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Welcome to Countryside Montessori Charter School!

Home of the Cougars

Established in August 2002, we are Pasco County’s only public charter Montessori school. We currently serve over 300 students in grades 1 through 8. Deemed a High-Performing Charter School and rated as an “A” school for many years, Countryside Montessori instills in our students a lifelong love of learning through an enriched, hands-on Montessori curriculum.

More than academics alone, we strive to produce independent, respectful, and well-rounded leaders. We pride ourselves on being a small, community oriented school with a 21st century approach to education. As a school, we promote collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving within a framework of child-directed learning. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us.


Our primary focus is to offer a challenging, world class Montessori curriculum that engages and prepares children for life-long learning in a safe and diverse collaborative community.


Our mission at Countryside Montessori Charter School (CMCS) is to provide a strong Montessori foundation in a safe, diverse, and collaborative community.


Igniting a community of lifelong learners by guiding and nurturing each whole child.

Who was Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally.

She opened the first Montessori school—the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907. Subsequently, she traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education, attracting many devotees. There are now thousands of Montessori schools in countries worldwide.

Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in the provincial town of Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father was a financial manager for a state-run industry. Her mother, raised in a family that prized education, was well schooled and an avid reader—unusual for Italian women of that time. The same thirst for knowledge took root in young Maria, and she immersed herself in many fields of study before creating the educational method that bears her name.

"If you have a vision of the cosmic purpose, that every life in the world is based on this movement with a purpose, you will be able to understand and better direct the children's work. In the beginning, children are urged by nature to be active. They are happy when they are active. They begin to develop the behaviour of humanity with its limits and its possibilities. Movement is closely connected to psychic life; we must move with intelligence, will, character, etc.”

- Montessori, Maria. The 1946 London Lectures.

Principal's Page


As principal, my primary goal is to collaborate with teachers, parents, and students to foster ongoing growth and learning throughout our school community. Together we can guide students in the valuable development of character, independence, intellectual curiosity, and self-motivation.


Over the past 19 years, I have served as a high-impact educator. I began teaching in a bamboo classroom as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the South Pacific. Since then, I have taught in Florida and Tennessee both in traditional classrooms as well as in online platforms. I have also served as an administrator in a virtual school, where I trained and managed a staff of educators.


I am also a parent of two CMCS alumni (Isabella and Jonah) and one current student (Fiametta).


As the leader of a charter school, I understand the importance of advocating for funding from both the State and County. I also understand that we cannot solely depend upon those funding sources from year to year. Therefore, I will continue to seek outside support from local businesses, community organizations, and individuals. I will also ask you to continue to support your child’s education both in word and action and both as a volunteer and as a donor. I must, in good conscience, continue our fundraising work, so that we can continue to provide a safe, supportive, and enriching environment for each child. I ask that you, too, take an active role in promoting and sustaining our fundraising initiatives.

Principal Michael Picone od CMCS
Michael A. Picone (Principal)

It is with great honor and excitement that I introduce myself to you as the new Principal of Countryside Montessori Charter School. My three years here as a 7th and 8th grade math and science teacher, and as an Associate Principal, have been enriching ones. I became more involved in this amazing school community of students, staff, and families, and more focused on the student-centered Montessori philosophy.

During my time here at CMCS and in collaborating with Montessori leaders from around the country through my courses, I have developed a deep appreciation for the Montessori philosophy that is the foundation for our school.

As Maria Montessori suggests, classrooms should be areas of collaboration and cooperation, not competition. So although we are proud to promote our high test scores, our most important work lies in preparing our students for a full life even at a young age.

Once again, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to bring all that I have experienced and learned as an educator and administrator to my new position. I look forward to getting to know you and your children. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, and ideas that you would like
to discuss.

With gratitude,

Michael A. Picone, Principal

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