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Who I am


Jan Gaffney

I want to help you be the best you can be, whether you are a teacher, a board member, a principal or a director and whether you represent a class, a unit, a school, or a business. I would like to help you apply the principles of Montessori education to ensure you have the tools to deliver the best outcome possible for the people in your care. Working together there will be tears and laughter, self-knowledge, tools, gratitude, grumbling (just a bit), and satisfaction of a job well done. I look forward to working with you, helping you identify next steps, and putting in place steps to achieve them.


Education is badly in need of transformation. It has remained stagnant for far too long. It is readily apparent that education has not been serving the needs of most children for some time, and the advent of recent events has shown just how true that is. Education needs a radical makeover to stay relevant and to help prepare our children for the world they will live in. Montessori philosophy and pedagogy is a radical step away from traditional education and the way to help children move into an unknown future with the best possible skills. 

A well-delivered Montessori education can set children up for a world of success, helping them to learn, to retain their sense of self, to collaborate, to trust, to question, to think critically, to analyse, to respect, to think for themselves, and to want to contribute positively to the world. The longer the child can stay in the Montessori system the better, so we need more primary/elementary, adolescent and high school programmes all around the world, so tomorrow's leaders and global citizens can get the best possible start.

What Have I Done

Starting my Montessori journey initially focused on finding an appropriate educational platform for our eldest son, however, I soon realised I wanted to do more. I started work as an assistant in a 3-6 year environment, then, after gaining my first Montessori qualification, took on the role of the lead teacher for that same group.

Legislation in New Zealand was changing fast and soon required that all teachers in early childhood would need a state teaching qualification, so I spent four years gaining both an early childhood and primary (elementary) education qualifications. After completing those and my first Montessori 6-12 year qualification, I started teaching a 6-9 year class in the Montessori unit of a public school. I later moved to Wellington to start a new Montessori unit, and after successfully doing this, was appointed to the position of Principal at Wa Ora Montessori School, which primarily catered to 3-12-year-olds. During my time there, I grew the school from 120 students to 390, adding a playgroup for under three-year-olds, an adolescent programme, and a high school. I built the reputation of the school as a flagship for quality Montessori education in the region.

After 15 years I moved from New Zealand to Bali, where I was appointed to the position of principal of Montessori School Bali. There I was able to help the founders and board take the school in the direction they were wanting to move. As part of that, I helped develop and establish a toddler and adolescent programme, developed an amazing playground in their new campus, established an active and flourishing parent community before leaving in 2020 to focus full time on this work.


I am a New Zealand state qualified teacher for children aged birth to 12 and Montessori qualified for children aged 3 - 18 (both AMI and TIES). I have a Masters of Integrated Education degree from Endicott College in Boston.

As well as teaching, I have been an administrator for schools in both the public and private sector and I have established and grown programmes for 0-3, 6-12-year-olds, 12 - 18-year-olds. 

Skill Areas

I have particular strengths in strategic visioning, goal setting, the establishment of new programs, global staff recruitment, curriculum development, classroom management, educational leadership, leadership development, mentoring and coaching, whole school, outdoor environment or classroom design, budgeting, writing, policies and processes, professional development, training, parent education, parent support, enrolment and marketing, building cohesion, differentiated instruction.

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