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Academy of Thought and Industry at Chantilly

We are a Montessori-inspired middle school located inside the same building as our sister school, Guidepost Montessori Chantilly. We deliver a powerful education for independence, to develop curious, self-motivated youth who thrive in school and in life. Contact us to learn more or book a tour: (571)-321-0364.

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A modern Montessori-inspired Middle School

Welcome to the Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI), a modern Montessori-inspired Middle School located at 4550 Walney Rd, in Chantilly, Virginia!

Serving grades 6, 7, and 8 in small, personalized classes, our curriculum uses the foundations of Montessori to deliver a rich academic experience. Our learning community is intentionally small, so that we are able to deeply know each student, help them thrive emotionally and socially, and support their individual path to excellence.

We combine a rigorous, intellectually demanding liberal arts education with cultivation of student independence, agency and responsibility. Deep learning consists of both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’—thought and industry. We help each student become a great thinker and a great doer in a way that follows their interests and passions. Each student is supported by their own coach, which ensures personalized fulfilment of their own short and long-term goals.

Our community partnerships with local and international organizations to help expose students to potential interests that they may want to develop further.

Whether you are a student, parent, or interested community member, we want to connect with you. We invite you to reach out and get involved in our revolutionary school.

Contact admissions to learn more or to book a tour - we can't wait to meet you!

Meet the faculty

Head of School

Nancy Kaplan

Head of School

Nancy Kaplan has been and educator for over 30 years, working with children between the ages of 16 months to 18 years. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University in New York, with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Barnard College and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Teachers College.  Starting first as a middle and high school English and drama teacher, Nancy went on to hold independent school administrative roles in New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., including  Middle School principal and then Assistant Head of School before she became Head of School at Leport Montessori in Chantilly in 2016, which then became Guidepost Montessori at Chantilly in 2019. Having sent one of her sons to a Montessori school for some of his most formative years, Nancy deeply appreciates the student-directed approach Montessori offers, as well as the deep respect for each child every teacher provides. With over two decades working specifically with middle school students, Nancy is looking forward to returning to her work with adolescents as the Northern Virginia area’s Academy of Thought and Industry move to her campus at Chantilly. In her free time, Ms. Kaplan enjoys practicing yoga, attending live music and theater performances, hiking, cooking, reading and travel.

Middle School Lead Guide

Emma Godwin

Middle School Lead Guide

After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, Emma Godwin found herself engrossed in educational studies and research. She joined the Teach for America Delaware Team and enrolled in the Relay Graduate School of Education's Masters of Teaching program. Emma completed her two-year program and gained many skills. Through TFA DE and Relay GSE, she gained real-world experiences as well as certifications. After her two-year commitment, she began teaching at First State Montessori Academy, Delaware's first public Montessori school. While there, she earned her Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and honed her skills in following a philosophy of student independence and individualism. Throughout her professional career, she has engaged in curriculum building, leadership roles, management positions, mental health awareness campaigns, and practical life curricula. Emma has transplanted to DC with her three dogs (Penny, Ruby & Atka), a plethora of plants, and her husband, Taylor. They both enjoy hiking, reading, a strong cup of coffee on a snowy morning, and engaging in advocacy work. Through her own professional career, she has found it is easy to build scaffolded individualized supports for students within a given curriculum. She hopes to bring a sense of community, individualism, and positivity to Guidepost Montessori here in Virginia.

Middle School Lead Guide

Amanda Waldron

Middle School Lead Guide

Ms. Amanda attended a Montessori school through Children's House and Lower Elementary herself and, before joining the Guidepost Community, her career in education had always been inspired by what she had remembered from her own childhood Montessori classroom. The Montessori method has truly amazed her, and she remains fascinated by the ingenuity of the Montessori materials. Ms. Amanda graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Mary Washington. While attending college, she accepted her first role as a Lead Teacher at a traditional preschool which is when her ongoing journey of discovering what fosters children's independence and nurtures their desire to learn began. She took her foundations of Montessori course in the Summer of 2020 and is now working toward completion of her Montessori Elementary training through the Prepared Montessorian Institute.

A look at our campus

Our Middle School program offers rolling-admissions to meet the needs of your family and is now enrolling for grades 6-8. The ATI Middle School program operates out of the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori at Chantilly.

You may notice we do not have individual classroom desks for each student! Instead, our classroom is designed as an open environment that allows for freedom of movement and exploration without the constraints of a traditional school setting.

Students are encouraged to get up, move around, lay down, relax, focus, and most importanlty, feel at ease in our middle school.

A look at our campus

Reimagining Middle School Education

Middle School is a critical period of development. Students are constantly growing in higher-order thinking skills, peer relationships, personal responsibility, and more. They're searching for their place in the world and beginning to form the values that will shape their lives.

Recent studies have shown that enthusiasm for school drops dramatically between fifth and twelfth grade, with nearly 75% of students reporting negative feelings towards school.Now more than ever, students are tired, stressed, and bored.

They need an educational option that is appropriate for their developmental stage, and tailored to their individual needs.We believe there's a better way.

An Education for Independence

At ATI, students are given both freedom and support to help them excel beyond their own expectations. Our students don't just study for tests—they become life-long learners. Each step our students take is designed to help them explore their unique passions, inspire their creativity, and develop greater independence.

We don’t offer just one path for academic excellence. We strive to create a total school experience that will unlock each student’s unique potential—to prepare them for the world, and to help them access that world today!

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I love working on my projects and setting goals with my coach. I thought I would struggle with my work load, but there's always someone to talk to when I'm feeling overwhelmed.
Anne W.
Student, ATI Aldie

An open and accepting community

Our students and guides work together to co-create the school community. We build routines, plan trips, create clubs, write our school constitutions, and decorate our space together. And beyond each school, our students actively engage in their local community, the global ATI network, and the world.

Start your journey with us

Learn about ATI by attending one or more of our upcoming events and virtual info sessions
Consider a attending Shadow Day on campus to experience a day in the life of ATI
Submit your student application to ATI, which includes financial aid if necessary.
Work with admissions to prepare for your first day of school! We can't wait to have you join our community.

Where to find us

ATI Chantilly is located at 4550 Walney Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151, in the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori. We'd love for you to come visit!

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Experience school on your terms

Join a school community designed to support your education with coaching, small classes, and a commitment to our core values. Engage in deep study and personal exploration as a student at ATI.

Learn more about our:

Visit Higher Ground Education to learn more about our mission to make learner-centered education the mainstream.

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