Montessori Leaders Collaborative


Dr. Timothy J. Purnell is executive director of the American Montessori Society.

Immediately prior to coming to AMS, he served as superintendent for the Somerville, NJ, public school district. There, he had oversight of a $44 million dollar budget as well as the educational services, stakeholder communications, and personnel management for the district’s schools.

He has also been a school principal, vice principal, and science teacher. In addition, he was a member of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners, where he was deeply involved in matters relating to teacher certification; and he has taught at several colleges and universities. Tim’s introduction to Montessori took place more than 20 years ago, when he was a summer guide at an AMS-accredited school—an experience that served as an underpinning for his conviction that children must have a voice in their own educational journey, and that collaboration is a critical component of transformation and advancement.

Timothy Purnell is the recipient of many honors and accolades, including being one of just 100 educators invited to attend President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative at the White House, selection as a NASS National Superintendent of the Year, recognition as the 2015 Highest Rated Professor in the nation, and a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation School Leadership Award (for studying the Italian system of education), to name just a few.

Dr. Purnell holds an Ed.D. in K – 12 Administration and an M.A. in Administration/Supervision.

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