2013-14 faculty

Administration

Wendy Reinsch Fisher
Wendy Reinsch Fisher
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Position: Head of School
Joined: 2003
University of Virginia: EdD (expected 2014)
Washington Montessori Institute: 3-6 Primary, 6-12 Elementary (1995)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (1995)
University of Maryland: BS, Journalism (1986)
Wendy worked as a classroom guide for over ten years before becoming an administrator and a Montessori consultant. In addition to her Montessori training at WMI, Wendy studied Montessori adolescent pedagogy with the North American Montessori Teacher's Association. Wendy serves on the board of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, on their Accreditation Committee, and on many visiting teams reviewing practices at their member schools. She has served as an Examiner for Association Montessori Internationale Training Centers.
Becky Harris
Becky Harris
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Position: Director of Business Operations
Joined: 2000
Averett University; BBA (2010)


Becky was a Mountaintop parent and seasonal employee in our summer program prior to joining our administration full time. She came to Mountaintop with experience in banking and small business ownership.
Janice Chapman
Janice Chapman
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Position: Director of Programs, Assistant Head of School
Joined: 1993
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (2012)
Washington Montessori Institute: 6-12, Elementary (2010)
Longwood University: BS, Psychology(2001)
Virginia Center for Montessori Training: 3-6, Primary (1998)
Janice has worked in many of our programs serving a wide range of ages during her long tenure at Mountaintop and has developed a broad base of expertise as a classroom guide and an administrator. She served as a Children's House guide from 1998 to 2010 when she moved to the elementary level. Janice has also served as the director of our summer programs for several years.
Thérèse Benzinger
Thérèse Benzinger
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Position: Registrar
Joined: 1996
Averett University: BBA (expected 2013)
Aquinas College

Therese was a Mountaintop parent for four years prior to bringing her front office experience to Mountaintop full time in 2000. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration.
Christy Perkins
Christy Perkins
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Position: Business Office Assistant
Joined: 2003
Averett University: BBA (expected 2014)


Prior to working in the front office, Christy worked in our after-school program and toddler community. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration.
Helen Alston
Helen Alston
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Position: Upper El 2 Assistant; Advancement Assistant
Joined: 2008
University of Mary Washington: BA, English: Creative Writing (2012)


Helen is a Mountaintop alumna, having completed 8th grade here in 2004, and the daughter of long-time faculty member, Sue Alston. She worked in our summer program for four years before joining us full-time in 2012.
Jamie Harris
Jamie Harris
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Position: Facilities Coordinator
Joined: 2014



Jamie brings to Mountaintop his many years of experience with electrical, plumbing, and automotive work and other trades. Jamie has been one of our CDL drivers and has chaperoned student trips since 2011.
Austin Robey
Austin Robey
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Position: Advancement Coordinator
Joined: 2013
James Madison University: BA, Psychology (2006)
James Madison University: MEd, Counseling Psychology (2008)

Austin is an experienced administrator who came to Mountaintop with four years of experience in university student activities and volunteering administration. He is also a musician who has provided accompaniment for student performances at Mountaintop.
Wendetta Dowdell
Wendetta Dowdell
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Position: Art Assistant; Facilities Assistant
Joined: 2005



Wendetta served in the United States Navy for four years and has experience in the textile industry and small business. She is Emily's assistant in the art room and also assists with facilities work.

Toddler

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy
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Position: Toddler 1 Guide
Joined: 1996
North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education: 0-3 Infant/Toddler (1993)
University of North Carolina: BS, Business Administration & Accounting (1978)

Susan has worked with infants, toddlers, and their parents since 1993. Her association with Mountaintop includes many years as a parent and service on our board of trustees prior to joining the faculty in 2009. In addition to her work with the toddlers, Susan guides our parent-infant class on Friday mornings. She also helps local families solve parenting challenges in her work as a parent coach certified through the Parent Coaching Institute.
Alissa McKown
Alissa McKown
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Position: Toddler 2 Associate Guide
Joined: 2006
University of Virginia


Alissa attended a Montessori Children's House as a child. She came to Mountaintop with experience in childcare and experiential environmental education. Alissa began Montessori training for ages 0-3 in the summer of 2014.
Crystal Curry
Crystal Curry
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Position: Toddler 1 Assistant
Joined: 2006



