The University of California, Irvine is ranked eighth among the nation’s public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list of “Best Colleges.” It is no wonder the Montessori Teacher Education Program is the program of choice for so many! A blended hybrid with the ability to work in a Montessori program during the day, and studies supporting the daily classroom activities of the adult learner, make this program both enjoyable and practical. Adult learners participate in a combination of on-line interaction with an outstanding instructor, and practical hands-on guidance at the lab school on the UCI campus. This makes learning convenient even for students outside of Orange County, while still providing instructor mentoring for excellence in preparation.
Adult learners will receive continuing education units from this prestigious institution as well as the nationally and internationally recognized MACTE/AMS credential. The 100% placement rate for teaching positions upon graduation from UC Irvine’s Montessori Teacher Education Program is a testament to the quality of the education and the quality of the teachers in our schools.
Cheryll Ruszat grew up with a very clear mission—to teach—and she has been doing just that for over 40 years. Cheryll found Montessori education for her own two children when they were preschoolers and is oft-quoted saying, "My children grew up but I stayed behind!"
Cheryll has presented on various Montessori topics both nationally and locally. Founder and Executive Director of the University Montessori Teacher Education Program at UC Irvine, she also owns and operates the four Montessori Schools of Irvine. Her belief in the importance of the Montessori Method’s authenticity led her and UC Irvine to develop and provide the program. Cheryll is the recipient of the UC Irvine Instructor of Excellence award and has been presented, along with her husband Richard, with the UCI Medal of honor as well as other notable awards.
Rayann Palazzolo, Practicum Coordinator
Rayann Palazzolo, Practicum Coordinator began her teaching career after graduating from Notre Dame. A move to California introduced her to the magic of Montessori education and redirected her purpose. Rayann has decades of Montessori experience as a teacher and as a leader in the field. Added to this experience is the knowledge that a Master’s degree in Montessori brings to her mentoring. Having been the director of one of Orange County’s largest Montessori Schools, she is now the Associate Director of Human Resources for the Montessori Schools of Irvine and the perfect instructor to lead new teachers to a successful career path in the Montessori Education Field.
Katherine Barber, Level Coordinator
Katherine Barber is an expert in many levels of Montessori education as she has earned her AMS/MACTE credential in infant toddler, early childhood and elementary 1, and also holds a Master’s degree in Education and her California teaching credential! A mother herself, Katy’s love for all children allows her to mentor adult learners to grow their own love of children as well as their skills to become outstanding teachers. Katy is the Level-Coordinator for infant-toddler studies and is also an instructor for early childhood studies.
Each Instructor in the University Montessori Teacher Education Program at UCI takes part in mentoring adult learners in their metamorphosis from adult learner with a passion, to an impactful Montessori teacher/guide. This team of dedicated professionals have many years of classroom teaching experience, adult instruction, and a special passion for the subject area they have been chosen to teach.
The University Montessori Lab School on the UCI campus provides dedicated adult learning space to support adult learners in their quest for gaining knowledge and experience in the learning of Montessori principles, techniques and Montessori lessons with the didactic materials.
UCI’ CANVAS LMS and high-grade equipment allows instructor synchronous use of technology. The program is thus able to meet learners’ needs with enriched opportunities that have previously been unavailable or unaffordable.