Our History

Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

The Montessori School of Syracuse turned 20 this year! Click on the images below to learn more.

mss anniversary panel

The Montessori School of Syracuse was started by three women — Mary O’Connor, Susan French-Lawyer, and Patricia Choice Getz — who wanted to offer a Montessori education to their children and the community. In 1995, they opened the Montessori Learning Center with seven students and one teacher.

In its first five years, the school grew from one classroom to five and from seven students to nearly 100. Despite its success, the school underwent a true test of strength and character in the fall of 2000. An arson attack at Temple Beth-El, where the school was housed, caused such damage that the building was closed for months. Both the temple and the school received an outpouring of support from the community, and, within days, the school reopened in a temporary home — St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church.

Meanwhile, parents, trustees and administrators worked tirelessly to find and finance a permanent home for the school. They succeeded, and the school purchased the former York State Manor, a teacher’s retirement home, on Waldorf Parkway. The school opened its new doors in January 2001.

In the fall of 2002, the school opened a sixth classroom: a third cottage for primary and kindergarten students. The following year, the school changed its name from Montessori Learning Center to Montessori School of Syracuse to better reflect the ages of its students and the excellence of the education offered.

In the fall of 2005, the school opened a seventh classroom: a fourth cottage for primary and kindergarten students. Currently, Montessori School of Syracuse serves over 150 children from approximately 20 school districts in Central New York.