RKMS 50th Anniversary Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

February 20, 2013      

Media Contacts:

Lisa Ginsberg         
Tel. 312.447.1449
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Maria Montenegro
Tel. 202.262.9374
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Ronald Knox Montessori School Celebrates Fifty Years of Educating, Inspiring and Nurturing North Shore Children
Year Long Commemoration Festivities to Include Knox Night Gala and
Alumni Recognition

WILMETTE, IL – Inspired by the Montessori philosophy, a group of Wilmette parents came together in 1963 to found Ronald Knox Montessori School (RKMS) with the mission of fostering independent learning in a nurturing and stimulating environment to foster a lifelong love of learning. Thousands of North Shore children have since passed through its doors and today RKMS continues to operate as a parent-governed and professionally operated, not-for-profit Montessori school serving children between six months and six years of age.  Throughout 2013, RKMS students, parents and faculty will join with the community to celebrate the school's fifty-year anniversary and help ensure its continued success through a series of commemorative festivities.


A signature event will be RKMS' Annual Knox Night Gala on Saturday, April 13 at the Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette which will represent an opportunity for parents and faculty to celebrate and recognize alumni who are being encouraged to attend.  The fundraising event, with proceeds to benefit RKMS, will include a formal sit-down dinner, live entertainment by the Ron Bedal Orchestra, dancing and a silent auction which will include experience packages comprised of unique "behind the scenes" tours of various Chicagoland institutions.  Tickets and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available now and can be purchased by contacting Event Chair Rosemary Wormley at 847.477.8522 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Ms. Blythe Silva, Head of School, commented, "A Montessori education gives children the confidence to learn and discover at their own pace under the nurturing guidance of trained teachers who are dedicated and committed to fostering emotional and academic growth.  Our curriculum exposes our students to a wide variety of subject areas -- Geography, Science, Math and Language Arts to name a few -- that leaves them amply prepared for elementary school, while instilling a strong passion for learning.  At the same time, we also make it our mission to instill a sense of compassion for those that are less fortunate with annual traditions such as the Mitten Tree during the holidays where students can donate warm clothing to children at our sister school in Milwaukee, or our Toy Drive where children are invited to part with one of their own treasures so they may brighten another child's day."


Strong ties to the Wilmette community have been a hallmark of RKMS since its beginning and no entity is more closely connected literally and figuratively than The Sisters of Christian Charity (SCC) who were instrumental in RKMS' founding.  The Sisters first offered up their own facilities at that time, Mallinckrodt, for class meeting space, and eventually adjacent land for building the first RKMS in 1967.  As enrollment continued to grow throughout the 1980's and 1990's with the Primary and Toddler programs housed in separate buildings, the American Montessori Society accreditation process recommended building an entirely new and modern facility where the student body could be unified under one roof.


And so began a rebuilding of RKMS as the initial facility was razed and ground was broken in the summer of 2007 to begin building the new campus which welcomed students for the start of the 2008-2009 school year.  Today, the 13,000 square foot school houses approximately 180 students and offers spacious and bright classrooms that are accommodating to the needs of infants, toddlers and primary children, in addition to multi-purpose spaces for music, art and fitness activities such as Yoga.


RKMS Board President Melinda Kelly commented:  "We are truly blessed as a community to have such a special place to educate our children and nurture their love of learning.  Our children learn in a beautiful setting, with amazing teachers, and are supported by all of our dedicated parents. The daily commitment by our hard working families and staff has helped us reach this significant milestone, and we look forward to working together with the North Shore community to ensure RKMS' continued success for future generations to come."


RKMS students come from families dedicated to education, and the Montessori philosophy in particular.  The students come from the North Shore communities of Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Evanston and Glenview, in addition to the City of Chicago.
RKMS has been very fortunate to have faculty members who have been teaching at the school for many years. Three Directresses in fact have been at the school for over 20 years each and two have returned to the school after leaving to have their own families. "Our turnover rate in general is very low," added Silva.  "Our staff is at the core of Ronald Knox's success and considered one of our greatest strengths."


RKMS is seeking out alumni to invite them to commemorative events such as the April 13 Knox Night Gala, and to chronicle stories around how their Montessori experience has impacted and influenced their lives.  Alumni are encouraged to contact Rosemary Wormley for additional information, and are invited to join the Ronald Knox Montessori School Facebook page.

