Meet Our Staff

Administration

Interim Head of School & Lead Primary Teacher

Myesha Green

Elementary Coordinator

Alison Sherrill

Toddler & Primary Coordinator

Anu Chandra

Adolescent Program Coordinator

David Tyler

Interim Head of School & Lead Primary Teacher

Myesha Green

Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Education: B.S. in Molecular Biology from Hampton University, PhD in Immunology from Emory University, M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland, AMI Primary and Elementary Diploma, AMI Consultant & Examiner

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I was a Montessori child, and attended Montessori school from Primary through Upper Elementary.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
French pressed coffee, my planner and snuggles.

What’s been your favorite trip?
I took a four-week tropical ecology course in Costa Rica. AMAZING!

What’s your favorite local treat? 
Doc Chey’s Noodle House’s Thai Spicy Basil Noodle Bowl

Fun Fact: I have a strong affinity for turtles.

Elementary Coordinator

Alison Sherrill

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Education: Product of DeKalb County Schools, BS in Early Childhood Education from UGA, AMI Elementary Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute

How did you learn about Montessori? 
With a mother working at Arbor for over 30 years as the Business Manager, Montessori was in my life from age 7 onward. I was a jealous older sibling when my sister attended Arbor and knew that a Montessori classroom was what I really wanted both in my life as a student and as a teacher. My college degree confirmed that Montessori was the best choice for how I wanted to work with children.

What’s been your favorite trip? 
A trip to South Africa with my husband and two daughters along with my best friend and her family.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” —Winston Churchill

Fun Fact: I’m a 5th generation Atlantan

Toddler & Primary Coordinator

Anu Chandra

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Education: Bachelor of Architecture from Bangalore University, AMI Primary Diploma from Montessori Institute of Atlanta, Orton Gillingham Associate

What do you love about Montessori?
I love the Montessori method because it helps children learn through their own discoveries and not from a prescribed set of text books. Through this process children develop a love for learning that lasts a lifetime.

What’s your favorite local treat?
The vegetable lasagna at Pricci’s in Buckhead.

What are three things you can’t live without?
The three things I can’t live without are my family, coffee and books.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” —George Bernard Shaw

Fun fact: I love to read and listen to country music

Adolescent Program Coordinator

David Tyler

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Education: BFA from Denison University, MA from Goucher College, NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I was a Montessori kid through Primary!

What’s been your favorite trip? 
I spent six months hiking all of the Appalachian Trail, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.” -Samuel Beckett

Do you have any pets? 
Our adorable cat Fiona.

Toddler Program – Scott Campus

Lead Toddler Teacher

Sanuja Bopitiya

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Ginny Byrnes

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Jennifer Uriz

Lead Toddler Teacher

Sanuja Bopitiya

Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Education: Bachelors of Law (LLB) University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, M.Ed. Loyola University Maryland, AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma, AMI Primary Diploma

What do you love about Montessori?  
I love Montessori because it allows children to grow and learn at their own pace, in a peaceful environment that promotes kindness & acceptance of all.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
My family & friends, sunshine, and a sense of humor.

What’s your favorite local destination? 
Barnsley Resort in Adairsville GA

What’s your favorite quote?
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are; hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense.” —Thomas A. Edison

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Ginny Byrnes

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Education: BS in Exercise Science from Georgia State, Montessori Assistant training, 200 hr Registered Yoga Teacher, and Grounded Kids Yoga Teacher

How did you learn about Montessori?
A family friend introduced me to Montessori, after one visit I was hooked.

What are three things I can’t live without? 
My family, yoga and Amazon Prime.

What’s been your favorite trip? 
My favorite trips so far have been to Australia, New Zealand, India, Austria, and Hawaii.

What’s one rule you live by?
“Do all things with love.”

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Jennifer Uriz

Hometown: Pensacola, FL

Education: A.A. in Elementary Education, B.A. in Communication Arts, AMI Primary Guide Certification

How did you learn about Montessori? A friend told us about it when we were looking for a school for our daughter to attend. After our daughter attended for two years, I decided to take the Primary training.

