Faculty & Staff
We believe any school is only as good as its faculty. These individuals are the essential link between the child and the educational philosophy, the learning materials and the prepared environment. They need to be dedicated, committed guides and, through observation, continuously striving to know each child as an individual and must also have the ability to work well within the school community of teachers and parents. Our teaching and administrative staff reflects these attributes, bringing a diverse educational background and a long term commitment to MCMS.
Samantha was raised in Mazomanie and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she earned her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. Samantha holds an AMI Montessori certificate for the 0 to 3-year-old age level through the Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. Sam has found that working with the toddlers has allowed her to apply the skills she has acquired through her education directly to the classroom. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crocheting, being outdoors, spending time with her family.
Patience was raised in Lake Mills, WI on an old apple orchard near Rock Lake. She spent most of her childhood outdoors where she developed a love for and fascination with the natural world. She has several years of experience caring for young children and finds it both inspiring and rewarding to help children cultivate a love for learning, nature, and creativity. Patience is thrilled to have the opportunity to join and learn from the experienced staff at MCMS. She pursues her love for learning and her interest in the human experience through traveling and her hobbies. She recently spent two semesters in France where she was able to grow her knowledge base of the French language, literature, and culture. She is a voracious reader and loves journaling, creative writing, visiting museums, spending time outdoors, and sharing the company of her friends and family.
Josh was born in Madison and has lived in Middleton for most of his life. He started attending MCMS as a toddler and remained at the school through eighth grade. Josh began working as a substitute teacher at MCMS during the fall of 2014, and was thrilled to join the Toddler Community as a Program Assistant. He attended the Montessori assistant training course at Loyola University’s Center for Montessori Training. Having spent twelve years as a Montessori student, Josh values the Montessori Method greatly, and he is excited to help introduce it to the school’s youngest students.
Anna has lived in Madison most of her life. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in early childhood education, and later attended the Midwest Montessori Institute in Milwaukee where she received her AMI primary certification in 1991. She taught for several years in Janesville before returning in 1993 to Madison and MCMS where she has been teaching ever since. Anna and her husband have one child attending MCMS, and two sons who graduated from MCMS. She and her family like to explore different Wisconsin parks where they enjoy hiking, biking and camping.
Kim grew up in Madison and received her assistant and lead teacher qualifications from MATC. She obtained her AMI Montessori Assistant Certificate after completing a rigorous training course in the winter of 2013 through the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. Kim has used her various talents on staff at MCMS since 1992. After working with toddlers for three years, Kim then moved on to work with the Children’s House After School program for many years. She has since found her home, assisting in the Children’s House program for the past several years. Kim feels very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful school community for so long and is excited to continue working and growing at MCMS. Both of her children have completed the Children’s House program here. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, camping and spending time with her family.
Emily grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and knew early on that she wanted to be a Montessori educator. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Loyola College in Maryland, she returned to Loyola to pursue a master’s of education with a Montessori concentration. Emily received her AMI primary certification from the Montessori Education Center of Arizona in Phoenix. After teaching in Phoenix and in Nashville, Tennessee, Emily found herself in search of a school with a commitment to the AMI philosophy, a strong community and a wonderful staff. She found just that in Madison Community Montessori School and is thrilled to call Wisconsin “home” for the past twelve years. Emily lives in a 100-year-old purple house in Mount Horeb with her husband and two daughters, who also attend .MCMS.
Program Assistant: Tanis C.
Tanis was born in northern California and lived in Sweden and China before her family moved to the Midwest. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the Reggio Emilia-based teacher education program at Columbia College Chicago. After graduation, she taught art and worked as a nanny. Three years ago she moved to Florida, where she studied visual art and storytelling, enjoyed the sunshine, and worked for a local co-op as well as the University of Florida library. Having relocated to Madison this November, Tanis is delighted to find such an inspiring, richly cultured school and community in MCMS. She loves reading, cooking, fitness and the outdoors, and she is excited to explore all that Wisconsin has to offer.
