2019-20 Wilmington Montessori School Annual Report

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ANNUAL REPORT | September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2020

Wilmington Montessori School

Today’s Learners; Tomorrow’s Leaders.


Wilmington Montessori School is a collaborative learning community rooted in

Montessori principles, inspiring the joyful discovery of self and a passion for

learning and independent thinking. We empower children to be knowledgeable and

responsible contributors to the global community.


Lisa A. Lalama & Ann Hriciga

Dear WMS Families and Friends,

Strategic planning retreat - June 2019

Montessori Model U.N. conference - February 2020

Family Woods Walk - November 2019

As our 2019 fiscal year ended, we gathered a group of faculty,

staff, board members, past and current parents, alumni and

other educators to begin planning the future direction of

Wilmington Montessori School. Using a design thinking

approach, we began to work in smaller groups to test the ideas

that were presented by the larger group, and we were ready to

fully embrace the new strategic direction for our school. Then,

along with the rest of the world, we faced the unimaginable

challenge of COVID-19, and we learned a great deal as our focus

shifted to preserving the health and safety of our community,

within WMS and beyond.

What we may ultimately remember about 2020 may not be

directly related to school, although we had many wonderful

experiences brought about through our deep connections to

our Montessori roots and our WMS community. During the

2019-20 school year, our sixth- through eighth-grade students

participated in the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN)

for the first time. Preparations for this conference began early

in the school year, as students learned more about the world

and a variety of global issues. In late February, several weeks

before the world began to shut down due to the pandemic, the

group traveled to New York City for the conference, where they

collaborated and negotiated with representatives from other

Montessori schools throughout the world to create solutions

to these global issues from the perspective of their chosen

country. This experience furthered Dr. Montessori’s vision of

giving children a view of the world, working toward peace.

During that fall and winter, our parents, who share so many

of their talents with us through their work in the WMS Co-op

Program, strengthened the connections within our community

by hosting a community cultural celebration and led groups

of parents and their children throughout the WMS campus to

explore our woods and other outdoor spaces.

annual report 2019-20 • 1

Virtual learning highlights - Spring 2020

As we closed our doors in mid-March 2020 and opened them virtually to our students two days

later, we were given the opportunity to model the ways in which we strive to teach children to face

new and unfamiliar challenges. Our school year ended with modified plans for our end-of-the-year

events, including a beautiful virtual celebration of the class of 2020, and with children returning to the

campus as we re-opened for Camp Montessori. We learned a great deal, and continue to learn as we

look ahead at WMS’s future — a future that is secured through your continued involvement with us,

whether in-person or in other ways.

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to another year of innovation, change and

opportunities to engage our community in the life of Wilmington Montessori School.

Lisa A. Lalama

Head of School

Ann Hriciga

Chair, WMS Board of Directors



Ann Hriciga, Chair

Joe Abele

Calissa Brown

Israel Floyd

Richard Gulino

Lisa Hastings-Sheppard

Anna Quisel

Paul Sakaguchi

Stephanie Simms

Mayura Simon

Susie Ventresca

Zehra Wamiq

2 • wmsde.org

Families members presented diplomas to members

of the class of 2020 at their homes.

Students were thrilled to return to campus for

summer camp in June 2020.


Guliana de Grazia

Audrey Doberstein

Marie M. Dugan

Michèle LeFever Quinn

Nancy Karibjanian

Deborah Murray-Shepherd

William Ryan


Graduation Speaker Shares Passion for Learning and Life

From the WMS 2010 Memory Book

Over a decade after graduating from Wilmington Montessori School, Demetria Ruhl (class of 2010) still looks forward to catching up with

the friends she met more than 15 years ago through her WMS Girl Scout troop. Every year around the holidays, former members of the

troop — started by WMS alumni parent Becca Gulino — would gather for dinner at the Melting Pot in Wilmington’s Independence Mall

shopping center. During the past year, the gatherings moved to Zoom due to the pandemic, but these young women still continue to come

together to celebrate each other’s birthdays and other occasions virtually.

“There is still a dynamic that I have with my Wilmington Montessori friends that I don’t have with anyone else,” she said. “I am very excited

to continue the Melting Pot tradition after the pandemic.”

With all Demetria was juggling last spring as a senior at Dickinson College, she still welcomed the chance to reconnect with her WMS

family when Head of School Lisa Lalama invited her to serve as alumni speaker at WMS’s virtual class of 2020 graduation ceremony.

