Who are we?

The leadership of the Montessori School of Englewood includes folks with diverse backgrounds, all of equal commitment to the Montessori philosophy.

Rita Nolan, Executive Director

Rita Nolan is the founder and executive director of the Montessori Network, which includes the Montessori School of Englewood and the Montessori Residency of Chicago. She previously served as the Upper School Director for Near North Montessori School in Chicago from 2003 to 2009. Originally from Ireland, Rita has a degree in geography and Greek and Roman civilization from University College Dublin. She also holds a master’s in education in curriculum and instruction, and has primary and elementary level Montessori teaching certificates. In 2011, Rita was a Ryan Fellow at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she studied education reform through an entrepreneurial lens. Rita also helped found the Montessori Residency of Chicago, which trains teachers to work in urban Montessori schools. In [TK YEAR ]Rita has received the Dennis Schapiro Award for Innovation in Montessori Teacher Education, and has presented at education conferences nationwide on applying Montessori pedagogy to under-resourced communities. 


Dr. Nyela Wells, Principal

Dr. Wells joined the Montessori School of Englewood in 2015 after 20 years of working in education. She has taught preschool through 8th grade in both private and public schools, opened her own tutoring center, and has taught academic and business language strategies all over the city. Dr. Wells has also taught at City Colleges of Chicago since 2016. Dr. Wells grew up in Chicago, and went to school in East Garfield Park. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, with a specialization in educational psychology. She went on to earn a master’s in inner city studies education, another master’s in adult education, and a doctorate in education focusing on race and equity. Dr. Wells views a collaborative school environment as the key to creating successful teachers and students, and is devoted to creating a Montessori environment that is culturally relevant. She believes partnerships with parents and community partners are essential to enriching the experience at The Montessori School of Englewood. Dr. Wells prides herself on being an empathetic listener and works diligently to create a school environment that challenges and empowers students. 


Thomas Hale, President, Board of Directors

Thomas Hale has been the President of the Board of the Montessori Network and the Montessori School of Englewood since 2010. He previously served as a board member at Near North Montessori for six years, during which time he was chair of the facilities committee and the strategic planning committee. Currently, Thom is a board member of the Partners of the Americas, Chicago chapter, an organization that promotes cultural, art and education in the Americas; he also served as president of that board. In 2002, Thom founded Hale Technologies, which designs, develops and manufactures ethical pharmaceuticals, and operates in the U.S. and Brazil. He currently serves as president of the company. 


Thomas Hale has been President of the Board of The Montessori Network and The Montessori School of Englewood since 2010.  His daughter was educated through 8th grade in a Montessori School and was a board member of Near North Montessori School for 6 years, during which he was Chair of the Facilities Committee and the company. 


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is composed of fourteen parents and Englewood community members dedicated to the Montessori School of Englewood’s present and future. The Board oversees the school’s budgeting and finances, gives some guidance and direction, and keeps the school on-mission. The MSE Board of Directors meets [TK] times per year. Each upcoming Board meeting is listed in the preceding MSE newsletter, which is distributed at the beginning of each month. Sign up here

Thomas Hale (President)

Karen Gatsis Anderson

Michael Sculnick

Jim Sulzer

Marvin Hoffman

Joseph Motto

Peter Cunningham

Peter Talmers

Gabrielle Sansonetti

Derrek Hull 

Quilen Blackwell

Ebonie Townsend

Tanesha Peeples

Marcus Robinson

Tiffany White