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The Innovation Montessori Story

Innovation Montessori Ocoee is a school created for children, by parents, using one of the most child-centered educational philosophies in the world – Montessori. Children are at the heart of everything we do and the best interests of our students are the basis of every decision we make.

Our school first opened as Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School in 2011 when a group of parents, wanting their children to have the option of continuing their Montessori education into the elementary years, wrote a charter for a public Montessori school. While our school had its beginnings in a little strip mall in Winter Garden, we now call Ocoee our home.

Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of education, believed that children can feel the heartbeat of the planet and being able to offer our students access to beautiful green spaces is one of the many benefits of our move to Ocoee!

Innovation Montessori is proud to provide a world class Montessori education to over one thousand students from age three through eighteen! We are proud to be accredited by both COGNIA as well as the International Montessori Council!

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide a strong Montessori foundation that enables our students to achieve their full potential, develop curiosity, creativity, imagination, and become responsible citizens of the world.  Our mission is to provide this strong authentic Montessori education in a Private Primary and Public–School setting for 3-year-oldsthrough 12th grade.

Our Vision

Our Vision is to provide a strong Montessori foundation that enables our students to achieve their full potential, develop curiosity, creativity, imagination, and become responsible citizens of the world.

Our Admin Team

Ms. Heather Clay

Executive Director

Heather Clay is an experienced educator with a passion for student success. She was born and raised in a small town in West Virginia. After moving to several military installations with her husband, she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Drury University in Missouri. She began her teaching career in 2003 before obtaining her Master of Educational Leadership degree from Eastern Kentucky University and moving into educational leadership in 2008. Prior to serving as the Executive Director of Innovation Montessori, Heather served in multiple classroom and leadership roles in the State of Kentucky including school principal and assistant superintendent. Heather is married to Col. (Ret). Douglas Clay and together they have two grown daughters, Kiara & Kinsey. Heather enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

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Ms. Cathy Tobin

Principal - CASA, K-6th Grade

Cathy Tobin was born and raised in Cork, Ireland. One year after moving to the United States, she embarked on Montessori primary training at the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute in 1994. Cathy taught at private Montessori schools in Central Florida for many years before earning her state teaching license and moving to work in the public sector. Cathy first joined Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School (Innovation Montessori's former name) in January of 2013, but left the following year having been asked to teach at a Title 1 (low income) school in Orlando. She felt this would be a good learning experience and was excited about the prospect of being able to infuse some Montessori in a traditional education setting. Seeing the wonderful outcomes her students had that year, and further inspired by the power of Montessori to positively impact children in all settings, Cathy was excited to accept an offer to return to MWGCS the following school year. Cathy earned a master’s degree in educational leadership, after which she spent five years as assistant principal at IMO. Cathy has been the principal at Innovation Montessori since the 2021-2022 school year. Cathy is married to Tom, also from Cork, and together they have three grown children, Ciara, Aoife and Tomas. Cathy is a published writer and enjoys spending time with family, learning and traveling.

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Mr. Jared Stewart

Principal 7th - 12 Grade

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