Manage episode 359466065 series 1749763
Kris welcomes Shonali Harrison, school owner and director of Eden Prairie Montessori in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Shonali talks about her journey from growing up in Sri Lanka to becoming the director of Eden Prairie in 1991, and what she fell in love with about the Montessori school system. Shonali discusses her leadership style and how she stays present and engaged with her team, leading with an open heart, what has made her the proudest about her time in early childhood, and what she has found challenging. Shonali and Kris highlight the importance of mentorship and marketing your strengths to the right audience. Then, Shonali also lets us in on a fun fact about her party-planning skills, and talks about what’s next for her team in 2023 and beyond.
[7:50] Shonali discusses transforming a KinderCare building into her Montessori school and tells us a little more about Eden Prairie Montessori.
[8:20] What is the education system like in Sri Lanka, where Shonali grew up?
[11:31] Fun fact: Shonali is a great party planner and she can whip out an awesome event in a few hours. And… she can hula hoop while at the party!
[12:02] What was Shonali’s journey into purchasing her first school?
[18:37] Shonali discusses some of her program’s unique strengths including no screens, concrete learning, and teacher training.
[23:51] How do the staff get certified for Montessori training?
[25:15] What qualities and values does Shonali embody as a leader?
[30:53] The people that have had the biggest impact on Shonali.
[35:15] What has been the most challenging part of her journey?
[36:52] The tools that Shonali uses for success include Brightwheel and Intellikids.
[40:00] It’s a huge skill (and critical for success) to find ways to get along and jive, despite differing personalities.
“Every time I walk into a Montessori school, I just love the energy of it, because I feel like it feels calmer, it feels less chaotic, and it feels more focused.” — Kris [10:41]
“Teachers are so dedicated and truly have their heart in it.” — Shonali [19:53]
“I love for my staff and people who have been with me, or coming into our programs to be able to learn from me, as a mentor. I feel like this is something that I can pass on to them. And I want to teach them what I know.” — Shonali [21:02]
“I just love to show people what I think they could do, and to help them in certain situations.” — Shonali [26:09]
“I can definitely say I’m an awesome teacher. I know that about me because I’ve been told it and I know I have the passion for that.” — Shonali [26:56]
“You’re like a frog in the well. You don’t know what you can do when you have all these voices and people telling you how to do it.” — Shonali [30:27]
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” — Kris [32:49]
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Mentioned in This Episode:
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