What’s been your favorite trip? We spontaneously went to Hilton Head, North Carolina. It was the most enjoyable and relaxing vacation we have ever had.

What’s your favorite local treat? Brick Store Pub. I love their Fish and Chips.

What’s your favorite destination? Asheville, North Carolina.

What are your hobbies? Gardening, trying new recipes, yoga, and exercising.

Primary Program – Scott Campus

Lead Primary Teacher

Cecilia Fernandez

Lead Primary Teacher

Anne Ledoux

Assistant Primary Teacher

Amanda Evans

Assistant Primary Teacher

Elena Fitzgerald

Assistant Primary Teacher

Asya Yordanova

Assistant Primary Teacher

Marialee Benitez

Lead Primary Teacher

Cecilia Fernandez

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Education: Special Education at William Paterson University, AMI Primary diploma, AMI Primary Consultant, Orton-Gillingham Training

What do you love about Montessori?
Everything!

What is one rule you live by? 
“Be kind; you never know what struggles others are fighting”

How do you stay involved in the community? 
I participate in Down Syndrome Congress, and I provide therapeutic riding for children with special needs on our farm during breaks.

Do you have any pets?
I have 4 horses, 1 donkey, 3 pigs, 1 sheep, 3 goats, 2 rabbits, 4 ducks, 26 chickens, 2 dogs, 9 cats, fish and hermit crabs. All rescued!

Lead Primary Teacher

Anne Ledoux

Hometown: Sierra Vista, Arizona

Education: BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland, AMI Primary Diploma, M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland

What do you love about Montessori? 
I love that Montessori allows us to honor and celebrate each child’s uniqueness.

What’s your favorite local destination?
I enjoy exploring the Chattahoochee river and local hiking trails

What’s your favorite quote ?
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

Assistant Primary Teacher

Amanda Evans

Hometown: Davis, California

Education: BA in Biology from the University of Oregon, Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University

What do you love about Montessori?
I love that Montessori honors each child’s individuality and that it encourages us to treat each other and our environment with kindness and respect.

What’s your favorite destination?
Visiting family and friends in California and Oregon.

What are your hobbies?
Reading, knitting, sewing, and being outdoors with my family.

Assistant Primary Teacher

Elena Fitzgerald

Hometown: Odessa, Ukraine

Education: BS in Education with Specialty in Biology, State University in Kherson, Ukraine; Teacher Training at Kherson Teaching College in Kherson, Ukraine

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I learned about it while looking for a school for my daughter.

What are three things you can’t live without?
Family, good food, and sun.

What’s been your favorite trip? 
Seeing the Northern Lights

What’s your favorite quote? 
“Be kind to others and others will be kind to you.”

Assistant Primary Teacher

Asya Yordanova

Hometown: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Education: Masters in Bulgarian Language and Literature, Masters in Russian Language and Literature

How did you learn about Montessori?
I learned about Montessori when it was time for my daughter to start school. We visited her Montessori classroom and it amazed me, and made me want to learn more about it. It was love at first sight.

What do you love about Montessori?
I had worked in the school system in Bulgaria and here previously, but what I loved right away about Montessori was the mixed ages, community feeling, individual approach to each child’s abilities, following their interests and endless possibilities for growth. Montessori does not just educate you on basics like math, language, science. It helps you become a wholesome person, develop gifts and interests you have. At the same time it teaches you to respect others’ interest, property, personalities and find a peaceful way to work together. Walking in and observing many times after that in that first Montessori class my daughter attended I felt that this is the right way to raise and educate children if we want them to become confident, responsible, accepting, peaceful adults who will be ready to work for a better future.

What are three things you can’t live without?
The three things I couldn’t live without would be books, chocolate, and coffee.

What’s been your favorite trip?
My favorite trip was 3 years ago when we went back to Bulgaria, visited Santorini for a week and then for a few days in Rome, Italy.

