“…a teacher’s task is not a small or easy one! He has to prepare a huge amount of knowledge to satisfy the child’s mental hunger, and he is not like the ordinary teacher, limited by a syllabus.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Montessori Children’s Community was founded on a commitment to “follow the child.” One of our greatest strengths is our highly trained and qualified teachers who take a personal interest in their students and parents. They care about the whole child and see education as a preparation for life. These dedicated teachers form the foundation of a respectful community in which each child can learn and develop into a responsible and contributing member of our global world. Our teaching staff has the unique distinction of having 13 Montessori Certified Head Teachers. “Montessori” is often misunderstood, and teachers often regarded as “less trained” or qualified. This misconception could not be more incorrect. A Montessori Head Teacher must have an undergraduate degree, PA Teacher Certification, and graduate from a rigorous yearlong program to become a certified AMS Montessori Teacher. In addition to our Head Teachers, there are separate elementary teachers for Spanish, Art, Music, and Physical Education. Our faculty is a gifted and dedicated group of individuals who have chosen to provide unparalleled educational opportunities to their students.
Our low student-to-teacher ratio (10:1) allows our teachers to focus on each child’s needs and development.
The American Montessori Society (AMS) is committed to promoting quality Montessori education, and they have very strict requirements and courses that teachers must take to receive certification. All Head Teachers at Montessori Children’s Community have their AMS certification, a Bachelor’s Degree and or Master’s Degree and teacher certification from the PA State Department of Private Academic Schools. We are proud that our faculty has well over 100 years of Montessori education experience!
CHILDREN’S HOUSE AM FACULTY
Becky is the Lead Co-Head Teacher for the Children’s House morning session. Becky holds a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Carlow College and a B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University, with a double major in Psychology and Literary/Cultural Studies. She has Montessori teacher certification at the 3-6 level from the Montessori Western Teacher Training Program. Becky has experience working as the Education Director and Head Teacher at the Western Pennsylvania Montessori School in Allison Park.
Terri is Head of the Children’s House Program and the teacher in the Extended Day classroom. Terri holds Pennsylvania Private Academic School certification in Early Childhood Education (ages 3-6) and in Elementary Education (grades 1-6) as well as well as School Management Certification from the American Montessori Society. Terri received her Early Childhood Montessori teacher training from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and her Elementary Montessori teacher training form The Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, New York. She earned her Master’s in Education from Xavier University. Terri founded Montessori Children’s Community and has served as its School Head since 1991. She has been a Montessori Teacher since 1973.
Raphaële is a teacher in the Children’s House Morning Session. Raphaële holds a Masters Degree from the University of Louisana at Layfayette with an emphasis on Education of the Gifted and Talented. She has taught at the French International School and the Anglo-Singapore International School of Bangkok, Thailand, at the Delcambre Elementary School, Iberia Parish School Board, in Delcambre, Louisana, and as a Foreign Language Teacher for two years in China. She also served as the Coordinator and Manager of Côtes D’Armour Vietnam in Vinh, Vietnam. Raphaele is receiving her Montessori Primary Teacher Certification (3-6 years) through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Heather is a teacher in the Children’s House Morning Session. Heather holds a Masters in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts: Sociology and Anthropology from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. She has been a Communication Skills Instructor at Robert Morris College, the Assistant Coordinator of International Field Programs for the Institute for Shipboard Education in Pittsburgh and a Basic Writing Instructor at the University of Minnesota. Heather previously taught at the Sunshine Montessori School in Minneapolis, MN.
CHILDREN’S HOUSE ALL-DAY FACULTY
Kristie is a Co-Head Teacher in the Children’s House All-Day classroom. Kristie holds a Pennsylvania state teacher’s certification (Kindergarten through 6th Grade) and Montessori certification from Montessori Education Teacher Training Consortium (METTC) in Boston, MA. Kristie is a graduate of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in psychology. She has worked in Human Relations for Mylan, Inc., served as the Assistant Director and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher at the Children’s Center, and worked as a substitute teacher in both the Quaker Valley and North Allegheny School Districts.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, state teacher certification for grades Kindergarten through 8th, Kindergarten teaching certification from the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools, and a Masters in Special Education. She has experience in working with children 18 months through 6 years old. Melissa has worked in daycare at Carol Leone’s Gymnastics in Moon Township and at Bridgeville Kinder Care. She has been a Group Supervisor and Children’s Aquatics Instructor at the Sewickley YMCA. She is taking her Montessori Teacher Training from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
LOWER ELEMENTARY FACULTY
Jon is a Head Teacher in the Lower Elementary program. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh with a major in English Literature and Creative Writing. He holds both Elementary Education Teacher Certification, as well as Middle School Teacher Certification in English. Before joining MCC, Jon taught 2nd grade at the Urban Pathways Charter School in Pittsburgh. He took his Lower Elementary Montessori Teacher Training at the Montessori Education Training Collaborative in Boston. His volunteer activities include working as an Assistant Teacher in the “Helping Hands Cusco” Preschool in Cusco, Peru, as well as an English Instructor in both the Seoul Alternative Schools and the Deoksan Orphanage in Seoul, South Korea..