Crystal came to Mountaintop with five years of experience working with children in schools, childcare centers and private homes. She is also pursuing a nursing degree at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Crystal worked with students in our afterschool program for several years before joining the toddler team in 2011.
Chasity Jordan Seiler
Chasity Jordan Seiler
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Position: Toddler 1 Assistant
Joined: 2012
Longwood University: BA, Liberal Studies (2012)


Chasity began working in our Children's House after-school program while completing her last semester at Longwood. Her studies in education are complemented by extensive experience in caring for young children.
Kristen Mays
Kristen Mays
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Position: Toddler 2 Assistant; After-school
Joined: 2013
Monticello High School


Kristen has several years of experience with young children in preschool and recreational settings.
Hannah Hartke
Hannah Hartke
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Position: Toddler 2 Assistant
Joined: 2013
Tempe Preparatory Academy


Hannah came to Mountaintop during the 2012-13 school year as a substitute. She has several years of childcare experience.

Children's House

Erin Schweitzer Moore
Erin Schweitzer Moore
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Position: CH1 Turtle Class Guide
Joined: 2002
Montessori Institute Northwest: 3-6, Primary (2002)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (2002)
Penn State: BA, Sociology (2000)
Erin served as one of our Children's House guides from 2002 to 2005 and in the 2009-10 school year. Erin returned to the faculty in 2012 in a specialized role in our elementary classrooms, supporting emerging readers.
Stephanie Gist
Stephanie Gist
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Position: CH1 Turtle Class Guide
Joined: 2009
Virginia Center for Montessori Studies: 3-6, Primary (expected 2014)
Virginia Center for Montessori Studies: 3-6, Primary
Virginia Commonwealth University: BA, Developmental Psychology & Dance (1992)
Stephanie completed the classroom portion of her Montessori training in the summer of 2014. She has also worked as an assistant in our toddler program and as an afterschool enrichment instructor at Mountaintop. Prior to joining our staff, Stephanie cared for infants and preschoolers and shared her dance experience through the teaching of movement.
Shawn Carey
Shawn Carey
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Position: CH2 Dolphin Class Guide; Children's House Afterschool Coordinator
Joined: 2001
Montessori Training Center of New England: 3-6, Primary (2008)
University of Virginia: MEd (2003)
Virginia Commonwealth University: BS, Education/Special Ed (1988)
Shawn came to Mountaintop with several years of experience in preschool special education in the city of Charlottesville. She began here as a member of our afterschool program staff and went on to pursue Montessori training. Shawn has been a leader on our faculty especially in the area of afterschool programming where she has help us achieve a high level of consistency with the Montessori classrooms.
Polly Beckington
Polly Beckington
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Position: CH2 Dolphin Class Guide
Joined: 2010
Washington Montessori Institute: 3-6, Primary (2010)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (2011)
University of the South: BA, French Literature (2000)
Polly's work as a nanny and her experience training and teaching at a Montessori school in Florida inspired her to pursue training for the 3-6 year old level at the Washington Montessori Institute.
Sue Alston
Sue Alston
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Position: CH3 Hummingbird Class Guide
Joined: 2001
MECA-Seton Chicago: 0-3, Assistants to Infancy & 3-6, Primary (1999)
Salford University, U.K.: B.Sc., Chemistry and Business Studies (1983)

Sue came to Mountaintop with three years of experience in other Montessori schools. In addition to being a Children's House guide, Sue has also worked at the toddler level.
Micaela Raine
Micaela Raine
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Position: CH3 Hummingbird Class Guide
Joined: 1995
Institute for Adavanced Montessori Studies: 3-6, Primary (1997)
Roanoke College: BA, Studio Art (1992)

Micaela began her Mountaintop career in our afterschool program in 1995 and went on to obtain Montessori training. She then served as a Children's House Guide at MCS until 2001, when the first of her two children was born. Micaela worked in our summer program in 2005 and returned here full time in 2006. She teaches health and wellness to our middle school students.
Kim Shultz-Keyser
Kim Shultz-Keyser
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Position: CH4 Butterfly Class Guide
Joined: 2011
Washington Montessori Institute: 3-6 Primary (1997)
Virginia Tech: BS, Biology (1989)

Kim has been teaching in Montessori since 1996. Prior to teaching she provided childcare in her home for seven years.
Ryan Mulholland
Ryan Mulholland
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Position: CH4 Butterfly Classroom Guide
Joined: 2014
Virginia Center for Montessori Studies: 3-6, Primary (expected 2016)
University of Maryland, College Park: BS, Materials Science & Engineering (2009)

Ryan began as a substitute at Mountaintop in the 2013-14 school year and decided to pursue Montessori training. He will complete the summer academic phase of his training this summer with additional training seminars through June of 2016.

