Teachers and Staff
Learn more about the Montessori Community School Teachers and Staff.
Lea Finestone – Toddler Assistant
Joined MCS in 2021BA (Diversity Studies) University of West Florida.Bio: Lea graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in Diversity Studies and a minor in Psychology. She has had many years of experience working with children including several in Montessori environments. This is her first year working at MCS as a Toddler assistant. She is very excited that she and her son Jude have joined the MCS community.
Jennifer Fish – Toddler TeacherJoined MCS in 2019
BS (Quantitative Sciences), University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
AMS (Infant/Toddler) credential candidate, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC, expected completion July 2020
Bio:Jenny is excited to start her fourth year with the MCS family. She holds an AMS Infant/Toddler Montessori credential from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC. Before coming to MCS, Jenny taught at Pinewoods Montessori School in Hillsborough NC. She started off as a parent volunteer and worked as a primary assistant teacher. Jenny enjoys watching children explore and guiding them through their discoveries. She has a 15-year-old son who just finished the MCS adolescent program and has moved onto High School.
Abri Gross – Toddler Support Staff
Joined MCS in 2022BA.Ed (Human Development and Family Studies), The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillBA (Psychology), The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillBio: Abri is excited to begin her first year with the MSC family. Earlier in May of 2022, she graduated with two degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology. Her passions lie with aiding in the self-esteem and social-emotional development of young children. Abri dreams of going on to become a Child Therapist licensed in play therapy. She is so ecstatic to continue her professional development and learn from the lovely people at MSC!
Jackie Jones – Toddler Assistant
Joined MCS in 2022
BA (Psychology with a focus on Child Development), Ohio Wesleyan University
AMS (Infant/Toddler) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education of North Carolina
Bio: Jackie has been working with children for over a decade in various settings. For the past 5 years, Jackie has been working with young children in a Montessori setting and received her AMS Montessori Teacher Credential for Infants and Toddlers from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education of North Carolina in 2019. Before working in Montessori education, Jackie worked in the mental health field serving children and teens with severe and persistent behavioral difficulties. She received her BA in Psychology with a focus on Child Development from Ohio Wesleyan University. Jackie grew up in Raleigh and now lives with her wife and their pets in Durham. She loves hiking and being in nature in her spare time.
Maegan Little – Toddler Program Assistant
Joined MCS in 2021
Colleen McHugh – Toddler TeacherJoined MCS in 2014
IMC/MACTE (Infant/Toddler) credential candidate, Center for Guided Montessori Studies
North Carolina Early Childhood CredentialBio: Colleen has 12 years of experience working with young children. She holds her North Carolina Early Childhood credential and infant/toddler Montessori credential through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Colleen plans to obtain her Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration from Wake Technical Community College. She is an alumna of MCS and her daughter is currently a lower elementary student at MCS. In her spare time, Colleen enjoys crafts and spending time with family and friends.
Julie Cales – Primary Support Staff
Joined MCS in 2022
BS (Family Studies and Consumer Sciences with a Major in Child Development), North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Early Childhood Credential
Bio: Julie is excited to be joining the MCS family and is eagerly looking forward to the new school year. A native of South Carolina, Julie began her journey in North Carolina in 2003. She received her Early Childhood Credential in 2006. Julie has been working with young children for many years and possesses 15 years of experience working as an Early Childhood Educator in the classroom. She began passage in the Montessori environment in 2022 and is looking forward to expanding on previous experience and knowledge.
Ana Catherine Dickens – Primary Support TeacherJoined MCS in 2017
BA (History and Political Science), Meredith College, Raleigh, NC
AMS Primary (3-6) certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC
Handwriting Without Tears, certificate 2019
Zoom Academy, Teacher Training Badge 2020
WeAre Let’s Talk Racism Conference 2020
Bio: Ana Catherine became a member of the MCS community in 2017 after many years of working for Trillium Montessori in Cary, NC where she began her Montessori primary teaching career. In addition to her role as a lead teacher she also served in various roles such as admissions director snd school director. She graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2007. After spending several years working in state government and post graduate work at Duke University she began her teaching career as a primary assistant teacher. In 2013 she received her AMS Primary credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. She is also a certified facilitator for Hand Writing Without Tears and has completed the WeAre Summer Educators Conference Throughout her years in the Montessori community she has had the pleasure of teaching alongside fellow MCS educators Adam Miller, Kathy McHugh, Anna Schuckman, and Lisa Anderson. Ana Catherine lives in Durham with her daughter Iris who attends MCS.
Taylor Erskine – Primary AssistantJoined MCS in 2021BA (Science and Recreation Studies with a major in Outdoor Education and Recreation), Ohio UniversityBio: Taylor was born and raised in a small town called Montville in Northeast Ohio. She went to school at Ohio University where she received my BA in Science and Recreation Studies with a major in Outdoor Education and Recreation. After college, Taylor took a few jobs that were outside of her field but spent many summers as a camp counselor for wildlife camps, day camps, and afterschool programs in the Columbus area. Her past work history has given her the tools to pursue a new career path. She decided she wanted to find a path in teaching/programming with children to help them learn about who they are and what their passion is with the help from their peers and of course, Mother Nature. After deciding to move to NC, she found MCS and is so excited to see where this new chapter will take her!
Rochelle Hayes – Primary TeacherJoined MCS in 2011
BA (Plan II Honors Interdisciplinary), University of Texas, Austin, TX
IMC/MACTE (3-6) credential, Center for Guided Montessori Studies
Zoom Academy Teacher Training BadgeBio: Rochelle is proud to have been a part of the MCS community for the past 14 years. This is her eighth year teaching primary. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Plan II (interdisciplinary honors program) from the University of Texas at Austin. She did her postgraduate work at Duke University as a doctoral student in the History department and completed a Montessori assistant training course at MCS the summer of 2012. She completed her IMC (3-6) certification training with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in 2016. She completed her Zoom Academy teacher training in 2020. She has two sons: Jonathan and Nicholas, both graduates of MCS.
Sara McCauley – Primary Assistant
Joined MCS in 2021
Adam Miller – Primary TeacherJoined MCS in 2004
AMS (3-6) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC
Forest Kindergarten Certification, Cedarsong Nature School, Vashon, WA
Bio: Adam Miller begins his 16th year at MCS and his 13th in Room 202. In August of 2020, Adam started the first Forest School nature immersion program at MCS. Before moving to NC, he worked in a three-year-old classroom at the Learning Tree Day Care in Erlanger, Kentucky. In the summer of 2006 Adam received his AMS primary 3-6 Montessori credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. In the spring of 2017, Adam received his Forest Kindergarten Certification from the Cedarsong Nature School located on Vashon Island in Vashon, Washington.
Favorite Montessori quote: “The child’s first instinct is to carry out his actions by himself, without anyone helping him, and his first conscious bid for independence is made when he defends himself against those who try to do the action for him.”
Kathy McHugh – Primary TeacherJoined MCS in 1982
AMS (3-6) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC
Earth Partnership for Schools Institute, North Carolina Botanical Gardens
NC Environmental Education credential candidate
Mindful Educator Essentials, Mindful Schools
Bio:Kathy began her journey at MCS as a parent when her son was enrolled at MCS as a primary student in 1981. She joined the staff as a classroom assistant in 1982 and received her AMS 3-6 primary credential through the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education in 1989. With over 30 years as a primary classroom teacher she has recently moved into a new role while continuing to support the children and her colleagues.
Kathy is the mother of two MCS alumni and the grandmother of a current lower elementary student. She enjoys contra dancing, being outdoors, reading, and playing games with her family.
Anna Schuckman – Primary Teacher
Joined MCS in 2019
BA (English), UNC Chapel Hill, NC
MFA (Design), The George Washington University, Washington, DC
AMS Primary (3-6) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC
Bio: Anna joined MCS in the Toddler program in 2019 and is excited to transition to Primary this year, utilizing her previous Montessori Primary training. She taught Primary and completed her teacher training while at a Montessori school in Cary, NC over several years. She has previous teaching experience in both traditional public and private school settings. Anna and her husband Dane have a daughter in the Toddler program at MCS and a 10-year-old son.
Betsy Funk – Assistant Lower Elementary Teacher and PE Assistant
Joined MCS in 2022
BS (Family and Consumer Sciences and Sociology), Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Pursuing MACTE (6-12) certification, Age of Montessori, Bozeman, MT
Betsy recently moved from Bozeman, Montana, where she had been teaching and assisting in Montessori and traditional classrooms for the past five years. Before pursuing a career in teaching, Betsy spent 13 years as a PSIA Level II ski instructor, a camp counselor, and a nanny. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences with a minor in Sociology from Montana State University and also spent a year studying Social Work in New Zealand during college. Betsy is currently in the process of becoming certified in Montessori Elementary I-II through the Age of Montessori Teacher Training Organization.
Favorite Montessori quote: “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”
Lindsay Porter – Upper Elementary TeacherJoined MCS in 2018
BA (Religion and Philosophy) Hendrix College, Conway, AR
M.Ed (Integrative Learning) Endicott College, Beverly, MA
AMI (6-12) certificate, Montessori Institute of North Texas, Dallas, TX
Bio: Lindsay has been a Montessori teacher and assistant since 2005. She and her husband, Don, and their two children Charles (Lower Elementary) and Madeleine (Primary) moved to Carrboro five years ago from Stony Brook, Long Island, where she was a Lower Elementary Montessori teacher. She is originally from Austin, TX, where she taught and assisted at Austin Montessori School and Cedar Park Montessori School. Lindsay enjoys choral singing, world cuisine, contra dancing, and civic engagement.
Favorite Montessori quote: “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.”
Shelly Lyons – Lower Elementary TeacherJoined MCS in 2009
BS Ed. (Early Childhood Education), University of Georgia, Athens, GA
AMS (6-9 Elementary I) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NC
Elementary State Teaching certificates (Pre-K – 5th): GA and PA
HillRAP credential, The Hill Center, Durham, NC
Phonics – Breaking the Code credential, The Hill Center, Durham, NC
Open Circle Facilitator certificate, Open Circle, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Shelly has 21 years of experience in Montessori classrooms. She has taught at the Athens Montessori School in Athens, Georgia, and the Swannanoa Valley Montessori School in Black Mountain, North Carolina before coming to Montessori Community School. This is her 12th year at MCS. She has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia and holds elementary state teaching certificates in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Shelly also holds an AMS Elementary I credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. She is HillRAP certified from The Hill Center and has Open Circle facilitator certification. Besides teaching and being a mom, she enjoys singing, hiking, creative writing, reading, biking, and spending time outdoors.
Favorite Maria Montessori quote: “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”
Michelle Reader – Lower Elementary Teacher
Teacher: Lower Elementary
Joined MCS in 2000
BS (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Centre College, Danville, KY
M.Ed. (Montessori), Washington Montessori Institute of Loyola College, Timonium, MD
AMI (6-12) credential, Washington Montessori Institute of Loyola College, Timonium, MD
Montessori STEM graduate certificate, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN
Bio: Michelle returns for her 21st year at MCS. She has taught at both the upper and lower elementary levels. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Michelle is a graduate of the Washington Montessori Institute of Loyola College in Timonium, Maryland, where she received the Association Montessori Internationale Elementary 6-12 diploma along with a Master of Education in 2000. She has also completed her Montessori STEM graduate certificate through St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Outside the classroom, Michelle enjoys bicycling, hiking, reading, kayaking, and spending time with her family. Both of her children attend MCS. Her son is in his third year of Upper Elementary, and her daughter is in her third year of Lower Elementary.
Favorite Montessori quote: “The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”
Catherine Swanson – Lower Elementary TeacherTeacher: Lower ElementaryJoined MCS in 2016
BA (Recreation Administration and Leisure Studies), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
NCME (6-9) credential, Montessori Teacher Training Institute, Clemson, SC
AMS (3-6) credential, Seton Montessori Institute, Clarendon Hills, IL
AMS (9-12) credential, Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collective, Lexington, MA
Bio: Catherine loves teaching at MCS, and she truly values the relationships formed with students, families, and colleagues over the years. She has been a Montessori guide since 2002, working with students ages three to 12. Her favorite Montessori quote is, “One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”
Jennifer Tobolski – Lower Elementary TeacherJoined MCS in 2006
BA (Sociology and Native American Studies), Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
M.Ed. (Education), Loyola University, MD
AMI (6-12) certification, Montessori Institute of MilwaukeeBio: Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, an AMI Elementary diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and a Masters in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. This is Jennifer’s 18th year of teaching and her 15th year in room 302. She has three children, one at Chapel Hill High School, one in Upper Elementary, and one in Lower Elementary. Ms. Jen and her family enjoy being outside riding bikes, hiking, camping, swimming, and doing all of those things families often enjoy doing together, often surrounded by water. She writes, “I believe Maria Montessori was a visionary. It says something that the method she created over one hundred years ago is still successful today. It has been amazing to watch these children evolve and see how the Montessori method prepares them for life. I have high expectations for children and I have seen them live up to our shared expectations over the years.”
Hetal Amin – Upper Elementary Teacher
Joined MCS in 2022
BS (Molecular Biology and Microbiology), University of Central Florida
AMS Montessori Elementary I-II Credential
Bio: Having visited 25 preschools in 2007 in search of the perfect start for her son’s education, Hetal Amin stumbled into a Montessori classroom at MCS. It has been an exceptional journey ever since. Although Hetal has a BS in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from the University of Central Florida and an array of experiences in various fields, the opportunity of volunteering at her son’s Montessori school led her to change careers and go into teaching. She has her AMS Montessori Elementary I-II Credential. She brings with her a certain mix of wit, enthusiasm, and desire to continuously learn and grow. Not only does she enjoy sharing laughs and daily stories with her own family, but also with her students and families.
Jeff Kishpaugh – Upper Elementary TeacherJoined MCS in 2010
BA (Political Science), Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Postgrad Diploma (Russian Language), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
AMS (6-9) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NY
AMS (9-12) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, NY
Bio: Jeff has taught at MCS since 2010. Before coming to MCS, Jeff was an upper elementary teacher at Swannanoa Valley Montessori School in Black Mountain, North Carolina and at Spruce Pine Montessori School in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Jeff took his coursework for Montessori training at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and did graduate work in Scotland. He enjoys meditation, walking, games, and being out in nature.
Favorite Montessori quote: “Let us give the child a vision of the whole Universe… We should walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the Universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”
Melanie Leyden – Upper Elementary TeacherJoined MCS in 2008
BEd (Biological Sciences, Business, Psychology), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
AMS (6-12) credential, San Francisco Bay Area Teacher Education Center, Palo Alto, CA
Omega Institute’s Ecological Literacy Immersion Program & Permaculture Design Course 2014
Duke Integrative Medicine’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program March 2015
NAMTA Montessori Mathematics For The Adolescent Advanced Workshop June 2016
Bio: Melanie began her lifelong work with children when she worked for Parks and Recreation during her summers between her university years. Upon graduation from university, she taught middle school science and later worked as a counselor in a boarding school that dealt with troubled teens. Upon completion of her Montessori Elementary studies, Melanie was an upper elementary guide for 11 years, prior to becoming the math guide in the Adolescent Community at MCS for 9 years. Melanie has just completed her third year working with the upper elementary team and is excited to be embarking on her fourth year. Melanie enjoys cooking, gardening, all outdoor pursuits, going to the gym, and playing ice hockey. She is still working hard at her never-ending quest to play golf mindfully! Her favorite Montessori quote: “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”
Keturah Russell – Upper Elementary Teacherkrussell@mcsdurham.org
Joined MCS in 1992
BA (Psychology), Meredith College
AMS (9-12) credential, Seacoast Center Montessori Training Program
AMS (6-9) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, North Carolina
Early Childhood (3-6) credential candidate, North American Montessori Center
Open Circle Facilitator certificate, Open Circle, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.