Do you have any pets?
I have two cats.

Assistant Primary Teacher

Marialee Benitez

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Education: B. Ed. from Georgia State University

What do you love about Montessori?
Everything!

What are three things you couldn’t live without?
Family, coffee, and music.

What’s your favorite destination?
Nashville, Tennessee

What’s your favorite quote?
Don’t ever let a single soul tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”

What are your favorite hobbies?
Learning new things and traveling.

Toddler Program – Lavista Campus

Lead Toddler Teacher

Mamatha Chiruvella

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Marissa Harrigan

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Yolanda Boozer

Lead Toddler Teacher

Mamatha Chiruvella

Hometown: Udupi / Bangalore, India.

Education: BA in Early Education, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in India and Youngstown State University, AMI Primary Diploma, AMI Assistants to Infancy Diplomas.

How did you learn about Montessori?
I learnt about Montessori Education when we were looking for “the best education“ for my daughter, Megha. She was about 2 years old and attended daycare. She was interested in a Kindergarten class there and was able to academically fit in. The director of the preschool asked me to check the Montessori school and we did. My husband and I loved the program and Megha enjoyed going to school. I volunteered at the school in the beginning and worked as an after-school teacher for an year. Then became the primary classroom assistant before taking the Primary training.

What’s your favorite local treat? 
Korean teas and pastries at Sweet Hut.

What is one rule you live by? 
Treat people like you want to be treated.

What are your hobbies? 
Cooking (trying new recipes), gardening, and embroidery stitching.

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Marissa Harrigan

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Education: Certified Paraprofessional

What do you love about Montessori?
The diversity of the education provided and the focus of each child as an individual.

What are three things you can’t live without?
My daughter, my family, and books.

What’s been your favorite trip?
The trip I took to the Virgin Islands to visit my family.

How do you get involved in the community?
I assist and coach track and cheerleading teams.

Assistant Toddler Teacher

Yolanda Boozer

Hometown: Lithiona, GA

Education: Dekalb Technical College

How did you learn about Montessori school? Through a friend.

What’s been your favorite trip? My trip to Hawaii.

What would be your dream vacation? My dream vacation would be going to Dubai and Amsterdam.

What is your favorite treat? Popcorn

Primary Teachers – Lavista Campus

Interim Head of School & Lead Primary Teacher

Myesha Green

Lead Primary Teacher

Stacy Remaley

Assistant Primary Teacher

Nicole Doxie

Assistant Primary Teacher

Maria Decillis

Assistant Primary Teacher

Lopa Vaidya

Assistant Primary Teacher

Katrina Demarcus

Interim Head of School & Lead Primary Teacher

Myesha Green

Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Education: B.S. in Molecular Biology from Hampton University, PhD in Immunology from Emory University, M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland, AMI Primary and Elementary Diploma, AMI Consultant & Examiner

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I was a Montessori child, and attended Montessori school from Primary through Upper Elementary.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
French pressed coffee, my planner and snuggles.

What’s been your favorite trip?
I took a four-week tropical ecology course in Costa Rica. AMAZING!

What’s your favorite local treat? 
Doc Chey’s Noodle House’s Thai Spicy Basil Noodle Bowl

Fun Fact: I have a strong affinity for turtles.

Lead Primary Teacher

Stacy Remaley

Hometown: Freeport, PA

Education: B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, M.Ed. from Loyola College of Maryland

What do you love about Montessori?
I met a group of women after the birth of my first daughter and we became friends, meeting weekly for ‘playgroup.’ Though I did not know it at the time, one of these friends is an AMI trained guide, who had been an administrator at a school prior to having her son. When our children were coming to two years of age, she introduced us all to a local Montessori school. I originally enrolled my first just for some social time away from home, but realized the beauty of Montessori education and became a committed parent.

What’s your favorite local treat?
Dinner at Gunshow.

