DMHS Leadership Update

Posted 01/07/2021

Dear Denver Montessori JH/SH Staff, Students, Families and Community,

We are writing to provide you an update on the Denver Montessori JH/SH principal selection. Before sharing the exciting news about the permanent leadership for the remainder of 20-21 and beyond, we want to sincerely thank all staff, students, parents, and community members who participated in providing feedback on the process and on our finalist candidate. Your time and input, as well as providing questions and sharing your feedback on the strengths and considerations, was truly valuable and we thank you! We heard your feedback on the process as well and have worked hard to adjust and make changes to best serve the Denver Montessori community.

Based on the feedback, we believe that the finalist candidate recommended by the Denver Montessori JH/SH Collaborative School Committee and staff is the best match for the principal position at DMJH/SH.  We are excited to announce that Cori Herbst-Loehr will be the principal of Denver Montessori JH/SH moving forward.

Ms. Herbst-Loehr comes to Denver Montessori with 15 years of experience working as a principal, assistant principal, dean and teacher.  Prior to coming to DMJH/HS, she has been the Principal at Central Elementary School in San Diego, CA. Her teaching roots come from Denver Public School’s Kunsmiller Creative Arts ECE-12 and Polaris Schools. She brings strong instructional leadership, a positive and collaborative team spirit, and her background as an arts integration, CTE, and blended learning educator will continue to add value to the entire school. In addition, she has deep respect and admiration for the dedication and work by the Denver Montessori school community. Her experiences and focus on the whole child and her commitment to furthering her own Montessori leadership education, will be an asset for our Denver Montessori students, staff and entire school community.

We also acknowledge that based on feedback we received throughout this process, we know that living out the mission and vision of Denver Montessori is key to ensuring we provide a high quality public secondary Montessori option for students in Denver Public Schools. This means that having a principal who can lead the school staying true to the Montessori model as a means to developing the school’s graduates to be prepared for college or a career, as well as demonstrate ingenuity, adaptability, creativity, initiative and excellent communication and problem solving skills, is of utmost importance. Therefore, Denver Public Schools is committed to providing Mrs. Herbst-Loehr additional supports to lead this charge and continue to develop as a Montessori leader.

In service of this effort, we are also excited to announce that both current Academia Ana Marie Sandoval Principal, Araceli O’Clair and current Center for Talent Development at Greenlee Principal Sheldon Reynolds will be supporting Mrs. Herbst-Loehr with principal mentorship and strategic planning.  Mrs. O’Clair has been the principal of our feeder Montessori elementary for the past 8 years and has been trained by the Whole School Leadership Institute, an American Montessori Internationale (AMI) leadership training program to which she also currently serves on their Board. Mrs. O’Clair will serve as a principal mentor for the remainder of this school year and will work with Mrs. Herbst-Loehr to plan out next steps for her Montessori training. Sheldon Reynolds is a current DPS principal and was the founding principal at Lakewood Montessori Middle School, a public Montessori school in North Carolina. Mr. Reynolds is a current DPS lead principal who was trained through the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program (CMSTEP), an American Montessori Society (AMS) affiliated program specifically focused on Montessori at the secondary level. He has deep expertise in supporting leaders and leadership teams to strategically plan in alignment with the school’s mission and vision and he will begin to provide support this spring and through the 2021-22 school year.   Both of these experienced public Montessori leaders are committed to providing support so that Denver Montessori JH/SH thrives under Mrs. Herbst-Loehr’s leadership.

As Mrs. Herbst-Loehr shared, “I am ecstatic and humbled to have been chosen to serve as the Denver Montessori JH/SH principal. I commit to ensuring that our school continues to thrive and serve as a true exemplar for public Montessori secondary schools.  I look forward to continuing to work with the DMJH/SH community.”

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Herbst-Loehr!


Nicole Veltzé

NW Regional Instructional Superintendent

Dori Claunch

NW Operational Superintendent