Elementary

Becca McNair
Becca McNair
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Position: Upper El 1 Guide
Joined: 2014
Montessori Institute Northwest: 6-12, Elementary (2014)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (2014)
College of Charleston: BA, Corporate Communications (2003)
Prior to obtaining her Montessori training, Becca served with AmeriCorps in Colorado, led outdoor adventure tours for international groups and taught English in South Korea. She recently served as a long-term substitute in the upper elementary classroom at Butler Montessori School in Maryland.
Karen Primeau
Karen Primeau
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Position: Upper El 1 Guide
Joined: 2013
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (expected 2016)
University of Maryland: BA, History (expected 2015)
Hershey Montessori Training Institute: 6-12, Elementary (2013)
University of Tennessee: Communications
Karen came to Mountaintop for several weeks of internship during the 2012-13 school year. She has two years of experience in Montessori elementary classrooms. Karen also has training and over 10 years of experience in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which uses Montessori practices to promote the spiritual development of children in both preschool and elementary age groups.
Heather Donaldson Cormons
Heather Donaldson Cormons
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Position: Upper El 2 Guide
Joined: 2000
Washington Montessori Institute: 6-12, Elementary (2000)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (2001)
Haverford College: BA, Psychology (1995)
Heather attended a Montessori school as a child. She worked at Mountaintop from 2000 until she moved from the Charlottesville area in 2003. She returned to guide our elementary summer program in 2005. Heather has also pursued specialized training in reading instruction and worked as a resource teacher and consultant. She returned to Charlottesville in 2006 and rejoined our faculty in 2007.
Helen Alston
Helen Alston
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Position: Upper El 2 Assistant; Advancement Assistant
Joined: 2008
University of Mary Washington: BA, English: Creative Writing (2012)


Helen is a Mountaintop alumna, having completed 8th grade here in 2004, and the daughter of long-time faculty member, Sue Alston. She worked in our summer program for four years before joining us full-time in 2012.
Brad Hamilton
Brad Hamilton
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Position: Lower El 1 Guide
Joined: 2006
Hershey Montessori Training Institute: 6-12, Elementary (2013)
University of Delaware: BA, English Literature (1988)
University of Texas at Austin: graduate work in Journalism and Photojournalism
Brad began working at Mountaintop as the PE teacher in 2010 and joined the faculty full-time for the 2011-12 school year.
Debby Norton
Debby Norton
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Position: Lower El 1 Guide
Joined: 2007
Washington Montessori Institute: 3-6, Primary (1993)
Loyola University Maryland: MEd (1993); Montessori Institute of Atlanta: 6-12, Elementary (expected 2016)
Virginia Commonwealth University: Orff-Schulwerk Certification (2010)
University of Delaware: BA, Anthropology (1988)
Debby has been working in Montessori schools since 1990. In 1995 she returned to WMI to assist with Montessori teacher training and album reading. In addition to her many years of experience in Montessori toddler and Children’s House classrooms, Debby provided Montessori-inspired childcare in her home for six years. Debby completed level 1 of the Orff-Schulwerk training at VCU in 2010 and completed level 2 in 2011. She is also certified as a Hoopnotica instructor. Debby joined the elementary faculty in 2014.
Trisha Willingham
Trisha Willingham
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Position: Lower El 2 Guide
Joined: 2001
Montessori Institute of Milwaukee: 6-12, Elementary (1994)
Foundation for Montessori Education: 3-6, Primary (1993)
Maria Montessori Training Organisation, London 0-3, Infant/Toddler (1998)
University of Western Ontario: BA, French (1992)
Trisha served as an elementary Montessori guide in Vancouver for seven years and has several years of experience as a Montessori school administrator. In addition to her Montessori classroom experience, Trisha holds a certification in Orton-Gillingham Language instruction. She was our Director of Education in the 2001-2002 school year and served on our board of trustees for two years.
George Logan
George Logan
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Position: Lower El Literacy Support & Lower El 2 Guide
Joined: 2006
Washington Montessori Institute: 6-12, Elementary (2006)
College of William and Mary: MEd, Museum Education (1991), BA, Anthropology (1985)

Prior to joining the Montessori movement, George directed and taught educational programs at a state museum of archaeology and history in southern Maryland.
Mary Reitsma
Mary Reitsma
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Position: Lower El 2 Assistant
Joined: 2002
Calvin College: BA, Secondary Education (1995)


For several years, Mary has often been found lending her experience as a classroom substitute with students of all ages at Mountaintop. She also works behind the scenes coordinating substitutes for school days and organizing care for our students during evening and weekend events for parents.