“Being chosen as the 2020 graduation speaker was such an honor,” Demetria said. “I still remember how excited I was when I got Lisa’s

email! Writing my speech was a great way to reflect on my experience at WMS and how it has continued to positively shape my life in high

school, college and now in medical school.”

Like so many students around the world, Demetria’s college life came to an anti-climactic conclusion as she completed her studies of

French and chemistry and celebrated her own graduation from Dickinson College virtually last spring. Because of this, she felt a special

connection with the WMS class of 2020 when she spoke to them last June.

“I know from experience that this is not how you had hoped your time at [Wilmington] Montessori would end,” Demetria said to the class.

“Just two weeks ago, my own college graduation was virtual, and I understand how difficult it is to not be able to celebrate this special moannual

report 2019-20 • 3

ment in person with your friends and teachers at WMS who, alongside

with your families, have helped you get to where you are today.”

Demetria’s days of taking virtual classes from home were a stark

contrast to the rest of her college career, during which she kept busy

with her double major in chemistry and French, volunteered in the

admissions office, served as a teaching and research assistant in the

college’s chemistry department, conducted leukemia research as a

summer intern at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for

Children, and led the Dickinson swim team as senior captain.

As a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Wilmington

Friends School — the school she attended for middle and high

school — Demetria knew she preferred the smaller-school

environment she had enjoyed at WMS and actively sought a close-knit

college community that could offer her strong academic support.

“Ever since WMS, I knew it was important to forge strong relationships

with teachers,” she said. “I knew I could do that at a smaller school.”

Watch our entire virtual graduation video, including Demetria’s

speech at www.wmsde.org/2020grad.

“One thing that I can tell you

with confidence is that the

relationships and the

memories you have made

here at Montessori are strong,

and they have been built to

withstand the test of time.

– Demetria Ruhl, during her 2020 graduation speech

4 • wmsde.org

Demetria also knew she wanted to pursue a pre-med program, study

chemistry and French, travel abroad, and continue to competitively

swim. Dickinson checked all the boxes.

“Dickinson was one of the places that gave me a sense I could do it all

when I visited,” she said.

Demetria began college as a chemistry major and added French as a

second major. During the fall of her junior year, she studied abroad in

Toulouse, France, an experience that was more challenging than she


“Little did I know at the time that college in France is very different

from anything I had ever experienced in the U.S.,” she said. “It is only

looking back on my experience now that I can see that learning to

adapt to the French education system was one of the most valuable

parts of my entire study abroad experience. It pushed me out of my

comfort zone and gave me a new and valuable perspective.”

After completing several internships in the medical field, Demetria

enrolled in medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic

Medicine this fall, once again attending classes virtually from her

apartment. She credits her WMS foundation for her success during

her first year of medical school.

“Something I learned at WMS that stuck with me is how to be

self-motivated,” she said. “You need to be passionate about the

work you’re doing and motivate yourself because no one is going

to do it for you. You have a rewarding experience because you’re

pursuing things that interest you. We cover a very large amount

of content during the first year of medical school, and I think that

having virtual lectures has only made the love of learning that

I discovered at WMS even more important, as it motivates me

through the long days spent in my apartment watching classes and

then studying. I think that being an intrinsically motivated learner is

incredibly important in being successful in medical school (and in

any school or job)!”

Along with being a motivated learner, Demetria has been recognized

for her character. In college, she was honored to receive the

Amy Snow Prize, which is awarded to a student “who has a zest

for life and learning, a strong commitment to Dickinson and the

community, and the demonstrated belief in the good of people.”

Head of School Lisa Lalama, who was Demetria’s teacher during

her time in the 9-12 Program, said that this was a fitting award for

her former student.

“I remember her best for her huge heart — caring for others and

being kind to everyone — extending a helping hand,” Lisa said.

“Demetria exemplifies Montessori education. Her commitment

to the community and her understanding and concern for others

have served as an example for us all.”

At the end of her graduation speech, Demetria spoke directly to

the eighth-graders, whose WMS careers ended during a time when

the world faced unprecedented challenges.

“You are graduating in a unique moment in time, but you are

graduating with a Montessori education that has provided you

with the adaptability, creativity and love for learning that will enable

you to embrace the unknown and flourish both academically and

socially in your next adventure,” she said. “So many exciting

opportunities await you in high school and beyond, so go forward

with the confidence that you are prepared to succeed, the humility

to ask for help when you need it, and the knowledge that no matter

where life takes you, you come from a very special place that you

will always be able to call home, Wilmington Montessori School.”

Stay in touch! We love to hear

from our alumni! Please send your

news to alumni@wmsde.org.


COVID-19 Relief Fund Donations

In March 2020, the world changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilmington Montessori School transitioned

to home learning plans on March 17, which continued into June. With the support of the donors below, we were able

to offer high-quality virtual learning to students of all ages, continue to pay our entire staff through the duration of our

closure, prepare our facilities for our return in June, and remain open and on-campus through the 2020-21 school year, using

outdoor classroom spaces and COVID-19 protocols.

Sophia Smith and Adebowale Adeyemi


Michael and Becky Allen

AstraZeneca PLC

Pamela Bargren

The Bradley Family

Laurent Chardonnet

Michael Coughlin and Ann Hriciga

Delaware Nonprofit Support Fund

Noel Sarah Dietrich

The Downes Family

Marie and George Dugan

Family of Campbell Ebling

Joan Fitzgerald

Israel and Patricia Floyd

The Godowsky Family

Becca and Rick Gulino

Harris Family

Christopher and Kay Holbrook

The Wiggins and Huntoon Family

Fendy Jn Pierre and Geraldine Celestin

Augustus Jones and Christina Paez

Dr. and Mrs. Horatio C. Jones, III

Lamont and LaKeetra Josey

Preet and Monica Joshi

The Junk Family

The Kahn Family

The Lintner Family

Nora and Jim Lober

The Lyons Family

Lisa and Joe Martin

Enrique Moras and Karen Schleeweis

Sriram Nadathur and Shweta Srikanth

Sivakumar Ramu

Viraf and Jennifer Ranji

Francis and Lisa Riggins

Jeff Rodgers and Allison Linden

Athena and David Ruhl

Luke Scheuer

Lisa and David Sheppard

Yasha and Jaron Simms

The Quisel Snyder Family

The Sultan Family

James Wake and Priya Bhatia

Jeff Wikstrom and Emily Burton

Bonnie Zogby

In Honor of Marie M. Dugan

Michèle LeFever Quinn

In Memory of Kimberly Sullivan Giles

Dave Giles

In Honor of Miss Erin and Miss Sharon,

Room 19 Teachers

Grace, David and Olivia Kubacki

In Honor of the Students of WMS

Kathy Wittig-Valtos

In Honor of the Teachers and Staff


In Honor of Ava and Ella Walsh

Marilyn Faralli

In Honor of the WMS Class of 2020 —

Jack Allen, Samantha Bargren,

Angelica Martin, Logan Ranji,

Samantha Russell, William Snyder

and Ella Walsh — and the dedicated

teachers and staff who guided them on

this journey

Marybeth E. Auld

We deeply regret any errors or omissions.

Please notify our development staff of any corrections at

302-475-0555 or giving@wmsde.org.

annual report 2019-20 • 7


Wilmington Montessori School would like to thank the following donors for their support of the 2019-20 Annual Fund

(as of August 31, 2020). With your help, we surpassed our goal and raised more than $87,000 to support ongoing

professional development, technology and arts enhancements, financial aid and many other operating expenses that are

not covered by the cost of tuition. Thank you to our 2019-20 Annual Fund chair Kevin Kahn and Giving Tuesday coordinator

David Kubacki for their leadership and commitment to Wilmington Montessori School.

World Globe Friend ($5,000 and above)

Michael Coughlin and Ann Hriciga

The Lintner Family

Christine and Garrett Moritz

Joe Nemecz and Nancy Karibjanian

William P. Roberts, III

The Quisel Snyder Family

Golden Bead Friend ($2,500 to $4,999)

Becca and Rick Gulino

Ted, Laura, Sean, Quinn and Ryan Kirkpatrick

Patricia M. Scott

Pink Tower Friend ($1,000 to $2,499)

