Jonelle Cotone

Head of School

My educational philosophy is rooted in experience and led by the core belief that it is our job as adults to help children become the best version of themselves. It is the job of parents, and teachers to work together to facilitate development. My philosophy comes from a unique perspective. I am a Montessori teacher, a parent of a special needs child that attended a Montessori school. I started my career as an assistant in an AMI Montessori school in Charlottesville, Virginia. I watched how non-verbal toddlers became extremely conversational, independent, and mature children. I was amazed at how the Montessori method of educating children transformed children into highly capable students. That experience greatly helped me as a parent. I had an everlasting impression on the immense potential that lies within each child.

Every Child is born with limitless potential. When my child became a toddler I noticed he wasn’t as talkative as the students I remembered. My experience became a guideline as I sought help for my child. I kept pushing and investigating. I had seen what a two-year-old could really do. I ended a career in real estate and worked as an intern so my son could go to one of Richmond's oldest Montessori schools. I used Montessori education as an early intervention. Later when he was diagnosed with high functioning Autism and ADHD I was afraid but unbothered. I knew the miracles that can happen in children. Montessori education helped shift my child from an almost nonverbal developmental delayed toddler, into a student that teachers love. He is kind, he loves animals, and he knows every fact about every car. The value that I place in Montessori education is beyond what I could have imagined when I was a new assistant in Charlottesville.

The years that I’ve worked as a lead teacher only solidified my beliefs. Every year I facilitate the same miracles. I become an early intervention for every student. I will use my leadership position as an opportunity to share with the community about how Montessori is helping children reach their full potential. I plan to bring to the Beddow School a vision that is clear and family-focused. A well-executed Montessori school with obtainable visions, and a core belief in the Montessori method. As a leader, I’d love the opportunity to share my philosophy about the value of Montessori education through my unique perspective as a parent, as a teacher, and now as head of school. Let’s work together and rise to our responsibility and create the citizens of the world that our society needs.

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"The Greatest Sign of Success for a Teacher is to be able to say, The Children are Now Working as if I Did Not Exist."

Maria Montessori
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