, supporting her kids on the rink in figure skating and hockey, playing tennis, and riding her bike to the office. Julie, her husband, Alec and children, Annie (Upper Elementary) and Simon (Lower Elementary) have been part of the RPMS community since 2021.
Beth Kronfeld started her career in investment banking in New York City and then pivoted to serve in the fundraising area of a non-profit where she traveled the world teaching the organization’s volunteers how to effectively fundraise. She currently manages the investments and financial activities of a private family office and is a member of the board of directors of ANDE, a global leader in rapid DNA technology. Beth graduated from Vassar College with a concentration in Economics and earned an MBA from The Wharton School. She loves theatre and previously served as a Trustee of Writers Theatre (Glencoe) and on the Board of Governors of the Stratford Festival in Canada. She’s been part of the RPMS community since 2017 and her youngest child is in Children’s House.
Jennifer, a one-time sixth grade Montessori graduate, joined the RPMS Board in 2020 after working for a year as a non-board member on the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee and volunteering for several other roles within the school. Jennifer, her husband, Kevin and their two daughters, Avery (Class of 2022) and Madison (Middle School) have been part of the RPMS community since 2012. Jennifer's experience includes various accounting and finance positions and she is currently a VP/Director at Diversified Financial Management Corp., a private family office. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, including cheering on her kids' sports teams, cooking, traveling, and playing tennis.
Nancy Nassr is an experienced educator and Head of School at the Ancona School, a Montessori-inspired school in Hyde Park. Nancy joined the Ancona community in 2016 as Assistant Head of School and served as Ancona’s Interim Head of School during the 2017-2018 school year. Nancy has been an educator for over 15 years: as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and school leader.
Nancy has presented at national and international conferences on issues of restorative practices; creativity in the classroom; and using games and digital platforms to engage, challenge and assess student learning. She is an active volunteer in several nonprofits serving the Muslim community. She believes that teaching and learning are fundamental human experiences and is dedicated to cultivating school environments built upon respect, collaboration, and educating the whole child. She is dedicated to social justice—both in and outside the classroom— and committed to the use of restorative practices for conflict management.
Born and raised in Chicago, Joe and his family have been part of the RPMS community since 2021. Joe and his wife Amy have two boys, Lincoln (upper elementary) and Simeon (lower elementary). Joe currently works for Medtronic, a large medical device firm, where he has spent the last 16 years in various sales and marketing leadership roles. He received his B.B.A from Loyola University Chicago and his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. In his free time, Joe enjoys coaching his kids sports teams, trying new food and wine, and painfully watching Chicago sports teams.
Dan is the Executive Director of a local youth development organization called CircEsteem. He brings with him over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector both in Chicago and overseas, and is excited to support RPMS by serving on the board. Before moving to Chicago in 2016, Dan and his wife, Renny, founded and operated a non-government organization in Indonesia called Red Nose Foundation for 9 years. They have two children at school (Middle School and Lower Elementary) who continue to grow and shine with the kind support and encouragement from their incredible teachers and school staff.
As an educator at heart, JeNai joined the RPMS board in early 2023. With her son David (Upper Elementary) joining the RPMS community in 2017 (toddler program), JeNai has been a part of the community in various volunteer capacities. As a professor and mentor in Art and International Education as well as social justice, her profession and desire to learn have taken her all over the world. When not working, JeNai loves to travel, create and experience art, listen to world music, and most of all spend time with family.
accreditations and affiliations
RPMS is accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS), the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS), and is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education. The early childhood program carries the Gold Circle of Quality awarded by the State of Illinois' ExceleRate program, and the toddler program is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
The school holds memberships in the following associations: