As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build and connect our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet William Nordmann, a software developer and catapult enthusiast (he didn’t call himself this, I did; whenever and wherever there is the opportunity to launch things through the air, you will probably find Willie), and father to two children in Lower Elementary at Villa di Maria. He and his wife Stephanie are always willing to lend a helping hand at Villa’s many events, and they are also den parents of the Lower Elementary Checkerboard classroom.
Villa di Maria: What do you do (career-wise and any hobbies)?
William Nordmann: I am a software developer, doing a lot of front end web development and working with geospatial data to be displayed on web maps. A better explanation would be that I take the data about where all tall buildings, radio towers, smoke stacks or anything that a airplane should avoid flying into, then I display this data on a web map to help pilots plan their routes better.
One of my favorite ways to spend some free time is riding my bike around St. Louis. I really enjoy the view of the city I get from my bike. On my bike I can really take in houses and business, see how the roads were changed because of creeks, highways, and train tracks, leaving strange irregular parts of the road.
VdM: What is it that drew you and your wife Stephanie to Montessori education?
WN: Stephanie’s high school was adjacent to a Montessori school. The kids that came to the high school after attending the Montessori school not only did very well in school, but they also had a terrific sense of community. This led us to find out more about Montessori when we had kids.
Stephanie and I were drawn to Montessori the first time we saw a children’s house class. The older kids were helping the younger kids work through a math lesson and the Directress was taking her time to work with those three kids while the other kids worked happily.
VdM: Do you have any stories about Montessori moments that have happened with your boys outside of school?
WN: Eric (the younger of our two boys) usually has to have an activity to complete by himself before going to bed. The other night, he got up and wrote down his squares from 1 to 25. The next morning he was very proud to show me his work. Even tonight Eric was still proud to know 25 squared.
Ben’s (our oldest) story is of him sitting down with his Grandma (Nana) and giving her a lesson on how to play a game. Much like a Montessori lesson, he slowly explained each step to her.
VdM: What advice would you give to parents who are curious about or interested in Montessori?
WN: Go observe a class, watch the kids do their lessons, and ask the kids about their lessons. Consider visiting a Elementary class even if your kid is going into Primary. It’s good to observe Elementary kids who have gone through primary. You can really see how the primary lessons evolve into Elementary work.
Thank you, Willie, for all of your involvement with the school — you truly help things run more smoothly — and for taking the time out of your day to let us learn a bit more about you and your family!