We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Ashley Morris. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Ashley below.
Alright, Ashley thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you talk to us about your team building process? How did you recruit and train your team and knowing what you know now would you have done anything differently?
When we started the Institute in 2013, it was just me and Marj, the original director. We hired a few instructors but the bulk of the teaching and running the program was on us. Over the past eight years, I became the director in 2016, added another program and have grown to 25 faculty members! In the Montessori world, there are certain parameters to follow between our MACTE accreditation and AMS affiliation. It also takes time to support new faculty and see if they can make the “leap” from teaching children to teaching adults.
Ashley, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am the director of MTEI of Atlanta. We offer education programs for Montessori teaching credentials in Infant/Toddler, Early Childhood and Elementary. I started my career as “pre-med” wanting to pursue Medical school and ultimately ended in preschool pursuing a doctorate in Early Childhood. Spending time as a Montessori teacher in my twenties, I was able to create a strong foundation in supporting adult learners pursuing their teaching careers today.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
Covid-19, in March 2020, certainly was a povital time for everyone. We had to move our all face-to-face programs to 100% online immediately to continue to serve our adult learners. I had to lean on the resources I had through our accreditor and affiliation for support and ask for lots of feedback from the adult learners to create a solid, quality online program overnight.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Working with adults and working with children has its similarities and differences. In adult education, I’ve had to learn ways to connect to adults that are juggling work, life, family, and school on top of everything. It has been a unique journey to figure out how to set each adult learner up for success since they are coming into the programs with variations of experience and education.