The Bradley Family

Allan, Calissa and Laurel Brown

Israel and Patricia Floyd

The Giles Family

Mr. and Mrs. Francis Julian

Sharon E. Miller

Lisa Rong

Paul Sakaguchi

Robert and Kathleen Siegfried

8 • wmsde.org

Geoffrey and Mayura Simon

Elizabeth W. Snyder

The Sultan Family

Geometric Solid Friend ($500 to $999)

Laurent and Nastasha Chardonnet

The Downes Family

Donna Bissey and Michael Hartman

Roxanne Higgins

Christopher and Kay Holbrook

Horatio and Suzanne Jones

Grace, David and Olivia Kubacki

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Kubacki

Lisa A. Lalama

John and Jonathan O’Brien

Pam and Jeffrey Politis

William T. Ryan III

Trinomial Cube Friend ($250 to $499)


Jeff Barnes and Felise Luchansky

Paul and Leslie Bastianelli

Trish Bradley

Rick and Esther Downes

Family of Campbell Ebling

Gary D. Finger

Jeremy and Melissa Fischer

Joan Fitzgerald

Bob and Sue Gildea

Robert and Mary Anne Grenfell

Christine Hansen

The Hayman Family

Frank and Elizabeth Joyce

The Kahn Family

Kathryn Tullis and Phillip Liu

Jen and Frank Luckangelo

The Honorable Jane P. Maroney

Susan Ventresca and David Ropars

James Wake and Priya Bhatia

Zhen Xu and Shaorong Chen

Bonnie Zogby

Brown Stairs Friend ($100 to $249)


Sophia Smith and Adebowale Adeyemi

Michael and Becky Allen

Marybeth Auld

Joan and Rob Beatson

Peter and Patricia Brennan

Mr. Henry I. Brown, III*

Jill Campbell

Lynda Coan

Chuck Connor

Susan Coyle

Howard Damude and Julie Johnston

Noel Sarah Dietrich

Robert and Nancy Dietrich

Marie and George Dugan

The Dumrauf Family

Indroneel Ghosh

John and Sherry Goodill

Brian Grue

Mr. Michael Heneghan

Trevor and Victoria Hill

The Wiggins and Huntoon Family

Lamont and LaKeetra Josey

Kenneth and Amelia Kahn

Rosemary Killian

Anthony Kinney and Alison Mack

Lynn Koehler

Mr. and Mrs. Randy Labar

Mary and Matthew Lo

Nora and Jim Lober

Mary Maloney Huss and Benjamin Goldstein

Barbara Miller

Mark W. Murray

The Oberly Family

The Pachowka Family

David Paul and Kathy Klein

Donald Potter

The Reiters

Greg and Heather Russell

Loretta Schneider

Cathy Simon-Cord

Nickoloas and Susan Sotiropoulos

Beth and Don Stookey

Sandy Dedinas Thomas

Barbara L. Trotto

Feng Wang and Hongmin Jiang

Sarah Williams

Linda Zankowsky

Friends of WMS (Up to $99)

Joseph Abele and Sara Weymouth

Kiera Abele

Amanda and Michael Adams

Joe Ambrosino


Natalie Wolf Aussprung

Pradeep Suresh Babu and

Laxmi Teja Renukuntla

Mandy Balanetsky

The Banks Family

Pamela Bargren

Nora Barry

Susie Barton

Rick and Tina Betz

David Bostick and Ursula Guillen

The Surbrook Bowers Family

Sean and Ana Brown

Evan Burgomaster

Dr. and Mrs. Burks

Patricia Callaway and Malcolm Christoph

Neil and Sarah Campbell

Gabrielle Clark

Allie Colflesh

Hilde Colton

Michael and Jessica Conlan

The Connelly Family

Carmen Crespo

My Dang

Emily H. Davis

Jeffrey Donovan and Agueda Molina

Jim and Thelma Dooley


All photos included in this section are from the November 2019 Annual Fund Drive.

