She's the mother of Mountaineer Montessori. In 1976, she took the fledgling school under her wing, nourished it, nurtured it and watched it grow with the passion and dedication of a doting mother hen. No one can mention Mountaineer Montessori without thinking first of Mary McKown. It's not just directing and teaching at the alternative school that keeps her on the run, though. When she isn't in the classroom fostering principles of the child-centered, self- directed learning concept, you might find her out pounding the pavement. An ardent distance runner, she finished two marathons last year. At 68, she's nursing thoughts of retirement. New adventures beckon. That Peace Corps dream still nags at her. She won't leave until she trains a trusted replacement to coddle her education baby."I grew up in Salem in the north-central part of the state. It was a wonderful small town with Salem College being one of the focuses. At that time, it was a thriving place. My dad was a high school teacher and basketball coach, and my mom was also a teacher, but I didn't think about teaching.
Innerviews: ; Longtime Director Flirts with Life Beyond Montessori
"I was interested in retailing, particularly fashion. When I was young, I was involved in 4-H clubs and the projects I was interested in involved sewing. I grew up making all my clothing. My mother was an excellent seamstress, and taught me how to sew. I was particularly interested in fashion retailing. I wanted to buy and be in fashion. I never did...