Local Montessori School announces New Head of School, Ellen Lewis

BOONE, NC -- Serving the High Country for 32 years, Mountain Pathways School (MPS) is pleased to announce Ellen Lewis as its new Head of School.

Ellen Lewis, new Head of School of Mountain Pathways School in Boone, NC.

Ellen Lewis, new Head of School of Mountain Pathways School in Boone, NC.

"We conducted a national search and received applications from folks across the country. Ellen’s application clearly stood out from the rest due to her unique combination of vision and experience. She is resolute in her dedication to our ambitious future,” says Board Chair, Dr. Peter Nelsen, Professor of Education at Appalachian State.

Leslie Logan, a former Board Member of the Montessori Institute of Atlanta who served with Lewis and former Head of School at Arbor Montessori School in Atlanta, says, "Strong leaders have the vision to inspire others and the humility to be inspired by them. That is Ellen."

As an educator and administrator, Lewis's approach is firmly grounded in Montessori pedagogy. She believes that through hands-on learning, a Montessori education fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development, with a goal of nurturing each child’s natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect. Lewis asserts that Mountain Pathways students graduate with resilience and self-confidence to take on any challenge they may come across.

Rachel McKinney, an active Mountain Pathways parent and Boone native, says, "Ellen’s fundamental commitment to our community and the Montessori method validates her ability to strengthen our school and further embrace experiential learning rooted in Appalachia as well as the complexities of our global world.”

Curriculum Coordinator and teacher with a 12-year tenure at the school, Kristy Hackler comments, “Geography shapes humans, not the other way around. Through experiential learning, our academic curriculum centers on sustainability, community, economy, and environment with a focus on practical life skills and science-based agriculture. With Ellen’s support, our teachers will strive to inspire a deeper understanding between our students and their environment.”

As Mountain Pathways’ Head of School, Ellen Lewis says, "I am thrilled to be working with the wealth of talent in our parent community. We have a shared commitment to continue to grow the school to serve the evolving needs of children in today’s society. We know that the world in which our children will live is rapidly changing and calls for engaged people who are collaborative, flexible, curious, and creative. Together with the Mountain Pathways community, our strategic fundraising initiatives and vision promise to allow the school to continue to grow and provide a high quality educational opportunity in the high country for years to come."

Lewis earned her BS in Business from Wake Forest University and a Master's in Montessori Education from Loyola University. She received her American Montessori Internationale (AMI) primary training the following year at the Washington Montessori Institute along with her Master's degree.

Lewis and her husband Mark met in Atlanta, where they lived for two years before moving to Boston for three years, and then Boone where they reside with their two children. Mark is an Associate Professor of Management with a specialty in Strategy and Innovation at Appalachian State University. Their children attended Mountain Pathways for many years and reaped the benefits of the Montessori model- continuing to be engaged learners.

Lewis will assume her active role as Head of School in April and is currently on sabbatical in New Zealand and Australia with her family.

Visit Mountain Pathways!

Visit Mountain Pathways School during our week-long Open House event, February 25 - 28, 9:30-11am, which features a Parents’ Education Night open to the public on Tuesday, February 26 from 5:30-7:00 pm. New and existing families are encouraged to attend.  RSVP at

Learn about our expanded Summer Programs, Farm Sprouts (ages 3-6) and Farm Community Camp (ages 12-15) launching this June as well as the current  Farm Camp (ages 6-12) at the same website

About Mountain Pathways School
Established in 1987, Mountain Pathways is a Montessori school serving ages 18 months  to 14 years, located in Boone, North Carolina.Mountain Pathways is committed to hands-on, experiential learning directed by the Montessori Philosophy and enhanced by the Appalachian mountain community. More information about Mountain Pathways can be found at