Middle School

Corey Borgman
Corey Borgman
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Position: Middle School Director
Joined: 2004
North American Montessori Teachers Association at Hiram College and Hershey Montessori Farm School: 12-15, Adolescent (2005)
Pratt Institute: MFA (2004)
Georgetown University: BA, English and Sociology (1999)
Corey taught in DC and New York independent and Montessori schools prior to coming to Mountaintop. She completed the Permaculture Design Course with the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network in 2007. Corey provides middle school instruction in specific subjects, serves as the students' advisor, and oversees the work of the many faculty members who teach at the middle school level.
Britt Gendell
Britt Gendell
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Position: Middle School Guide
Joined: 2010
North American Montessori Teachers Association at Hiram College and Hershey Montessori Farm School: 12-15, Adolescent (2013)
Mary Baldwin College: Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Licensure Program (2012)
Commonwealth of Virginia Professional License, Middle School Science and High School Earth Science
James Madison University: BS, Geographic Sciences (2005)
Britt first joined us as a seasonal employee in our SEED summer program with two previous years of experience teaching and coaching in area high schools. She became a full-time member of our middle school faculty in 2012.
Micaela Raine
Micaela Raine
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Position: CH3 Hummingbird Class Guide
Joined: 1995
Institute for Adavanced Montessori Studies: 3-6, Primary (1997)
Roanoke College: BA, Studio Art (1992)

Micaela began her Mountaintop career in our afterschool program in 1995 and went on to obtain Montessori training. She then served as a Children's House Guide at MCS until 2001, when the first of her two children was born. Micaela worked in our summer program in 2005 and returned here full time in 2006. She teaches health and wellness to our middle school students.
Sandra Michalski
Sandra Michalski
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Position: Upper Elementary and Middle School Spanish; Technology
Joined: 2013
American University: BS, Business Administration (2008)


Sandra has held a variety of teaching positions in the U.S. as well as holding teacher certification and having been a substitute teacher in Spain. She is a native speaker of Spanish.
Emily Hunt
Emily Hunt
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Position: Art
Joined: 1995
University of Virginia: BA in Art History (1977)


Emily is formally trained in painting and sculpture including an intensive summer studio art program at Virginia Commonwealth University and studying under the renowned portrait artist, Nickodemus Hufford. Emily has worked with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to maintain an educational partnership between our school and the museum. She is also a long-time public servant who has served in local government in Nelson County and on a task force of Central Virginia art supporters studying resources for art education in the state.

Co-curricular subjects

Pat McCafferty
Pat McCafferty
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Position: Ecology Guide
Joined: 2011
University of Virginia: BA, Ecological Consciousness and Healing (2010)


In 2011, Pat began working as a lead counselor in our ecology and garden-to-table summer program, SEED, where his experience with environmental education in a variety of settings was a boon to the growing program. As an Echols Scholar at UVa, Pat designed his own major to focus on the ways that environmental stewardship work fosters human growth and development.
Elizabeth Tayloe Hobson
Elizabeth Tayloe Hobson
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Position: Ecology Assistant
Joined: 2011



Beth came to Mountaintop with several years of experience in gardening, cooking, education and childcare, and theater.
Ali Sullivan
Ali Sullivan
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Position: Children's House and Lower Elementary Spanish
Joined: 2013
Universidad de la Sabana: BA, Communication & Journalism (1989)


Ali came to Mountaintop as a parent in 2009 and has taught Spanish in our after-school enrichment program since 2010.
Sandra Michalski
Sandra Michalski
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Position: Upper Elementary and Middle School Spanish; Technology
Joined: 2013
American University: BS, Business Administration (2008)


Sandra has held a variety of teaching positions in the U.S. as well as holding teacher certification and having been a substitute teacher in Spain. She is a native speaker of Spanish.
Margaret A. Eldridge
Margaret A. Eldridge
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Position: Garden to Table
Joined: 2013
Virginia Tech: BA in Communications (1992)
University of Maryland University College, work toward MS, Technology Management with a focus on Environmental Management

