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Administration and Staff

Anna Perry

Anna Perry is the Executive Director of Seton Montessori Institute and Schools and serves as a lecturer for all of Seton’s academic programs. She is an expert on Montessori education, school leadership and administration, child development, and the Montessori philosophy. In addition to lecturing for Seton, she oversees the operations of Seton Montessori Institute, Seton Montessori School and the Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington. Her prior experience includes several years of teaching children ages 3 to 6 at Seton Montessori School and at West Side Montessori School in New York, NY. Anna has served as an adjunct faculty member at Erikson Institute and Elgin Community College and is a frequent speaker and author on topics as diverse as environment preparation, parent counseling, observation and documentation, leadership and camp administration.

Anna holds AMS credentials in Early Childhood Education and in Montessori School Administration. She received a B.A. in psychology from Tufts University in Medford, MA, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA.

Celma Pinho Perry

Celma Perry is the Co-Director of Seton Montessori Institute. In her long career as an educator, Celma has devoted her life to understanding children and to creating the environments necessary for them to learn and grow. She studied child development and the Montessori approach under Lubienska de Lenval in Paris, France, and in 1956 became the founding director of the Escola Experimental de NS de Sion in São Paulo, Brazil. Concurrently, she also served as the Director of its Teacher Education Program. Upon arriving in the United States, she became the Head Teacher of Alcuin Montessori School in Oak Park, IL, as well as the Supervisor of its teacher education program, the first of its kind in the Midwest.

In 1965, a group of parents sought to bring quality Montessori education to their community of Clarendon Hills, IL, and under Celma’s educational direction they founded Seton Montessori School. As the director of that school, she fostered a loving education environment and eventually grew a one-room schoolhouse into a vibrant education community of over 200 children. Celma recognized that would-be teachers of young children needed a preparation program that would enable them to educate in the true spirit of Montessori, and to fill this need she founded the Montessori Education Centers Associated teacher preparation program in 1970. In the Seton Montessori Institute (formerly MECA-Seton), Celma has created one of the oldest and largest Montessori teacher education programs in North America and has prepared hundreds of teachers to thoughtfully and faithfully serve the needs of the children in their care. Celma and Desmond Perry later founded three additional Chicago-area Montessori schools: the Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington, IL, the Montessori Infant & Toddler Community in Clarendon Hills, IL, and the Hinsdale Montessori School in Hinsdale, IL.

Celma lectures in all of SMI’s academic programs, focusing on Montessori philosophy and techniques, parent education, and teacher preparation. Celma is a widely acknowledged expert in the Montessori community, and she has authored countless articles for publications. In 1968, she authored the first authoritative academic guide for teachers, published by AMS, called A Montessori Curriculum for the Children’s House. Additionally, she has written several other invaluable books on Montessori Education: The Cosmic Approach: Social Sciences for Children 0 to 6 Years Old, Facilitating a Montessori All-Day Program, and Facilitating a Toddler Program. Celma is an expert in preparing Montessori environments and in starting and administrating both private and public Montessori schools around the world. She also serves as an AMS consultant and presenter, a NAEYC speaker, and an international lecturer.

Having studied in Europe, Celma holds an AIRAP credential in Montessori Education, Infancy to Adolescence as well as an AMS credential in Early Childhood Education. She received a B.A. in Pedagogy from Sedes Sapientiae Universidade in São Paulo, Brazil, and a M.A. in Counseling from Pontificia Universidad Catolica in São Paulo, Brazil.

Desmond Perry

Desmond Perry is the Director Emeritus of Seton Montessori School and Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington, and a lecturing faculty member for Seton Montessori Institute. In his 30+ years of experience in the field, Desmond has prepared hundreds of Montessori teachers and observed thousands of young children grow, learn, and mature. A lifelong educator, he lectures in all of SMI’s academic programs, focusing on child development, with special emphasis given to perceptual motor development, and on parenting skills. Desmond has worked in school administration since 1960, and is a recognized expert in that field.

Apart from Seton Montessori Institute, Desmond consults for the SMI lab schools and he is a frequent lecturer to parents, teachers, and administrators. Desmond consults to schools and teacher preparation programs internationally, including programs in countries such as Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, and Brazil. He has written numerous articles that have appeared in journals such as Montessori Life, Play and Work, and Montessori All Day. He is the author of three acclaimed books: The Child: What Every Caring Parent Needs to Know, The Child is a Person, and Perceptual Motor Development for Young Children.

Desmond holds AMS credentials in Infant & Toddler Education and Early Childhood Education. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Patrick’s College in Kiltegan, Ireland, and a M.A. in Education from Loyola University in Chicago, IL.

Eva Parrucci

Eva Parrucci is the Director of Academics at Seton Montessori Institute. She is responsible for coordinating Seton Montessori Institute’s academic programs and for assisting and evaluating students in their academic work. She is also a lecturer in all of Seton’s academic programs, focusing on sensorimotor development, music, education history, and community and family relations. Apart from Seton, she currently serves as the coordinator of the Parent-Infant program at Seton Montessori School in Clarendon Hills, IL, a lab school. For the past ten years, she has taught in that school’s parent-infant programs, and for 14 years she has served as a Visiting Professor and Student Advisor at DePaul University School for New Learning. Her past experience includes five years as the Administrator for Rogers Park Montessori School and ten years as a teacher and coordinator at SEARCH Development Center.

Eva holds AMS credentials in Infant & Toddler Education, Early Childhood Education, and Montessori School Administration. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education & Therapy from DePaul University in Chicago, IL, a Master of Arts degree in Family & Community Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL, and a Certificate of Business Administration in Non-Profit Management from the University of Illinois in Chicago, IL.

Rachel Harrison

Rachel Harrison is the Registrar at Seton Montessori Institute and is the first person that prospective students typically have contact with when you reach out to Seton by phone or email.  Rachel is responsible for guiding the admission process for all incoming students and serves as a point of contact throughout their academics at the Institute.  Before joining the Institute Rachel worked both with international student and Montessori school admissions.  Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Management and Spanish from Beloit College.

Seton Montessori’s Board of Directors

Seton Montessori Institute is a division of Montessori Education Centers Associated, Inc. which is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.  As such, Seton is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which is made up of professional members from our extended community.  The primary role of the Board is to provide guidance in the creation of a long-term vision for the organization while also overseeing the financial and administrative functioning of the organization.

We are proud to have such a dedicated group involved in our Board:

Dr. Shirley Morgenthaler, Member –

Anna Perry, President –

Desmond Perry, Vice President –

Stephen Snyder, Secretary & Treasurer –

Pedro Soares, Member –



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