MCMS is proud of its exceptional faculty and staff. These individuals are an essential link between the child and the educational philosophy, the learning materials and the prepared environment. The Montessori method relies on dedicated, trained guides who, through observation, continuously strive to know each child as an individual, and work well within the school community of teachers and families. Our teaching and administrative staff reflect these attributes, bringing a diverse educational background and a long term commitment to MCMS.
Samantha has been leading our Toddler Community since 2014 and holds an AMI Montessori certificate for the 0 to 3 year-old age level. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. When she is not working with young children or spending time with her two daughters, Sam also runs the blog The Budding Seed, where she writes about being a Montessori mom in a modern world.
Program Assistant: Clarissa
Clarissa moved here from Michigan with her husband and they are now living in Madison to be closer to family. Clarissa graduated from Calvin University with an Interdisciplinary degree in Social Work, Sociology, and Congregational Ministry Studies. Clarissa worked previously in an After School Program for a community-based organization in Michigan and worked with toddlers during her time in Haiti as a summer intern with Haiti Foundation Against Poverty. Clarissa joined MCMS during the 2021-22 school year assisting with the Toddler Classroom and leading After School Club, and is excited to join the Toddler Community full-time in 2022-23. Clarissa is passionate about advocacy for women, youth empowerment, and self-care. She loves to travel, hike, and try new restaurants.
Program Assistant: Enkeleda
Enkeleda was born and raised in Albania where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology. After graduation she worked as a middle school science teacher for 8 years. Enkeleda recently moved to Madison from Texas where she worked as an ESL assistant teacher in a public school. She can speak and communicate in English, Italian and Albanian. Enkeleda has vast experience working with children of all different ages and has spent many of her years in the states working with infant and toddler age children. Enkeleda and her family love to travel and visit new places, especially those with historical backgrounds. Enekeleda is a mother of two children, 7 and 13, and in her free time she loves to read and paint acrylic on canvas.
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 three children who have all graduated from MCMS. She and her family like to explore different Wisconsin parks where they enjoy hiking, biking, and camping.
Program Assistant: Kim
Kim grew up in Madison and received her assistant and lead teacher qualifications from MATC. In the winter of 2013, she 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 began working with the Children’s House After School program for many years. She has since found her home assisting in the Children’s House program. 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, and are now young adults. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, camping and spending time with her family.
Meghan grew up in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and discovered the Montessori method while subbing as an aide in a Montessori classroom after college. She moved to Madison after earning a PhD in English, with a specialization in Victorian children’s literature. Meghan then taught writing and literature for several years at Madison College. After volunteering with young children, she rediscovered her interest in early childhood education and the Montessori method. In 2017, she earned her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota and returned to Madison the next year to be closer to family. Since training, Meghan has worked in private and public Montessori schools as an aide, assistant, virtual teacher, and lead guide. She loves reading and drawing and enjoys exploring nature with her husband and young daughters.
Program Assistant: Kedzie
Kedzie grew up in nearby Merrimac, Wisconsin, and is excited to work with students in a hands-on school environment like the one she learned in as a young child. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2023 and worked at MCMS previously in the CHAS room. Kedzie has experience with children from toddlers through middle school, having worked previously as a camp counselor for all ages, karate instructor for young children, and elementary classroom aide. She gained familiarity with Montessori concepts through an internship at a Montessori school in Spain, and is looking forward to learning more. Kedzie loves spending time outside and in nature, music, swimming, karate, reading, and art.
Guide: Amanda L.
Amanda and her two children are excited to join the MCMS community after moving to Madison from Port St. Lucie, Florida in the summer of 2022. Amanda graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in English and the Humanities. An education course in college introduced her to the Montessori Method and planted a seed that led her years later to seek out a Montessori education for her children. Amanda spent nearly a decade working as a licensed massage therapist and also has two years of experience teaching writing to college freshmen. Amanda started volunteering at her children’s school and loved being in the classroom so much that she joined the staff full time. She has worked as an assistant in both Toddler and Children’s House environments and is currently finishing her AMI 3-6 Diploma at the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies; she is excited to bring everything she is learning to MCMS. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her two cats, playing board games with friends and family, and exploring Madison’s many beautiful lakes and trails with her husband and children.
Program Assistant: Lua
Lua and her husband have two children at MCMS, as well as one child who graduated from MCMS in 2022. Lua is originally from Nebraska, but has lived in Madison for over a decade. She has always been drawn to working with children, which inspired her to earn her bachelor’s degree in education from Prescott College in Arizona, with an emphasis in experiential methods. Lua has been working with children and youth ever since graduating, including her experiences in after school programs, as well as providing in-home child care while being at home with her youngest son. Lua loves to travel, stargaze, hike, bike, canoe and camp. She loves the outdoors and enjoys being a part of the MCMS community.