About Ronald Knox Montessori School:
Since 1963, this parent-owned and professionally operated non-profit has dedicated itself to the Montessori educational philosophy. At the heart of our beliefs is the notion that the greatest learning occurs when children are allowed to choose their own path to development. At RKMS, children are encouraged to explore a world of activities under the watchful eyes of competent, Montessori-trained teachers. In this setting, children cultivate concentration, motivation and self-discipline along with a life-long love of learning, high self-esteem and respect for others and the world around them.  For additional information, visit www.ronaldknox.org

"The lessons I learned early on as a RKMS student have been instrumental in my law practice as well as my personal life. RKMS provided me with a unique method of thinking which has been useful in problem solving, establishing and preserving relationships, communicating with others, and evaluating situations. It is very gratifying to see my children experience the same tutelage. I look forward to seeing the manifestation Additional ARKMS experience in their future accomplishments. To me, RKMS is the only and, obvious choice."

           - P resources for Media:  Additional Resources Available to Media


Spokespersons:  In addition, spokespersons available for comment on RKMS' Fifty Year Anniversary celebration include Blythe Silva (Head of School); Mindy Kelly (Board President); Rosemary Wormley (Knox Night Gala Chair); and Sister Alice Mary Ortmann (original founder who taught at RKMS for 33 years).

Also, examples of local alumni who remain actively involved and dedicated to RKMS include the following individuals who may be quoted:


• Eve Finzer, a Winnetka native, attended RKMS as a child, returned as a young adult to begin her teaching career, became a mother of five along the way, and still continues to guide students in their development and spark the same lifelong passion for learning that she herself experienced. Finzer commented, "Ronald Knox was started by a group of parents who had a vision to create a 'community within a community' where the primary focus would be on the individual child and his or her development rather than a one-size fits-all prescription for learning."


• Heidi Ziomek is a Wilmette resident whose dedication to RKMS spans many years and significant milestones.  She attended as a child and has now made Ronald Knox a family tradition.  Ziomek commented, "Ronald Knox had such a favorable and positive impact on my life while I was there that my husband and I put in an application for our first born while I was still expecting! As of now, two of our daughters have graduated from RKMS, and our third daughter is currently experiencing all the wonders of a Montessori education.  She will complete her third year in spring 2014, and will soon be a graduate too."


• Sister Alice Mary Ortmann with the Sisters of Christian Charity in Wilmette was an original RKMS directress who taught at the school for 33 years.  She remains close to RKMS through annual holiday traditions such as Sharing with the Sisters which offers students and parents the opportunity to give thanks to their neighbors whose support has been instrumental since the school's inception.  A program of holiday musical entertainment is prepared by the school's music teacher for the children to sing.


• Jessie Filkins is a current directress and an alumnus whose child is currently enrolled at RKMS.  Filkins shared, "When I arrived for my internship, my mentor and I were talking about my experiences as a child at RMKS. Strangely enough, we figured out that I had been at the school during her first year of teaching there.  I was surprised when she asked if I had a sister, and then a couple of days later presented me with a class picture from 1986 and asked if the little girl with the braid was me.  Sure enough it was, after all of those years she had remembered both my sister and me.

I have many wonderful memories from my time at Ronald Knox Montessori School and believe that it gave me the foundation for a lifelong passion and love of learning.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be part of, and give back to this amazing institution and to pass on the legacy of truly child-led education to my daughter.  It is a beautiful gift to watch my child blossom every day under the direction of the inspired and dedicated faculty and staff."

 

        Maria Montenegro         Tel. 202.262.9374         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                   Ronald Knox Montessori School Celebrates Fifty Years of Educating, Inspiring and Nurturing North Shore Children Year Long Commemoration Festivities to Include Knox Night Gala and Alumni Recognition   WILMETTE, IL – Inspired by the Montessori philosophy, a group of Wilmette parents came together in 1963 to found Ronald Knox Montessori School (RKMS) with the mission of fostering independent learning in a nurturing and stimulating environment to foster a lifelong love of learning. Thousands of North Shore children have since passed through its doors and today RKMS continues to operate as a parent-governed and professionally operated, not-for-profit Montessori school serving children between six months and six years of age.  Throughout 2013, RKMS students, parents and faculty will join with the community to celebrate the school’s fifty-year anniversary and help ensure its continued success through a series of commemorative festivities.  A signature event will be RKMS’ Annual Knox Night Gala on Saturday, April 13 at the Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette which will represent an opportunity for parents and faculty to celebrate and recognize alumni who are being encouraged to attend.  The fundraising event, with proceeds to benefit RKMS, will include a formal sit-down dinner, live entertainment by the Ron Bedal Orchestra, dancing and a silent auction which will include experience packages comprised of unique “behind the scenes” tours of various Chicagoland institutions.  Tickets and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available now and can be purchased by contacting Event Chair Rosemary Wormley at 847.477.8522 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..    

