by public Montessorians • with public Montessorians

Public Montessori Conference + Retreat

Join us in the Blue Ridge Mountains

April 29 - May 1, 2022
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

District leaders • School leaders • Teacher leaders

and anyone who wants to learn more about equity, access, and sustainability in public Montessori

Join NCMPS, experienced practitioners, and experts in the field for an energizing and restorative weekend in a beautiful, inspiring setting.

Stroll around the lake, walk the labyrinth, or even rent a canoe or paddleboard. We’ll share engaging presentations, delicious meals, and deep conversations as we dig into how public Montessori can work for all.

Virtual Keynote Speaker

Zaretta Hammond, M.A.

Zaretta Hammond, M.A., author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain and a Montessori parent, will kick off the event with a  virtual keynote address Friday evening.

Saturday Keynote Panel

Perspectives on Cherokee Education


Educational initiatives, challenges, and opportunities

in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian community

      • Trey Adcock, Executive Director for the Center for Native Health and Director of American Indian & Indigenous Studies at UNC Asheville
      • Kristina Hyatt, School Board member for Cherokee Central Schools
      • Gilliam Jackson, Cherokee language educator and consultant and school leader
      • Kelly Murphy, Cherokee immersion teacher at the Atse Kituwah Immersion School

The Center for Native Health in North Carolina was founded in 2008 to address tribal health and education issues, and is driven first and foremost by a community agenda and guided with the advice of community members.

Today the Center partners with universities and community organizations to provide education, consultation, cultural preservation, training, and mentorship to Native people in North Carolina and beyond.

Conference and Retreat

Friday Early Arrival Bonus:

For those who can make it to the conference by Friday morning, we’re offering a special day-long session on Measuring What Matters and the Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS).

Join us at 9:00am for complimentary DERS training and subscription ($415 value), or a collaborative exploration of DERS implementation if you’re already trained. (There will be an additional meal charge for Friday breakfast and lunch, and you’ll need an iPad to take part in the training.)

Friday Evening through Sunday Morning:

Starting Friday at 4:00pm, we’ll kick off a weekend of presentations and activities exploring Equity, Access, and Sustainability in public Montessori.

  • Equity—Learn how to make equity more than an add-on and how to build it directly into mindsets, programs, and classrooms.
  • Access—Equitable public Montessori is just an idea if there aren’t enough classrooms and schools available. What does it take to launch or expand a program? What considerations need to be taken into account to set your program up for success?
  • Sustainability—Equity requires sustainability. Sustainability requires high quality. Learn to build programs that will last. Develop your teacher pipeline, strengthen your Coaching practice, and discover new tools that help your school thrive and grow.
Expect sessions on:
  • Visual Thinking Strategies (a technique supporting language development and critical thinking through facilitated conversations about art)  

  • Growing and strengthening your equity mindset

  • Strategies state organizations are using to expand public Montessori

  • New research on district considerations in expanding Montessori

  • Teacher residencies for build teaching pipelines

  • NCMPS tools including the Curriculum to Standards Alignment, the Essential Elements Rubric, and digital tools in Transparent Classroom

When You’re Not in Sessions:

Lake Junaluska is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, on land originally inhabited and cared for by the Cherokee people. The setting offers an accessible walking trail, panoramic views of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, lake access, and an atmosphere supporting reflection and growth.

Schedule and Registration

Conference Schedule:

Friday April 29

  • 9:00am–3:00pm: DERS Training/Implementation Workshop
  • 3:00pm: Registration and check-in
  • 4:00pm: Conference sessions begin
  • 5:30pm: Dinner
  • 7:00pm: Keynote with Zaretta Hammond, M.A.
  • 8:30pm: Social

Saturday April 30

  • 9:00am: Conference sessions begin
  • 6:00pm: Dinner and social
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm: Keynote Panel with the Center for Native Health

Sunday, May 1

  • 9:00am—10:30am: Closing sessions
  • 12:00pm: Bag lunches to go


  • Early Bird Registration – $395 (Available until December 31)
  • Early Bird Registration with DERS training – $435 (Available until December 31)
  • Conference Registration – $475
  • Conference Registration with DERS training – $515
  • Virtual Participation—Live Streaming – $100 (Does not include pre-conference session)
  • Guest Registration – $175 (Includes meals and access to social events. Conference programming is not included.)
  • NOTE: Due to space limitations, we ask that organizations and schools limit in-person registration to 5 or fewer people.

Meals, Rooms, and Travel:

The conference will be held at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina.

Friday dinner, and Saturday and Sunday meals, are included in your registration fee.

A block of rooms has been reserved at $149/night (plus tax), single or double occupancy. You will be able to book through the registration page.

The nearest airport is Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and is located about 40 minutes from the conference site. 

Cancelation Policies:

COVID-19 CancellationIf the in-person conference is cancelled due to COVID-19, registrations will be converted to Virtual Participation and all but $100 will be refunded.

Cancellation: Full refunds will be provided for in-person cancellations submitted no later than January 15. 2022. From January 16 through March 15, 2022, in-person registrations may be converted to virtual registration. No refunds are possible after that date.