‘Destiny’ may have led Amick to Buena Vista

       Jade Amick-Fulgenzi says she “was not even looking for a job” last summer when she happened to come across the District 11 advertisement for a principal at a Montessori school in Colorado Springs.
       Now she is that principal, hired Oct. 1 to lead Buena Vista Elementary. “I found it by fluke,” Amick said in a recent interview, “you might even say by destiny.”
       On her first visit, she liked the school on sight. “I thought it was really cute, with its turn-of-the-century architecture,” she said, “and because it was an established school still committed to finding a Montessori lea-der.”
       With an international Montessori background dating to the early 1970s, she is looking forward to the challenge of keeping the educational philosophy vital at her new school, she said.
       She is fluent in Spanish, and some of her experience has been in Latin countries, including Spain and Puerto Rico. Amick thinks this knowledge could help in an area with increasing numbers of Spanish-speaking students.
       Since 2004, Buena Vista has been transitioning to a Montessori program (in which students are given hands-on educational tools to help them learn in a non- regimental way), with only grades 3-5 still having alternate “traditional” classes.
       Amick said she has stayed with Montessori throughout her career because she believes it is the best way to teach children. “You have these 'ah-ha' moments when their eyes are sparkling like diamonds,” she said. “And it's not what you taught, but the process that got them there. When you see kids that excited, you can't go back [to another teaching style].”
       Although still learning about Buena Vista, one of her concerns, based on past experience, is that in a public school setting a Montessori program can become diluted over time because of district-wide curriculum requirements and testing demands, and overall “there is so much pressure to be part of the public school system.”
       In that regard, Amick said she appreciates Buena Vista's strong parental involvement, which still includes several of those who helped get Montessori started at the school.

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