Ms. Blythe Silva, Head of School, commented, “A Montessori education gives children the confidence to learn and discover at their own pace under the nurturing guidance of trained teachers who are dedicated and committed to fostering emotional and academic growth.  Our curriculum exposes our students to a wide variety of subject areas -- Geography, Science, Math and Language Arts to name a few -- that leaves them amply prepared for elementary school, while instilling a strong passion for learning.  At the same time, we also make it our mission to instill a sense of compassion for those that are less fortunate with annual traditions such as the Mitten Tree during the holidays where students can donate warm clothing to children at our sister school in Milwaukee, or our Toy Drive where children are invited to part with one of their own treasures so they may brighten another child’s day.”  Strong ties to the Wilmette community have been a hallmark of RKMS since its beginning and no entity is more closely connected literally and figuratively than The Sisters of Christian Charity (SCC) who were instrumental in RKMS’ founding. 

The Sisters first offered up their own facilities at that time, Mallinckrodt, for class meeting space, and eventually adjacent land for building the first RKMS in 1967.  As enrollment continued to grow throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s with the Primary and Toddler programs housed in separate buildings, the American Montessori Society accreditation process recommended building an entirely new and modern facility where the student body could be unified under one roof.  And so began a rebuilding of RKMS as the initial facility was razed and ground was broken in the summer of 2007 to begin building the new campus which welcomed students for the start of the 2008-2009 school year.  Today, the 13,000 square foot school houses approximately 180 students and offers spacious and bright classrooms that are accommodating to the needs of infants, toddlers and primary children, in addition to multi-purpose spaces for music, art and fitness activities such as Yoga.  RKMS Board President Melinda Kelly commented:  “We are truly blessed as a community to have such a special place to educate our children and nurture their love of learning.  Our children learn in a beautiful setting, with amazing teachers, and are supported by all of our dedicated parents. The daily commitment by our hard working families and staff has helped us reach this significant milestone, and we look forward to working together with the North Shore community to ensure RKMS’ continued success for future generations to come.”

RKMS students come from families dedicated to education, and the Montessori philosophy in particular.  The students come from the North Shore communities of Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Evanston and Glenview, in addition to the City of Chicago. RKMS has been very fortunate to have faculty members who have been teaching at the school for many years. Three Directresses in fact have been at the school for over 20 years each and two have returned to the school after leaving to have their own families. “Our turnover rate in general is very low,” added Silva.  “Our staff is at the core of Ronald Knox’s success and considered one of our greatest strengths.” RKMS is seeking out alumni to invite them to commemorative events such as the April 13 Knox Night Gala, and to chronicle stories around how their Montessori experience has impacted and influenced their lives.  Alumni are encouraged to contact Rosemary Wormley for additional information, and are invited to join the Ronald Knox Montessori School Facebook page.

About Ronald Knox Montessori School: Since 1963, this parent-owned and professionally operated non-profit has dedicated itself to the Montessori educational philosophy. At the heart of our beliefs is the notion that the greatest learning occurs when children are allowed to choose their own path to development. At RKMS, children are encouraged to explore a world of activities under the watchful eyes of competent, Montessori-trained teachers. In this setting, children cultivate concentration, motivation and self-discipline along with a life-long love of learning, high self-esteem and respect for others and the world around them.  For additional information, visit www.ronaldknox.org

"The lessons I learned early on as a RKMS student have been instrumental in my law practice as well as my personal life. RKMS provided me with a unique method of thinking which has been useful in problem solving, establishing and preserving relationships, communicating with others, and evaluating situations. It is very gratifying to see my children experience the same tutelage. I look forward to seeing the manifestation Additional ARKMS experience in their future accomplishments. To me, RKMS is the only and, obvious choice." - P resources for Media:  Additional Resources Available to Media Supporting Material for Media: Available images include the original and present day school buildings.  The present day building at 2031 Elmwood Avenue is pictured below, and JPG files of both can be provided upon request.  Archived photos and newspaper clips from local publications that date back to the 1960’s are also available for review. Spokespersons:  In addition, spokespersons available for comment on RKMS’ Fifty Year Anniversary celebration include Blythe Silva (Head of School); Mindy Kelly (Board President); Rosemary Wormley (Knox Night Gala Chair); and Sister Alice Mary Ortmann (original founder who taught at RKMS for 33 years). 

 

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