Faculty & Staff
We believe any school is only as good as its faculty and staff. 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 families. 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, and spending time with her family.
Patience was raised in Lake Mills 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 to Madison and MCMS in 1993; she has been teaching here ever since. Anna and her husband have one daughter and two sons who have all 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. In the winter of 2013, he obtained her AMI Montessori assistant certificate after completing a rigorous training course 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 her master’s degree in 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, 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”. Emily lives in a century-old purple house in Mount Horeb with her husband and two daughters, who also attend MCMS.
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. Upon relocating to Madison, Tanis was delighted to find such an inspiring, richly cultured school and community in MCMS. She loves reading, cooking, fitness, and the outdoors, and 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 Arizona 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.
Mary Lee has a long and rich history with MCMS, as she launched the school’s first elementary classroom back in 1992. Over the next seventeen years, she took on a variety of roles at the school, including serving as the Head of School for four years, until 2009, when her daughter graduated from MCMS; this paired with Mary Lee’s decision to take some time off. Mary Lee has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her AMI primary diploma from Montessori Northwest, her AMI elementary diploma from The Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, a public school teacher license for ages 0-8, and training in the Orton-Gillingham Method designed for students with dyslexia. In addition to a fulfilling career at MCMS, Mary Lee has also worked over the years as a school social worker, as a teacher in other AMI schools, and in schools that serve students with unique learning challenges. Since leaving MCMS in 2009, Mary Lee has stayed in touch with our community in many ways, particularly as a substitute teacher, and is excited to rejoin the MCMS community as a Lower Elementary Guide. In her free time, Mary Lee enjoys spending time with friends and family, hiking, gardening, and making art.
Marisol has been a Lower Elementary assistant at MCMS since 2009; she has a B.S. in educational studies from Edgewood College in Madison. Marisol finds that her work in the classroom is a great opportunity to apply the skills she has gained 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 Spanish and English.
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.
Dawn was born and raised in north Georgia but has lived in Madison since 2010. She graduated from The University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics. Although she loved studying food and nutrition, she soon realized her real passion was working with children. After coming to this realization, she obtained a teaching certification and a Master’s degree in middle grades math and science education. She taught middle school math and family and consumer science for 6 years before having kids of her own. When her first child enrolled at MCMS in 2015, she fell in love with the peaceful and respectful foundations of the Montessori method.
Dawn is so happy to join the staff at MCMS, and will earn her AMI Elementary Assistant Certificate from the Montessori Center of Minnesota this fall. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, playing with her three kids, traveling, reading, being outdoors, sewing, and teaching water aerobics.
Martha began her work at MCMS in 2011 as a Lower Elementary Guide and moved into the Upper Elementary program in 2014. She has more than fifteen years of experience working with infants, children and adolescents. Prior to discovering Montessori, she received her degree in art and child psychology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and worked in day camps, homeless shelters, after school programs, and day treatment centers creating and implementing hands-on, arts-based curriculum. She received her AMI Elementary diploma at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in 2011, and joined MCMS after graduating. In her spare time, Martha enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters by visiting libraries, parks and hiking.
Vanessa was raised in Madison and is a first-generation graduate of Edgewood College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education and Spanish. Vanessa began working in a Montessori environment 5 years ago, and from there she gained a wide spectrum of experience and a great enthusiasm for the classroom. Vanessa is currently working towards her Montessori training and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. She finds the Montessori philosophy very inspiring and rewarding, particularly due to its propensity to help children cultivate a love for learning, nature, permaculture, mindfulness and peace. Vanessa brings this love of nature and respect for the environment to MCMS, along with a deep admiration for the Montessori method. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys hot yoga, reading, photography, traveling, creating and maintaining gardens.
This is Kate Sargent’s fifth year teaching at MCMS. Before moving to Madison, she graduated from Lake Forest College with a degree in English. Kate also received her AMI elementary certification from the Montessori Institute in Milwaukee, followed by a master’s degree in education from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. This year, Kate is delighted to be starting up a second Upper Elementary classroom. In her free time, Kate enjoys exploring the Madison area, cooking, playing trivia, and spending time with her family.
Rachel is thrilled to join the MCMS team! She attended Indiana University-Bloomington for her undergraduate studies, earning degrees in both French and environmental & sustainability studies. She has also spent time living and teaching in Nantes, France. Rachel loved spending her past few summers working at day camps with children of all ages, and is looking forward to working with children in the Upper Elementary program. She loves reading, cooking, solving puzzles and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Rachel has lived in Illinois and Indiana, and is so excited to be adding Wisconsin to her list.
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.
Mimi joined MCMS as an Adolescent guide in 2016 after working with adolescents in public and private schools in the US and abroad. She 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 public school district, where she worked with sixth through eighth grade students for five years, teaching science, language arts and geography. During this time, Mimi joined a graduate cohort focused on experiential education where she gained skills in community building, outdoor pursuits, and leadership. She has also studied ecology, tropical biology, and permaculture. In her spare time, Mimi is an avid gardener, wilderness backpacker, traveler, biker, and writer.
