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Dr. Sherri Tisza

When Dr. Sherri Tisza joined

the MCS board of trustees in

November 2015, she was

already a very familiar face                                                 Dr. Sherri Tisza

to MCS. Along with her

husband, Joe Mottl, and sons,

Joseph “Pepi” and Akayah, the Mottl/Tisza ʻohana have attended almost every school event since they enrolled in 2011.  In addition, Sherri was president of the Parent Faculty Association (PFA) from 2013-2015, and co-chair for Montessori Magic 2014 and 2016.


Sherri is a board-certified clinical psychiatrist with a full practice. Sherri and Joe are always generous supporters of Montessori Magic’s auctions, enlivening the guests year after year with their winning bids on class projects and top-level amounts for Raise the Paddle.


Sherri’s volunteerism, ambassadorship of MCS and MCS Fund contributions makes her “Solid Gold” to Montessori Community School!

Dr. James P. Cowen


Dr. James P. Cowen was a true friend

of Montessori Community School.

Jim, a professor of Oceanography at                                                   

the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and

his wife, Beverly Quon, had two sons

who attended MCS, Nathan, MCS ’95,                                                 Dr. James P. Cowen

and John Michael.  Jim could always

be counted on to help when help was

needed. He served on our Board of Trustees, built furniture for our classrooms, installed new playground equipment, and participated in numerous work parties.

After their children went on to other schools, Jim’s confidence and belief in Montessori education and our faculty inspired him to invite two of our elementary teachers to join the Teacher at Sea program in 2002 and 2006. Jerry Mueller and Lisa Nakata were able to board the ALVIN submersible and descend to depths of over 2,000 meters to study hydrothermal vents and the creatures that exist nearby. The teachers enthusiastically brought their experiences aboard the ALVIN back to their eager students, and the elementary curriculum has incorporated deep sea ocean study ever since. In fact, one student two years ago said that she would like to grow up to study hydrothermal vents, herself!


When Jim passed away on July 26, 2013, the MCS community was deeply saddened by the loss. It was with great surprise that we learned that Jim’s estate bequeathed a generous gift to MCS to be used for tuition assistance for families with demonstrated need.  Since there was no timeline attached to this bequest, we carefully safeguarded this gift until it could be used in the manner it was intended. Additional endowment gifts were added along with other monies approved by the board, and gifts made in honor of Patsy Tom were given, under her direction, to this fund. It is with joy that we announce the opening of the Children’s Education Fund with a starting balance of $100,000.00, in which the corpus of Jim’s gift will remain intact and continue to create additional funds to be used for tuition assistance.


Jim’s time on the board was completed, and the classroom furniture and playground equipment he built are due for replacement. But Jim’s impact on our students’ curriculum, and on the diversity of our student body through tuition assistance, will live on for years to come.

      Jim Cowen and MCS teacher                  MCS teacher Jerry Mueller                 "Ocean Voyages" mural inspired in part by the deep sea voyages of Alvin

    Lisa Nakata prepare for Lisa’s        demonstrates the interior dimensions

             descent in Alvin                          of the 3-person control sphere

                                                               inside a full-scale replica of Alvin

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