#15 – Marsha Familaro Enright on Montessori, Meeting Ayn Rand, and Building Reading Confidence in Adults
You’ve heard her in the OGB staff seminar discussions, now she’s joined the podcast to tell Scott her encounters with the Great Books. Marsha Enright developed a strong interest in education and the problems with modern public education at a young age. As a young women she studied objectivism with followers of Ayn Rand in New York City in the 70’s, occasionally discussing questions with Rand herself (who was in her 70’s at the time). Later as a mother, dissatisfied with the schooling options available to her children, Marsha sought out Montessori schools in Chicago where she met a gifted and influential teacher. Together they founded their own Montessori academy in Beverly Hills/Morgan Park in southwest Chicago.
Since then, Marsha has furthered her lifelong interest in education by joining Online Great Books as a seminar leader. She has also developed an introductory reading course for new students at OGB aimed at helping them grapple with the abstractions of the sometimes difficult or obtuse texts on the reading list. Unfortunately many adults had traumatic experiences reading difficult and important texts in the classroom — like Shakespeare in high school — which puts them off reading for life. They feel that they aren’t prepared, or that they aren’t smart enough, for the kind of reading that OGB asks of its participants. So Marsha has developed a program to help readers learn to engage with more difficult texts, work through antiquated language (Marsha describes English as “a crazy car crash of languages”), and build a foundation of ideas that they can use to understand the complex concepts presented in works like Plato’s Republicor Aristotle’s Ethics. Throughout her endeavors, a passion for knowledge and guiding others to self-improvement shines bright.
Marsha is a regular in the roundtable discussions on the Great Books, so tune in to the recent episodes on Plato’s Republic (#12-14) to hear more from her!
You can find Marsha online at:
- The Fountainhead Institute
- The Great Connections Leap Year— for graduating high school students wishing to explore the world before committing to college, trade school, or other paths.
- Marsha also contributed an essay exploring what education would look like in a freer society to Kirsten Lombard’s book Common Ground on Common Core