Do you have any pets?
A 6 year-old Havapoo named Sherlock, for Sherlock Holmes, and a 1 year-old Bichon name Greta, for Greta Van Fleet.

What are your favorite hobbies?
DIY home projects like painting, tiling, electrical, flooring, and closest redos; vintage shopping; and volunteering.

Assistant Primary Teacher

Nicole Doxie

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Education: Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). I’m also finishing up my Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Human Learning and Development at Georgia State. 

What do you love about Montessori?
I love that Montessori gives children the freedom to learn and explore while teaching independence. 

What are your hobbies? 
Reading, going to the movies, bowling

What’s your favorite quote? 
“I’ve learned that people will forget would you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou 

Assistant Primary Teacher

Maria Decillis

Hometown: Uruguay, South America

Education: Associates Degree in Business Administration from Georgia State

How did you learn about Montessori?  
I first learned about Montessori nine years ago when a friend needed a bilingual assistant to help in her primary classroom. I immediately fell in love with the philosophy.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
I can’t live without my family, food, the ocean, and more food.

What’s your dream destination? 
I love going to the beach and taking cruises

Fun fact: I used to race my old car on a 1/4 mile track.

Assistant Primary Teacher

Lopa Vaidya

Hometown: India

Education: Bachelors in Accounting

How did you learn about Montessori?
From a friend.

What’s been your favorite trip?
When I went to Europe.

What’s your favorite local treat?
Caramelized pecans.

What’s your favorite destination?
Switzerland

Assistant Primary Teacher

Katrina Demarcus

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Education: B.F.A. in Illustration from the Pratt Institute

What do you love about Montessori? I love how it teaches independent thinking and allows for all the creativity!

What are three things you couldn’t live without? Tacos, my Doberman, and yarn.

What would be your dream vacation? Visiting Peru and learning about their textile work. 

What’s your favorite destination? My mom’s house in Yuaco, Puerto Rico.

Elementary Teachers – Lavista Campus

Lead Lower Elementary Teacher

Becca Fernandez

Lead Lower Elementary Teacher

Emily Peters

Lead Upper Elementary Teacher

Lora Boyd

Lead Upper Elementary Teacher

Anna Discenzo

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Kayla Ellis

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Marlene Murray

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher

Kelsey Smith

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher

Rebecca Hadj-Taieb

Lead Lower Elementary Teacher

Becca Fernandez

Hometown – Stroudsburg, PA

Education – BA in Religion from New College of Florida. AMI Primary Certification, Montessori Institute of Atlanta. AMI Elementary Certification, Washington Montessori Institute. Masters of Education, Loyola College of Maryland.

What I love most about Montessori? – What I love the most about Montessori is being able to spend three full years with my students. Watching their growth from 6 to 9 years old is always incredible.

Three things I can’t live without – Coffee, running and my family

Most favorite trip or dream vacation – The Big Island of Hawaii
Hobbies – Hobbies: marathons, gardening, CrossFit, singing, reading.

Lead Lower Elementary Teacher

Emily Peters

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Education: BA in English from Furman University, AMI Primary Diploma from The Montessori Institute of Atlanta, AMI Elementary Diploma from The Washington Montessori Institute, Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland, with a research focus on Montessori and dementia.

How did you learn about Montessori?
Schooling and degrees are important in my family—both my parents hold doctorates—but the education I received from my childhood experiences and from being a mom is most important to me. Raising two very different children of my own informs how I guide and communicate with parents and students each day.

In the late 60’s, my parents researched many educational methods and chose Montessori. They liked the respect and responsibility given to children and appreciated how students are encouraged to be creative problem solvers and independent learners. My brother and I attended Montessori school through Upper Elementary. My son did the same, and my daughter graduated from Arbor Montessori School’s Adolescent Program in 2017.

What are three things you couldn’t live without?
​My family, nature, and my camera. If I could add one more, it would be music.

Fun fact: I grew up in a two-story brick schoolhouse, built in 1921, with a cupola and no heating or air-conditioning! I also worked at my parents’ sandwich shop.

