MEPI'S FOUNDING MEMBERS
Front row: Gail Keppler, Dr Helen Billings (seated), Mary Helen Cline
2nd row: Gail Morgan, Sheryl Sweet, Marie Yankee
Back row: Nancy Lindeman, Marianne Bivins
Not pictured: Beti Wyn Holcombe
Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) was founded in 1995 during a meeting in Kansas City of a group of 8 representatives of established teacher education programs. Interested in promoting peace through authentic Montessori education and practice, these visionaries sought a new direction with Montessori education.
As Montessorians they looked for a renowned mentor for support and advice. Dr. Helen Billings had established the Montessori Institute of America (MIA) and the International Montessori Institute (IMI) and had taught and certified many of the women who came together in 1995. It was a blessing when Dr. “B” gave her enthusiastic approval for them to establish a new Montessori teacher education program (MEPI) founded on her legacy and dream of an educational program promoting peace.
Sheryl Sweet served as the first President of MEPI, with Beti Wyn Holcombe (Vice President /later Executive Director), Marianne Bivins (Secretary/Treasurer), and Nancy Lindeman (Membership Chair).
Under the guidance of the Board and Mary Helen Cline (Education Committee Chair), a class of 13 graduates were awarded the very first MEPI certificates in October, 1995.
MEPI was an early supporter and advocate for the formation of MACTE (originally AAMTE). Chuck and Shirley Plath, with other Montessorians testified before congress in Washington D.C. and ultimately celebrated MACTE’s recognition by the Dept of Education in 1995, as the national Montessori accreditor for teacher education programs. This would set the standards for Montessori training programs internationally.
Sheryl Sweet stepped in as our first representative in MACTE, also continuing throughout her life to promote the excellence of Montessori education which MACTE’s standards require.
Our first international teacher education programs opened in Egypt under Marguerite Richardt, and in Jerusalem under Nouha Batshon. MEPI’s international programs and courses have now expanded to over 10 countries.