Tracy was raised in Madison and holds a bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and sociology from UW-Madison. Post-graduation, she worked in Chicago as a counselor and intake/discharge specialist in inpatient psychiatric settings. After discovering Montessori through a childhood friend, Tracy felt the calling of this peaceful, respectful, joyful method of education and decided to pursue a new career. Tracy currently holds primary certification diplomas from both AMS (Seton Montessori Institute) and AMI (Montessori Institute of Milwaukee). She was a Children’s House lead guide and fulfilled Educational Director responsibilities at a Montessori school in Illinois for eight years. In 2011, Tracy moved back to Madison and brought her family with her. She feels fortunate to have found in MCMS an exemplary environment for her daughters to continue their Montessori education. Tracy is thrilled to be part of the MCMS staff and is honored to be partnering with young children, together discovering the world around them. In her free time, Tracy enjoys biking and rediscovering the magic of Madison with her family.
Lua and her husband, Hadi, have three children at MCMS. Lua is originally from Nebraska, but has lived in Madison for the past 12 years. She has always been drawn to working with children, which inspired her to earn her bachelor’s degree from Prescott College in AZ in education, with an emphasis in experiential methods. Lua has been working with children and youth ever since graduating, including her most recent experiences in after school programs, as well as providing in-home child care while being at home with her own youngest son. Lua loves to travel, stargaze, hike, bike, canoe and camp. She loves the outdoors and is looking forward to joining the MCMS community in this new capacity.
This is Kate Sargent’s fourth year teaching Lower Elementary at MCMS. Before moving to Madison, Kate lived in the suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from Lake Forest College with a degree in English-Writing. Kate also received her AMI elementary certification from the Montessori Institute in Milwaukee, followed by her Master’s degree in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. Kate’s previous teaching experience includes educating children of all ages in a variety of experiences, from dance to creative writing workshops. Her favorite aspect of the lower elementary classroom is seeing her students light up with excitement and wonder during new lessons and individual exploration. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with the delightful students, families and staff at MCMS. In her free time, Kate enjoys exploring the Madison area, cooking, playing trivia, and spending time with her family.
Marisol has been a Lower Elementary assistant at MCMS since 2009. She has an associate’s degree in elementary education and is now working towards her bachelor’s in K-3 and early special education. Marisol finds that her work in the classroom is a great opportunity to apply the skills she is gaining through her schooling. She has chosen education as her career because she has always been grateful for her own educational experiences and wants to give back to a school community. Marisol is fluent in English and Spanish.
Rebecca has lived and worked in ten different states and overseas, but calls Wisconsin home. She has always loved being around children and knew early on that she wanted to teach. Before she found Montessori, Rebecca taught at Nature’s Classroom on the east coast, taught wilderness survival skills at a summer camp in Vermont, and also dabbled in teaching gymnastics, dance and English to young children nationally and internationally. Rebecca graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education from Evergreen State College in Olympia, received her AMI elementary certification from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and earned a Master’s in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore. After working as an Upper Elementary assistant here at MCMS in 2006, she took her first lead teaching position in Flagstaff, Arizona. Since having children she has returned home to Madison and MCMS, their second home. Both of her children attend MCMS.
Program Assistant: Gail G.
Gail grew up in downstate Illinois and earned her B.A. in English with a minor in theater. Ever since then, Gail has moved back and forth between the worlds of education and theater. Gail taught English for two years in Estonia after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Inspired by living and teaching abroad, Gail earned her master’s degree in education/TESOL from Temple University, teaching English to international students, immigrants, and refugees ranging from ages 8 to 80. Gail also trained at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in California and has performed professionally throughout North America. She has taught theater movement classes and workshops across the U.S., including at the University of the Arts and the McCarter Theatre Center. Shortly after becoming parents, Gail and her husband became fascinated by Montessori and enrolled their young daughter in a local AMI toddler program. Several years later, Gail decided to jump into the Montessori world professionally, completing the AMI elementary training program at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. Prior to joining MCMS, Gail was an upper elementary guide for several years in Milwaukee Public Schools.
