History of St. Croix Montessori School
In 1993 Hudson Children’s House was founded by Brian Sweeney as an independent, non-profit school. He and his wife had a very young child and began looking to find the right environment where their child could grow and learn. Along with other involved parents in the community, they researched practices in early childhood education and discovered the work of Maria Montessori. The school eventually adopted the Montessori Method.
From the beginning, the school leaders looked to the most modern findings in brain research, seeking to optimize both the intellectual and overall human development of their children. Other motivated parents joined the school community, and in 1995 the organization purchased the current building in Stillwater where the school changed its name to St. Croix Academy.
Originally offering education and programs for children as young as 18 months, the school grew steadily and added more classrooms and hired more teachers. As the children grew older St. Croix Academy added an elementary program for grades one through three. In 1998 the first Head of School, Ed Cavin, was hired. The school then purchased a 10 acre farm property from Bob and Norma Ames, which was adjacent to the existing land and increased the school grounds to 15 acres. In 2002 St. Croix Academy expanded the program offerings to include upper elementary grades through grade six. In 2009, St. Croix Academy changed its name to St. Croix Montessori School to better reflect the schools mission and philosophy.
Kathy Anderson was the first Montessori trained Head of School to take office in 2001. When John Kupris took office as St. Croix Academy’s third Head of School in 2005, the school added a new administrative position to focus on academic program excellence and admissions. Sheri Rylicki is the current Montessori trained Head of School, and all teachers at St. Croix Montessori School have completed graduate level training through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) or the American Montessori Society (AMS), which are international organizations that uphold the highest standards in teacher training.
The Board of Trustees grew significantly to include more dedicated parents. The Head of School and several teachers went to Chicago for a major conference on environmental education, and the Environmental Task Force was initiated to develop the outdoor and farm programs. With the help of parents, staff and student volunteers, the school began raising chickens, creating gardens, up-keeping nature trails and growing a tree nursery. Two alpacas were donated, and the community worked together to build a paddock for grazing. A full time Spanish teacher was hired to work daily in each of the classrooms. There are now several committees of parents actively contributing to the life of the school and as a community St. Croix Montessori School looks to a very bright future.
Now as always, St. Croix Montessori School is a community of joyful learners as well as the educators and parents who come together around the mission of serving the needs of the children in our care. As SCMS continues its growth, we are guided by the work of Dr. Maria Montessori and by the children themselves, whose joy in exploration, knowledge and creative expression is a timeless inspiration.