The History of Our School

History of the Founding Board
The decision to create a school of choice within a community needs to be carefully formulated, with a well-defined mission that would appeal to a broad spectrum of the community. Since May 2007, parents and educators in the greater Chico area have met informally to discuss the viability of a public Montessori-methods elementary school. The discussion focused on how the Montessori philosophy can be formulated into a pedagogical model that would allow for rigorous treatment of California State Standards. Also discussed was how to lay the framework for a long-term sustainable school, with clear governance and financial stability, while still remaining true to the fundamental tenets of the Montessori philosophy. An exploratory phase focused on surveying successful-and unsuccessful-Montessori charter schools and public schools in California and across the nation. Best-models were identified and discussion shifted to how to best implement these practices in the Chico community. The final stage comprised consultation with the California Department of Education, California Charter Schools Association, and various Montessori training centers.


At this point a lead petitioner (R. Shapiro) was identified and a volunteer board recruited. Qualifications sought after included a broad representation of skills and experience in non-profit corporate management, Elementary school education, contracts, financial accounting, and child development. While a commitment to the formation of a Montessori school was expected, training in the Montessori philosophy or an expectation to be a parent at the charter school was not required. However, all members of the founding board are parents of school-aged children within the boundaries of Chico Unified School District.


Once it appeared that the envisioned school model was legal and likely financially stable, Sherwood Montessori was incorporated as a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of California. None of the founding members has or will receive remuneration for this effort such as salary, stipends, or gifts. In addition, members of the founding board have met with legal consultants, assessment consultants, and California charter school consultants who have lent support gratis.


The result of this intensive, community-based effort is the petition herein. It is our hope that the Chico Unified School District views this petition as a positive addition to the district.


Composition of the Founding Board

Russell Shapiro, Ph.D.
Lead Petitioner

Jill Bailey
Governance Specialist

Joseph Cobery
Policy and Grants Specialist

David Green
Financial Consultant

Georgina Maltby, Ph.D.
Counseling Specialist

Harvey Rappaport
Education Specialist

Vivienne Singelis
Montessori Specialist


Why "Sherwood Montessori"?

The founding board wanted a name that reflected both the environmental focus typical of Montessori schools and the proud heritage of Chico. As many local residents know, the classic 1938 movie, "The Adventures of Robin Hood," was filmed on location in Bidwell Park-the Sherwood Forest of King John. Conjuring images of both adventure and lush forests, we felt the name emphasized our vision for the school.

Please note: Sherwood Montessori is an independent endeavor that is not connected to any other school in Chico or elsewhere. If you found our website while searching for the excellent private Montessori preschool in Chico, visit the website of the Chico Montessori Children's House, located on Glenn Street.

A new location

tree outside building

The summer of 2016 saw our move to a new location at Chapman Elementary School (East 16th St and Cleveland St.) , where we could benefit from larger classrooms, more space for gardens, and beautiful Community Park, with its large playing fields right at our doorstep.

Sherwood also occupies the property at 1010 Cleveland St, across from the Chapman Elementary parking lot.  This property was renovated during the fall of 2016 and served as our library, teaching kitchen, and more and dubbed the Little House!  In May of 2019 builders began removing old concrete around the Little House in anticipation of two new buildings to be place on the property. 

Saying Goodbye to the Little House

 An unexpected problem was encountered: the house began to shift, and it was discovered that it had been built without a traditional foundation! The floor joists were on bearers resting on piles of bricks rather than proper supports. Also, the concrete poured around the house did not include metal flashing's to protect the wooden structure of the house from the elements. As a result, much of the wooden structure that had been hidden from view under the house had extensive dry rot from being exposed to rain and moisture. The building was so damaged, it was deemed a total loss and had to be demolished. Dedicated parent volunteers poured work, time and love into the Little House; it was so disappointing to have to see it go. 
In the fall of 2019,  we have our two new buildings in eye catching terracotta, but not the Little House.