Archive for Start-Up Team

Staffing Our School

The top three factors that parents are considering in the decision to enroll are: 1) Staff 2)Tuition and 3)Location. We learned this from the survey results we collected in December. Let’s take a look at the question of staff.

We have learned from the experiences of other Sudbury schools that getting the right person on staff takes time. It is likely that anyone who ends up being on staff will have spent a good amount of time working to start or maintain our school. This person will have also spent a good amount of time working with the start-up team and with our students (your children), before they are selected for that role. What we seek in staff is described well in the following quote,

“Good adult role models, whether teachers or not, are what [we] are looking for. People who are dynamic, intelligent, hard workers and who enjoy the company of children, and who have a strong moral and ethical sense…Nothing will amaze you more than how unimportant formal instruction is and how important the ability to communicate with children as human beings is….”

Starting a Sudbury School, (p. 114)

Our ability to hire paid staff during our first year is directly related to the number of students who are enrolled. We are fairly certain that the school year will begin with at least 12 students but we won’t have a clear picture of the actual number until we are much closer to officially opening our doors. So when parents ask us, “who will be staff at the school?” We generally answer that we know all three of the start-up team members will be serving as staff at the beginning of the school year.

Here is a little background on each of us:


Idelma Quintana – is mom to Ian (7). She holds a Master’s degree in educational change and innovation. She has 17 years of combined experience in education as a classroom teacher, diversity awareness trainer and providing professional development for school leaders and teachers on the use of technology for learning. She had a lot of ideas to un-learn in the process of embracing the Sudbury model of education. Her son’s experience in traditional schooling prompted her to re-evaluate her beliefs about education. Now she can’t imagine any place better for her son to learn and grow into a confident, self-directed and responsible person. She hopes that by opening this school, the many kids in our area who need this opportunity, will have the kind of schooling experience they deserve to have.


Dionne Ekendiz – is mom to Leila (soon to be 4 years old) and baby Luna. Dionne has over 12 years of experience in the engineering and computer science fields working for companies such as Ford, Boeing, and Microsoft. When she got pregnant with her first child, she decided to finally pursue her passion for education, so she returned to school to get a Master’s degree in Education. Watching her daughter grow and learn on her own made her question what she had been taught in the traditional education model. When she learned about the Sudbury model everything about it immediately clicked and she knew she would have to create this school in South Florida. Dionne currently works in the Applied Research Center at Nova Southeastern University’s school of education where she is slowly spreading the Sudbury idea. She can’t imagine her daughters attending any other school.


Kathy Williams – is mom to Joshua (8) and Benjamin (5). Before her children were born, she used her computer science degree to build a one-woman software consulting business with both national and international clients. Once her children were born her focus shifted to spending her time doing things that would allow her to focus on her role as a parent. She co-created the Hollywood Attachment Parenting Support group and by doing so developed a strong connection with other parents in South Florida.   She went on to create an internet cloth diaper business that deepened her connection to the local mom community.  She has 8 years of experience unschooling her boys. Both boys are excited to be entering our new school this fall.  And Kathy is excited for them to be part of a community that will provide such fantastic opportunities for them to grow, build, learn and relate.


In the Spring of 2011 students will take part in the first staff elections that will occur annually. At that point students may choose to retain staff or to vote staff out of their position.

We invite your questions, comments and thoughts on this topic.

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