Outreach Manager

Kelli Harran


Kelli Harran

Ms. Harran is a lifelong Montessorian and is delighted to have the opportunity to merge her passions for communications and Montessori education. Kelli attended a Montessori school from Primary through Upper Elementary, and her experiences as a child inspired her to become a Montessori Elementary teacher.

Ms. Harran received her Elementary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and taught for nine years at AMI schools in Washington, DC, and Atlanta, including a lengthy stint in her former Upper Elementary classroom.

Prior to that, Ms. Harran earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Mt. Holyoke College. She holds master’s degrees in Journalism (Northwestern University) and Education (Loyola University Maryland). She also received a Digital Marketing certificate (Cornell University) and has extensive Orton-Gillingham training to support learners with language-based challenges.

Before Ms. Harran pursued teaching, she worked as a newspaper reporter and publishing company editor covering education policy, federal agencies, courts and Congress.

In her spare time, Ms. Harran enjoys exploring photography and supporting the arts with her husband, a professional cellist.

My Story

Learn more about Kelli.

  • Tell us about yourself.

    I am a lifelong Montessorian who attended a Montessori school from Primary through Upper Elementary. After graduating from college with a liberal arts background, I became a newspaper reporter and then decided to pursue graduate school in journalism to study the craft deeply.

    Following that, I went into publishing because I wanted to have more time to work on stories than daily deadlines allow. As a writer and editor at a publishing company, I covered education policy and realized I wanted to be more involved in education directly, which inspired me to return to my roots and take the AMI Montessori Elementary training. After nearly a decade in the classroom, I am thrilled to have found a way to merge my passions, tell the Montessori story, and bring more children and families into the fold.

  • What inspires you about education?

    I find the potential within every child to be deeply inspiring. Introducing a child to a key lesson may unlock something within them now or perhaps years from now. I’m touched by the unbridled joy children experience when they execute their own idea or complete something to their satisfaction. Montessori equips children with the skills and confidence to tackle questions and obstacles they have never encountered.

    Consciously and thoughtfully supporting the natural human development of individuals, as happens in an authentic Montessori setting and through extensions at home, would have global implications if achieved on a large scale.

  • How did you discover Montessori?

    Montessori is practically part of my DNA, woven into who I am on a fundamental level! I have lifelong friends who go back to my earliest school days. Montessori provided me with a profound love of learning and the foundation and conviction to pursue where my interests have taken me.

    I spent a decade of childhood in Montessori and another nine years of adulthood as a Montessori practitioner in an elementary classroom.

  • How does Montessori philosophy inspire your daily life?

    It makes me hopeful for the future. I see the human tendencies that Dr. Montessori spoke about in everyone I encounter. I notice how important it is to tend to the preparation of the adult — not just by continuing to expand your knowledge, but also being open to change and living a full life because children feed off that vitality.

  • Do you have a favorite Montessori quote?

    “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” -Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

  • What have you learned from your time working at Higher Ground thus far?

    Higher Ground is full of passionate people who are encouraged to both take initiative and to reflect. There is a focus on the growth of the organization and the Montessori movement, but also personal and professional fulfillment. The work is purpose-driven and meaningful, and it is a privilege to be part of a team that is contributing to the spread of Montessori.

  • What do you enjoy most about working with your teammates?

    Everyone I have worked with is so warm, determined, positive, and collaborative. It reminds me a lot of a Montessori classroom! From my first day on the job, I have felt embraced by a community engaged on a powerful mission.

  • What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?

    As a Montessori teacher, it brought me great pleasure to communicate with parents in weekly newsletters to share their child’s experience with them and sprinkle in a bit of Montessori theory. One of the best ways I found to do this was by regularly sharing visual images of children engaging with materials, presenting research, and collaborating with friends. This sparked my interest in photography and digital storytelling. My husband is a professional cellist, and supporting the arts and classical music scene is a big part of our lives.

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