What are your hobbies?
​As a little girl, in addition to horseback riding and caring for two goats, a dog, and a couple of cats, I read books about growing vegetables and planted my own garden. As an adult, I enjoy gardening, hiking, eating international foods, and being a marching band mom. Today, one of my greatest pleasures as a teacher is taking photos of students working in Montessori classes, as I empathize with the joy they feel and I know they will make the world an even better place. I would not trade my Montessori years for anything.

Lead Upper Elementary Teacher

Lora Boyd

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina and Cartersville, Georgia

Education: BA in Studio Art from Berry College, AMI Elementary Diploma from Montessori Institute of Atlanta

What do you love about Montessori? 
The critical thinking skills, independence, and respect for humanity and our planet that it instills in children.

What are your hobbies? 
Drawing and painting

Do you have any pets? 
Desmond (cat) and Maya (dog)

Lead Upper Elementary Teacher

Anna Discenzo

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Education: BA in French from UNC, Asheville, AMI Elementary Certificate from the Washington Montessori Institute

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I learned about Montessori as a child at MCDC (Arbor’s former name) when my family became friends with the Sherrill family. As a college student, I observed in Gloria’s lower elementary class at Arbor and knew that I had to become a Montessori guide.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
Books, knitting and my family.

What’s been your favorite trip? 
Living in Montpellier, France for a year as a student.

What’s your favorite quote?
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  —Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Kayla Ellis

Hometown: Ellijay, Georgia

Education: Four years of working in Montessori Education.

How did you learn about Montessori?
I learned about Montessori education through my aunt, who has encouraged me to study this approach to learning since early adolescence. After graduating high school, I was given the opportunity to be an Elementary assistant at Pleasant Hills Montessori School. It is a small school tucked into the mountains where they incorporate subjects that I grew up doing—farming and gardening.

What’s your favorite quote?
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” —Wendell Berry

What’s been your favorite trip?
The most memorable trip that I have been on is when I did a solo tour of Ireland and France. The thrill of living out of only a backpack and embracing the vulnerability that I felt has taught me life lessons that I will cherish forever.

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies consist of traveling to North Georgia on the weekends to mountain bike, garden, hike and work on my family’s farm. In the city, I am exploring local woodland trails, reading in coffee shops, and connecting with communities around me.

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Marlene Murray

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education: BA Sociology from Northeastern University

What do you love about Montessori? 
Everything! It works!

What’s been your favorite trip?
The Grand Canyon.

What’s one rule you live by
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you.”

What’s your favorite quote?
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we had.” —Nelson Mandela

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher

Kelsey Smith

Hometown: Conyers, Georgia

Education: Working on coursework for a degree in American Sign Language from Georgia State University.

How did you learn about Montessori? 
A friend of mine went to a Montessori school through middle school.

What’s your dream vacation?
A month just travelling through England

What’s your favorite local treat? 
King of Pops

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher

Rebecca Hadj-Taieb

Hometown: Lakewood Ohio

Education: BA Economics

How did you learn about Montessori?
In college before children and wished if I should have children they will be Montessori children.

What do you love about Montessori?
The discovery of innate love of learning.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
Family, friends, and chocolate

What’s your favorite local destination?
Anis Restaurant

What’s one rule you live by?
Live in the moment.

Adolescent Program Teachers – Lavista Campus

Adolescent Program Guide

Rus George

Adolescent Program Guide

Carolyn McCarthy

Adolescent Program Guide

Kim Taylor

Adolescent Program Guide

Tammy Ward Martin

Adolescent Program Guide

Rus George

Hometown: Binghamton, New York 

Education: MLS in Leadership Studies from Fort Hays State University, BS in Community Health and Human Services from SUNY Empire State, NAMTA/AMI Orientation Certificate

What do you love about Montessori?
Dr. Montessori devoted her life to unleashing human potential. Her vision and understanding of adolescence were cutting edge during her lifetime and still remains at the forefront of educational approaches to this day. Her unwavering belief in the capacities of young people is why I love Montessori education.