Bio: Keturah Russell became a member of the MCS community in 1992 when she began her Montessori lower elementary teaching career. She graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1992 and received her AMS Elementary I credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education that same year. She is also a certified facilitator for Open Circle and recently completed her Elementary II (9-12) Montessori credential. Throughout her many years at MCS she has served on AMS accreditation committees, on the school’s board of trustees as the faculty representative for several terms, on the development committee, and has worked as the lower elementary program director. Keturah lives in Chatham County with her veterinarian husband, Johnson, a menagerie of pets and their two children, Morgann and Tallis, who both attended MCS.
Kelli Bee – Sustainability, Micro-economy and Math SpecialistJoined MCS in 2018
BA (Sociology of Religion, Pre-med, Minors: Environmental Biology, Biochemistry), University of Colorado, Boulder, Service, Leadership & Management (Regenerative International Development, education focus), School for International Training, Brattleboro, VT
AMI (12-18) credential, NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent StudiesInternational Certificate for Teaching, with Distinction, University of Nottingham, UK
Permaculture Design certificate, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute
Bio: This is Kelli’s third year in the MCS community as an adolescent guide and will be focused on math, mindfulness, micro-economy as well as linking work on the land of our beautiful campus to the needs of our school and Adolescent Community. Prior to MCS, Kelli has supported Montessori schools in Colorado to expand into adolescent programming and brings 14 years of experience in curriculum development, start-up programming and experiential environmental education. Her passions are the Montessori pedagogy and patterns in nature, both of which were super-boosted living and working in the educational reform sector for 8 years in east Africa.Kelli loves adventure, which is always present, whether through meditation, yoga, travel, hiking, biking, backpacking, canoeing, training horses, trying new foods, simply gazing at the stars, nurturing a plant or soil in the garden or even watching the curious behavior of an invertebrate. She is excited to continue exploring the MCS community with deep curiosity.
Favorite Montessori quote: “We know that the spirit of the child holds rich energies, energies undreamed of. We must allow these energies to bear fruit; we must enrich life by cultivating these hidden forces, we must prepare a future for man by utilizing the marvelous potential of the child.” Maria Montessori, San Remo Lecture II
Angela Molfese – Humanities and Writing Specialist, Adolescent Program DirectorJoined MCS in 2014
BA (History and Sociology), State University of New York at Cortland, Cortland, NY
MA (Social Studies Education), New York University, New York, NY
AMI (12-18) credential, NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies
AMI (3-6) credential, Montessori Institute of San Diego
AMS Secondary I-II (12-18) credential, Clark Montessori Secondary Teacher Training Program, Cincinnati, OHBio: Prior to coming to MCS, Angela worked as an adolescent guide, specializing in the areas of humanities and language arts, for ten years at Butler Montessori in Darnestown, Maryland. She has completed the NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies and her primary training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Angela also holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology from the State University of New York and a Masters in Social Studies Education from New York University. She has completed the Racial Equity Institute’s Phase I workshop. Outside of her work with adolescents, Angela enjoys exploring new places, be it by walking or reading, and feels fortunate to be a part of this community.