Marisol has worked in the MCMS elementary program since 2009, first as an assistant in both lower and upper elementary, and now as a lower elementary guide after completing her AMI 6-12 diploma program from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2021. Marisol has a B.S. in educational studies from Edgewood College, and 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.
Program Assistant: Melissa
Melissa, who also goes by Ace, has been a part of the MCMS community for many years as a staff member and a parent. Melissa has a degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, as well as an AMI diploma for Children’s House age children and a M.Ed from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. Melissa was a Children’s House guide for several years and also taught in the Art program at our school. In addition to education, she has experience as a doula, yoga & wellness teacher, and coach. She is excited to be back assisting in Lower Elementary and reconnecting with the students and families.
Rachel is originally from Sparta, WI but has lived on Madison’s Northside since graduating from UW-Madison with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Rachel discovered and fell in love with Montessori education when on a whim she spent an afternoon observing her sister’s classroom. She completed her AMI elementary training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota as well as her Master’s degree through St. Catherine University. Rachel has served as an assistant and lead guide in Montessori primary and elementary environments, at private and public schools in the Madison area. She enjoys reading and gardening, and spending time with her partner, their young daughter who attends MCMS, and two cats.
Program Assistant: Tracy
Tracy was raised in Madison and graduated with degrees in psychology and sociology from UW-Madison. She spent several years working in psychiatric hospitals and therapy programs in Chicago before discovering Montessori education through a childhood friend. Tracy possesses Primary diplomas from both AMI (Milwaukee Montessori Institute) and AMS (Seton Montessori Institute). She was a Children’s House Guide in Oak Park before she and her husband decided to return to Madison to raise their daughters.Tracy first joined MCMS as a parent, then as a Toddler Assistant for a year, then as a Children’s House Guide. During her time in the Toddler environment, she learned much about what happens prior to children joining her in Children’s House, and now she’s excited to partner with Lower Elementary children, parents and Guides to learn more about their journey after Children’s House. Tracy has two teenage daughters who are alumni of the Adolescent program; in her spare time, she loves biking, playing games, and paddleboarding with her family.
Baylen grew up attending Montessori schools in south-central Wisconsin. He received a Cello Performance degree from the University of Minnesota, but soon after expanded his interest in teaching beyond music. He received his AMI elementary certification at the Montessori Center of Minnesota and a Masters of Education from St. Catherine’s University. Baylen has taught at a variety of institutions both in the Midwest and the Washington D.C. Metro area. He loves to run, hike, and play all sorts of card, dice, and board games.
Program Assistant: Kate V.
Kate is a multi-talented handyperson and artist, who has led community art and service projects in Australia, Ethiopia, Iraq, New Zealand, and Madison. Kate chose Montessori for her three children because she experienced the freedom and joy of learning in Montessori schools growing up and wants her children to have the opportunity to have the experience of mastering by doing and teaching, serving others, and becoming their own person. After becoming more involved in MCMS as a parent volunteer and through service on the Board of Trustees, Kate joined the Upper Elementary program to share her gifts and learn from the children. Kate spends her free time volunteering and being outdoors with her children hiking, biking, and camping.
Scott has been with Madison Community Montessori School 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.
Amber joined MCMS as an assistant upon relocating to the Middleton area during the 2019-20 school year, having come to our school with experience and training as an Adolescent Montessori guide. Amber taught in the adolescent program at Pines Montessori School in Kingwood, Texas from 2016-2019, where she instructed across subject areas, supervised student research, facilitated Socratic discussions, and accompanied students on educational outings and trips. Amber received her American Montessori Society Adolescent Certification from Houston Montessori Center during that time, and is excited to work toward her AMI diploma. Amber also holds a law degree from the University of Texas and worked in the legal field before becoming a Montessori educator, including tenures as a briefing attorney in both state appellate and federal district courts. She currently holds a position on the advisory board of Montessori on Wheels, an outreach mission driven program to bring the transformative beauty of Montessori education to underserved communities. Amber and her husband live in Middleton with their three adolescent children, and when not teaching, she enjoys reading great books, cooking new recipes, writing short stories and trying to out-sleuth British murder mysteries.
Specialists and After School
Student Support Specialist: Sharese
Sharese received two undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin Madison in psychology and sociology. She then attended the University of Wisconsin Whitewater to become a school psychologist with a masters of science in education degree. She has spent many years working in the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District as a school psychologist and student services coordinator. Sharese is thrilled to join MCMS! She is eager to grow in the Montessori philosophy and pedagogy while collaborating with parents and staff to honor childrens unique strengths and challenges in a way that promotes respect, acceptance and belonging. Sharese enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. One of her family’s favorite activities is family walk and talk times!