How do you get involved in the community?
For the past decade I have enjoyed working with youth to find ways in which they can contribute to the advancement of their local community.

What’s been your favorite trip?
My favorite trip was traveling to Israel with my wife and children.

What’s your favorite destination? 
The Hike Inn in Dawsonville, Georgia.

Adolescent Program Guide

Carolyn McCarthy

Hometown – Atlanta, Georgia

Education –  BA from Emory University, NAMTA/AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies Certificate

What do you love about Montessori? – I love how Montessori values the child and puts their developmental needs at the center of education.

Favorite local destination: I enjoy exploring the Chattahoochee river and local hiking trails
One rule to live by and favorite quote – “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop
Pets: 2 dogs, Ribsy and Barkley, and one cat, Blue

Fun fact: I’ve been to 47 of the 50 states. Idaho, North Dakota and Hawaii….I’m coming for you!

Adolescent Program Guide

Kim Taylor

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education: BS from Michigan State University and M.Ed. from Georgia State University

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I learned about Montessori education when I was looking for educational programs for my son. Once I visited the school to observe, I was in love! My son began his Montessori education at 2 1/2 years old in a Primary program, and my daughter began her Montessori education at 18 months in a Toddler program. I was teaching adolescents in the public school setting at the time. As I learned more and more about Maria Montessori’s philosophies about people, life, and learning, I wanted to know more. I discovered Montessori even had a framework for Adolescent education; I had to get involved with Montessori Adolescent education, so I went to training. Montessori’s ideals lead to a peaceful, loving environment where growth and learning are a natural part of engaging with society. I love being part of this community, and I love that my children are growing up a part of this community.

What’s one rule you live by? 
Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Fun fact: I am an only child.

Do you have any pets? 
A boxer named Duchess and a Russian Blue named Mr. Whiskers.

Adolescent Program Guide

Tammy Ward Martin

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina 

Education:  Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Economics from Clemson University, a Master of Public Administration with a Specialization in Public Budgeting and Finance from the University of Georgia, and the NAMTA/AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies Certificate.

How did you learn about Montessori? 
I first learned about Montessori education when choosing a pre-school for my oldest son. Both of my sons attended a Montessori school from Primary through the Adolescent Program.

What’s been your favorite trip?
While I love travelling to new places and have been to destinations around the world, my heart remains in Italy. If I can go anywhere on a whim, it is back to Italy where I have made many friends.

Fun fact: Perhaps people find this interesting, or at least surprising…I absolutely love heavy metal music. I like it really loud, too!

Specialty Teachers

Art Teacher

Patty O’Keefe Hutton

Art Teacher

Alexandra Goodrich

Music Teacher

Kamala Gourdine

Primary & Lower Elementary Spanish Teacher

Maria Sanz

Upper Elementary & AP Spanish Teacher

Aileen Zeigler

Digital Learning Specialist

James Lu

Art Teacher

Patty O’Keefe Hutton

Hometown: Monroe, MI

Education: Bachelor’s of Art Education from Eastern Michigan University

What do you love about Montessori?
The children have so much faith in their own abilities. I hardly ever hear, “I can’t do that.” They’re excited about learning and trying new things, and that’s not something you find everywhere.

What’s been your favorite trip?
Southern Spain

What’s your favorite local treat?
Coffee at Dancing Goats, or a meal at Chai Pani

How do you get involved in the community?
I do a lot of community art projects in Decatur.

Do you have any pets?
I have two cats, Bee Bop and Bingle, who I love dearly. 

Art Teacher

Alexandra Goodrich

Hometown: Conyers, GA

Education: B.S. in Art Education from Columbus State University

How did you learn about Montessori? From an old friend who I knew in High School and who currently works for Arbor, Kelsey Smith!

What’s one rule you live by? The Golden Rule rules! Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You.