Arts & Enrichments
Molly Coley – Music Specialist
Joined MCS in 2021
Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, The New England Conservatory of Music Boston, Massachusetts
Master of Arts in Musicology (as of 9/1/21), Duke University Durham, North Carolina
Bio: Molly is VERY excited to be joining the MCS family for her first year as the music specialist. After spending her undergraduate years at the New England Conservatory of Music as a jazz singer, Molly went on to start graduate work at Duke University in Musicology. There she studied music history and culture, and recently earned her Master of Arts degree. In the past, she has served as a vocal coach, a choral director, a band director, and a college teaching assistant. She is extremely inspired by the opportunity to work in a Montessori environment, and to help to foster a love of music in the students at MCS.
Favorite Montessori quote: “It is well to cultivate a friendly feeling towards error, to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives, as something having a purpose, which it truly has.”
Sabine Howe – Physical Education SpecialistJoined MCS in 2002
BPE (Physical Education and German), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Gymnastics Coaching certificate: Level I and 2
Basketball Coaching certificate: Level I and 2
Track and Field Coaching certificate: Level I and 2
Soccer Coaching certificate: Level I and 2
Volleyball Coaching certificate: Level 1 and 2
Jazz Dance Training: 25 years
Bio:Sabine Howe received a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She has 35 years of experience teaching Physical Education to kindergarten through 12th grade and has coached soccer, gymnastics, volleyball, and track and field. Sabine has coached badminton, volleyball,and soccer here at MCS and taught dance for over 20 years to children 8 – 13, where the children showcase their talents twice a year at the end of season performances. The dance group also showcases their work for all students at in-house performances. Sabine has put together an upper elementary MCS Mini Olympics with opening and closing ceremonies for the last 20 years where parents and the whole school can come and watch. She has coached the upper elementary Soccer Team (together with Levy Vargas) in the past, and started a Mileage Club at MCS, where all elementary and adolescent students who are interested, can run/walk to earn mileage points and special “foot tokens” (for every five miles completed). A few years ago we had a student who completed 300 plus miles over the course of the year! Sabine has started a gymnastics and parkour class for upper elementary and adolescent students. Her interests outside of school include dance, kayaking, paddleboarding, cooking, rollerblading, playing the guitar, and traveling. She is fluent in German. Sabine joined the Afro/Brazilian Drumming group, “Batala” in 2016 and has been playing and performing with them at various festivals throughout the Triangle over the past six years. Sabine is the after-school dance coach. Sabine begins her 21st year at MCS and has two daughters.
Josefina Llodra – Spanish Specialist
Joined MCS in 2021Elementary Education specialized in Second Language Learning from Universidad de los Andes, Santiago ChileSBS Singapore Math Course certificate levels 1, 2, and 3. Santiago, Chile.Center of Guided Montessori Studies Infant/Toddler expected to be completed by February 2022.Josefina was born and raised in Chile, where she studied in an American School in Santiago, and afterward completed her University studies in the same city. She arrived in North Carolina in 2016, because she was hired to start a Spanish Immersion Program at a School in the area. A couple of years later, Josefina had twins, so she decided to take some time to stay home and now she is delighted to be back in school. During her free time, she likes to run and exercise, cook, embroider, read, paint, and spend time with family and friends. Josefina is excited to get started and to share as the MCS Spanish Specialist.
Levy Vargas – Art Teacher, Ceramics SpecialistJoined MCS in 2011
MFA (Sculpting and Painting), National University of Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
Bio: Levy is an artist originally from Bogotá, Colombia. He received his Masters in Fine Arts with a major in sculpting. He has taught art and creative expression for several years to children and adults. Levy currently teaches art and ceramics.
Lisa Anderson – Academic Support CoordinatorJoined MCS in 2015
BS (Early Childhood Education/Montessori), Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA
AMS Primary (3-6) Certification, Chestnut Hill College, PA
AMS Lower Elementary (6-9) Certification, Seacoast Center, NH
Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive Training, Institute for Multi-Sensory Education
Bio: Lisa has been teaching Montessori for 26 years. Her career began after graduating college in Philadelphia with a BS in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Montessori. Lisa has taught at both the Primary and Lower Elementary levels in PA, VA and NC. After working as a classroom teacher for many years her passion for helping neurodivergent students led her to expand her skills by receiving training in Orton-Gillingham, as well as training from the Hill Center. She worked as a Learning Support Coordinator providing services for students with learning differences. Lisa and her husband, Chad, have two boys, Evan and Ryan (both previous Montessori students). She enjoys being a part of the MCS community.