UPPER ELEMENTARY FACULTY
Rachael is a Co-Head Teacher. She received her M.S. in Education with teacher certification as a Reading Specialist from Goucher College and her Bachelors of Science with teacher certification in Elementary Education and Special Education from Saint Francis University. She taught 5th grade at Jessup Elementary School in Jessup, MD, for five years and at Manor View Elementary School in Fort Mead, MD, as a Special Education Teacher for two years. She is taking her Montessori Teacher Training for both Elementary levels (ages 6-12) at the Montessori Education Teacher Training Consortium. Rachael has held many leadership positions, most recently, Head of the “Leader in Me Program” which is Stephen Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” system as applied in the elementary education school setting.
Nicole has a Bachelor of Science in Education with teacher certifications in Elementary Education (Kindergarten through 6th grade) and Special Education (Nursery School through12th grade). She has recently moved back to Pittsburgh from the Tampa, Florida area where she taught 4th grade for 4 years and 1st grade for one year in the Pasco County School District. She has also taught at the Desert Horizon Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona where she worked with children in grades 2 through 4 in a self-contained higher academics autism classroom. She will go to Montessori training next summer at the Montessori Education Teacher Training Collaborative in Boston.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY
Tess is the Lead Co-Head Teacher. Tess received her Montessori Adolescent training at the Montessori Adolescent Teacher Training Course at Hershey Montessori Farm School. Tess is a 1990 graduate of Allegheny College with a Bachelor of Arts in History. She also holds a Master of Arts from the University of Delaware in American History and Museum Studies (1992). She has been an adjunct faculty member at Seton Hill University and at the University of Pittsburgh where she taught Children’s and Adolescent’s Literature Courses. She served in Literacy AmeriCorps and was a staff member of Beginning with Books for 11 years, and prior to joining us, she was the Children’s Manager at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley.
Jonathan is a Co-Head Teacher. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and holds an MA in Teaching from Chatham University. He was a fellow at Yale University National Initiative in Primary Mathematics, Environment and Energy Policy (2009 and 2011). He has taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools as a Math, English, and Science Teacher from 2004 to 2013 and 2015 to 2019. Jonathan was a Middle School Mathematics Teacher at Manchester Academic Charter School (2017 – 2018). He has also held numerous Educational Program Leadership positions. His Independent Studies and Personal Cultural Immersion Experiences include Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Ghana, Thailand, Chile, Mexico, United Kingdom, and Bermuda.
Chris is a physician, having practiced medicine as a member of the South Hills Radiology Associates at St. Clair Hospital for 30 years. He is the father of four sons. Chris is a graduate of Case Western Reserve Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio. He teaches Middle School science and current events.
Courtney is the Art Teacher. She has a Bachelor of Education in Art and Art History as well as state teacher certification in Art for Kindergarten through 8th grade. She taught for 6 years in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Hickory Ridge High School. Since returning to Pittsburgh, she has taught at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the Bethel Park School District, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and was the Lead Teacher for the Ingomar Child Enrichment Center. She has also been the Volunteer and Program Director for the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania.
Carmen is the Spanish Teacher. Carmen is a native Spanish speaker from Caracas, Venezuela. She has taught Spanish courses at St. Bernadette Catholic School in Monroeville as well as served as an Instructor for the Spanish Summer Camp and Saturday Spanish School Program at Winchester Thurston. Ms. Blanco is also accomplished in the field of music performance – having studied and played the cello in the Pittsburgh area (Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and Duquesne University Symphony Orchestra). She also trained as a Suzuki Cello Teacher at the School for Strings in New York. With her musical background as well as “Musikgarten” certification, she teaches the music program in the Children’s House.
Erich is the Lower Elementary Music Teacher. He is a classical guitarist from Long Island, New York. Erich attended Rowan University for classical guitar performance as well as music education. Upon completing his undergraduate studies, Mr. Riebe pursued his master’s degree in guitar performance with Grammy award winning artist Jason Vieaux. When not strumming on his guitar, he enjoys watching hockey and going camping and hiking.
Chris instructs the Upper Elementary and Middle School students. Originally from Watertown, Connecticut, he spent seven years in Ithaca, NY, attending Ithaca College where he received his Bachelors of Music in music Education and Master of Music in Suzuki Pedagogy. In addition to being a dedicated teacher both at MCC and at the Center for Young Musicians, Chris is also an active performer and enjoys composing and arranging music.
Coach Dave is a Certified Sports Instructor/Coach and a Certified Instructor for High Mark Healthy 5 SPARK Program for children and adolescents. He has been directing successful physical education programs for over 30 years. Coach Dave focuses on overall strength, coordination, and teamwork.
Amy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. She served for 3 years as the Promotions Director for the Pittsburgh Theater Corporation and for 15 years as the Co-Founder and President of Women of the Cloud Forest which is an organization that works to promote the artisans in rural Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Amy assists with the Big Trip to Costa Rica.
Melissa worked for 17 years as the Special Events Manager in the Marketing Department at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. She previously worked for 11 years as the Executive Assistant / Customer Service Supervisor / Production Manager at J&L Specialty Steel Corporation. Prior to joining our staff, she has worked as the Director of Project Management at Fireman Creative.