Academy of Thought and Industry at Aldie | Academy of Thought and Industry
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What is ATI?


Virtual School


Academy of Thought and Industry at Aldie

We are a modern Montessori-inspired middle school in Aldie, VA delivering a powerful education for independence, to develop curious, self-motivated adolescents who thrive in school and in life

Welcome to ATI Aldie

Now offering Middle School

Welcome to the Academy of Thought and Industry in Aldie. I am delighted you're here!

ATI is a unique educational opportunity designed specifically for the needs of adolescents. Adolescence is a period of intense physical and emotional growth, and it deserves individually tailored education.

I'm honored to lead this school and to partner with our exceptional educators and our remarkable students and families to co-create a challenging, supportive, deeply caring, and inspiring learning community.

I hope you'll explore our website to learn more about ATI and then come see us for yourself. I'd love to meet you.

Melissa Kemendo, Head of School

A look at our campus

Our Middle School program starts this Fall 2021 and is now enrolling for grades 6-8. The ATI Middle School program will operate out of the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori.

Peek into our Middle School classroom!

A look at our campus

Join our community

Our new Middle School community at Aldie is quickly growing. We host regular events to foster a vibrant school community: coffee chats with our faculty, student work showcases, and shadow days to experience a day in the life of an ATI student. We look forward to meeting you!

Join our community
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

Meet the faculty

Head of School

Melissa Kemendo

Head of School

Ms. Melissa Kemendo is Internationally Certified in Montessori Pedagogy at the Children’s House level. She earned her BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in Early Care and Education Administration and her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. Melissa began her own journey of lifelong learning and discovery when she accepted her first role in Montessori education in 2003, as a classroom aide. She went on to work as a Children’s House Guide for ten years. In 2012, Melissa founded a Montessori parent cooperative-turned-micro school in Maryland. Through the development of this project, she discovered her own passion for supporting families and teachers. She relocated to Virginia to join Guidepost Montessori in January 2017, first as Director of Admissions, now serving as the Head of School. Melissa’s own three children are Montessori-educated and she is grateful for the opportunity to bring this approach to more families.

Assistant Head of School

Natalie "Talie" DePyper

Assistant Head of School

Talie has always found herself with hands and heart full of energy and passion. She graduated with a customized Integrated Studies BS degree in Community Development and Cultural Integration from Grand Valley State University. She was busy volunteering at a women’s center, greenhouse, and refugee center when she found work at a behavior clinic serving individuals with ASD and multiple diagnoses ages 2-18. This is when she decided to start volunteering abroad with the Global Autism Project and grew to become a leader in the SkillCorps program - leading and attending trips to Indonesia, Kenya, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, and India. Talie graduated with a MEd in Special Education Curriculum and Instruction with Applied Behavior Analysis focus. Raised on a Midwest farm, she found herself missing the community approach to therapy and education when she moved to DC in 2017 - until she found work in a Montessori setting. After a few years of ABA work and as a middle school SPED educator in an alternative behavior school, she has had a goal to dive deeper into the Montessori community and the administration environment. When off work, Talie enjoys life’s simple joy that is brought to her through spending time taking long walks/hikes, creative outlets, and being a foodie.

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.

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.

Take a school tour

ATI Aldie is located at 24328 Marrwood Dr, Aldie, VA 20105, in the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori. We'd love for you to come and visit!

Attend a program overviewBook a Tour

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.

Get Started
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