Emma Dressler

Arlene Dunn

Sharon Entzminger

Mary Falkenburg

The Farabaugh Family

Marilyn Faralli

Rosemary Feehan

Darla J. Flowers

Kirsti Forrest

Sharon Gilbert

The Godowsky Family

Betsy Haas

Tarek Hajri and Saoussen Sarraj

Jocelyn Hall

Jill Hallissey

Trish Harkins

Ronald and Nikki Harrington

The Harris Family

Harris Family

Anne Q. Hartshorn

Yaoliang He (Sandy)

The Heiger Family

Janet Tahal-Hewitt

Jayonna Holder

Shane Jackson

Evan Juers

Noa T. Junk

Haley Kahn

Judith and Tim Kane

Shelby and Brian Kaufman

Sean Kirkpatrick

10 • wmsde.org

Lilah Kleban

Joyce Lafferty

Ping Lai

Samuel Leeman

Matthew Lenza and Kateryna Karachun

Cristin Lettich

Carol Lettich

Margo Long

Carolyn Malatesta

Lisa and Joe Martin

Hillary McDonald

Connie Mucha

Laurie Muhlbauer

Yvonne Nass

Alyssa Novello

Jessica O’Keefe

Laura Orsic

Mr. and Mrs. Cameron Parrish

Amber Picard

Linda Pirlot

Emmy Pittarelli

Victoria Pittarelli

Heidi and Ed Preisendanz

Liming Pu and Mrs. Jing Xu

Sivakumar Ramu

Viraf and Jennifer Ranji

Francis and Lisa Riggins

Guy and Robin Romero

Samantha E. Russell

The Latina Saarloos Family

Amy Sacia

Jennifer Salerni

Ilana Sanders

Luke Scheuer

The Shaer Family

Paula Sharpe

Lisa and David Sheppard

Yasha and Jaron Simms

Raj and Sharmistha Singh

Becky Siple

William Patrick Stoner

The Stroud Family

Pat Sumner

Xiaochao Tang and Yeon Sun Ro

Hans Vermeersch and Rosie Grayburn

Rocío Viscarra

Brian and Mallory Walsh

Taylor Warrington-Purcell

The Wehler Family

Jenn, Knox and Brett Weinheimer

Mr. and Mrs. Rodney W. Wilson

Erin Winner

Carolyn Zogby

In Honor of Colin and Ethan Campbell

Jill Campbell

In Honor of Samantha Russell

Susan Coyle

In Honor of Marie Dugan

Robert and MaryAnne Grenfell

In Honor of Bryan, Ian and

Jon Bindloss

Arlene Dunn

In Honor of Miss Erin and

Miss Sharon, Room 19 Teachers

Grace, David and Olivia Kubacki

In Honor of Ava and Ella Walsh

Marilyn Faralli

In Memory of Kimberly Sullivan Giles

The Giles Family

In Memory of Helen Gadsby

John and Sherry Goodill

In Honor of Sophia and Skylar


Christopher and Kay Holbrook

In Honor of Zollie McClary XXIV


In Memory of Aaron Pogue

The Quisel Snyder Family

In Honor of Samantha Russell

Greg and Heather Russell

In Memory of Jane Miner

Cathy Simon-Cord

In Memory of Dolores Morra

Janet Tahal-Hewitt

Corporations, Foundations

and Government


General Mills Box Tops for Education

Giving Assistant, Inc.

Lifetouch National School Studios

Network For Good

Tea Collection

Matching Gifts

Benevity Community Impact Fund

Incyte Corporation


PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Spur Impact Association

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Financial Aid Fund

Israel & Patricia Floyd

We deeply regret any errors or omissions.

Please notify our development staff of any corrections

at 302-475-0555 or giving@wmsde.org.

annual report 2019-20 • 11


Wilmington Montessori School’s 2019-20 fiscal year concluded with a modest loss due to the effect of the COVID-19

pandemic. The administration and board worked together to balance revenue and spending and were able to keep the

loss to a modest amount. Our goal every year is to have our campus operate in an efficient manner, without compromising

the educational experience at WMS.

We spent $18,058 on capital purchases to maintain and enhance our facility. These improvements are possible because of

the support of our donors and supporters. We are thankful to everyone in our community and the many ways they provide

support every year.

Community Gifts Annual FundAuction Other


REVENUE: $200,445


Covid-19 Contributions | $98,081

annual fund | $87,203

other | $15,161



12 • wmsde.org

Peace Day 2019

EXPENSES: $3,672,030

Salaries & Benefits


facilities, Maintenance

& Operations


Financial Aid


Classroom &

Educational Expenses


0 16 32 48 64 80


Tuition & Fees


Other Programs


Investment Income




0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

annual report 2019-20 • 13

Class of


Ella Walsh

Logan Ranji

Samantha Russell

Angelica Martin

Samantha Bargren

Jack Allen

William Snyder



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