Erin “Ali” Ronder, M.Ed.

Co-Founder and Chief Implementer, enlight ignite, llc

 

Ali’s learning and teaching experiences span the range of conventional and alternative education approaches. As a child, Ali was homeschooled, unschooled, Waldorf schooled, Montessori schooled, and public schooled. She has worked for (and selected for her daughters’ education) parent-run educational cooperatives, Waldorf-oriented and Montessori preschools, Sudbury schools, traditional public schools, and public charter schools.

Ali is currently executive director and lead consultant at the Natural Learning Foundation, providing nonprofit startup and management services for schools and learning centers, food and natural health organizations, and ecological living communities. The foundation’s most recent project, Gantry Academy, is a secular, STEAM elementary school providing a comprehensive, individualized, year-round education, launching Fall 2019.

Ali also serves as development director for Sankalpa Academy, a small, secular private school in Austin, Texas. Sankalpa provides purposeful education for life through awareness, educating young children in ways that are holistic, foundational, and individualized.For the previous five years, Ali served as the founding executive director of Integrity Academy at Casa de Luz, Center for Integral Studies, a unique program that nurtures the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development of students with active participation from their families. Prior to designing Integrity Academy, she spent four years as executive director of AHB Community School, a creative and collaborative educational alternative that cultivates authentic, balanced critical thinkers who are prepared for a life of learning and community engagement.

Her early teaching experience focused on early childhood at South Austin Children’s Cooperative, Starbright Preschool, and Escuela Montessori de Montopolis. She taught bilingual kindergarten at Maplewood Elementary (an Austin public school) and kindergarten/first grade at  Austin Discovery School, a progressive charter elementary school where she later served as development director. Ali also helped found the Clearview Sudbury School of Austin.

She holds an EC-4 teaching certificate from the State of Texas, a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in history/applied learning and development, and an M.Ed. from Texas State University in bilingual/bicultural education. Ali served as an ESL educator in Mexico and Guatemala at Colegio Cuernavaca, Casa Xelaju, Colegio Alonzo Morelio, and La Pedrera. Always the educator, she teaches yoga to both children and adults in the Austin area.

Ali has distinguished herself as a community leader, serving on the boards of numerous alternative schools and nonprofit groups that support health and social justice. She is a three-time Texas State University appointee to the Clinton Global Initiative University.