Journal Entry

Interview with Ray Girn

We sit down with Ray Girn, the Founder and CEO of Higher Ground Education to discuss the state of modern education.

Ray Girn, Founder and CEO of Higher Ground Education (HGE), recently sat down with the Prepared Montessorian China team to share his thoughts on HGE’s sweeping vision.

The Prepared Montessorian, the professional development arm of Higher Ground Education, will be conducting a set of workshops for teachers this summer across multiple cities in China. This interview originally appeared as part of a series of promotional outreach activities on the Prepared Montessorian China’s WeChat platform.

Here are a few excerpts:

  • When asked how Montessori education will change the world, Ray notes that “It is not Montessori that’s going to change the world. It is the children who have the latent talent that are going to change the world. What Montessori [education] is going to do is to take this latent talent and problem-solving capacity that exists, in my view, in all human children and liberate it….”
    When asked about the nature of the opportunity that exists internationally to spread Montessori, Ray builds on his earlier comments about how much talent exists in the Montessori world, and notes: “I think that the Montessori movement is like a parade waiting for someone to get in front and lead the way. Not in the sense of giving people direction or telling them what to do, but in the sense of clearing the path. So the biggest opportunity is just building the systems, and the tools, and the processes, and the trainings and the professional development that the Montessori world needs to have the type of impact that it can have…”
  • Ray also comments on the fact the Higher Ground is a commercial venture, explaining how this is a feature and not a bug, core to HGE’s value proposition and to its culture: “[O]ne other thing I’d stress in terms of what I think Higher Ground is bringing to the Montessori world—we are a business, we are a commercial venture—is a value that we call Mission without Martyrdom. This is sometimes sacrilege Montessori, but when I talk to teachers, sometimes I like to say: ‘It is not about the child. It’s about you as a human being. What type of work do you find uplifting and ennobling, fulfilling and meaningful? If you just take care of that need, if you do the work that you think is great work, there are a million ways in which that is going to elevate the children around you. Because what children need, more than anything else, is a shining example of what it means to live a full, authentic life… Montessorians don’t need to be martyrs. They are missionaries, but they don’t need to be martyrs…’”

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