We are pleased to recognize an exciting moment in the school’s history. Effective this spring, ownership of Lillard Hall, Ferris House, and the Otis Boarding House will be transferred to MHS! This transfer was made possible by David J. Kahn and Debra Guren, who together lead Montessori Development Partnerships.

The transfer of ownership of our school buildings is a testament to the growth and success of MHS and confidence in its leadership moving forward, and will help to secure our future in a significant way as it will dramatically increase our overall assets and secure our foundation for growth. MHS has historically paid the mortgages on these buildings, which were leased from Montessori Development Partnerships for our use since we opened our doors in 2008.

This transfer illustrates the long-term goals of Montessori Development Partnerships, which is to create self-sustaining projects. Once a project reaches this point, the organization steps back to allow for continued growth under the direction of new leadership and for independence of the seeded institutions.

MHS is excited for this development, and thankful to David, Debbie, and Montessori Development Partnerships for the work they have done to help the school become a self-sustaining Montessori high school ready to use their expanded assets to take on new program initiatives and enriched facilities.

Our Founding

David and Debbie led Montessori Development Partnerships in the founding of Montessori High School at University Circle in 2008, purposefully choosing University Circle so that our students could take advantage of the world-class institutions housed here. The experts and resources available at these institutions allow MHS students to delve into the arts, culture, and education through novel experiences and hands-on learning.


left to right: Debbie Guren, Robert Zimmer, and Peter Guren

Montessori Development Partnerships ran a capital campaign from 2007 to 2010 that funded the initial investment in the MHS school buildings. Under David and Debbie’s leadership, MDP received major gifts from MHS alumni families in addition to gifts from foundations and friends of the school and the Montessori community.

Today, MHS continues to engage in the resources of the Circle, offering unparalleled opportunities for study to 100 students. Montessori Development Partnerships have continued to support our innovation and growth; most recently, this has included the refurbishing of a fourth building adjacent to MHS campus which they have made available to MHS and its students.

The transfer of ownership also marks the conclusion of David’s work at MHS. David was the founding director of MHS, and continued to serve on the Board of Directors after leaving his administrative post at the school. He has


left to right: Chris Ronayne and David Kahn

moved to North Carolina with his wife Barbara, and will be concluding his direct work with MHS at the end of the school year. David will continue his work with Montessori Development Partnerships and the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association. He will also continue to consult on Montessori initiatives in the United States and throughout the world, including a new study on Montessori high schools that has tapped MHS for its outstanding work integrating IB curriculum.

Leading the Way in Montessori and IB

MHS is also pleased to announce that it will be at the center of a new study, spearheaded by that North American Montessori Teachers’ Association to analyze the effectiveness of combining the Montessori Method with the International Baccalaureate program.

MHS was the first Montessori high school in the United States to be recognized as an official IB World School. Since this recognition in 2009, MHS has offered the IB Diploma to all junior and senior students. We believe that the IB curriculum speaks to Montessori’s respect for and investment in the individual, and the curriculum has offered our students the flexibility to study self-chosen topics, report in unique ways, and learn at their own pace. MHS faculty member Mike Waski will play a major role in this study as will Head of School Gregg Good.

Gregg, who began work as Head of School this past fall, will also be completing the Adolescent Orientation this summer, which NAMTA is sponsoring on MHS’s behalf to ensure that we continue to lead Montessori education in innovative practice and pedagogy.

The success, security, and future of Montessori High School at University Circle would not have been possible without the founding vision of Montessori Development Partnerships. MHS is proud of its continued partnership with Montessori Development Partnerships and NAMTA, and we look forward to continuing the legacy of Montessori education and development.