Dr. Sarah Pfenninger has just returned to her hometown of Buffalo after over a decade plus of living in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Sarah holds a B.A., MS.Ed, and Ph.D. in education with an area of expertise in literacy and language arts for PK-8th grade. In addition, she holds an American Montessori Society credential in Early Childhood earned at the Montessori Teacher Education Center of San Francisco. Sarah is also currently enrolled in the American Montessori Society Administrator’s credential at Houston Montessori Center. Dr. Pfenninger has conducted research on Montessori topics and presented at past American Montessori Society annual conferences. Furthermore, she was selected as one of the 2017 recipients of the American Montessori Society Ursula Thrush peace grant award for her community work with young children using both literacy instruction and the Montessori framework for peace.
In addition to her work in Montessori, Sarah has also presented and published on topics related to reading and language arts education, to include “Negotiating ‘Third Space’ through Popular Children’s Literature: Creating Democratic Spaces” In Students, Places, and Identities in the Arts, published by Routledge and “Why Peace Education Matters,” published by Independent Teacher, a publication of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Dr. Pfenninger has taught in a wide variety of educational contexts to include independent school teaching in the USA and Great Britain. Most recently, she has taught early years at Santa Monica Montessori and Lycee International de Los Angeles. She has also served as a teacher education faculty member at several universities across the USA and U.K., including the Early Childhood department at the City University of New York, CUNY in New York City.
Ms. Renee Butler
Board of Directors
MS.Ed. University of London, Institute of Education (IOE)
M.A. Monash University, Australia
B.A. hons. Kingston University, London
Ms. Renee Butler is a dual national who hails from both Australia and Britain. She holds a Masters of Counseling from Monash University, Australia, Master of Science degree in Special and Inclusive Education from the Institute of Education, University of London and a Bachelor of Arts with honors, from Kingston University, London.
During her professional career, Renee has gained over sixteen years’ experience working in various environments to include independent schools and the private sector in America, China, Dubai, England, and Singapore. She has provided assistance to individuals, young children, teenagers and family networks. She has also worked with families and sole parent families who require additional support and advice as well as children/teenagers with suspected and diagnosed special educational needs and mental health disorders.
Additionally, Renee also provides professional development for teachers in special educational needs, social and emotional, mental health, welfare support and early years childcare.
Renee currently supports learners from years three to six in an international school in the student support services department.
Dr. Michael Gosset
Board of Directors
Ed.D. Columbia University
M.A. New York University
M.S. Mercy College
B.S. SUNY Fredonia
Dr. Michael Gosset began his career at an independent school in Westchester and has over thirty years of experience as an educator, with an expertise in Physical Education. He has degrees in Business Administration, Physical Education, and Education Administration, as well as a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University in Curriculum and Teaching. He has had articles published in peer-reviewed education journals, has presented on several topics in Physical Education, including "Movement Education," "Skill Themes," and the "Sport Education" model, and has twice received recognition in Who's Who Among America's Teachers. Dr. Gosset has served as past president, NYC Zone of NYS AHPERD. He has presented widely on the topic of physical education for young people, and his most recent publications include an article with the PE Matters journal, “Should we be teaching sport skills to 5-7 year-olds? Not so fast.” as well as Lesson Plans for the Elementary Physical Education Teacher: A Developmental Movement Education & Skill Themes Framework, published by Routledge in 2018. Dr. Gosset is currently on the faculty of the education department with the City University of New York, located in New York City.
Dr. Michael Leit
Advisor to the Board
M.D. Yale School of Medicine
M.S. Yale Graduate School
M.S. Yale Graduate School (Psychology)
B.A. Yale College
Dr. Michael Leit is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in hand and trauma surgery. He is a decorated United States Air Force Veteran who has traveled extensively and is a native New Yorker. Michael earned his BA and MS in Psychology at Yale with a special emphasis on early child development. He subsequently did his Medical degree and a second MS at Yale before starting his residency in Orthopaedics at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Leit was stationed in Europe and the Middle East, and served on the White House Medical Unit providing medical support for the President of the United States and senior members of the US government. After service in Iraq he moved to upstate New York and did a fellowship at the University of Rochester. Michael practices medicine in Rochester, NY where he lives with his wife and four children. Three of his four children attended Montessori Schools. All of his children attended the Harley School in Rochester and he credits their inquisitiveness, academic success and civic involvement in high school and college to their early Montessori educations. He is honored to be a member of the Mayfair Gardens Montessori board.
Mr. Michael Huntress
Advisor to the Board
B.A. University at Buffalo
Avon Old Farms School
As a father of four Mr. Huntress recognizes the importance of quality education, particularly in the early years. His daughters all attend Christ the King school in Snyder where both he and his wife, Haley, are very active in the school community.
Mr. Huntress is a board member of the Western New York chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He was the recipient of the Service to Mankind award in 2015.
Mr. Huntress is the President of Acquest Development Company, a Western New York based international real estate development company. He has 18 years of experience in the development of ground up real estate projects from Las Vegas to New York City including projects that have received awards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, ENR Magazines building of the year, as well as numerous BOMA awards. His firm’s ability to find creative solutions for client’s workspaces with sustainable design has put his company at the forefront of modern-day real estate development.
Mr. Huntress earned his Business Administration degree in Finance and Human Resource Management from the State University at Buffalo.
Ms. Minoli Shervin
Advisor to the Board
L.L.M. University of London, Queen Mary, U.K.
PG Dip. in International Law
Ms. Minoli Shervin is an Attorney-at-Law, hailing from Sri Lanka. She possesses a Masters in Law from the U.K. and Masters in Business Administration. Minoli is a life member of the Bar association of Sri Lanka.
Minoli has over a decade of experience working in the capacities of legal advisor/ practitioner/consultant both in the U.K and in Sri Lanka. She possesses extensive experience in the spheres of human rights, international law, refugee law, labour migration and countering trafficking in persons/transnational organized crimes and policy advocacy. She has held senior positions in several United Nations (UN) agencies and has also served as a consultant to the EU electoral observation missions. Minoli has been advocating for the rights of refugees, migrant workers, victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Minoli has authored several articles, policy briefs, training modules and manuals for governments, UN agencies, universities as well international organizations / NGOs on a wide array of topics involving human rights. Minoli has extensive experience conducting trainings for law enforcement and border protection authorities, government officers, diplomats as well as the civil society.