Career DMPS Educator to Lead New Montessori School

Portrait of Renita Lord.

Renita Lord has been selected as the principal of the new DMPS elementary school, Northeast Montessori School.

DES MOINES, IA (July 12, 2018) – A longtime school leader who has dedicated her career to educating Des Moines Public Schools students will become the principal of the district’s newest Montessori school. Renita Lord, current principal of Garton Elementary School, will take the helm as principal of Northeast Montessori School when staff begin educating students in the Fall of 2019.

Lord began her career in education in 1996 at McKinley Elementary, where she worked for nearly a decade teaching English Language Learners, kindergarten, second and fifth grades. She also taught at South Union and Morris Elementary before becoming the Dean of Students at Garton Elementary in 2010. She was hired as the school’s principal in 2013. Lord has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, both from Iowa State University. She earned her Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Drake University.

“Renita Lord’s education and career are testament to her desire not only to be a lifelong learner, but to use her experience and knowledge for the exclusive benefit of our students in Des Moines,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart. “She understands the district’s mission and the importance of educating every student so that every student has an equal opportunity to succeed beyond the classroom.”

Lord will remain the principal of Garton Elementary until she begins work with Northeast Montessori School staff on July 1, 2019. While the new elementary school building is under construction during the 2019-2020 school year, Northeast Montessori School will meet at McKee Education Center. The Northeast Montessori School building will open in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

“I have worked closely with families, students, teachers and our community to create an atmosphere where students can reach their highest potential in a comprehensive and safe learning environment,” Lord said. “I am excited to have a leadership opportunity in the launch of this new Montessori school as learning needs grow in the district.”

The new school will be located near the intersection of East Douglas and Colfax avenues, and is being planned as a PK-8 Montessori school that could serve up to 450 students. DMPS currently operates the only public Montessori school in Iowa at Cowles in Windsor Heights. The new school will be the state’s second public Montessori school.