This cute statement came from a 3-1/2 year old girl after someone cut in front of her in line. She had learned the virtue of Respect through ThinkVirtues and was standing up for herself by being Assertive.
The Beginning: Over five years ago, Kathy began to notice changes in her oldest son, Kameron. Her sweet little boy was developing into a conscientious leader within his peer group, and began to be more cognizant and caring for those around him. Pleasantly surprised by this transformation, she approached her sister, Sara, a Montessori-skilled educator, about this change. Sara described the moral and ethics lessons Kameron and his classmates received at her school. This experience inspired Kathy and Sara to further develop this concept and take it beyond the classroom. Together, they formed ThinkVirtues.
ThinkVirtues began in five Chicago-area schools and now encompasses approximately 600 students ranging from kindergarten to middle school. Its mission is to foster character and moral development within children aged 4 to forever! It provides a comprehensive set of tools for parents and educators to cultivate timeless virtues such as respect, courage, empathy and confidence. Children who’ve used ThinkVirtues are happier, more confident and resilient individuals who are making a positive impact both in their daily experiences and in their world.
CEO / Co-Founder / Author
KATHY MOTLAGH is Founder (OR CEO) of ThinkVirtues, LLC an education company providing proprietary ethics trainings for companies that directly impact corporate culture and employee behavior, that teach virtues and morality to teachers and students in the K through College classroom, and offer families nationwide a program for teaching virtues in the home.
Motlagh is the author of the Eutopia book series and accompanying products. She also serves as one of ThinkVirtues’ chief content creators, curriculum writers, speechwriters, and workshop creators. Additionally, Motlagh has wide experience facilitating workshops for educators, parents, and employees.
Previously, Motlagh’s business experience includes more than twenty years in business and finance, managing millions of dollars for a variety of groups and individuals. She is a John Maxwell Team trained and certified speaker, leadership trainer, and coach and has facilitated corporate workshops, and learning sessions across the country. She has the proven ability to work with management and employees from a variety of corporate and academic environments.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Motlagh has taught art at the Montessori Academy of North Hoffman (IL) for the twelve years where she worked to help empower children, educators, and parents. She has been an active board member of the school since its inception more than twenty-five years ago. Motlagh is a regular attendee of the Neuroscience Convention as well as an avid follower and researcher of effective education that creates positive brain patterns.
Motlagh resides in Chicago and is active with her school-aged sons, in community service with local nonprofits and charitable causes.
Director of Education / Co-Founder
Sara Motlagh, an educator and doctoral candidate, has always enjoyed working with children and has taught in Montessori education since 1999. Sara is the Director of Education at ThinkVirtues.
Montessori education holds virtue at the center of its pedagogy and Sara currently teaches morals and ethics for children ages twelve to fifteen. She is certified through the American Montessori Society and has worked with children in the preprimary, primary, and secondary education levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis in child development and an MBA with a concentration in management from Roosevelt University.
She now serves as the Educational Director of the Montessori School of North Hoffman (IL) and Lotus Montessori Schools. As the head teacher of a first through sixth grade classroom, she has successfully developed and implemented the ThinkVirtues curriculum with her students.
The ThinkVirtues ThinkTank
ThinkVirtues is grateful to have an esteemed ThinkVirtues’ ThinkTank. Its membership include educators with advanced backgrounds in child development, education and the arts. Our ThinkTank members have 300 years of combined experience with children in various settings. They play a vital role by reviewing, refining and endorsing all products and materials before they are offered to our customers.
Carmen LaFranzo, M.Ed.
- Educator for over 50 years with 38 of those years as a principal.
- B.A. from Marygrove College in Detroit, M.Ed. from the National College of Education (Evanston, IL).
- Currently Principal of Carmel Montessori Academy (CMA) in the suburbs of Chicago where she also teaches philosophy, psychology and spiritual development classes.
- Currently a member of the Illinois Montessori Society and the American Montessori Society Teacher’s Research Network.
- Business degree from the Private Handelsschule Holzberger in Munich, Germany along with a Montessori Primary Diploma from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center.
- Served in education as a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant most notably as Executive Director of the Montessori School of Lake Forest (IL) for more than 30 years.
- Developed and implemented programs for more than 250 children ages 15 months to 15 years.
- Served on the Board of Directors for Beacon Academy, a Montessori-based high school in Evanston, Illinois since 2012.
Dr. Gretchen Ludwig
- Principal for 28 years from preschool through middle school in both public and parochial settings.
- Nationally recognized for her innovative curriculum and instructional practices that have resulted in school turnarounds aimed at dramatically improving student achievement.
- Performed classroom observations, teacher evaluations, and instructional improvement rooted in effective communication, evidence-based decisions and ongoing staff development.
- Created innovative programs rooted in collaborative models for effective parent, parent-teacher, and teacher advisory teams to support school improvement efforts and maintain a focus on student achievement.
- Master’s degree in Education from National Louis University, American Montessori Academy certification from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northeastern University (Illinois).
- Served children and their families in Montessori schools in a variety of capacities including Montessori teacher, director, consultant, workshop presenter, accreditation commissioner and Head of School for over 39 years.
- Active in both local and national professional organizations, having served as Chair of the American Montessori School Accreditation Commission. As such, she values and contributes to a strong network of Montessori educators
John Jacob LaFranzo
- B.S. in Biology from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota, complemented by additional work in Marine Biology at the University of Charleston and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
- Principal and Erdkinder Director at Carmel Montessori Academy (IL).
- Possesses an extensive background in adolescent psychology with a special interest in brain development.
- Composes, symphony music, as well as being an accomplished artist.
Bradley Mart is CEO of FogBusters, Inc., a CleanTech company commercializing proprietary, disruptive technologies for managing “fog” (fat, oil, and grease) in industrial and restaurant wastewater. Previously, Bradley was the founding partner of BWT Group, an export-import company specializing in beef, pork, poultry and fresh eggs from North America, Australia and South America to markets throughout Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Mexico. As part of the Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Francisco’s MBA program Bradley taught export management and entrepreneurship. Bradley started his career as General Counsel and Assistant Executive Director of the Bay Planning Coalition, a San Francisco based 501(c)(3) lobby devoted to San Francisco Bay environmental issues. Bradley graduated with a J.D. from the University of Santa Clara and is an active member of the California Bar. His undergraduate degrees in Public Affairs and Public Administration are from the University of Southern California. He is an avid photographer (www.bradleymart.com), scuba diver, open water swimmer, long distance biker and outdoor enthusiast. He lives in Oakland with his daughter Alejandra.