February 23, 2024 - February 24, 2024

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Saturday Keynote

Katie Keller Wood on “Beyond Balance: Finding Alignment in our Work and Lives”

Over the last few years, many of us have had moments of digging deep to give what we can to our students, our families, and our communities. Our work matters deeply to us, yet many of us have struggled to find and maintain the joy, connection, and meaning in our work while also attending to all of our other life responsibilities. Society promotes “work-life balance,” as the healthy ideal, but this perfect “balance” can be elusive, leading to frustration and resentment.

In this keynote, Katie Keller Wood will draw on Montessori’s ideas of work, cosmic vision, and cosmic task to help us examine our own mission-driven work, and how we can promote true thriving for ourselves and others. As whole humans, we need a way to integrate our work as a meaningful and important part of our lives and shifting our perspective from “balance” to “alignment” can make all the difference. We’ll explore how the alignment model provides a pathway to thriving in a way that honors each person’s unique talents, experiences, perspectives, and needs.

​Just as our Montessori classrooms provide a container conducive to the development and thriving of our students, we adults need to consider our own developmental needs in order to fully live into our own cosmic tasks.

More on Katie Keller Wood

Dr. Katie Keller Wood grew up in the world of education, and delights in helping people find new ways of thinking about the world. Discovering Montessori education, both as a pedagogy and a philosophy, was pivotal for her, and she is on a mission to bring a Montessori perspective of work to everyone.

Katie has had the great honor of working with hundreds of middle and high school Montessori teachers from all over the world through the training program she runs, called CMStep. She is recognized as a leader in Montessori programming for adolescents and adults. Katie currently serves as an adjunct instructor for both Xavier University and the University of Wisconsin, and she is active in the Montessori research and teacher education communities.

Katie does her work because she believes that a more peaceful, just, equitable, and sustainable world is possible, and that it takes all of us leading our aligned lives to bring this world forward.

Katie is the author of the forthcoming book as well as a TEDx and keynote speaker. Connect with her at katiekellerwood.com.

Friday AM Keynote

Dr.Valaida Wise on “Equity Examined: Beyond the Talk to the Walk”

Dr.Valaida Wise

After more than 20 years of experience in the field of education, Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) made the career choice to share her vast knowledge and expertise with the larger community. Specializing in for-profit organizations, non-profits, and educational institutions, Val brings a unique perspective predicated upon achieving exceptional outcomes across the full spectrum of operations and training.

Utilizing a warm and inviting teaching style, combined with in-depth knowledge of current research, Dr. Wise is sought after by organizations of all sizes for her professional speaking ability, training seminars, and Equity Audit process. With a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, governance, and leadership, she delivers a comprehensive organizational assessment and action plan.

Dr. Valaida Wise received her Doctorate of Education in Education Leadership from George Washington University. Dr. Wise also holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Trinity College. Her vast experience equips her to address all aspects of organizational management and leadership, parent/teacher relationships, fundraising, staff development and fiscal management.

Val served as the Head of School at the National Child Research Center in Washington DC, The Harbor School in Bethesda, MD, and Henson Valley Montessori School in Prince Georges County MD. She is currently on the faculty at John Hopkins University, Baltimore in the School of Education. She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Creative Minds International Public Charter School in Washington DC and also sits on the board of the McLean School in Potomac, MD, the Nora School in Silver Spring, MD, and the Association of Independent Schools of Maryland Glen Burnie, MD.

Friday PM Keynote

Dr. Caroline Adelman on "Building Effective Teams and Fostering Psychological Safety in the Workplace"

In this interactive presentation, Dr. Caroline Adelman will share information and strategies for educational leaders to elevate team dynamics within their organizations. She will present on the art and science of building highly effective teams, amplifying collective intelligence, and cultivating a culture of psychological safety in the workplace. Participants will gain practical insights into predictors of team functioning, evidence-based communication strategies for leaders, and leadership practices that foster both collaboration and innovation in the rapidly shifting "learning-scape" of today's schools. This program will also include actionable strategies for creating and maintaining a psychologically safe work environment - one in which team members feel empowered to share ideas, take intellectual risks, and contribute their unique perspectives.

More on Dr. Caroline Adelman

Dr. Adelman completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships at the Child Study Center at Yale University.