What’s your favorite quote? “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”

What are your hobbies? Reading, Improv Theatre, Singing, Backpacking, Traveling, Scuba Diving, and of course, all types of art!!

Music Teacher

Kamala Gourdine

Hometown: Morrow,Georgia

Education: BFA in Musical Theatre from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of the Performing Arts

What do you love about Montessori?
I love how everything is hands on, students have a choice on how their learning environment should be, and student can be as creative as they want. Music is all about being creative and showing expression. Montessori principles bring out the best in the music room.

What’s one rule you live by?
You can do anything you put your mind to. You should never let anyone tell you what you are not capable of.

What are your hobbies?
Singing, writing plays, and critiquing movies.

What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be Paris because I have dreamed of going there as a little girl.

Primary & Lower Elementary Spanish Teacher

Maria Sanz

Hometown: Pereira, Colombia

Education: BA in Learning Disabilities, Masters Degree in Education

What do you love about Montessori?
Montessori provides a natural love for learning, independence, and exploration of the environment.

What are three things you can’t live without?
Faith, family, and friends. 

What rule do you love by?
Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

What is your favorite quote?
“Peace begins with a smile.” —Mother Teresa

What are your hobbies?
Walking, swimming, and reading. 

Upper Elementary & AP Spanish Teacher

Aileen Zeigler

Hometown: Columbus, IN

Education: B.A. in Theatre & Spanish from Denison University, M.A.T. from Indiana University, Second Language Acquisition from Purdue University Indianapolis 

How did you learn about Montessori? My college roommate, as well as other friends, are Montessori teachers, and my two boys are Montessori students.

What do you love about Montessori? I love the focus on the whole student and the emphasis on hands-on learning.

What’s been your favorite trip? My summer NEH Seminar in Madrid. This included a memorable excursion to Merida, Spain, where I was able to watch a performance of Antigone on a Roman Stage from 18 BCE. An epic moment for a lover of Spanish and Theatre. 

What would be your dream vacation? I would love to visit Maccu Piccu

What’s your favorite quote? “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!” – Goethe

Digital Learning Specialist

James Lu

Hometown: Shanxi Province, China

Education: M.A in International Communication from the University of Leeds, UK; B.A. in Television Journalism from the Communication University of China

What do you love about Montessori? It allows children to follow their own inner guide, and construct their own ways to see the world. Also, it cultivates children’s critical thinking and helps them to find their Cosmic task in the world. To make those in one sentence, Montessori aids the child to be who he or she is meant to be.

What’s your favorite destination? Yellowstone is on the top of my bucket list, and I wish my whole family would drive there in a big RV.

What’s one rule you live by? Tell the truth, at least don’t lie.

What’s your favorite quote? “Freedom through truth for service.”

What are your hobbies? Soccer, photographing, and reading.

Administrative Staff

Director of Admissions and Outplacement

Liticia Weissinger

Director of Communications

Lucy Bennett

Director of Community Engagement

Erica Johnson

Administrative Assistant – Scott Campus

Violet Mohabir

Administrative Assistant – Lavista Campus

Stephanie Robertson

Accounting

Cindy Bowen

Business Manager

Pam Worsham

Director of Athletics and Auxiliary Programs

Michelle Nguyen

Director of Admissions and Outplacement

Liticia Weissinger

Hometown – Savannah, Georgia

Education – BA in English from UGA, AMS Primary credential from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center, Orton-Gillingham Associate level training

How did you learn about Montessori? –. I learned about Montessori when my children were young. In a sense, I followed them into the classroom, working first as an assistant and then a co-teacher after I took my Montessori training. I had always heard the term, Montessori, but didn’t really know all that it meant until I took my training.

Most favourite trip you’ve taken or dream vacation – Going with my family to Ireland and Scotland

Hobbies or Community involvement – Photography, reading and serving in my church

Director of Communications

Lucy Bennett

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Education: BFA in Design from Georgia Southern University

What do you love about Montessori? 
I love the independent work environments and the space that children are given to cultivate their own love of learning. 

