Returning Member Bios

Cary Kerr
My wife Jennifer and I are both graduates from Purdue and have lived in West Lafayette since graduation in 1993.   We both completed graduate programs at Purdue and were fortunate to find employment in West Lafayette.  I worked for the Purdue Libraries until 2000 when I transferred to a position at Cook Biotech in the Purdue Research Park.  I am currently the Director of IT at Cook Biotech and work with a team of IT professionals to support the global efforts of Cook Medical, based in Bloomington.  I also serve as the Compliance Administrator for Cook Biotech and oversee the Ethics & Compliance Program.

Jennifer and I have two boys Nate and Zach.  Nate started at Montessori when he was 3 and continued through the 3rd grade.  Nate is currently in 7th grade at Central Catholic.  We were extremely pleased with Nate’s progress while at Montessori and believe his love of reading and kind, loving demeanor were developed during his years at MSGL.   Zach is currently finishing his 2nd year in the Elementary program.  Zach has a very easy-going personality with a desire to explore and be free.  He thrives on the mobility and freedom to choose activities for himself.   We feel the MSGL Elementary program has allowed Zach to grow and progress in his areas of interest, epecially math.  Jennifer and I have helped at work days, at book fairs, with classroom projects, and with the house committee.   I have served on the board the last two years and look forward to continuing this service.

Cindy Garwood
Both my daughters, Chloe and Taylor, have been students of MSGL through the Elementary I program and are alumnus of MSGL. I am a self-employed attorney in downtown Lafayette. I primarily practice in the areas of family and juvenile law (so I am somewhat of a social worker and therapist). I have passionately advocated on behalf of children in the le-gal system for over fifteen years and have thus learned much about child development and the influence of environment on that development. I believe that my experience can be of great benefit to the Board in serving all the children of our community, as well as my own children.

Donna Barket
My family and I have been part of the Lafayette community since 1996 and the Montessori community for the past ten and a half years. My husband, Dennis, and I have two very active and creative children who thrived or are thriving, in the MSGL environment. Aaron is an alumnus of Willow, the All Day Program and Elementary.  He is now in seventh grade at West Lafayette Jr/Sr High School.  Connor also went through Willow and the All Day Program and is completing his third and last year in Elementary.  Both of the boys love to investigate, research and learn new things; I credit this to their Montessori education.

Dennis and I moved to Indiana in 1996.  He started graduate school at Purdue and I began working for Eli Lilly and Company.  My work for Lilly has ranged from Molecular Virologist, Compliance Leader and as a Team Leader for the world wide Development group. Dennis finished his degree and started a company in the Purdue Research Park which has been very exciting and challenging for our family.  In February 2006, my group at Lilly relocated to Indianapolis and I took time off in order spend more time with my children and provide them with a less chaotic home life. This opportunity has also given me the chance to get more involved with the school, either through funding raising efforts, board work or classroom time. The Greater Lafayette community is fortunate to have such a wonderful school assisting us parents in teaching and guiding our children.  While I realize that the school is not perfect, I have seen many wonderful changes during our seven plus years here and I know that there are very large projects being planned to advance the school even further.  I look forward to being a part of MSGL’s growth by serving on the board again.

Erin Willis
I was born and raised in Lafayette and although I spent several years away in Florida, when my husband and I decided to have children, we wanted to move back to Lafayette to be close to family.  My husband and I have been married for 13 years and have two independent and rambunctious children, Toby, who attended MSGL through kindergarten and is now at Battle Ground Elementary and Sabrina who is currently in Red Oak.  Over the past 5 years at MSGL, I have witnessed both my son and daughter grow into very caring, compassionate and creative children, which I credit in part to our wonderful school.  Our community is very lucky to have such a supportive environment for our children to learn and grow.  As a parent run school, we have a lot of responsibility to ensure the success and growth of this organization for future generations and I am happy to do my part.

