Eric L. Dustman has been appointed new Head of School at Montessori School of Maui in Makawao. Dustman, a credentialed Montessorian, was formerly principal at Qingdao Amerasia International School in China, a toddler-grade 12 International Baccalaureate program; Dustman spent the last two years at Qingdao collaborating to fuse the IB and Montessori pedagogies at the toddler through early childhood levels.
Prior to working in China, Dustman spent 14 years as Head of School at The New School Montessori (TNSM) in Cincinnati, Ohio. TNSM, a dual accredited program, is a local and regional leader in Montessori education and is approaching its 50th anniversary.
MOMI’s Board of Trustees completed a six-month nationwide search to find and hire the successor to Rene Anderson-Vorfeld, who served as Head of School from 2012 through July 2017. Dustman began working at Montessori in mid-July, prior to Anderson-Vorfeld’s scheduled departure at the end of the month.
“Overwhelmingly, our community found Eric to be an excellent match for the Montessori School of Maui,” said Tess DeLisa, head of school search committee chair. “He is a highly experienced, credentialed Montessori teacher with a PhD in Educational Studies with a focus on Empathy, and many years of demonstrated success as a Montessori Head of School. Eric’s qualifications, along with his immediate rapport with our committee and community, give us great excitement for things to come under his leadership.”
Extensive experience in international, private, and public schools attracted the search committee to Dustman. On the other hand, an exceptional record of promoting Montessori education and extending its benefits to children and adults alike attracted Dustman to the Upcountry private school.
“After spending the last two years in China, it is time for my wife and I to begin re-establishing our family and our roots within the United States,” Dustman said. “Doing so in Hawaii with and among those at Montessori School of Maui, who have been so welcoming, looks very promising.”
Former Head of School Anderson-Vorfeld said she has great confidence in Dustman and his leadership abilities. “Along with the passionate team that has been here for such a long time, I only see a bright future continuing for this amazing community,” she said.
Founded in 1978, Montessori School of Maui provides a comprehensive curriculum from early childhood into adolescence by following the principles, spirit, and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori’s method of education. This approach features a collaborative learning environment to stimulate each student’s critical thinking skills, cultivate inquisitive minds and empower children to actively participate in the rapidly changing environment of the twenty-first century.
The Montessori School of Maui is a non-denominational, non-profit 501c3 corporation licensed by the Hawaii Council of Private Schools and the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS).
Photo courtesy Montessori School of Maui