TMA History

Tuskawilla Montessori is a community of life-long learners that integrate Montessori education with contemporary methods and materials to foster competent, self-motivated, morally aware, personally and socially responsible people.

The Heritage of Tuskawilla Montessori

The origins of what would someday be known as Tuskawilla Montessori Academy, was first conceived in a college classroom on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, in 1974. Lois Phillips was introduced to Montessori while studying education at the university. Inspired by the teachings of Dr. Montessori and her own passion for learning, the first sparks of the dream school were born. Husband Tom Phillips and daughter Terry De Long, also shared the vision of a Montessori school and the three co-founders set off to make their dream a reality.

The next ten years were defined by research and preparation. By 1985, The Blackwood Construction Company had been contracted and began to break soil. The architectural design of the school had been developed by Dan De Long and the campus would be situated on a 3 ½ acre wooded lot. Due to the near by road and the emphasis on learning the new school would be christened as Tuskawilla Learning Center. When Tuskawilla Learning Center first opened its doors in 1986, it served as the first Montessori school in the Oviedo/Winter Springs area. Lois Phillips and Terry De Long would serve as the school’s first teachers and the classroom consisted of thirteen students.

Growth occurred immediately and by 1987, the Blackwood Construction Company was aquisioned to construct another building to house the Kindergarden and the addition of the lower elementary program. Two years later the demand for an upper elementary required the construction of a third building, along with the addition of a swimming pool and tennis court. In 1990, the school formalized its commitment to Montessori education by gaining its affiliation with the American Montessori Society.

In 1991, the three acre Twin Rivers campus was created in Oviedo. By 1999, the school had grown to include a middle school program. In 2000, additional was purchased for expanding upper elementary and secondary program. That same year, Tuskawilla Montessori graduated its first eighth grade class of five students.

Today, Tuskawilla Montessori proudly continues to inspire students with excellence and is accredited by the American Association of Independent Schools (AISF), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and continues in its mission: To let the love of Learning Flow.

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