What’s been your favorite trip? 
In 2017 we tour Ireland by way of Dublin, Galway, and Donegal. During part of the trip, we drove through Killargue, the small village where relatives of mine once lived. We visited the house that used to be the old post office they worked at, and Liddy’s Loft, a stone dance hall raised by family hands. It’s fallen into disrepair now, but it was an amazing feeling to touch the stones and see the place where my relatives would sit and fiddle. We can’t wait to go back. 

What’s your favorite quote?
“Survival is insufficient.”

Do you have pets?
Our silly, giant dog, Topher, and two cats, Cooper and Karmina.

Director of Community Engagement

Erica Johnson

Hometown: Clarksdale, MS

Education: Alcorn State University (BA and M.Ed.)

How did you learn about Montessori?
I am a former parent of a Montessori child.

What are three things you couldn’t live without?
Faith, my family, and a hot bath 😆

What’s your favorite destination?
Destin, Florida

What’s one rule you live by?
Start each day with a grateful heart.

What are your favorite hobbies?
Entertaining family and friends, craft projects, and watching movie classics

Administrative Assistant – Scott Campus

Violet Mohabir

Hometown: Sheet Anchor, Guyana

Education: Certified Childcare Provider

What do you love about Montessori? 
I love Montessori because it prepares children to be responsible, compassionate and self-motivated.

What are three things you can’t live without? 
My sketchbook, music, and hair ties.

Do you have any pets? 
I have a cat named Pyro.

Fun fact: Did you know that Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America?

What’s your favorite quote?
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” —Oprah Winfrey

Administrative Assistant – Lavista Campus

Stephanie Robertson

Hometown: New Britain, CT

Education: BA from the University of Connecticut

What do you love about Montessori?
It’s practical! From the dressing frames to pouring, etc. Practical life was my youngest daughter’s and is my favorite part of the Montessori experience. They are fun activities that develop skills and build the foundation for skills later in life.

What are three things you couldn’t live without?
My daughters and family, friends, and avocados.

What’s one rule you live by?
Always treat others the way you want to be treated.

Accounting

Cindy Bowen

Hometown – Oakland, California

Education –  BA in Political Science, Randolph-Macon College

What do you love about Montessori? –. The way it teaches the whole child and fosters independence.

Most favourite trip you’ve taken or dream vacation – Chenonceaux,  France

Pets –  Border terrier, Rugby and Jack Russell Terrier, Crystal.

Business Manager

Pam Worsham

Hometown – Somerset, Kentucky

Education –  B.S. Computer Science, Minor – Business from Lamar University

How did you learn about Montessori? –.I love that Montessori allows the child to blossom naturally without the distractions that are present with educational styles.

Most favourite trip you’ve taken or dream vacation – My favourite trip was taking an RV across Alaska.

Hobbies or Community involvement – Gardening and Raising my Chickens

Pets – Lucy (Pit Bull), Dezi (Pit Bull), Nano-Lou (Chihuahua/Min. Dachshund Mix), and Pepe (Chihuahua).  I love dogs!

Director of Athletics and Auxiliary Programs

Michelle Nguyen

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Education: BA in International Studies and Business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

How did you learn about Montessori? 
Many of my extended family went through various Montessori Early Childhood Programs. I always thought they had a maturity about them. Therefore, when we moved to Atlanta, I went searching for a great Montessori school to enroll, my then 2 year-old daughter. Twelve years later, my son is in the Elementary Program and my daughter just graduated from the Adolescent Program.

What’s been your favorite trip? 
Working overseas in Japan for a few years was the best experience as a recent university graduate. Not only did it teach me self-reliance and independence, but it also reinforced the need to think on a more global scale

What are three things you can’t live without? 
My family, my friends, and I especially can’t live without watching my kids play sports.

Fun Fact: My brother-in-law’s family grew up on the same street as Maria Montessori.