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Board of Directors

Joe Lubig, Ed.D. - Public Member

Joe Lubig, Ed.D. - Public Member

Board Chair - October 2021-June 2026* // Marquette, Michigan

Dr. Joe Lubig is a teacher educator who serves as the Associate Dean for Teacher Education and the Department Head for the Center for Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University (NMU). He has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum Design. He is an expert in the areas of civic education and adolescent literacy with a focus on critical thinking in these two areas. His current position as a teacher educator at the graduate and undergraduate levels allows him to utilize his thirteen years of public school teaching to train teachers in the pedagogy of successful classroom practice. He consistently pairs his students’ coursework with authentic experiences through NMU’s Center for Native American Studies and the two native charter schools NMU supports. His most current work revolves around accreditation and quality assurance systems and collaborating with P-12 schools to assure those systems are an ongoing component of classroom teaching.

Kathy Leitch - IMC

Kathy Leitch - IMC

Vice Chair - December 2021-2027* // Fort Myers, Florida

Kathy Leitch has devoted her professional career to furthering the legacy of Dr. Montessori’s seminal work. She has served the Montessori community for over 40 years as a classroom guide, school founder, school leader, teacher educator, international school consultant, keynote speaker, and school accreditation commissioner.

Currently, Kathy serves as the Executive Director of the International Montessori Council (IMC) and Program Director for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS) Infant-Toddler Program and Co- director of the Leadership Program.

Kathy graduated from Barry University and earned her Montessori Credentials from the American Montessori Society for 0-3 & 3-6. Additionally, Kathy is a certified Parenting Instructor and Stress Management Facilitator.

Kathy has shared her extensive experience and commitment to fully implement Montessori practices with schools and teacher education programs worldwide. She continues to serve many Montessori organizations as a collaborator and contributor.

Sungti Hsu, M.S. - Public Member

Sungti Hsu, M.S. - Public Member

Treasurer - December 2021-2027* // Fishers, Indiana

Sungti Hsu is a founding member of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), an educator preparation program accreditor that aims to strengthen P-20 education through the excellent, innovative preparation of educators. Sungti has worked in accreditation and program approval at the state and national levels for over a decade. Although Sungti was trained and licensed as a special education and Chinese language teacher, he has worked in several state education agencies as a licensure and higher education consultant and developed educator data systems, led state educator standard revision, and coordinated redevelopment and implementation of educator licensure assessments in addition to guiding and shaping the formation and operation of state educator preparation policies.

Prior to joining AAQEP, Sungti served as the Director for State Affiliates and Partnership Support at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). He has strengthened relationships with state education authorities, expanded state affiliates’ reaches, and initiated AACTE’s first international collaboration effort. A native of Taiwan, he holds degrees from Brigham Young University (BS and MS) and completed doctoral coursework from the University of Kansas.

Tanya L. Ryskind, J.D. - IMC

Tanya L. Ryskind, J.D. - IMC

Secretary - June 2021-2026* // Harbert, Michigan

Tanya L. Ryskind, J. D. joined NewGate School, the Lab School of the Montessori Foundation in 2019. Currently, she serves as the Head of School. Tanya has worked with private independent, public, and public charter Montessori schools. She is credentialed as a 6-12 elementary Montessori guide and has credentials from AMS and IMC.  Since 2007, Tanya has been a commissioner on the IMC School Accreditation Committee. Tanya works for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS) as an instructional guide, practicum adviser, and field consultant. She serves on the CGMS Teacher Education Committee. Tanya worked as a teacher trainer for the Polski Instytut Montessori in Warsaw, Poland. She has presented numerous workshops and has provided educational consulting services throughout the United States and internationally.

Huss Akbar, MBA - IND

Huss Akbar, MBA - IND

April 2023-2026 // Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Huss is the director of Montessori Teachers College, Canada. He is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) in Ontario and holds an AMI Montessori Administrators Certificate, Montessori credentials 3-6 (PAMS), 6-9 (PAMS) and 9-12 (TMI). He has a Business and Economics undergraduate degree and a Masters of Business Administration from City University. Prior to joining Montessori Teachers College, Huss was a Montessori guide, supervisor, principal and owner of three Montessori schools in Ontario for 22 years, and has assisted many Montessori leaders in establishing Montessori schools across Canada. Currently, Huss serves as a volunteer board member on the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators which promotes standards of excellence in Montessori Education throughout Canada.

Virginia Brooks, M.Ed. - AMI

Virginia Brooks, M.Ed. - AMI

December 2022-2025* // Charlotte, North Carolina

Virginia holds a Master’s in Education with focus on Montessori from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland and a  Bachelor’s Degree in History from Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She is AMI-trained at all three levels, having earned the Assistants to Infancy Diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado, the Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Virginia has been an Elementary guide in AMI Montessori schools in South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia and Texas.  ​Virginia currently works as Special Projects Coordinator (Remote) at the Montessori Institute of North Texas and lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Raife Cebeci, J.D., M.Ed. - AMS

Raife Cebeci, J.D., M.Ed. - AMS

September 2023-2026 // West Chester, Pennsylvania

Raife Cebeci began her career opening two Montessori schools that catered to the Muslim community. Later, she established International Montessori Schools, which began with one location in Philadelphia and later expanded to five additional locations across Pennsylvania and Delaware. She serves as the Head of Schools for International Montessori Schools, as well as the executive director of the Montessori Institute for Teacher Education. In 2012, she began traveling to her home country of Turkey to nurture the growth of Montessori education in the region. There, she opened two laboratory schools and a teacher training program.

