History of NewGate

In 1984, Kitty and Steve Williams founded Countryside Montessori School on their small organic farm on Ashton Road in Sarasota, FL.

They founded the school because Kitty, a Montessori educator, wanted to offer the community an alternative, child-honoring approach to education. Since its founding, the school has inspired the lives of more than 3,000 children.

From its humble beginnings, in 1992, Countryside evolved into a 501-C-3 nonprofit, renamed the NewGate School, and, began to serve as a model Montessori school under the leadership of 
The Montessori Foundation (an international 501-C-3 educational organization).

Because of its relationship with The Montessori Foundation, NewGate has developed an international reputation. Every year, more families move to Sarasota to join the school. Sarasota is the setting for The Montessori Foundation’s Annual International Montessori Conference and Montessori School Leadership Institutes, which bring more than 1,000 visitors and further promotes our community as a center for educational innovation, while also bringing revenue to the area’s economy.

NewGate is Sarasota’s oldest and best-known alternative, student-centered, independent school for gifted learners. As an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, it offers a vital educational choice for Sarasota families (and to families who are moving here for the school), because, in an era of mass education and ‘teaching to the test,’ NewGate students learn in an environment that promotes reflection, discovery, experiential learning, and collaboration.

The NewGate School is an independent, international, Montessori Academy. It offers programs for students from toddlers through the twelfth grade. In 2014, NewGate became the only Montessori-International Baccalaureate World School, in Florida, offering the IB Diploma Program. Since our first high school graduating class in 2004, 99 percent of our graduates have completed college or university, most continuing to seek advanced degrees.

The term ‘Academy’ has come to hold many meanings, but, at its root, an Academy is a way of learning through deep, reflective conversations and shared inquiry, field observation, hands-on experience, and discovery.

NewGate’s goal is to nurture each of our student’s intelligence, curiosity, and imagination while supporting and developing each one’s unique talents. We prepare our students for both university and life.

NewGate teaches universal values and instills a global perspective, responsible citizenship, and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit. We graduate young people who are balanced between their knowledge and character: life-long critical thinkers; and active leaders in their local community, their country, and the world.

As the Lab School of The Montessori Foundation, NewGate serves both its own students and plays a national role in educational innovation and school reform. Newgate influences Montessori schools worldwide through its role in curriculum and program development, the embodiment of principles of best practice in Montessori education, and professional development for Montessori school administrators.

Last year, more than one thousand teachers and school principals came to NewGate from 31 countries to observe, attend our annual international conference here in Sarasota, and to study school leadership at our Montessori Institute.

Senior members of the staff of The Montessori Foundation provide the school’s educational leadership.