Fitness & Wellness: Marcy
Marcy is originally from Georgia and has been living in the Madison/Middleton area since 2005. She graduated from Emory University with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She has received the Montessori Sports Fundamentals Certificate to prepare for her role as Fitness and Wellness Specialist. Marcy and her husband have two children enrolled at MCMS and two dogs. Marcy is thrilled to help young minds and bodies develop an appreciation and understanding for the love of movement. In her free time, Marcy enjoys spending time with her family hiking, cooking, and reading.
Art and Creative Expressions: Andy
Andy has always been drawn to creative pursuits, earning his B.A. in art education from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota before starting his career teaching art and a variety of other subjects at a K-12 private school. Andy obtained his special education license from Edgewood College in 2011 and taught special education in area public schools for several years before choosing to stay home with his two sons. Andy is excited to learn more about Montessori education and is passionate about lifelong learning. Andy is also a professional visual artist and CrossFit trainer and coach, and enjoys spending time with his family.
Spanish and Support Staff: Leonora
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 just completed her AMI Montessori elementary diploma from 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.
Children’s House Afternoon/After School: Robyn
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, one of whom is an MCMS alum, Robyn has extensive experience with speech & language, sensory occupational therapy techniques and different learning styles. She enjoys charities and causes that support all families; her belief system lines up strongly with the mission here at MCMS.
Children’s House Afternoon/After School: Bethany
Beth was born and raised in North Dakota. She is a classically trained musician, with a strong background in theater and the performing arts. She previously volunteered at her local middle school, assisting with their beginner theater and improv after school clubs. She recently discovered her love for working with young children after moving to Madison with her fiancé in 2021, where she worked as a youth photographer. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, learning new instruments, camping and hiking. Beth is beyond excited to be a new member of the MCMS community, and can’t wait to begin shifting her focus onto education, the Montessori method, and early childhood development.
After School Club: Kennedy
Kennedy has been a student at Greenville University in Greenville IL for the past 2 years. She is pursuing her degree in elementary education and has moved to WI with her Fiancé who is a middle school P.E. teacher. Kennedy will be taking on a roll leading our after school program and substituting. She has a strong passion for teaching and is excited to join the MCMS family! In Kennedy’s free time she enjoys going on hikes with her German shepherd, and spending time with her family.
Support Staff: Vince
Office Assistant: Irene
Irene was born in Arizona but grew up in the Fond Du Lac area before moving to Madison in 2020. Irene has worked in a variety of administrative roles but also has a deep love for children, having served as a nanny and cared for children in her family growing up. Irene is excited to work around children in a school environment, learn more about Montessori, and meet all of you! Irene is fluent in both English and Spanish, and in her free time enjoys taking walks, being outside in nature.
Admissions & Marketing Coordinator: Amanda V.
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 received her AMI primary certification from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in 2018. She has worn many hats at MCMS, starting with the CHAS program in the fall of 2012, and moving on to work as the Office Assistant for several years. Amanda is honored to serve the MCMS community as Admissions & Marketing Coordinator, along with working as Primary Guide for the Summer Montessori Children’s House program. Amanda and her husband live in Madison with their son, who also attends MCMS.
Director of Finance & Operations: Chad
Chad has had over 15 years of experience in 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 and their four children, two of whom attend MCMS, now live in Waunakee.
Director of Education: Kate S.
Kate has been with MCMS since 2014. Before moving to Madison, she graduated from Lake Forest College with a degree in English and her AMI elementary certification from the Montessori Institute in Milwaukee, followed by a master’s degree in education from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. Before moving into an administrative role, Kate served as a Montessori guide in both lower and upper elementary at MCMS. Kate is passionate about AMI Montessori education, also working as a consultant for AMI/USA. Kate’s goal is to ensure students and families of all backgrounds are welcomed and thrive in the classroom. When she’s not at MCMS, Kate enjoys exploring the Madison area, cooking, playing trivia, and spending time with her family.
Head of School: Gretchen
Gretchen joined MCMS in July 2022 after moving to the Madison area from California’s Bay Area. Gretchen served in various roles at Valley Montessori School since 2000, most recently as the Director of Elementary and Middle School. Gretchen holds a Montessori Early Childhood Credential (2001), a Montessori Administrator Credential (2007), and a M.Ed. from St. Catherine University (2013) with an emphasis on Montessori Education. She completed the NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring Heads of School in 2021 and the AMI Administrators Certificate in 2022. Gretchen is the proud parent of two young adult children who attended Montessori schools through 8th grade, and in her free time loves to spend time with her family and play with her cats.
Head of School Emeritus: Dorothy Zografi
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. Dorothy retired as Head of School in 2006, but remains in touch with the school’s excellent administration and enjoys watching the wonderful children and community of parents grow over the years. 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.