About Us

Mission statement: Through her doctoral research, Dr. Silano discovered that humans learn best in environments that provide real world, hands-on experiences. Driven by a passion to increase student success, Dr. Silano began a search for a high-quality curriculum that provided these components. It wasn’t long before she discovered that commercially available curriculum programs are limited in that they are designed to fit into traditional classroom environments including rows of desks, segmented class periods, and more recently, extensive computer time. Then she discovered the Montessori method. The method’s emphasis on closely following each individual child’s developmental progress to create a unique academic plan that integrates the child’s needs and interests using  world-renowned hands-on curriculum materials was a dream-come-true. Dr. Silano quickly immersed herself in researching the method  and networking with its proponents both locally and nationally. Today, Ozark Education, Inc., uses Montessori curriculum and instruction exclusively. Through affiliation with the American Montessori Society, our teachers are in various stages of the certification process, and our goal is to achieve accreditation for our Springdale programs by spring of 2019.

In 2013, OEI began its outreach at The Jones Center in Springdale, Arkansas and Lifesource in Fayetteville, Arkansas with summer classes for adolescents including video production, computer programming, and garden-to-table nutrition classes.  In the fall, our technology courses continued at The Jones Center as after school offerings, and our Homeschool Tuesdays program was added. Homeschool Tuesdays provides social networking, music, and recreation classes to local home school families.

Current Status:

In August of 2015, OEI opened our first charter school, the Ozark Montessori Academy in Springdale. OMA is an open-enrollment public charter school authorized to serve grades K-8. Our first year in operation we started with grades K-6. Next year we are adding grade 7, then grade 8 the following year. A high school program is being discussed. In order to implement the Montessori instructional method with fidelity, and ultimately achieve AMS accreditation, it is imperative that we be permitted to mix ages 3-6 in our primary classroom.
Currently, Arkansas rules do not allow us to mix preschool and elementary students. OEI is working with the Arkansas Department of Education and the Department of Human Services to allow us to deliver our curriculum according to national and international Montessori standards in this regard.

 Why Montessori?

Montessori Resources

For a list of resources documenting the successes of Montessori in the public sector, visit here.

Charter School

It is my great pleasure to announce the Arkansas State Board of Education approval of the Ozark Montessori Academy K-6 charter school that occurred on November 13th, 2014.  Northwest Arkansas families have yet another quality school choice for their children.
For more information about our plans and a calendar of activities, visit our charter page.
Want to know more charter schools? Visit the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) Charter School FAQ page.

Innovative Ideas

By utilizing a more natural learning system encourages independent and creative thought.

Clear Communication

Our program fosters better communications skills through constant, collaborative learning.

Recent Blog Posts

Learn from the top thought leaders in the industry.

Special Announcement

Dear OMA Community –

On January 4, 2018, the Ozark Montessori Academy board of trustees moved to accept the resignation of Dr. Chris Fenderson (formerly Dr. Christine Silano). We thank her for her work over the past three years, and for founding the school we all call home. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors.

We are very pleased to announce that Barb Padgett has been named interim superintendent for the remainder of the school year, and will serve in that function in addition to her role as school principal. Over that time we will continue to assess options for the superintendent role, as we seek to further optimize our administrative staff, with input from all OMA stakeholders.

In the time Barb has been part of the OMA family, she has gained the support and trust of students, families and staff. As many of you know, Barb has 26 years in education as a teacher, counselor and administrator.

In 2007, she was named founding principal of the Arkansas Arts Academy High School, an open-enrollment charter school in Rogers. This past year, under her leadership, AAA High School was ranked #2 in the State by US News and World Report.

Barb embraces the Montessori Philosophy of education and looks forward to serving the students, teachers and families of OMA. She maintains an open-door office policy and looks forward to continuing to get to know the school community.
We know that change can be unsettling, but we’re optimistic that these changes position OMA for success in the years ahead.

Thank you for your continued support, and for being a valued member of the OMA Family!

Yours truly,

Ben Temple and the OMA Board of Trustees

Spring Update

Parents, friends, and school choice advocates:

Here are some of the latest updates for Ozark Montessori Academy.

