Wildflower Teacher Leaders Britni Haynie and Kanan Patel share a passion for reflecting Wildflower’s foundational commitments to practice anti-bias anti-racism and unity in their schools and their work with emerging Teacher Leaders around the country.
Britni Haynie is a Teacher Leader at Tiger Lily Montessori, an infant and toddler program in Providence, Rhode Island. After working at a series of Montessori and non-Montessori child care centers across several states, she landed at Tiger Lily during a leadership transition that left her rebuilding relationships with families. Despite those challenges, she described the experiences as life-changing:
I have learned so much and grown so much as a mother, as a teacher, as a human, in general, through teal practices, Holacracy, being able to show up as my full self, building an environment where we respect our community members, and we put the children first.
Kanan Patel remembers wanting to be a teacher from her earliest years. She studied education and attained her Montessori degree in India before moving to the US with her husband and growing family. After hearing about the original Wildflower Montessori School in 2014, Kanan reached out to the network to learn more about the model. Soon after, she enrolled her daughter at the second Wildflower school in the network–Aster Montessori School, a Cambridge primary program–and began to work there.
Those early days were tough because The Wildflower Foundation didn’t exist yet–Kanan explained that they were “building the bike as they were riding it.” She described the community the early Teacher Leaders built in Cambridge:
We all understood that this is not work that is done in one day; it is ongoing work that will force us to grow and evolve and will continue as long as we live…but there’s a community around me to help me, support me, and guide me, and that really was the basis for The Wildflower Foundation. Now, so many amazing people work at the Foundation who support the work that Teacher Leaders do. It absolutely takes a village to build even a microschool.
Kanan and Britni both leveraged their experience and passion for Wildflower as Operations Guides—A partner to emerging Teacher Leaders as they navigate the operational and administrative aspects of the School Startup Journey (e.g., budgeting, facilities, enrollment). Britni explained that the role mirrors a guide in the classroom: “I am here for you, for resources. I create an environment for you to feel safe to explore. I guide you through the SSJ, but you’re the one who’s in charge, and I follow you.”
To join the next Teacher Leader stories event on May 25, register here.