Initially, in 2011, Martha began at MCMS as a Lower Elementary Guide and moved into the Upper Elementary in 2014. Prior to discovering Montessori, she received her degree in art and child psychology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She has more than ten years of experience working with children and youth ranging in age from 1 month to 17 years in settings including day camps, homeless shelters, after school youth programs, and day treatment centers. In her last position before joining MCMS, she worked at a youth program creating hands-on, arts-based curriculum. It was through this job that Martha learned about Montessori and she knew that this approach perfectly matched her beliefs about education. She immediately enrolled in the AMI elementary training program at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and joined MCMS after graduating. In her spare time, Martha enjoys embracing her artistic side, being outdoors, and spending time with her family.
Program Assistant: Bryce L.
When Bryce was a toddler, he attended Terry’s Montessori School in Cincinnati,Ohio. His education there prepared him for a life of learning and discovery. Later on, he attended UW-Madison, where his love of the outdoors led him to study environmental science. He graduated in 2017, and worked as an Environmental Educator at Slow Food-UW, and at the Madison Audubon Society before landing at MCMS. He spends his free time outside, hiking, biking, rock climbing and playing with his border collie, Maya.
Scott has been with Madison Community Montessori since 2006. He is originally from northern Michigan where he earned degrees in business management and in forestry at Michigan Technological University. After five years of working in the greater Detroit area, Scott came to Wisconsin in 1999 to earn a master’s degree in environmental education at UW-Stevens Point. Afterward, he worked at Nature’s Classroom Institute, where he thoroughly enjoyed working with Montessori adolescents in this environmental education program. Interacting with these adolescents inspired him to pursue his own Montessori adolescent orientation, which he completed after his first year at MCMS. Scott continues to enjoy his time with adolescents as they begin finding their place in the larger world. In his free time, he enjoys running, biking, camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors of Wisconsin with his family.
Johanna has spent the majority of her life in the Montessori environment. Born and raised in Chicago, Johanna entered a Montessori school at age two and graduated from their 8th grade, only to return in 1997 as a teacher in the Adolescent Program. While teaching, Johanna earned her master’s in education with a focus on the Montessori adolescent from Goddard College in Vermont. She joined the MCMS community as an adolescent guide in 2005. Later, she assisted in Lower Elementary for three years while raising her two young children. Having returned to the Adolescent Program in 2012, Johanna continues to find the Montessori environment inspiring and rewarding, and recently completed her Montessori training orientation at the adolescent level.
Mimi joined MCMS as adolescent guide in 2016 after working with adolescents in public and private schools for many years. After graduating from UW-Madison with a degree in elementary education, Mimi began her teaching career as an English teacher in Ecuador, where she taught all ages – from three year olds to university students – and mastered the Spanish language. When she returned, Mimi moved back to Madison to teach in the local school district, where she worked with sixth through eighth grade students for five years, teaching science, language arts, geography, and newspaper. During this time, Mimi joined a graduate cohort focused on community building and experiential education. She has also studied ecology, tropical biology, and permaculture. In her spare time, Mimi is an avid gardener, wilderness backpacker, traveler, biker, and writer. She lives with her boyfriend, Josh, and her dog, Maggie, on the east side of Madison.
After School Programs
Children’s House After School (CHAS):
Rasha received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2014, and moved to the Madison area shortly after completing her degree. She worked several odd jobs around Madison before finding her way to MCMS, including a restaurant manager, a seasonal artist for a whiteboard animation company, and a nanny. She is a woman of many hats, but after starting to work as a Volunteer Children’s Advocate at DAIS in Madison, she discovered a real passion for working with kids of all ages. Having several friends working in different Montessori schools throughout the country, she’s been inspired by the Montessori Method for some time, and is thrilled to be a member of the MCMS team! In her free time Rasha enjoys artmaking, reading, hiking, biking, and spending time with family and friends.
