Edition 1 | October, 2017


On the 4th of August 2017, Zahra and Ptarmigan from the Years 9-12,
needed to interview someone of their choice to improve their interviewing skills,
and who is better to interview but Denice our new CEO at Forestville Montessori School.

Zahra Lakhani and Ptarmigan Jackson

Ptarmigan and I wanted to know more about Denice’s teaching background and her roll at FMS. As a result we organized an appointment with Denice, the appointment was in her office, just before 10:00am.

We asked Denice six questions about her life and why Montessori was important to her. Our first question was, who motivates you the most?

She had a very straightforward reply, and her answer was very honest, which was, her daughter and other children because they are all an inspiration and adults can learn so much from children. Her parents because they raised her and made her who she is today. Her grandmother, she said played a significant role keeping her large extended family happy, and Nelson Mandela because he devoted his life to respecting others and to justice and to higher beliefs in human rights. We continued this conversation by asking another question.

What do you like best about being a CEO in Forestville Montessori School?

She loves interacting with people, being CEO helps her to achieve that. Working with others helps her to make a difference for a better world.

Then we moved on to the next question, how did Montessori interest you and why?

This is the first time Denice has worked in a Montessori School. She loves the idea of education for peace and Montessori as a way of life for children between home and school. The Montessori way of thinking about education that is deep and meaningful and making a difference for every child. It’s a beautiful philosophy that’s very relevant for today’s world. It’s also aligned with how you can lead and make positive changes to the world.

We asked her about, why did she choose a Montessori school over the other schools?

The Board believed she was the best candidate to take the school forward at this moment in time. She likes a challenge and saw a need at FMS where she felt she could contribute her skills and experiences to help the school at a complex time of change. Honouring the School’s Montessori philosophy is important to her so it’s like following in the footsteps of Dr. Maria Montessori to make a difference.

Our second last question was how do you handle the whole school on such short notice?

“Experience” she replied, bringing past experience from similar roles in different schools and building on that makes it easier. You are faced with similar challenges, the environment is different but the work is the same. You work as part of a team bringing people on the journey.

Our final question was what is the hardest part about being a CEO?

Having to make tough decisions, the ones that help an organisation in the long run but are hard for people to accept initially. I've also got lots of energy and I can juggle multiple tasks at once but I have to remember that not all people can do this or want to work that way, so slowing down is necessary for me at times. Being a mum has taught me the importance of letting go, of putting things into perspective and remembering to put the big rocks, the things that matter in life, first.

Thank you Denice for your time, it was a pleasure spending time with you and listening to your experience.