Fitness & Wellness:
Rosa joins us as our new Fitness & Wellness instructor, and she will also be helping out in the ASC program. Rosa grew up in the Madison area and went to Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, where she obtained her bachelor of science in elementary educational studies, with a minor in early childhood education. Her first encounter with a Montessori classroom was during this time, and she found it resonated with her love of learning through discovery and the connection to the outdoors. Through her work at a year-round recreational camp for individuals with special needs, she shared her adventurous spirit and joy of nature with campers through activities such as caving, rock climbing, and hiking. Rosa also worked with youth in Swaziland, Africa at care-points, schools, and health facilities, to start a girls’ home for at-risk girls in the country to provide a safe and caring, educational setting for Swazi girls to live and flourish. Rosa is a world-traveler, avid cyclist, and outdoor enthusiast.
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 master’s degree in education 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.
Leonora is originally from Colombia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in rural education and worked as a teacher for 10 years. After coming to the United States, she earned a certificate in early childhood education, and attended an AMI Montessori Children’s House summer course. She is currently pursuing her AMI Montessori elementary diploma at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. Leonora has two children, who are also at MCMS, and enjoys spending time with her family and serving her community. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
After School Staff (CHAS/ASC)
Robyn grew up outside of New York City and has a deep appreciation for different cultures and diversity. She lived in the Princeton, NJ area for nearly 12 years before discovering Middleton in 2014. Robyn holds a bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York, and was previously employed by the Middleton/Cross Plains Area School District. As the parent of two children, Robyn has extensive experience with speech & language, sensory occupational therapy techniques and different learning styles. Robyn enjoys charities and causes that support all families; her belief system lines up strongly with the mission here at MCMS.
Maria is an MCMS parent, with daughters in both the Toddler and Lower Elementary programs. She has worked in a preschool setting as a lead teacher, as well as the UW Hospital as a phlebotomist for over six years. She recently discovered her passion in real estate, and that given her the flexibility to happily accept a job opportunity in the CHAS classroom.
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.
Rachel is thrilled to join the MCMS team! She attended Indiana University-Bloomington for her undergraduate studies, earning degrees in both French and environmental & sustainability studies. She has also spent time living and teaching in Nantes, France. Rachel loved spending her past few summers working at day camps with children of all ages, and is looking forward to working with children in the After School Club. She loves reading, cooking, solving puzzles and spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. Rachel has lived in Illinois and Indiana, and is so excited to be adding Wisconsin to her list.
Rosa joins us as our new Fitness & Wellness instructor, and she will also be helping out in the ASC program. Rosa grew up in the Madison area and went to Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, where she obtained her bachelor of science degree in elementary educational studies, with a minor in early childhood education. Her first encounter with a Montessori classroom was during this time, and she found it resonated with her love of learning through discovery and the connection to the outdoors. Through her work at a year-round recreational camp for individuals with special needs, she shared her adventurous spirit and joy of nature with campers through activities such as caving, rock climbing, and hiking. Rosa also worked with youth in Swaziland, Africa at care-points, schools, and health facilities, to start a girls’ home for at-risk girls in the country to provide a safe and caring, educational setting for Swazi girls to live and flourish. Rosa is a world-traveler, avid cyclist, and outdoor enthusiast.
Director of Advancement:
Courtney was raised in Friendship, Wisconsin, and received a double major in political science and international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While at UW-Stevens Point, she fell in love with travel and spent a year studying abroad in the beautiful cities of Krakow, Poland and Szeged, Hungary. After working in the International Programs department at UW-Madison for several years, she went on to work as the Manager of Strategic Initiatives for a high school mentoring organization located in New York City. Shortly thereafter, Courtney co-founded a nonprofit foundation that provides funding for teachers to take their classrooms abroad, where she served as the Executive Director for three years prior to joining MCMS. Courtney is a passionate youth advocate who has spent her career working within the education and non-profit sectors. In her free time, she can be found reading any books she can get her hands on, traveling the world, biking, attempting to garden and spending time with her young son and husband.
Director of Education:
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 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.
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.
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.
Amanda was raised in northern Wisconsin, and earned 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 progressive education. Amanda holds an AMI primary certification from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and in addition to her administrative duties, also serves as Guide for the Summer Montessori Children’s House program. She enjoys writing, cooking, kayaking, and crafting. Amanda and her husband live in Madison with their son, who also attends MCMS.
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 method. 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 with dual certification in educational leadership and curriculum & instruction from Cardinal Stritch University. In 2007, her family moved to California, where she served as the Associate Head of School at a private Montessori school in Santa Barbara, and 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. In addition, Vicki is a trained doula and a certified yoga instructor, combining these skills to teach prenatal yoga classes here in Middleton. Both of her children attended Montessori schools from toddler through 8th grade, graduated from MCMS, and now attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, Vicki enjoys spending time outdoors (especially hiking, being out on the motorcycle or relaxing poolside), traveling with her family, walking her dog, and volunteering as a Baby Cuddler in the NICU.
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.