The Executive Team
Leonor Stjepic – Chair
Leonor Stjepic, is an award-winning social enterprise entrepreneur, whose career has spanned both the private and NGO sectors. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Montessori Centre International and the Chief Executive of the Montessori Group – a leading global Montessori organisation.
Prior to this role, Leonor was CEO of the medical research institute, RAFT. Leonor spun out a commercial company called Smart Matrix Ltd, from RAFT raising $8m in social investment. This won universal praise and has been widely used as a case study in how to avoid risk in social investment.
Leonor was concurrently CEO of RAFT and of Smart Matrix Ltd for five years. During her time at Smart Matrix Ltd, the company doubled its share price and was independently valued at £86million by the time she stepped down as CEO.
Leonor has also had a number of Non-Executive roles, including Chair of London Fire Brigade Enterprises
In 2016, the ACQ5 Global Awards named her as ‘UK Gamechanger of the Year’, and a year later, Leonor was named as the ‘Most Innovative CEO in the Not-For-Profit Sector’ by Business Worldwide, and as ‘Female CEO of the year – UK’ by Acquisition International in 2018. In October 2019, Leonor will be awarded the TIAW World of Difference Award in the NGO sector and she has been shortlisted for a Top 100 Leaders in Education award. Leonor is often asked to speak at international conferences on leadership and entrepreneurship.
Maccs Pescatore – Chief Executive Officer
Maccs trained as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand before moving into industry. Initially, she joined Geest plc and Camelot Plc gaining exposure to international markets and large scale production sites. She went on to spend 13 years with Tate & Lyle Plc and ASR Group in the FMCG sector where she held a variety of senior finance positions in divisions in the UK and Europe.
In recent years, working alongside commercial and operational colleagues, she has combined her passion for business with her affinity for working in changing environments, being instrumental in turning around under-performing businesses, repositioning and moving organisation into new markets
Maccs holds Non-Executive Director positions with Genius Within C.I.C., Advance Performance (UK) Ltd and London Fire Brigade Enterprises. She mentors young people wanting to start their own business both through The Prince’s Trust and Hatch Enterprise.
Penny Johns – Director of Learning
Penny has been with Montessori Centre International (MCI) since 2009, leading the College to develop new, nationally recognised qualifications and raise the profile of the quality provision available at MCI. Her commitment to widening participation to Montessori training led to the designation for student finance of MCI Higher Education qualifications, including the BA (Hons) Montessori Early Childhood Practice.
To support our international community of learners, Penny played a leading role in the development of a connected approach to digital education. Penny leads the annual Trainer’s Workshop and is committed to promoting Montessori values in facilitating adult learning.
Penny discovered Montessori through her children’s experience of Montessori and went on to train at MCI and work as a Montessori educator. Penny holds a Masters Degree and further postgraduate qualifications in Early Years Practice and Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. She was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2016 and is currently leading on new initiatives and course developments as Director of Learning at MCI.