In the early 1970s, Barbara Gordon (pictured right) became aware of the challenges that a Texas Montessori school was having with state licensing in that inspectors were not familiar with the Montessori approach to education and were looking for more traditionally required items such as dress-up corners, dolls, doll supplies, child-sized kitchen equipment such as stoves and sinks, etc. In addition, the inspectors saw items which had traditionally been thought of as dangerous in environments with young children but which were necessary to the real-life experiences nurtured and supported in Montessori prepared environments.
Ms. Gordon had not experienced this challenge at that time, but knew that eventually she would and decided to take proactive action. Gathering together heads of Montessori schools from Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, she led the group in an effort to get a bill passed categorizing Montessori schools as schools rather than as the "child-care" designation currently held.
After consultation with a local inspector, the group undertook the mission of creating its own minimum standards for AMI Montessori schools. It took five years, but the group earned the ability to license Montessori schools with primary and elementary levels.
Ms. Gordon held the position of Executive Director of AMITOT for 18 years during which she also tried to gain licensing privileges for the Toddler level but was unfortunately defeated in their attempt with the exception of Toddler environments which were part of a program with at least some children over six years of age.
Thought Ms. Gordon remains on the AMITOT board to this day, Chrissy Davol took over as Executive Director in 2013. After continuing on the AMITOT inspections over the last seven years, Ms. Davol has now handed over the tradition to Debby Riordan, Founding Director of Montessori360, to guide as AMITOT's newest Executive Director.
The AMITOT legacy continues and its importance in support of AMI schools and teachers in the Texas licensing process through its inspections and relationships with the state of Texas continue on!
AMITOT Founder, Barbara Gordon