Margaret's involvement with the Garden to Table program grew from her volunteer work in the school's garden. An avid gardener and cook, Margaret enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a substitute G2T teacher, which lead to her becoming a G2T Guide. Margaret has taught in non-traditional classrooms while working as a state park ranger, developing and conducting both natural and historical interpretative programs. She has also provided public education on solid waste management for many years during her career as a recycling coordinator and consultant in Northern Virginia.
Stasia Greenewalt
Stasia Greenewalt
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Position: Permaculture
University of Virginia: BA, Art and Biology (1996)


Before joining us as a part-time faculty member in 2011, Stasia shared her extensive gardening experience with the Mountaintop community as a parent volunteer and provided leadership to major efforts such as the building of our greenhouse and the large garden adjacent to it. Her experience includes biology research lab management at Cornell University and gardening at Monticello Gardens and the Center for Historic Plants. Stasia completed the Permaculture Design Course with the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network in 2011.
Emily Hunt
Emily Hunt
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Position: Art
Joined: 1995
University of Virginia: BA in Art History (1977)


Emily is formally trained in painting and sculpture including an intensive summer studio art program at Virginia Commonwealth University and studying under the renowned portrait artist, Nickodemus Hufford. Emily has worked with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to maintain an educational partnership between our school and the museum. She is also a long-time public servant who has served in local government in Nelson County and on a task force of Central Virginia art supporters studying resources for art education in the state.
Wendetta Dowdell
Wendetta Dowdell
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Position: Art Assistant; Facilities Assistant
Joined: 2005



Wendetta served in the United States Navy for four years and has experience in the textile industry and small business. She is Emily's assistant in the art room and also assists with facilities work.
Alma Scheible
Alma Scheible
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Position: Ecology Guide; Elementary After-School Guide
Joined: 1986
Vermont Wilderness School: Art of Mentoring (2008)


Alma worked at a Montessori school in Texas prior to joining the Mountaintop faculty. She assisted long-time Lower Elementary 1 guide, Estra Roell, in the classroom for many years including the years when our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary was established. Alma has guided art, PE, ecology and garden-to-table sessions for students of all ages.
Laura Leva
Laura Leva
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Position: Music, Dance & Drama Guide
Joined: 2005
Virginia Commonwealth University: Orff-Schulwerk Certification (2011)
Northeast Montessori Institute: 3-6, Primary (2007)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: BA, Interdisciplinary Studies (2003)
Laura began working at Mountaintop as an assistant and attended Montessori training at Northeast Montessori Institute in the summer of 2006. Laura began assisting with performing arts instruction at Mountaintop in 2010. She also coordinates our after-school enrichment program during the school year.

Before/After School Programs

Jenni Taibbi
Jenni Taibbi
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Position: Elementary After-School
Joined: 2013
Virginia Commonwealth University: Spanish & Global Studies with Concentration in Social Relations and International Perspectives (2010)


Jenni comes to us with experience working with children of all ages, especially adolescents and young children. She is a fluent Spanish-speaker and developed an after-school Spanish program for the International School in 2007.
Shawn Carey
Shawn Carey
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Position: CH2 Dolphin Class Guide; Children's House Afterschool Coordinator
Joined: 2001
Montessori Training Center of New England: 3-6, Primary (2008)
University of Virginia: MEd (2003)
Virginia Commonwealth University: BS, Education/Special Ed (1988)
Shawn came to Mountaintop with several years of experience in preschool special education in the city of Charlottesville. She began here as a member of our afterschool program staff and went on to pursue Montessori training. Shawn has been a leader on our faculty especially in the area of afterschool programming where she has help us achieve a high level of consistency with the Montessori classrooms.
Kristen Mays
Kristen Mays
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Position: Toddler 2 Assistant; After-school
Joined: 2013
Monticello High School


Kristen has several years of experience with young children in preschool and recreational settings.
Pete Sacco
Pete Sacco
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Position: Elementary Afterschool Guide
Joined: 2011
Virginia Commonwealth University
Piedmont Virginia Community College

Pete assisted with art lessons for our elementary students and offered art classes in our afterschool enrichment program from 2011-2013. He is also a musician and has studied music education and business. He rejoins us in the 2014-15 school year as one of our elementary afterschool guides.
Alma Scheible
Alma Scheible
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Position: Ecology Guide; Elementary After-School Guide
Joined: 1986
Vermont Wilderness School: Art of Mentoring (2008)


Alma worked at a Montessori school in Texas prior to joining the Mountaintop faculty. She assisted long-time Lower Elementary 1 guide, Estra Roell, in the classroom for many years including the years when our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary was established. Alma has guided art, PE, ecology and garden-to-table sessions for students of all ages.