After 42 Years, Janet Ashby Retires From Community Montessori

For the past 42 years, Janet Ashby has been the driving force behind Community Montessori and Montessori Middle School of Kentucky.

She helped found Community with like-minded parents in 1970, and MMSK in 1994.

Ashby – the only director in the schools’ history – has relished a  rewarding job, but a demanding one.

Now, she is doing something almost as challenging – she’s letting go. She retired after the school year. Especially hard were the last two weeks at Community.

“It hit me that I was turning this over to another generation, one that I have so much confidence in. Still, it was hard to let go,” she said.

But she won’t be letting go of the memories amassed over a lifetime. There is much for her to cherish.

“I feel so rewarded,” said Ashby, whose sons Joe, now 44, and Jeremy, 32, attended Community.

“I was looking for an alternative for my sons. I wanted something that gave them the freedom to explore and to pursue their own interests.

“Montessori provided that for them and all our students.

“When our students leave us, they know their strengths and can recognize the strengths in others.”

Ashby leaves big shoes to fill – in fact it will take six feet to fill them.

Her position has been split into three jobs – Debby Thompson and Vivian Langfeld are the Education Administrators at

Community and MMSK, respectively, and Ann Evans is the Business Administrator.

With them at the helm, Ashby will be nearby if her counsel is needed – she lives on the Stone Road property where MMSK sits.

“The long-term goal is to bring the whole campus together on Stone Road,” Ashby said. “We are committed to fundraising through private donations and not by raising tuition.”

Besides that, what’s next for Ashby?

“I think I’ll read for a year and then decide,” she with her infectious laugh.
Sounds like a well-deserved plan.