Sherie Richardson established Montessori House, Inc. in 1991 as a private preschool. It began about one year after the death of Sherie’s husband, Dr. Gunnar Richardson, a pediatric dentist. Sherie,along with the help of family and many good friends, began the school so that she could continue to stay home with her own children (4 daughters) and still have an income.
Sherie received her AMI Montessori Training from Nimal Vaz in 1991 and was privileged to teach with Debbie Gardner during the first year and a half. Debbie passed away April 10, 1993.
During the fifth year of operation of Montessori House as a private preschool, Dave and Star Burba were referred to the school by Jim and Jamie Utic who had been bringing their children to the school. Dave and Star enrolled their daughter, Madison, in the Montessori House program and continued to bring her and then her brother, Dylan, until the present time.
In November, 1999, Sherie was going through some very difficult struggles financially and had made it a matter of serious fasting and prayer to determine if she should abandon Montessori House and seek employment elsewhere. During this time, she was made aware of a house owned by Marston and Sue Richards that would be perfect for a Montessori school. Mr. Richards is an architect and had designed the home for his family using the Frank Lloyd Wright style as a basis for his design. The house was built in 1972 . Sherie, having been in the house before and having attended a Montessori conference at Taliesan West a few years prior to this, and having met with Frank Lloyd Wright architects who drew up a Montessori School designed by Taliesan architects and attending Montessori teachers, knew that this house would truly be perfect for a Montessori school.
Coinciding with this experience, Sherie had attended a meeting at the Arizona State Dept. of Education Charter Board and been introduced to the method of obtaining a charter in the State of Arizona. Sherie approached Dave and Star Burba and asked if they would be able to help her with this huge undertaking. Dave, who is a pitcher with the Cleveland Indians is very generous and is supported in his generous donations by his wife, Star. There response was, “Of course. We would love to help!” and within a month, they purchased the property and procedures began to remodel the property for the school.
Mr. Richards continued to serve as the architect to present plans to the city many times. Jim Gardner, Jr. was hired as the general contractor. Vaughn Young Associates furnished interior design ideas. The charter was obtained in April 2000, for Montessori House, Inc. and after a long summer of meeting city zoning and building requirements, state and county regulations and spending tens of thousands of dollars, which has been so generously furnished by the Burba’s, the school opened on September 11, 2000. In order to get to this opening date, a thousand doors were closed, but a thousand and one windows were opened. Many parents, friends, and neighbors participated by donating hundreds of hours of time to paint, scrape, haul, clean, and support this huge undertaking.
The beginning enrollment includes around 40 students in grades K-6 with the preschool (which is not part of the charter but part of the Montessori House Incorporation) enrollment of 29 children. Sherie Richardson, serves as the administrator.
All students, teachers, parents, and staff who are part of the beginning of this new school, and who will be a part of its future, are part of a dream-come-true and a vision realized. There is much to thank God for and much to look forward to.