“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”

-Maria Montessori

Board of Trustees

Amherst Montessori School is an independent non-profit school, governed by a Board of Trustees and administered by a group of Directors. Our Board of Trustees is comprised of parents, grandparents, alumni parents, and community members. 

2016-2017 Board of Trustees


Kate Cell, Chair, is a Senior Campaign Organizer in the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit organization that puts rigorous science to work to build a safer planet and a healthier world. Kate conceived, project-managed, and co-authored 2014’s National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites, a publication featured in over 1,000 media stories worldwide. In 2015, she managed a project on the equity dimensions of coastal climate change, working with the NAACP and other organizations in the environmental justice movement to examine disparities between communities in hurricane preparedness, and reform. Kate holds a B.A. from Macalester College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. She and her husband, Sean Meyer, have one son, Luka, who is in Lower Elementary at Amherst Montessori.

Sara Smiarowski, Treasurer, is a CPA with over 13 years of experience in finance and accounting roles. She started her career at a public accounting firm in Boston, specializing in start-up, private equity backed clients and small to medium sized manufacturers. Since that experience, she has worked in roles ranging from controller to CFO in closely-held businesses in the Pioneer Valley to large, multi-national corporations. She and her husband Chuck lived and worked in Boston for almost 10 years, before moving to western Massaschusetts in 2010. They love living in this area and being part of a closely knit and conscientious community. They have two young children, one who attends Amherst Montessori.

Kerry Ratigan, Clerk, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. She earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2013. Her research and teaching focus on local governance and social policy in China. She has been going to China for research, work, and travel for over a decade. In addition to her college-level teaching, she has taught at the middle and high school levels at Teda International School, located in the Binhai District of Tianjin, China. Originally from Massachusetts, she was delighted to move to Amherst in 2013. She and her husband love the sense of community in the area and at Amherst Montessori. They have a son in the Toddler program.


Patience Bousel currently has a practice in Amherst as a Clinical Somatic Educator, Trager Practitioner, and Licensed Massage Therapist. She has been involved in natural health for over 35 years, a passion that developed gradually alongside her career as a harpsichord technician. A fascination for Montessori began many years ago, when she was teaching French at a bilingual school in Washington D.C., and visited a Montessori classroom of three year olds. She has enjoyed being a witness to her granddaughter Geisel’s past three years at AMS, and is delighted that Geisel will be continuing in her second year of Lower Elementary. Patience has explored many avenues of personal growth, including The Work of Byron Katie, a tool for clear non-judgmental communication. In addition, she has participated in the Art of Mentoring (through Vermont Wilderness School), where she joined the staff in September 2015. She looks forward to deepening her understanding of Montessori education, and AMS in particular, through her service on the Board of Trustees.

Bill Girard holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in religious studies from the University of Chicago. His dissertation considers Honduran religious communities' varied response to that country's 2009 coup d'état. He currently teaches courses on cultural anthropology and religion in Latin America around the Valley. Before beginning graduate school, Bill worked in a number of educational settings, ranging from an inner city high school in Chicago to a bilingual elementary school in Copán Ruinas, Honduras. A graduate of Montessori, Bill is excited to be serving on the AMS Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Blake Doherty, have one son, Simon, in Casa de Niños.