About the Author

When Sara Cotner--always the obsessive planner--began preparing herself for conception, she threw herself into the task wholeheartedly for almost a year by reading books, attending birth fairs, watching documentaries, meeting with a midwife, and blogging about the process. She decided to write this online course to share everything she learned in a more consolidated and user-friendly way and to create a community of kindred spirits with whom to share the experience.

Sara has been committed to making the world a better place for as long as she can remember. Her commitment manifested itself as a professional career when she joined AmeriCorps out of college. She worked as a Community Outreach Member to recruit and train reading tutors for the public school system.

After seeing the achievement gap firsthand, she decided to join Teach For America to teach third grade in rural Louisiana. During that time, she significantly increased the academic achievement of her students, raised thousands of dollars in grants, and started an art therapy program at the local domestic violence organization.

She wanted to continue effecting change by joining KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program. KIPP is a national network of high-performing charter schools for economically-disadvantaged children, and it is at the forefront of educational reform in the United States. She taught 6th grade reading and writing and started her own educational consulting business.

After teaching for five years, Sara decided to take a break to reflect, rejuvenate, and recommit to education. She saved her money and went on a self-subsidized sabbatical. Her journey took her to India, a folk art school in the mountains of North Carolina, an intentional community in Virginia, and up and down the East Coast.

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and many of the evacuees fled to Houston, Sara returned to help her former colleagues create a tutoring program at the Astrodome. Not only did she meet amazingly courageous children and families from New Orleans, she also met her future partner and fellow tutor, Matt.

Eventually, she and Matt moved to Denver to attain their Montessori teaching certificates and teach in public Montessori schools. They got married in the mountains of Colorado (after planning a meaningful and memorable celebration without losing their savings or sanity) and returned to Houston.

After working in public Montessori in Houston and giving birth to her first son, Sara and her family moved to Austin. She is in the process of starting a national network of high-performing, authentic public Montessori charter schools called Montessori For All and is currently the principal of Magnolia Montessori For All. She got pregnant again but suffered a miscarriage. Thankful, she was able to get pregnant for a third time and give birth to another healthy son named Tate. She continues to advocate for eco-friendly, budget-minded, and hand-crafted weddings over at 2000 Dollar Wedding.