Cynthia Kerber Gowan
Head of School
I have been working in education for over 20 years, including fourteen years of teaching graduate courses in inclusive education at Nazareth College in the School of Education. I grew up in Vestal, New York, but moved to Rochester to attend college and received my undergraduate degree in English and my master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Rochester. After spending some years teaching, I started a family and went back to school. I earned my Ph.D. in Special Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2012. It was during this time that my love for early childhood education blossomed and where I focused my research. I am excited to join the Montessori School of Rochester community.
Outside of school, I live in Brighton with my husband, two teenage sons, and our many pets. In my free time, I enjoy photography, baking, and volunteering in my community.
Director of Admissions
I started my Montessori journey in 2014, working in the Nido and Toddler classrooms as an assistant. Those early experiences in the classroom environments aligned with my educational training at SUNY Geneseo, where I focused my Psychology degree on childhood development. My love for learning about, and explaining, Montessori theory prompted my shift into the Admissions position in 2016. I am grateful that this role provides me the opportunity to utilize the skills that I developed at the University of Rochester, where I completed my Master’s in School Counseling in 2020. In this position I continue to enjoy supporting parents as they seek early educational experiences that align with their family values, and filling our classrooms with curious and delightful children!
What I love most about my job is the opportunity to watch the moments of shift; when a parent starts to think about their child in a new and more capable way, when a child experiences the wonder of discovery. When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my two sons, both Montessori students, and my partner in our backyard where we raise chickens and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in our garden.
Director of Finance
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania near the Allegheny National Forest, where I spent many days hiking and exploring up and down the creek and in the forests near my parent’s house. Inspired by these experiences, I attended Penn State University and graduated with a B.S. in Biology. Always up for an adventure, I did some traveling across the U.S.A – once by car, and once by bicycle!
My journey at MSR began as an Assistant in the Children’s House and I became fascinated with the pedagogy. After receiving the Montessori Elementary training certification from The Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and a Masters in Education from Loyola College of Maryland, I opened and led the elementary classroom from 2008 – 2013 and served as Head Directress for two years.
MSR has been my home for 16 years, wow! Both of my children started in our Nido program as tiny babies and have grown and thrived in the programs. After starting my family, I moved from the classroom to the administrative team, where I now serve as the Director of Finance.
It is a privilege to have shared such special times with the hundreds of children and families that have been part of our community over the years and I look forward to many more.
Outside of MSR, I enjoy cooking, knitting and boating on Lake Ontario.
Bio coming soon!
I received my AMI Primary Montessori certification from Montessori Northwest in 2017. Before coming to MSR, I worked for four years as a Primary Guide at Fort Collins Montessori School, a public Montessori charter school in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am excited and passionate about the opportunity to support teachers and parents to deepen their practice and to realize the amazing developmental powers of young children. When not steeped in Montessori pedagogy, I enjoy sewing, singing, and being outside with my husband and daughter, Ailish.