Faculty Spotlight on Monica Nance, M.A.
Happy new year! Our first spotlight of 2024 is on Professor Monica Nance, who joined our ranks last summer as one of our program capstone instructors. A career educator from Kansas City, Missouri, Nance has extensive experience in teaching and coaching in her school district.
What are a few things you’d like others to know about you?
I’m finishing my 40th year in education! I have served as a classroom teacher, a Building and District coach as well as a Curriculum Coordinator, and am currently the Professional Learning Coordinator for the Kansas City Public School District.
I have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren (with another on the way!).
I absolutely love to teach, read, travel and shop.
What brought you to Montessori, and how has it impacted your career?
I began my journey with Montessori education when both of my (now adult) children were students at Holliday Montessori Elementary School in the Kansas City Public Schools. Both of my children started attending when they were in P3. I did not know anything about Montessori education, but what I had heard made me know that my children would do well learning in this environment. Almost 30 years later, I was offered a great opportunity to work as an Instructional Coach at the very same school that both of my children attended.
The impact of both of those experiences has been tremendous for me. Being involved as a parent, receiving the opportunity to work as an Instructional Coach at a Montessori school, and then getting the chance to take the Montessori Core Principles class were all opportunities that impacted my career in a positive way. I gained such a stronger understanding of Montessori education and what the benefits were for our children. I watched the children grow and demonstrate their learning in such positive ways. I also have a 6-year-old granddaughter who attends Holliday now. I have also watched her blossom since she started as a P3 student there. She is in kindergarten and already reading chapter books. She has a tremendous independent spirit that I am sure is nurtured through her learning.
Where are you now in your career, and what are some of your professional goals?
I currently am serving as the Professional Development Coordinator for the district. My main focus is working with the mentoring program, supporting new and beginning teachers as well as providing professional learning in the area of Culturally Responsive Practices. My current goals are to continue to support this work for the school district, and in about 2-3 years, officially retire from working full time. I want to continue my work as an adjunct professor and grow that work to hopefully become a full-time professor. As I stated before, I truly love teaching and I want to continue to use my skills in this area.
How has teaching for this program impacted you, personally and/or professionally?
Teaching [the capstone course] for the program at Loyola University has been a really an eye-opening experience for me. It seems that all of my years of experience have come together with my knowledge around Montessori education and landed in this class. I feel empowered by and truly grateful for my career experiences that led me here. As I progressed in teaching the course, I experienced how pieces of traditional education and Montessori education can work together in a very powerful way.
What advice would you give to those who may be considering this master’s degree in Montessori Education?
I strongly encourage others to consider this program, because it is a great way to gain skills in an area of education that will stay with you for years to come. The program is self-paced and encourages collaboration among the participants. Gaining knowledge/skills in an area of education that focuses on newborns all the way to mature adulthood and incorporates issues of social justice, diversity and many other important topics provides for opportunities too numerous to count. I would encourage those who work in a Montessori setting to consider this degree as well because the program is comprehensive, and full of opportunities to research, learn from others and engage in collaborative conversations.