Dear friends,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year at Sands Montessori.  Our names are Joie Linser and Emily McNicholas and we are serving as co-presidents of the Sands Montessori Parent Organization (SMPO).  SMPO works together to strengthen the Sands Montessori community of life-long learners.  All parents/legal guardians, teachers and staff are automatically members – including you!  We must acknowledge the unique and unprecedented circumstances facing our school community this year.  We hope you will join SMPO in its efforts to provide as much support as possible to our students, teachers, and staff to meet these challenges head on.

Our meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month (August-May) at 7 p.m.  At this time, we plan to hold all meetings virtually via Zoom.  Meetings are open to all and you are welcome and encouraged to attend!  This year, we will require pre-registration for meetings in order to provide a secure virtual meeting space.

Our first SMPO meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1. We moved the meeting back accommodate the week of virtual orientation and back-to-school preparations for students, parents and staff. This meeting will also serve as the General Parent Meeting; we’ll review and vote on the budget for the year and every member of the SMPO in attendance can vote. Please join us! RSVP by clicking here to register!

Typically, SMPO hosts community-building and fundraising events throughout the year.  While this year will look a bit different from a fundraising perspective, last year we raised over $50,000 to fund things such as planners for 9-12 students and subscriptions for 6-9 students.   Most importantly during these challenging times, we are committing to more than doubling the funding that goes directly to the 41 classrooms and specialists at Sands to purchase needed equipment and materials to tackle the challenges of teaching virtually, in-person, or both!

 This year poses significant challenges to our typical fundraising as we will not be able to hold the majority of our fundraising events.  However, we believe in our community and have set a large fundraising goal to allow us to provide the increased direct support to classrooms described above.  This is going to require your support in two way:First, by attending the virtual General Parent Meeting to approve our budget so we can get to work to meet that goal.  Second, we will be asking families, now more than ever, to provide whatever direct financial support they can so we can distribute that money directly and equitably back to the school to be used for every child at Sands, regardless of their family’s ability to support the SMPO during this really difficult time.  We will be launching a fund drive in the next few weeks and are going to need to raise more than $9,000 to reach our goals.

 Our school thrives when families are engaged with what happens at Sands.  While volunteer opportunities will be different this year, we still ask you to please get involved in our school by staying in touch with your student’s teacher, the school and SMPO.  According to the school handbook, families are expected to volunteer 4-6 hours in and around Sands Montessori to ensure our school maintains the level of excellence you expect. SMPO and Sands will have many creative options for virtual volunteering: whether it’s attending SMPO meetings, serving as your student’s classroom “information captain,” tutoring children online, or helping plan an event or fundraiser – with every time commitment – available. We need your help to make sure we continue to have great events for our children, and to raise funds to continue to support students and staff. Please invite grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to join us, too! It truly takes a community.

Visit to stay up-to-date on events, find information about SMPO meetings and the Rudder (leadership), services offered by SMPO and to sign up for our weekly email.

The Sands community is strong and we will get through this together. As our students say everyday: care for self, care for the environment and be kind to others.  Let’s make this a great year.

Best wishes,

Joie Linser and Emily McNicholas

SMPO Co-Presidents, 2020-2021

SMPO is led by a Board of Directors, also known as the Rudder Committee. All Rudder positions are up for election every year, with the exception of President and Business Manager. (The Vice President automatically assumes the President position, and the Business Manager in Training automatically assumes the Business Manager position.) All positions can be shared, except Business Manager. LSDMC and ILT reps serve two-year terms. Positions are elected at the General Parent Meeting in April for the following school year.


The 2020-2021 Rudder Committee

Position Rudder Member
Past President Melissa Volck
President (shared) Joie Linser
President (shared) Emily McNicholas
Vice President (shared) Heather Gerker
Vice President (shared) Sarah Henry
Executive Secretary Tara Brok
Business Manager Michelle Durban
Business Manager in Training Becky Economou
Parent at Large Allyse Sonnega
Parent Liaison Debbi McCoy
3-6 Teacher Representative Caitlin LaVine
6-9 Co-Teacher Representative Vanessa Barth
6-9 Co-Teacher Representative Sarah Fullen
9-12 Co-Teacher Representative Lisa Bowden
9-12 Co-Teacher Representative Brenda Boedker
SEP Coordinator Rachel Danhires
Volunteer Coordinator Priya Rolfes
Fundraising Coordinator Holly Fritz
Communications Co-Coordinator Andi Curry
Communications Co-Coordinator Krystan Krailler
Technology coordinator Pedro do Amaral
Athletics Coordinator Chris Vockell
LSDMC Representative VACANT
LSDMC Representative Sharice Wood
LSDMC Representative Angie Reynolds
LSDMC Representative Richard Grosse
ILT Representative Angela Erisman
ILT Representative Sarah Moorhouse


The PDF version of this document is here.