Who's Who Top Educators

Mary Ann Pacella-Sams

Title: Educational Administrator, Corporate Executive (Retired)
Location: Walnut Creek, California, United States

Mary Ann Pacella-Sams, Retired Educational Administrator, Corporate Executive, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the field of education.

Inspired by her teachers who taught her standard English and singled her out for exposure to education and cultural involvements, Ms. Pacella-Sams knew that she, too, wanted to be an educator. She was raised in a primarily immigrant neighborhood and was the first person in her family to receive a college education as well as the second woman in her community to do so. Ms. Pacella-Sams earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Mundelein College in 1958 and became a special services teacher for Chicago public schools immediately upon graduating. She taught English education, reading, and English as a second language. Furthermore, she served as an education and early childhood specialist at various locations and earned a Master of Education from the University Puget Sound in 1970 and Montessori certification, which allowed her to establish many early childhood schools and assist in opening numerous Montessori schools across the Midwest and West Coast.

Though she officially retired in 2003, Ms. Pacella-Sams has lent her services as a mentor and director of early childhood education for the state of California. Since 2005, she has remained active as a San Francisco and Bay Area tour guide and a lecturer in consulting and early childhood education. Widely recognized for her success, she has received awards such as the Appreciation Award from the Oakland Department Children’s Centers and an award from the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education, both in 1980.

Ms. Pacella-Sams holds membership with organizations such as the Association of California School Administrators, Association Montessori Internationale, National Black Child Developmental Institute, and the American Montessori Society, among others. In 2014, she was elected to the Board of Trustees San Francisco Tour Guide Guild in 2014 and pursues historical research as a hobby that helps her in her tour guiding. As a further testament to her success, Ms. Pacella-Sams has been featured in the 20th edition of Who’s Who in the West and multiple editions of Who’s Who of American Women.

In 1964, Ms. Pacella-Sims was honored to be selected to enroll in the second Montessori teacher training class in contemporary America. This training became the core of her early childhood education philosophy and children’s activity involvement throughout her career. It has served her well, for she became a teacher trainer and consultant in ECE in serving both private and public education. In this venture, she helped open numerous Montessori schools in the Midwest and West Coast. It also allowed her to become a leader in public schools, preschool and early childhood programs.

After serving as a consultant in reading for the Department of Defense Military Dependents Schools in the Asian region, Ms. Pacella-Sims was offered an administrative position for that region as a reading and English as a Second Language coordinator. This provided her the opportunity to conduct teacher training, workshops, and classroom support at all dependent schools in Asia. Hence, she traveled throughout Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea, broadening her cultural expansion.

After serving as assistant director for San Francisco Public Schools in preschool and child development centers, she was hired as director for Oakland Public Schools, preschool and childhood development centers. In this capacity, she introduced Montessori child activity practices and cooperative learning.  Subsequently, Ms. Pacella-Sims requested to be a site administrator to allow her time for her son and family. As an administrator for the Harriet Tubman and Longfellow Centers, she introduced the innovative early childhood computers designed in combination with concrete manipulatives interacting with the computers. This became a model for other ECE centers.

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