Favorite Quote: “All students can learn and succeed, but not on the same day in the same way.” William G. Spady
Mel Hooper – Auxiliary Programs Manager
Joined MCS in 2020
Delphine Andrews – Director of Communications
Joined MCS in 2019
BA (Visual Communications), School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
MA (Strategic Communications), School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Bio: Before coming to MCS, Delphine spent four years working in membership communications at the Museum of Life and Science. Her past experiences also include graphic design, corporate advertising, customer relations and database management. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in Visual Communications/Graphic Design, Minor in Creative Writing, from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts with a concentration in Strategic Communications from UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Delphine is grateful to have attended a Montessori school in Virginia as a child. She has two nieces who attend MCS. She is a true tree hugger at heart and believes art is the purest form of expression.
Lisa Bohn – Director of Community Engagement
Joined MCS in 2019
BA (Dramatic Arts and English), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
MFA (Acting), UNC Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Bio: Lisa is a Chapel Hill native who returned with her family to Chapel Hill in 2018 after teaching theatre on the university level for fourteen years in Georgia and Arkansas. At Arkansas State University, in addition to teaching in the Department of Theatre, she also served as a Faculty Fellow in Professional Development. In that position, she taught workshops and classes in online teaching, using digital programs for creative projects, enhancing students’ critical thinking skills, and more. Before earning her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from UNC-Greensboro, she worked as a teaching assistant with exceptional children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She went to undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she double majored in Dramatic Arts and English. She and her husband have two boys, and they enjoy board games, being outdoors, watching movies, and crafting.
Shavonne Joyner – Director of Diversity, Equity, and BelongingJoined MCS in 2017
BBA (Management), Augusta State University, Augusta, GA
MA (Teaching), Augusta State University, Augusta, GA
Bio: This is Shavonne’s fifth year with MCS and she is looking forward to getting to know our new families. She is also excited to be able to collaborate with faculty and the Administrative team on a full-time basis, as the Director of Diversity, Equity, & Belonging. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling to new places, roller skating, reading, listening to music, and trying new foods. She received a BBA in Business Management and a MA in Teaching from Augusta State University, in Augusta, GA. Her favorite quote of all is from James Baldwin; “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
Lauren Gibson – Finance and Business Office Associate
Joined MCS in 2022
Wake Technical Community College
Bio: Lauren joined MCS in July 2022 to support the finance and operations department. Lauren comes to MCS with over 15 years of experience in an administrative support role.
Outside of the workplace, Lauren spends time with her husband and two sons, who also run a small hobby farm at her home in Pittsboro. From tending to the gardens to keeping the dogs, goats, pigs, and chickens happy, she leads a busy life and enjoys every moment of it.
Mike Miller – Director of Admissions
Joined MCS in 2012
BA (Business Management), Michigan State University
AMS (6-9) credential, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, North Carolina
Bio: Mike is in his ninth year with MCS. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Michigan State University and an AMS Elementary 6-9 certification from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. Prior to joining the administrative team at MCS, Mike was a lower elementary teacher and very much enjoyed seeing first-hand the power of an MCS education. Mike is originally from Michigan and moved to North Carolina in 2006 where he met his wife, Danielle. Mike and Danielle have two daughters, Alexis and Gabrielle.
Megan Moore – School Nurse
Joined MCS in 2020
BSN (Nursing) University of Cincinnati, OH
MEDSURG-BC through ANCC (American Nursing Credentialing Center)
Bio: Megan began her Healthcare journey in 1994 as a hospital volunteer at Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati. While later attending Nursing School in college, she became employed as a Certified Nurse Assistant and dually worked as a Pharmacy Technician at Bethesda North.
She holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Cincinnati. She moved to Durham in 2009 with her husband to pursue warmer weather and a Charge Nurse position at the Duke Regional Hospital for a Medical-Surgical Unit. Her main hospital-based specialties over the years of being a Nurse include: Cardiac Step-Down, Orthopedics, and Medical-Surgical Nursing. Within a few years of working at Duke, she progressed on the Clinical Ladder to earn a Clinical Nurse IV Certification (CNIV) and later became a Nurse Manager for a Duke Private Diagnostic Clinic.
She switched gears and began working as a School Nurse when her son was 4 years old in hopes to have a schedule that better aligns in caring for her family and one that is more compatible with school holidays and breaks. After working with adults for many years, she now finds much joy in working with children every day. It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) that “School Nurses play an essential role in keeping children healthy, safe, and ready to learn”. Megan’s passion aligns with this stance.
Megan and her husband Brad reside in Durham and have one son who attends the Lower Elementary program at MCS.
Katherine Perretta – Director of Finance and Operations
Joined MCS in 2021
BA (Economics), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
JD (Law), School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Member of the North Carolina State Bar
Bio: This is Katherine’s first year at Montessori Community School. Katherine is a North Carolina native who has lived abroad in Florence and Amsterdam. She attended a Montessori school in Cary, NC as a child sparking a lifelong interest in school administration.
Katherine joins MCS after her previous role as an administrator to another Montessori school, in which she implemented modern systems for enrollment and finance. She has also held positions as Director of Business Operations for a household staffing firm, as well as, Podcast Manager for an international non-profit parenting association. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, crafting, and cooking with her husband and two daughters.
Kalpu Shah – Director of Academicskshah@mcsdurham.org
Joined MCS in 2014
BS (Science), University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India
Post Graduate Diploma (Applied Nutrition and Dietetics), University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India
AMS (6-9) credential, Seacoast Center for Education, Stratham, NH
AMS (9-12) credential, Seacoast Center for Education, Stratham, NHBio: Kalpu has been a Montessori teacher since 1988, when she started at the Montessori School of Raleigh. She taught children at the primary level for 10 years, the upper elementary level for 15 years, and was a middle school math resource teacher for two years. Kalpu is the Assistant Director of the training program as well as an upper elementary teacher trainer at the Seacoast Center for Education. This year, Kalpu will serve on the board of the Triangle Montessori Schools Association. She has spent 25 years at the Montessori School of Raleigh and is pleased to be continuing her Montessori journey at MCS. Kalpu is the upper elementary program director as well as a teacher. She enjoys cooking, reading, and teaching. She notes: “I am honored to be a part of the child’s journey as they strive to reach their potential. My job is to create an environment for them that allows for the unfolding of the spiritual embryo while making sure that the children are prepared to take on the challenges of the 21st century. It is the job of the Montessori teacher to nurture agile thinkers, create gracious collaborators, who are capable of promoting peace within themselves and the world around them. My strengths and experience are with the curriculum, classroom management, and in keeping the balance between structure and spontaneity.” Favorite Montessori quote from The Absorbent Mind: “The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.”
Angie Wenger – Head of School
Joined MCS in 2021
BA (Mass Communications) Drake University
M.Ed. (Independent School Leadership) Vanderbilt University
Angie comes to MCS with 20 years of experience in schools. She previously served as Director of Admissions and Marketing at University Lake School in Hartland, Wisconsin. In addition to her work attracting and enrolling new students, she also directed the school’s international student program. Her administrative leadership experience at previous schools includes roles in development, communications, and marketing. She began her education career in the classroom, teaching high school English and English as a Second Language.
She has completed an M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership at Vanderbilt University this summer and was selected for the NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads in 2020. She previously pursued graduate studies in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University, including coursework in secondary Montessori education. She received her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications from Drake University.
Angie and her husband Dan (who have 2 college-age children) relocated to Durham from Wisconsin.