School highlight: Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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School highlight: Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 4:41 pm

Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy • 14620 S. Desert Foothills Parkway

Recently named a “Lighthouse School” for its environment of honing leadership skills, Kyrene de los Cerritos continues to lead by example.

Located north of Chandler Boulevard on Desert Foothills Parkway, the school’s mission is inspiring leaders of tomorrow with leaders of today.

With its nearly 400 students in elementary grades first through fifth, including preschool and kindergarten classes, Cerritos was given its title of the 27th “Lighthouse School” by Franklin Covey Co. in November.

Students will be hosting, leading and running an assembly on recycling next month, and Principal Darcy DiCosmo said that when the kids find out what they do well, they generate better ideas.

“As far as taking leadership, I’m always amazed at what kids can come up with,” DiCosmo said.

Open in the Ahwatukee Foothills since 1994, the school went through a multi-year process of implementing programs, training and leadership habits before becoming the 27th school to receive the title.

Cerritos is one of 39 “Lighthouse Schools” in the world.

“That’s really the whole purpose, to help kids find their voice and start putting plans in to place,” DiCosmo said.

• Compiled by Diana Martinez. Reach the reporter at

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing

For more information, visit

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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