Annie grew up near Madison and holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in kinesiology, specializing in exercise and movement science. While at UW, she took many classes relating to child development and motor learning, and spent time working with children in and out of the classroom. Before joining MCMS, Annie worked at a health tech startup and as a nanny in both the U.S. and Australia. It was during her time as a nanny that she discovered the Montessori Method; she hopes to complete her Montessori training to continue on her journey as a lifelong learner. In her spare time, Annie can be found outdoors hiking or camping, playing with her sister’s two rescue dogs, or at the Madison Circus Space where she performs German wheel and trapeze.
Hillary has experienced life in several countries as an English teacher, working artist, and au pair. Before joining MCMS this fall, she was in the Chicago area, working for Sugar Beet Schoolhouse. While there, she was able to combine two of her passions, cooking and teaching children. Hillary earned her degree in fine arts on Vancouver Island in Canada and is currently enrolled in an online-based early childhood education program.
After School Club (ASC): ., ., ., and Annie G.
Upper Elementary/Adolescent Physical Education:
Alicia grew up in Janesville and eagerly participated in almost every sport she had the opportunity to try. She went on to attend UW-Madison to run track & field and obtain her undergraduate degree in sociology. After college, Alicia played basketball in the Swedish Elite League and also lived in England and across the U.S. while her husband played professional hockey. After her husband’s retirement and their move back to Madison, Alicia was the innovator and owner of My First Sports, LLC until they welcomed their daughter into the family. During the past 25 years, she has experienced many different aspects of her life’s vocation from volunteer youth coach, high school coach, manager, board member, teacher, mentor, player, and parent, all which give her a unique, in-depth understanding of sports and fitness. She loves to watch students experience many different activities, guiding them as they start to gravitate toward the ones they will further develop throughout their lives. Alicia continued her athletic education receiving a Masters of Sports Leadership from Northeastern University. She was inducted into the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame. Alicia and John have two children, a son who is an MCMS graduate and is currently a student athlete at Harvard University, and a daughter who is currently in the Adolescent class.
Lower Elementary Physical Education:
Cheryl has a degree in physical education from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and a master’s degree in specially designed physical education from the University of Minnesota. She taught P.E. in grades 6-8 and coached high school gymnastics in Minneapolis until 1996, when she and her husband moved to Middleton. Cheryl taught P.E. for grades 6-8 at a local public middle school for ten years before resigning to stay home and raise her children. Her daughters are now in high school and college, so she returned to teaching. She loves sharing her passion of movement with children. In her free time, Cheryl enjoys being active with her family (especially in downhill skiing and water skiing), cooking, gardening and reading.
Support Director, Creative Expressions Coordinator and Art Specialist:
Melissa first joined the MCMS community in 2001 and has served the school in a variety of roles. With a Bachelor’s degree in Art from UW-Madison, a M.Ed. from Loyola and an AMI certification from Montessori NorthWest, she currently serves as Support Director, Creative Expressions Coordinator for the Adolescent Program and Art Specialist at the Elementary Level. She collaborates with local artists/experts to create an enriched creative curricula and facilitates community service opportunities for students within the school, directly serving the needs of the MCMS community. Melissa has a hearty green thumb, a love of music & poetry and a growing interest in the intersection of Montessori and Mindfulness practices.
Eileen was born in Milwaukee, WI and was raised in Oconomowoc, WI. She spent much of her childhood reading and playing outside on the lakes. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in international studies and spent a year in Granada, Spain, studying Spanish culture and language. Her love for language and learning started very young with an immersion program in Quebec. Cultivation of learning is at the core of her life. She enjoys traveling, cooking and eating, and animals. In her leisure time, she plays soccer, reads, writes, and spends time with friends and family.
