Board Members

Lakeland Montessori Schools’ Governing Board is a collection of parents, educators, and community members that are committed to developing, implementing and continuing a long-term authentic educational Montessori choice option in Polk County. Each member brings individual abilities and skills to aid in the continued development of our school.

The main concern in selecting members is to ensure that the group consists of not only of educators and parents, but a well-rounded array of experts who can collaborate to support accredited public Montessori education in our community. These expertise fields include such areas as law, education, real estate, marketing, former experience on a board, economics and the ability to communicate our vision well to the community.

You can contact the board members by contacting the school at

Lakeland Montessori Schools’
Governing Board/Officers

Lori DeAngelis, Board Member & President

  • Attorney, Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, FL
  • Juris Doctor, Western New England College, School of Law
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut
  • 11+ year parent of Lakeland Montessori Schools alumnus, both graduated from Lakeland Montessori Middle School and Harrison School of the Arts and are now attending University of Florida

Dr. Ben Graffam, Board Member & Secretary

  • High School teacher of English, Theory of Knowledge, and Philosophy 1982-2022
  • Polk County Public Schools teacher at International Baccalaureate (IB) Bartow from 1996-2002 and at International Baccalaureate (IB) Haines City from 2008-2022.
  • Master’s Degree in Gifted Education in 1999 from USF
  • Doctorate Degree in Special Education in 2005 from USF
  • Author: Reimagining the Educated Mind (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019)
  • Interests: Reading, Home Baking, Home Brewing, Gardening, Hiking, and Snow!

Rick Maxey, Board Member & Vice President

Phil Schmitt, Board Member