Brandi Thacker, MA MSW
My son Colton was 17 months old when we discovered Blue Ridge Montessori School (BRMS). We were new to the Lynchburg area and knew no one except my parents, but were committed to finding a school family for our most precious boy. Here we are, nearly four years later, having happily enrolled Colton in another year of the BRMS experience.
I knew from the moment I saw Colton’s face the day he was born, I’d do anything to support him, encourage him, and set him up for success. As he has grown and developed with BRMS, we began to notice a few things. We watched his intelligence blossom beyond his chronological age, but we also started to observe some behaviors that included having a hard time focusing, struggling with impulse issues, acting out “at” his friends and sometimes even his teachers. In other educational environments, Colton might have been considered a challenging child. At BRMS, the whole team has been involved in caring for him and ensuring he experiences an environment that inspires his innate desire to learn without judgment or negativity. I never dreamed there might be days where Colton would need such a high level of one-on-one interaction, a consistent swell of redirection, a set of strategies deployed just for him, or a classroom experience built and crafted with him in mind specifically. At BRMS, these things were provided without question and in partnership with our family. I know there are not many private institutions that would have gifted us this level of individualized care. This is one of the many reasons I believe in and will continually advocate for BRMS and its vision of continuing Dr. Montessori’s method and legacy.
Why am I hoping to take on a larger responsibility at BRMS? I want to do it for my son Colton. At Blue Ridge Montessori School, he is loved. He’s celebrated. He’s safe. He’s challenged. He’s supported. He’s held accountable. He’s growing. He’s thriving. He’s happy. There is no larger gift for a parent. I want other families to know this feeling. I want to tell our story and be part of building BRMS so more families can have this experience too. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration of my request to be elected as Secretary on the Executive Committee for the BRMS Board of Directors.
Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Collaboration at the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE), has served early childhood communities as educator, case manager, advocate, director, trainer, technical assistance specialist, and consultant for over 15 years. She began her career in the mental health field, supporting children ages five to twenty-one with serious emotional disturbances. After moving to Virginia, she became a Head Start Director where she served 138 children and families. Brandi advanced to a position within the Region III Head Start Technical Assistance system where she provided extensive, ongoing, individualized attention to grantees in each of the six states. More recently, she worked on the federal Head Start monitoring contract where she assisted in updating the protocol using the Monitoring 360 approach, and subsequently trained Federal and review team staff on its implementation. As the Director of T&TA and Collaboration, Brandi oversees the development of materials and delivery of all NCPFCE training and technical assistance nationwide.