Head of School:
Soon after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Vicki experienced a Montessori classroom firsthand and immediately fell in love with the philosophy. In 1998, she began working at a private Montessori school in Milwaukee, and completed her AMI elementary training for ages 6 through 12. She went on to teach for a number of years in both Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms. Continuing her studies, Vicki completed two master’s degrees, one in education from Loyola College and another in educational leadership and curriculum & instruction from Cardinal Stritch University. In 2007, her family moved to California, where she became the Associate Head of School at a private Montessori school in Santa Barbara. During her time in California, she obtained her NAMC primary training for ages 3 through 6. Vicki became Head of School at MCMS in 2009 and completed her AMI assistants to infancy training for the 0-3 year old in 2016. Both of her children attended Montessori schools from toddler through 8th grade and graduated from MCMS; they now attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In her free time, Vicki enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling with her family, walking her two dogs, shopping and reading.
Director of Education & Admissions:
Meghan has been with MCMS since 1993, first as a Children’s House Guide and now as part of the administrative team. She attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota where she graduated cum laude with a degree in studio art. She received her AMI primary certification from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 1991, studying with Chulanganee Fernando, who herself was trained by Maria Montessori in Sri Lanka. After teaching for several years in Minnesota, Meghan moved back to Baraboo, Wisconsin to be closer to family and was fortunate enough to discover MCMS! Along with her siblings, Meghan was able to care for her mom (who had Alzheimers) at home for many years, and has a special interest in the many ways that the Montessori Method can be applied to enrich the lives of our elders with Alzheimers Disease. Meghan obtained her certification in Montessori for Aging and Dementia through AMI in August of 2017.
Director of Development:
Laura attended UW-Stout in Menomonie, receiving her bachelor’s in early childhood education. She moved on to UW-Eau Claire where she was certified in elementary education. After her daughter was born, Laura became interested in Montessori education. While working as an office manager at a Montessori school in Houston, Texas, she enrolled her daughter in the same school beginning at the age of 18 months. When her family moved to Madison, Laura sought out a Montessori school where her daughter could continue and they found themselves at MCMS.
Director of Finance & Operations:
For 15 years, Chad has been at the forefront of operations management in start-ups and family businesses – developing and optimizing processes, maintaining financial growth, and ensuring that company-wide efficiency is a reality. He understands the complexities of running a business and has a passion for providing top-level customer service. Chad joined MCMS in 2018 after managing one of the largest swim facilities in the greater-Phoenix, AZ area, where he managed a staff of 75 and over 2,700 swimmers each week. He is a Wisconsin native, having grown up in the Fox Cities. A graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Chad, his wife Meghan and their two children are thrilled to return to their roots and grow with MCMS.
Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from Edgewood College in Madison. She continued on to study secondary education in the post-baccalaureate program, where she became interested in progessive education. Since then, she has worked with both Pre-K and after-school programs, and in freelance writing. Amanda is currently pursuing AMI primary certification for the 3-6 year-old at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee; she and her husband, Joe, live in Madison with their son, Luca, who also attends MCMS.
Head of School Emeritus: Dorothy Z.
Dorothy received her bachelor’s in education in 1957 and taught fourth grade in public schools until 1960. In 1970, Dorothy was introduced to the Montessori method of education while living in the Netherlands for one year where her four children attended a Montessori school. Inspired and intrigued by what she observed during that year, Dorothy was convinced that she wanted her future teaching career to focus on the Montessori method of education. In 1977, she enrolled in the Midwest Montessori Institute in Milwaukee and received her AMI primary certificate in 1978, which launched her long career at Madison Community Montessori School. Dorothy was a primary guide until 1990 when she “retired” from the classroom and devoted her full attention to administration. In that role, she worked to grow the school from two primary classrooms to what we enjoy today, offerings for children, ages 15 months to 14 years. Dorothy retired as Head of School in 2006, but enjoys her present role as a Board member emeritus, where she can remain in touch with the school’s excellent administration and staff as well as the wonderful children and community of parents. She is also thrilled to be a witness to her fulfilled dream of a permanent home for MCMS in a beautiful indoor and outdoor environment.