SCOOP MAGAZINE electronic - Page 12

Meet Dr. Timothy Purnell:
AMS Executive Director
Dr. Timothy Purnell wants to make
the world a better place, and the
evidence so far shows that he’s
making pretty good progress. Purnell’s roots are in public education,
and he has spent many years in the
field, serving as a teacher, superintendent, and adjunct professor,
among other roles. Prior to becoming Executive Director of AMS
in August 2017, Purnell won honors including the National Superintendent of the Year Award, the
You Make a Difference Award, the
Governor’s Teaching Recognition
Award, the Weston Teaching in Excellence Award, and a Geraldine
Dodge Fellowship School Leadership Award.
Purnell’s enthusiasm lies in finding
ways to help every child become a
“captain of his or her own learning.” As superintendent of Somerville Public Schools in Somerville,
New Jersey, Purnell helped develop a high school for at-risk youth,
where students have agency in
guiding their education and pacing
themselves. He also met regularly
with a student cabinet, composed
of children from grades 2-12 with
a wide variety of backgrounds and
academic abilities. That group of
students set standards and agendas for each meeting, coordinated
refreshments, invited guests, and
orchestrated outcomes and follow-up.
“The most difficult transition to
my role at AMS was the loss of my
direct connection with children,
particularly those who are at-risk,”
says Purnell. “I have a passion to
mentor children who are disadvantaged. On the other hand, not only
does AMS share my commitment
to make the world a better place,
I am now able to work with educators and policymakers on a global
scale – and this is thrilling to me.”
As part of his first year with AMS,
Purnell spent time conducting a
“listening and learning tour” of
some of AMS’s member schools
and affiliated teacher education
programs, both in the U.S. and
overseas. In addition to helping
him become familiar with the nation’s larger Montessori network,

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