Mary McKay
I am a veterinarian by training (although not currently in practice) and have two MSGL daughters: Catherine (alumna 2002) and Susan (alumna 2005), who completed all the MSGL levels up to 3rd grade of Elementary I. I have served on the board since 1999, which I guess makes me an official “old person” as well as the token alumni-parent. I hope to use my experience and perspective to serve the school.


Board Member Ballot


Please find below the slate of candidates for Board membership for the 2013–2015 term.  Cary Kerr, Cindy Garwood, Donna Barket, Erin Willis, and Mary McKay have consented to another term and are seeking re-election. Alan Friedman, Elisabeth Franklin, Jane Kaplan, Katie Dewitt, Kelsey Deford, and Kristina Carlson are interested in becoming new Board members. Fay Mentzer, Ginette Roos and Mary Snyder have another year on their terms.  Amanda Morris, Daniel Mroczek, Heather Francis, Sarah Graham, and Jonelle Clark are retiring from the board, we wish to thank them for their service. 

You may submit your ballot online by filling out the form below or anonymously by printing out the ballot and returning it to the office.  You are allowed one ballot per child attending MSGL.

Board elections will be held at the Corporation meetings on May 10 and 15, 2013. Please note the time for your child’s Corporation meeting and Spring Program:

River Birch, Red Oak, Willow, & Globe Willow
Friday, May 10 at 5:45 P.M. at Morton Community Center

Catalpa, White Oak, Catalpa Pods, & Elementary
Wednesday, May 15 at 5:45 P.M. at Morton Community Center

Deadline for voting: Wednesday, May 15


Board Ballot

You may vote for the full slate or for individual candidates. Please submit your ballots at the meeting. Or, if you unable to attend, turn it in to the Office prior to the meeting. You have one vote per child enrolled at MSGL. For example, cast two votes if you have two children currently attending MSGL.

Please vote for the full slate, or individual candidates. You may also vote for a write-in candidate. There is no set number of openings on the Board, so you may vote for as many as you wish.

New Member Bios

Alan Friedman
Having been a student in public and private schools in Kansas City where I grew up and been a student, instructor and faculty member in public and private universities,  I’ve seen the good, the bad, the beautiful (and a little bit of the downright ugly) in a lot of education.  While perhaps a romantic notion, I’d always hoped that public education could rise to the level of their private peers (although maybe that’s just my nostalgia for third grade talking). 

I know in practice, though, that private schools will always be needed to provide the special individual care that every child deserves, but is not always available, and this is nowhere so true as in those critical formative years.  I have personally been the beneficiary of excellent private schooling.  I’ve seen for myself the benefits I’ve received and my wife Gosia and I have seen the benefits our son Sebastian has now received.  And I know that private schooling requires the efforts and dedication of those who believe in it.  My mom did fundraising work for my private high school for many years, continuing well after I had graduated.  She didn’t make a big deal about it, and I was surprised to learn that she was still at it ten years after.  When I ask her why, she said something close to I owe them something for what they did for you.  I now know how she felt.

As a faculty member at Purdue, I’ve taught extremely large introductory courses (>300 students) and small graduate seminars.  I’ve managed research grants of several hundred thousand dollars and worked individually with students to develop their laboratory techniques.  I was an NSF Early Career Awardee.  I’ve applied for patents on research inventions and negotiated and interacted with companies who have developed my work.  I’ve developed lecture material for new courses and new lab exercises, and experimented with various teaching styles (some more successful than others, I have to admit).  Although I don’t have any formal education training, like most university faculty, I’ve been tossed into the fray and forced to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  I’m very sympathetic to the problems of teachers and teaching, but I’ve also set expectations for my teaching assistants and helped them meet them.

I would be honored to serve on the board of the Montessori School of Greater Lafayette.

