106: A Serendipitous Path To Educational Reform – Maria Dantos

106: A Serendipitous Path To Educational Reform – Maria Dantos

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106: A Serendipitous Path To Educational Reform - Maria Dantos

Guest Overview 

A serendipitous path to educational reform led Maria Dantos to become an educator, teacher administrator and educational reformer.

Maria was born to a gregarious Greek immigrant father and ‘Mayflower compact’ mother. She grew up in her family-run haunted hotel in Vermont, with safety and freedom to play and explore her imagination. Immersed in abundant love she developed a world view of social justice and the importance of removing the inequity in education.

Maria is an educator to her core; with 15 years of teaching, administration and educational reform experience. She has worked with people of diverse backgrounds and to advocate for justice in education as a means of upward social mobility for minority, female or otherwise less advantaged people. Her work reflects the importance of lifelong education and encouraging curiosity.

She founded, and led multiple daycare and pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) education programs and schools of up to 100 students.

Driven by her conviction that every child deserves to have access to quality education led her to launch her non-profit organization, Philox to provide humanitarian relief and education to underserved at-risk children in humanitarian areas of concern. Maria is also seeking to collaborate with educators, healthcare workers, community organizers and artists to provide solutions for at-risk children in this time of crisis.

Applying her organizational, management and creative skills together Maria has worked as producer for several live events, short films, documentaries and one feature length film. She has also collaborated with members of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Lincoln Center, and with Bank Street College at Columbia University.

In Part One we cover Maria’s early years.

In Part two we cover her work in educational development and perspectives on the future impact of Covid19 on education and child development.

I hope you enjoy the caring compassion and commitment of Maria Dantos.

Thank you James Clark


What we discuss 

Growing up in a playful outdoor environment she discusses her making her own adventures.

Maria reflects on the influence of her Greek roots, and her curiosity about ‘otherness’ in a non greek community. We discuss the abundance of love but changing material scarcity.

Maria explains how her education piqued her curiosity and broadened her worldview and led her to winning a scholarship to Japan aged fourteen and learning what was an alien culture but forged lifelong connections.

Maria explains how serendipity set her on a path to a career in education as a result of 9/11 that led her to signing up to a Masters program at University of Pennsylvania.

She discusses the impact of living with the Navajo Nation and the influence of living with a Navajo Indian elder and revolutionary Catherine Smith and how this opened her eyes to systematic social injustice, poverty, addiction, malnutrition, lack of human rights and dignity .

We cover her first experience in teaching in New York working between two economically diverse schools

Maria tells the story of the serendipity of one set of parents who decided to fund her school start up.

Maria discusses early childhood education curriculum strategies and her hope for the future of education and the relationships and discussions she is having to address the changes we need in education.

We cover behavioral and neural changes in children due to the impact of technology and the lack of human interaction that is affecting child and interpersonal developments.

We dive into the importance of quality content for children.

Maria describes her collaborations with Columbia and Yo Yo Ma create new educational experiences

I ask Maria to describe her educational NGO Philox and how its creating access to education to children and the community and protection.

We discuss this in relation to Covid 19 and where the education system will change and how she hopes that more value will be focused on education.

She names her principles of justice and Integrity

Social Links




Maria’s Work

Philox Project

Links In Show 

Dartmouth College 

Professor Rassius

Pomfret School



Navajo Nation 

Katherine Smith Navajo

Excelsior Fellowship  

Robert Wood Johnson foundation

The Tao Book 

Grand Tivoli

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

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