News from Woodland Hill Montessori School 

American Montessori Conference 2018

Susan, Leah Johnson, Cora Heiser, and Nieves Gonzalez. 

Keynote speaker actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith

Iconic traveler Rick Steves (left) and AMS Executive Director Dr. Timothy Purnell. 

New York Times visual editor Sandra Stevenson and Susan Kambrich, both AMS board members, presented together at the conference. 

The annual American Montessori Society conference took place in Denver from March 23 - 25. Susan Kambrich says, "It was a wonderful and enriching experience. I enjoyed the keynote addresses (Rick Steves and Anna Deavere Smith), workshops, and camaraderie of fellow Montessori educators."

Susan serves as the treasurer of the AMS Board of Trustees, and she attended a two-day meeting following the conference. 

At the conference, Susan presented a workshop with her AMS board colleague Sandra Stevenson, who works for the New York Times. Their presentation was entitled "Navigating Media: Helping Students Stay Informed." 

WHMS teachers Cora Heiser and Nieves Gonzalez also presented a workshop titled "The Kitchen of Life: Ethical, Values-Based Micro-economies" and Leah Johnson presented a workshop on "Student Math Presentations." All of the workshops were very well-received!
Welcome to Megan Ingalls Stasi!

We are excited to welcome our newest faculty member. Megan Ingalls Stasi joined Woodland Hill as our new art teacher on March 28.

Megan is a NYS-certified Visual Arts teacher with a bachelor's degree in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz and a master's degree in scenic design from Northwestern University. She has taught sewing at both the Albany Art Room and the Troy Arts Center, theatrical set design at Ulster County Community College, as well as Altered Book Workshops.

Megan has also worked in the music business, as a theater designer, a muralist, and recently started a local non-profit community organization focused on upcycling fabric and yarns. Her own artistic practice includes fiber arts, oil paints, and printmaking. Megan looks forward to joining the community and working with the students here.


Thank you to Olga Febus for stepping in as our substitute art teacher. Olga had some wonderful projects (below) for the students and we really appreciated all of her efforts.

WHMS Happenings

Sandy's class presented The History of Writing on March 28 and 29. 


Photo from Stephanie and Nicole's class IG page.

The WHMS Theatre Club performed  The Knight at Dawn Kids , from the Magic Tree House collection on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24. 

They also performed an encore presentation of several scenes for WHMS students on Wednesday, March 28.

Photos by Tricia Burroughs. 

Egg Decorating

WHMS parent Erin L. ran a workshop on egg decorating for Stephanie and Nicole's class on March 30. The eggs look colorful and festive!  

St. Patrick's Day Fun

As is their tradition, Liz and Kristen's class made leprechaun traps to try and stop the  mischievous leprechaun who comes by every St. Patrick's Day. Alas, their traps did not contain the leprechaun, who piled classroom materials on top of each other during the night.

Happy Nowruz!

Thank you to Arzu and Ranna for making the beautiful display for the Persian New Year in the front lobby.  Nowruz  is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, March 20. 

Sixth-years presented their senior projects in the gym on Thursday, March 29. The audience included teachers, 4th and 5th years, parents, grandparents, and Middle School students. Afterwards, the group enjoyed chocolate cake in the staff kitchen. 

Drug Awareness Education

On Wednesday, March 21, First Sergeant Tracy Mance, from the Albany County Sheriff's Office, spoke to our Middle School students about drug and alcohol use and dangers. The Middle School teachers said it was an informative and worthwhile discussion. 

Susan has invited First Sergeant Tracy Mance to return to WHMS to speak with parents about gateway drugs and vaping. The program takes place on Thursday, April 26 at 5 p.m. 

The Gala takes place on Saturday, April 21. Buy your tickets on our Gala website. 

For the first time ever, LeGrande Serras joins us as auctioneer. Jim Kambrich and Marcus Pryor will continue to emcee the event.

LeGrande Serras, third-generation restaurant owner, opened The Reel Seafood Co. in 1984. His family's humble beginnings instilled in him the importance of giving back, and for four decades LeGrande has worked tirelessly to support Capital Region's thriving arts community and countless human services organizations whose work empowers the disenfranchised.

Employing his special gift for communication - and some shameless prodding - LeGrande has raised over $22 million as an auctioneer at more than 2000 charity auctions and organizations in the Albany Area.

Since selling The Reel Seafood Co. in 2013, LeGrande has expanded his philanthropic efforts. In additions to his many auctioneering gigs, he speaks to the community and professional groups about the critical role that independent businesses play in building a sustainable community.

Each classroom has been creating works for art for the Gala. Those will be auctioned off through our online Gala page. As the projects are completed, their photos will be uploaded. You can bid on items, even if you do not attend the Gala.

These are some projects from the past few Galas:


Thanks to WHMS parent Mohammed H., the General Manager of the Hampton Inn Downtown Albany, for offering a reduced rate at the hotel the night of the Gala.

The discounted rate of $89 includes an overnight (April 21), breakfast, and parking.  Mo has also arranged for a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to and from the Gala venue, the Albany Country Club. Thanks to the  Tech Valley Hospitality Shuttle  for offering this service. 

This special rate is applicable only if booked by Wednesday, April 11. Please go to this site to book:


Sponsor Spotlight

Thank you so much to our Gala corporate sponsors! 

Platinum Level

The Massry and Knox Families of Tri City Rentals

Gold Level

WHMS Book Discussion Group

The WHMS book club is meeting on Monday, April 16 at both 1:30 p.m and 3:15 p.m.

The next discussion will be about  Parable of the Talents  by Octavia Butler.
Indian Cooking

We want to thank WHMS parent Nidhi A. for teaching a group of WHMS parents and grandparents how to cook Indian dishes. The group met at Columbia Cabinets on Route 4 on Sunday, March 18. They learned how to make c umin rice, y ogurt dip, s picy cabbage, h earty lentils, and s aag paneer. It was a lovely evening. 

Dates to Remember

Monday, April 9
  • Classes resume

Wednesday, April 11
  • Puberty workshop for 4th and 5th grade girls, 1:15 p.m.
  • Read for Ronald McDonald House packets due

Thursday, April 12
  • Gardening and Food Committee meeting, 3:15 p.m.
  • Diversity Committee meeting, 5:30 p.m 

Friday, April 13
  • Building expansion meeting, 8:45 a.m.
  • Puberty workshop for 5th and 6th grade boys, 10:15 a.m.
  • Makerspace Group meeting, 3:15 p.m.

Saturday, April 14
  • Building expansion meeting, 11:30 a.m.
  • WHMS Summer Camp Open House, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Monday, April 16
  • WHMS Book Club, 1:30 and 3:15 p.m.
  • Friends of WHMS meeting, 5:15 p.m.
  • Board of Trustees meeting, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19
  • Macaroni & Cheese lunch
  • WHMS Talent Show rehearsal, 3 p.m.


Thursday, April 19

  • WHMS Talent Show for LE-MS students, 6 p.m. 

Saturday, April 21
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