Raife received her Law degree from Istanbul University and her master’s degree in educational psychology from the College of St. Rose. She earned her AMS early childhood credentials at PCTE.

Raife loves nature and gardening with her grandson; her latest pursuit in the garden is becoming a beekeeper.

Vyju Kadambi, M.Ed. - Public Member

Vyju Kadambi, M.Ed. - Public Member

April 2023-2026 // Fort Wayne, Indiana

In her 25 plus years as a Montessori educator, Vyju has served as a Montessori teacher, head of school and school founder. She has worked in both private and public Montessori schools and strongly believes that there needs to be greater access to high quality Montessori education for all families. She is AMS credentialed in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary and holds an AMS certificate in Administration. Additionally she completed her M. Ed. in Montessori Education from Xavier University. Vyju is currently the Advocacy Associate at the Montessori Public Policy Initiative where she works with the MPPI team to support state advocacy leads as the advocate for high quality Montessori education be more accessible to all families.

Gulsevin Kayihan - IND

Gulsevin Kayihan - IND

Board Member Emeritus // Federal Way, Washington

Gulsevin Kayihan is a Montessori educator of more than 40 years of experience. She is the Academic Director of Montessori Institute for  Teacher Education  and Montessori Academy at Spring Valley, the oldest Montessori School in the State of Washington, established in 1951 by Madeleine J. Justus. Gulsevin Kayihan is the co-author of more than 20 volumes of Montessori education textbooks for Montessori teachers. She is the recipient of several awards. In addition to her service for MACTE, she serves on the Pacific North West Montessori Association, Washington State Private Schools Advisory Committee, Spring Valley Montessori Boards, and Washington Federation of Independent Schools. She is involved with the education issues in Washington State. Gulsevin Kayihan studied general science at the American College for Girls and has a degree in administration from the University of Bosphorous, Istanbul. She did her graduate studies in Montessori education at the University of Puget Sound. She has taught Early childhood through 8th grade and is a Montessori instructor at the Early Childhood and Elementary I-II levels.

Gulsevin loves nature, math, and science, and is an avid reader. She does international  consulting and seminars.

Gulsevin completed her second term on the MACTE Board in 2015 and continues to act as an advisor to the MACTE Board of Directors.

Ashley Morris, Ed.D. - AMS

Ashley Morris, Ed.D. - AMS

December 2021-June 2026* // Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Ashley Morris is the director of the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta. Ashley holds degrees from the College of William and Mary in neuroscience (B.S.) and Kennesaw State University in early childhood education (Ed.D), as well as AMS and PAMS early childhood credentials. She is a recognized instructor for Bright from the Start in the state of Georgia and enjoys working with Georgia’s Montessori advocacy group, Montessori Administrators of Georgia. Before teacher training, she worked as a primary teacher and then moved into administration as curriculum director.

Ashley loves to travel, hike, and read books.

Dorothy Paul, Ed.S. – AMS

Dorothy Paul, Ed.S. – AMS

March 2024-2027 // Princeton, New Jersey

Dorothy serves as the Program Director of Princeton Center Teacher Education. She has earned two Montessori Early Childhood diplomas and two Master’s degrees (one in early childhood and one in elementary education) from Barry University, an Elementary Level I-II certification. She holds a Professional Educator’s Certificate from the State of Florida Department of Education for Pre-Kindergarten/Primary education, Elementary education, and ESOL. Dorothy enjoys spending time with her two adult children and is an avid sports fan.

Vanessa Rigaud, Ed.D. – AMS

Vanessa Rigaud, Ed.D. – AMS

February 2024-2027 // Cincinnati, Ohio

Vanessa is an Associate Professor and Program Director/Program Coordinator for Montessori Elementary I & II at Xavier University-College of Professional Sciences in Cincinnati Ohio. Vanessa has nine years of administration experience and 14 years of teaching experience, including teaching positions in both public and private Montessori schools. Vanessa is a certified public school teacher for grades Pre-K through 6th grade and holds Early Childhood and Elementary I-II teaching credentials. Vanessa is a trained CLASS Teachstone observer. A lover of travel, Vanessa also enjoys reading, creating art at the easel, and playing tennis.

Alyssa Schwartz, M.A. - Public Member

Alyssa Schwartz, M.A. - Public Member

December 2022-2025* // Saint Paul, Minnesota

Alyssa Schwartz joined the Cornerstone Montessori Schools in St. Paul, MN, in 2018.  Alyssa serves as Head of School for Cornerstone Montessori Elementary School, a K-6 public charter school, and Cornerstone Montessori School, a program of the Montessori Center of Minnesota serving children 16 months through age 5.  She is a Montessori child (18 months through 6th grade).  Alyssa received her BA from Stanford University and MA from the Stanford University School of Education.  She completed her AMI Primary training at the Maria Montessori Institute in London, before spending 6 years as a Children’s House guide in California.  Prior to moving to Minnesota, Alyssa was the Educational Programs Director and Interim Executive Director of AMI/USA in Washington, DC.  She serves as Board Secretary of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative and is chair of AMI’s Global School Accreditation committee.