Elisabeth Franklin
I learned about the Montessori philosophy when my young siblings started preschool.  I loved the model and was thrilled to have a similar school very close by when I began my family.  My husband and I have been part of the west lafayette community since our undergraduate days in 2003.  Our daughter, Emilie, started attending MSGL in the spruce program in 2009.  Our son, Austin, entered the same program in 2012.  We plan for our son, Ian, to enter the program in 2014.

I have my undergraduate degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.  I also have a teaching license for secondary mathematics.  I am excited to be involved in this school and contribute to the learning of all the children here.

Jane Kaplan
I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and went to Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina where I met my husband, Ian.  We moved around quite a bit while we were working on graduate degrees before moving to West Lafayette in 2009.  I have a M.A. in Psychology and stay at home with our three girls Rosie (7), Isabel (5) and Penelope (20 months).  Ian is an Assistant Professor in the Entomology Department at Purdue.  Rosie attended MSGL for 2 years (Preprimary-Spanish and Kindergarten) and loved every second of it.  Isabel started with the 2-day Toddler program and is in her second year of Preprimary.  Penelope is currently in the Parent-Infant class and will begin the Toddler program in the fall.  I have really enjoyed being part of the MSGL community over the past 3 years and have loved watching my girls learn and grow in such a wonderful environment.

Katie Dewitt
My husband and I moved with our two young daughters to West Lafayette in 2007.  SInce we have been here, our family has grown to also include two wonderful sons.  Our  children: Madeline (9), Sawyer (6), Eamon (4), and Truman (1), are busy, active kids and we are busy, active parents.  We came to be a part of the MSGL community in 2010 when our daughter, Sawyer joined the Globe Willow classroom.  Ever since, we have been thrilled with the experiences provided to our children through their Montessori education.  We have been impressed by their sense of personal responsibility and independence; their caring approach to the environment and to peers.  I am thrilled to be a part of the MSGL board and look forward to continuing to serve this organization and the children who are a part of it.

Prior to choosing to stay at home with my children, I was a supervisor of School-Based Child and Family Therapists, and a Child and Family Therapist.  I worked with children who were coping with Serious Mental Illness and significant behavioral problems. In my free time, I love to spend time outside, exercise, and spend time with our family.

Kelsey Deford
My husband, Ryan and I have a three year old year old son in the Willow classroom. We attended an open house when we were considering preschool options and were really impressed by the staff and school. I love that the childrens’ independence is encouraged here. Logan really looks forward to days that he gets to go to school.  We also have a two year old daughter, Zoey that will attend MSGL. I’ve enjoyed helping out in the classroom when my work schedule allows. 

Ryan and I are from the Lafayette area. I grew up south of Lafayette near Stockwell and Ryan grew up near Rossville. I am a Senior Accountant at the Purdue Research Foundation in the Purdue Research Park. West Lafayette is a great community!  I’m excited to meet more members of MSGL and do our part to help make this a great place for children to learn and grow.

Kristina Carlson
When I moved to Indiana from Rhode Island six years ago, I called MSGL to see if I needed to put my one month old Lily’s name on a waiting list for the Spanish Globe Willow Class. I’ve since relaxed my former family law attorney self into my role as a stay at home mom to Lily, age 6, and twins and current Spruce students, Lexi and Zoe, age 3. My husband, Christian Butzke, is Purdue’s wine professor.

Lily enjoyed the Montessori experience for three years (one Spruce, two Globe Willow) and created enough artwork to wallpaper our entire house. Lexi and Zoe are completing their first year. Zoe regularly asks to spend more time with Miss Dena. Christian laments that Lexi is so eager to start her work, she can’t be bothered to say goodbye. They will be in morning preprimary next year, and then hopefully, Globe Willow the following year. We have been so pleased to watch all three of our daughters ease out of separation anxiety and find independence and social confidence at MSGL. It has been a blessing to know that our children are in the hands of teachers who truly care for them, in an environment that they love to be in.

I have served on the auction committee for the past two years and especially enjoyed helping students create classroom projects. I would love to contribute more to this community by serving on the MSGL Board.