The founding board of the Creative Minds Montessori Academy(CMMA) brings diverse education and operations skill-sets. The board agreed on roles and responsibilities for members and committees, adopted by-laws, elected board officers, and started the process for filing its Tax Exemption paperwork. The board’s operating structure is comprised of: marketing and enrollment; facilities, governance, academics and instruction, operations, and finance committees. Board members chair a committee and are responsible for completing the tasks of each committee; participate in recruiting board/committee members, fundraising, community outreach, and partnership development
Cynthia M. Ushry (founder of CMMA and board chair) is an accomplished educator and holds an Ed.S in Special Education; B.A. in Mass Communication. Her certifications include: T-6, Exceptional Children Education, K-12; L-6, Educational Leadership. She has extensive experience developing and implementing programs for “at-risk” youth with responsibility for administration and supervision, instructional leadership, student achievement-assessment-evaluative-processes, budgets, school security and safety, data analysis, team building; and positive behavior education. Prior to this position, Ms. Ushry led and directed a K-8 Montessori school for eight years. She now serves as a Collaborative Interrelated Teacher in Special Education and is committed to the success of all students.
Jacquetta Johnson (vice chair and chair, governance committee) is currently Principal Consultant for J3 Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm. Ms. Johnson has overfifteen years of steadily increasing HR related accomplishments.Herstrong generalist and leadershipexperience, including accomplishments in the areas of employee and labor relations, learningand development and recruitinghave made her an invaluable resource to many. Ms. Johnson holdsthe Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification, a B.B.A.in Human ResourcesManagementfrom GeorgiaSouthern Universityand a M.B.A. from Troy University.Ms. Johnson is committed to being part of the CMMA school start-up process as she has a passion forquality education for all children.Her vast knowledge and experience in HR will supportthe school’s recruitment strategyand professional developmentprograms.
Phyllis R. Clark (secretary and chair, operations committee) holds a Master's Certification in Project Management; Certified Professional in Supply Management; and has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Ms. Clark has extensive experience as a master data management analyst, implementation project manager, and procurement operations manager with strong leadership, communications, organizational, analytical, and computer skills. Ms. Clark has a passion for positively influencing children and believes that CMMA will provide a solid foundation for developing meaningful relationships with students and families, as well as the larger community.
Warren McPherson (chair, academics and instruction committee) holds a M.Ed; M.A in English; Montessori credentials in Early Childhood Education; Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, Georgia Association of Young Children; President of Montessori Programs International and Pan American Montessori World Organization; workshop presenter/lecturer for Montessori conferences and private Montessori schools. Mr. McPherson led and directed several Montessori schools and is the founder and current president of the Athens Montessori School, Inc. board of directors. Mr. McPherson is a distinguished educator with a passion for working with elementary and middle school students. He displays compassion, integrity, and nurtures diverse perspectives to enrich and inspire the lives of the children and families he works with.
Dylan Bless (governance committee and board attorney) Dan is an attorney with a wealth of experience in the areas of human resources, personal injury, and tax law. He’s currently employed by Morgan & Morgan, where he manages a portfolio of over one hundred claims for clients on matters of worker’s compensation litigation and settlements. Before graduating from Georgia State University’s School of Law with his Juris Doctor (Master of Taxation) degree, Mr. Bless represented the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in the United States Tax Court under the Office of the Chief Counsel. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 2008. Mr. Bless is currently active with the local United Way, and serves as a Volunteer Attorney for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Mr. Bless is excited to bring his skill, talent, and enthusiasm for education to the team at Creative Minds Montessori Academy.
Stephanie R. Denson (academic committee) As a veteran of the Dekalb County Public School System, Stephanie Denson has over three decades experience teaching children in Georgia with focus Special Education. She has an extensive knowledge of Georgia Performance Standards, and is an expert at creating Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP’s) for children with a wide range of learning challenges. In addition, Ms. Denson has expertise in developing and administering student assessments and participating in Student Support Teams (SST’s). Since her retirement in 2013, Ms. Denson is a part-time Special Education Program Manager for the Atlanta Public School System, where she manages and assists special education teachers with programming, curriculum, and data analysis. Ms. Denson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Indiana University (1981), a Master of Arts Degree in Special Education from Cambridge College (1999), and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University (2001). Ms. Denson is looking forward to bringing her decades of Special Education Experience to the Creative Minds Montessori Academy.
Sandra Perrino (community outreach) retired as Vice President of Private Banking after serving in the industry over 20 years. During her tenure for an insurance company, she was employed as a Department Supervisor and was responsible for the Claims Center reports, Customer Service department, retention, mail room, and support of the claim adjusters. She is currently working in the educational system as an Instructional Support Staff member. Mrs. Perrino states that she is a humble servant volunteer leader with Georgia and National PTA. In Georgia she currently serves as the By-laws Chair and past Georgia PTA 2nd Vice President. At National PTA, she is a member of the Programs Committee and past National PTA Resource Development committee member. She is very active in her community and church.
Quentin Martin (chair, community outreach) has a Bachelors of Science degree in Sports Management and has an abundance of experience in supervision of programs and administration. He has managed outreach efforts within the community in order to develop and maintain a positive impact at the local level and across the city of Atlanta. Mr. Martin has also maintained and grew community partnerships within the non-profit and government sector. Mr. Martin has the capability of developing partnerships for Creative Minds Montessori and collaborating with sponsors to engage in community programs and events.
Ron Rhodes (finance chair) is an accounting professional with over 20 years of experience in financial and administrative management, financial accounting, payroll, inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Mr. Rhodes has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Administration. He has served as the operations manager of accounting at a charter school where he was the manager over financial reporting, Title I, Title II, maintenance and nutrition. He comes to Creative Minds Montessori with a wealth of experience in accounting and is an asset to our board and school.