Facility and Renovations
Ozark Montessori Academy will open its doors for the 2015-2016 academic year at 301 S. Holcomb St. in Springdale. While we initially planned to open inside The Jones Center for Families (at 922 E. Emma Ave. in Springdale), we were able to purchase a building and get renovations started at the Holcomb facility thanks to an anonymous investor.

The building was once home to the First Baptist Church and later Decision Point. It has history and we want to honor that in our renovations.

Currently, the administrative staff is housed within The Jones Center until renovations at the Holcomb facility are complete. School tours will not be available until the academic year begins. The renovations will not be completed before that time.

Additionally, our location give students access to the Razorback Greenway trail and Spring Creek. The creek will serve as a “Creekside Classroom” where our students will produce natural science projects such as testing water quality, habitat research, rock and mineral analysis, plant identification, and much more!

Lottery Applications
As of April 1st, there are over 300 applicants for 120 seats! We have been blessed with positive media coverage and community feedback — our application numbers reflect that excitement. As our newsletter indicated, we are drawing applicants from the following locations:

  • Springdale: 53%
  • Fayetteville: 26%
  • Benton County: 10%
  • Other districts: 11%

We are frequently asked questions about the lottery event and enrollment concerns. Those can be found on the FAQ page.

Lottery Event Details

The deadline to apply to Ozark Montessori Academy charter school is today! All handwritten forms must be delivered by close of business and all digital submissions by the 11:59pm deadline.

The downloadable application (in PDF format) on our website has a minor error: it states that if a child is selected during the lottery, the parent will have 48 hours to accept that slot and enroll. Please be aware that you have 1 week from the date of the lottery, not 48 hours.

The lottery event will be April 15 at 7:00pm at the Jones Center Chapel. Attendance is not mandatory but is encouraged! We would love to meet our future parents and students.

We are currently in the process of creating our enrollment packets for students. Parents of children who have been selected will have the chance to take home the packet to begin the enrollment process. If you are unable attend the event, please visit the administrative offices (at the Jones Center) to pick up your packet beginning April 16th.

Parents attending the event are immediately notified of the selection. Others will be contacted by phone beginning the following day. We will contact each parent individually and leave messages if we are unable to reach them for one week before moving onto the wait list.

Community Advisory Board
Soon after the enrollment deadline (April 22), we will hold our first Community Advisory Board Meeting. Our initial CAB meeting will cover the parent survey results included in the enrollment packets, introducing our teachers, and discussing volunteering needs.


State Board Approval


left to right: Whitney Jones, Dr. Keith Whitescarver, Dr. Christi Silano, Dr. Jacqueline Cossentino at the ADE Charter Authorization Hearing

Dear NWA Families,

It is my great pleasure to announce the Arkansas State Board of Education approval of the Ozark Montessori Academy K-8 charter school that occurred on November 13th last week. A word to the wise: starting a charter school is no easy task! But after eighteen months of hard work, our efforts paid off, and Northwest Arkansas families have yet another quality school choice for their children.

The coming months promise to bring a flurry of activity, from a search for top quality teachers, to buying equipment, materials, and school buses, to educating our community about the benefits of Montessori instruction. Every detail must be in place to ensure that the highest quality education product is delivered on our first day of school and every day thereafter.

This dream could not have become reality without the support of many community members who gave of their time and resources. I would like to extend special thanks to the following organizations and individuals:

Ozark Kids, Inc., Montessori Preschool Staff and Parents

Our governing board: Larry Ash, Paige Young, Trenton Harris, and Sandra Rodriguez

Ed Clifford, Mike Gilbert, and the Jones Center staff

Tripp Walter and the APSRC Staff

Kathy Smith and the Walton Family Foundation

MDA Central Casting Studio owners/the Chiodo Family

Bob Maranto, Jennifer Ash, Julie Trivitt, and the OEP staff and students at UA

Gary Newton, Arkansas Learns

Tim Summers, Executive Director of Decision Point

Sen. Jon Woods, Rep. Charlie Collins, Rep Bob Ballinger, Jana Della Rosa, Robin Lundstrom

Brittney Robison, Boon Kee, and all of our Community Advisory Board members

Ellen Beach, Walnut Farm Montessori Director, and Victoria Butler, Fayetteville Montessori Director

Keith Whitescarver and Jackie Cossentino at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector

Whitney Jones and Gasper Martinez of EdTec, Inc.

Mel Reed at Keller Williams Market Pro Realty