Prior to establishing Chicago Psychotherapy, Dr. Adelman worked as a staff therapist and Co-Director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Clinic at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Adelman served on the clinical teaching faculty at Northwestern University from 2013-2022. She was previously an Assistant Clinical Professor within The Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies at Northwestern, and most recently served as adjunct teaching faculty within the Counseling Program at The Family Institute. In addition, Dr. Adelman served until August 2019 as the Director of Student Wellness and Support Services at a private Montessori School in Chicago. She continues to consult regularly with a range of local schools on topics related to student wellness and faculty wellness.

Dr. Adelman specializes in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Mood Disorders, Trauma, and Adjustment Disorders across the lifespan. In addition to supporting children a families, Dr. Adelman has a special interest in supporting high-functioning professionals through times of identity transition and heightened stress (e.g., job changes, retirement, transition to parenthood, etc.). Her work integrates a range of empirically supported treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention, Trauma-Focused CBT, Psychological First Aid for Children and Families, Cognitive Behavioral Couples Therapy, Family Systems Therapy and Parent Management Training. Using a culturally responsive and evidence-based approach, Dr. Adelman treats children, adolescents and adults in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats. Her clinical style combines gold-standard practices from the field of Psychology with warmth, humor, and authenticity in her relationships with clients.

Dr. Adelman also offers a variety of educational workshops for parents, with a particular focus on supporting parents of anxious children. She offers workshops and trainings to school districts and other mental health professionals, and is available for specialized case consultation with schools and mental health professionals.

Dr. Adelman has published book chapters and journal articles across a range of clinical topics, including anxiety disorders, childhood OCD, depression, non-suicidal self-injury, peer relationships among youth, couple-based interventions for psychopathology, and social construction. She has presented her research regularly at national conferences and has conducted multiple clinical trainings on the topic of treating childhood OCD and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Adelman has served, both nationally and internationally, as a public speaker and consultant for over fifteen years. Her work in this domain focuses on bringing evidence-based wellness strategies and healthy communication practices into the contexts in which people live, learn and work. In this capacity, she has worked with schools, entrepreneurs, law firms, hospitals, higher-education settings, non-profits, and social service organizations. Dr. Adelman delivered a TEDx talk in 2020, focused on the topic of Resilience in Times of Uncertainty, and continues to speak regularly with organizations about evidence-based strategies for increasing personal and institutional resilience. Dr. Adelman is also the co-developer of “Frameworks for Change,” a program aimed at helping organizations and communities work towards making values-aligned changes. She has completed intensive coaching training via the Coaching and Positive Psychology (CAPP) Institute, and is also a member of the Institute of Coaching (IOC), where she stays connected to evidence-based practices for fostering effective, human-centered leadership practices in the 21st century.

Featured Speakers

Tatenda Blessing Muchiriri on “Montessori on Wheels”

Jana Morgan Hermann on "Mandate or Myth? The Uninterrupted Three Hour Work Cycle"

Register Today!

We are excited to welcome our community to the 2024 AIMS Conference: Tomorrow's Montessori - Building Humanity's Future, live at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. The conference is expected to sell out this year make sure to register soon. Become an AIMS Member and gain access to our members-only tier pricing!

Fees & Registration:

Friday, welcoming anyone interested in leadership:

$180 (members); $260 (non-members)

Saturday for All Montessori Professionals:

$135 (members); $210 (non-members)

Note: Registering early will be $10 less per attendee than shown above!

Registration Notes:
  • The first email address you enter should be for the first attendee. Register additional attendees from your school (e.g. teachers) as "guests" and provide an email address for all attendees.
  • Payments may be made via check or credit card. If paying by check, your registration will not be confirmed until payment is received. Therefore, please submit payment promptly.
  • Paying with Title Funds or some other funding? Click "Invoice Me" at the final step and we will send you an itemized invoice via email within 24 hours. If you do not receive your invoice, please email conference@ilmontessori.org as soon as possible!
  • Conference Hotel, Hyatt Regency LisleClick for details: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/LISLE/G-AIMS

Sponsors and Exhibit Opportunities

For information on and registration for sponsor and exhibitor opportunities, click the button below:

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Overnight Accommodations

If you would like to spend the night near the conference, the Hyatt in Lisle is offering a preferred rate to conference attendees.  Use the button below to secure the rate. 

Book a Room

Hyatt Regency Lisle near Naperville

1400 Corporetum Dr

Lisle, Illinois 60532 United States

Phone: (630) 852-1234

Tentative Conference Schedule