Melanie Smith is an educator who started Freedom Montessori Academy in her home in 2015, after having worked in the private and public school systems since 2000. Melanie combined her educational leadership experience as an elementary school principal with her experience as a Montessori Guide to create Freedom Montessori Academy . Melanie is passionate about providing a developmentally appropriate educational experience and believes that the child’s self-esteem, spirit, and happiness while in an educational setting are more important than standards and test scores. When the child is educated as an individual, he or she will progress in all areas, especially academically, to his or her fullest potential. Melanie encourages children to think outside of the box, take risks, and to learn from his or her mistakes.
Melanie earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida. Following several years in the US Army, Melanie taught at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton working with three and four year olds. In 2005, her interest in alternative educational practices for her own child led her to Island Village Montessori Charter School, where she taught Kindergarten and 1st grade students before becoming the Principal, ESOL (English speakers of Other Languages) Liaison, and ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher at the Island Village Sarasota Campus. Melanie's passion for working with children at their present levels and assisting them to reach their individual goals resulted in her taking on additional responsibilities as ESE (Exceptional Student Education) Liaison and ESE teacher, helping children work on their IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals during the 2014-15 school year. Melanie holds the following certifications: -State of Florida Department of Education Certified Educator in Prekindergarten/Primary Education (Age 3 - Grade 3), ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages), ESE (Exceptional Student Education) grades K-12 -American Montessori Society Elementary I Montessori Credential -Level One Orff Schilwerk Certification (music instruction) -(DCF) Department of Children and Families Staff Credential for Child Care Facilities -DCF Child Care Centers VPK (Voluntary Pre-k) Endorsed Childcare Center Directors Credential -Florida Department of Education VPK Instructor training