“…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 FACULTY
Terri is Head of the Children’s House Program and one of the Co-Head Teachers for the Children’s House. 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.
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.
Diana is an Co-Head Teacher. She holds a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in Art Education for Kindergarten through Grade 12. Diana is a graduate of Carlow University and has worked as a resident artist at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center and as an academic counselor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She has also worked for the Black Hawk School District for the past 4 years as a swimming coach for Grades Kindergarten through 3rd. Diana is receiving her Montessori Teacher Training from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Mikaela is a Co-Head Teacher in Children’s House. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Robert Morris University. She attended the Columbus Montessori Teacher Education program and holds Infant and Toddler certification. She has experience as a Toddler Montessori Teacher, a child care provider, as well as a swim instructor and coach. She is receiving her Montessori Primary Teacher Certification (3 to 6 years) through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Katie is the Head Teacher of the Extended Day program. She is a graduate of Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, Oregon and holds a Masters in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. She is a Pennsylvania state-certified teacher (Kindergarten through 6th grade) and has taught as a Second Grade Teacher, an Intervention Specialist, and a Kindergarten teacher in Lake Bluff, Illinois.
LOWER ELEMENTARY FACULTY
Linda is a Co-Head Teacher in the Lower Elementary Program. Prior to serving as the Head of the Lower School at Sewickley Academy, Linda was a 2nd grade teacher there for eight years, as well as serving for a time as Director of Admissions. Linda’s educational background includes a Master’s of Education degree from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as Montessori teacher certification from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, New York.
Kristie is a Co-Head Teacher in the Lower Elementary program. 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.
Jon is a Co-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..
Cheryl is a Co-Head Teacher in the Lower Elementary program. She holds a Masters of Arts from Lesley University in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis on integrating the Arts, a Bachelor of Arts from Carlow University with teacher certifications in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and an Associates of Science Degree in Child Development from CCAC. Before joining MCC, she was a 1st grade teacher at the Berkeley Elementary School in Charleston, SC, for nine years. She received her Montessori Teacher Training for the Lower Elementary level at Seacoast Center for Education in Charleston, SC.
UPPER ELEMENTARY FACULTY
Cathy is a Lead Co-Head Teacher in the Upper Elementary program. She received her Bachelor of Science from Princeton University in Electrical Engineering with a Certificate in Engineering Physics and a Certificate in Theater and Dance, her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Material Science and Engineering, and her Montessori Teaching Training at the Elementary Level (ages 6-12) at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York. She has taught at the Carnegie Science Center, the Ellis School, Chatham College, and the Upper Elementary at the Mt. Lebanon Montessori Academy. She received her Adolescent Montessori Teacher Training at the Association Montessori Internationale’s Orientation to Adolescent Studies in Ohio.
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.
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.
Ali is a Co-Head Teacher. She is a graduate of Sewickley Academy and Penn State University. Ali holds Pennsylvania Middle School Math Teacher Certification and completed her Montessori Teacher Training at the Hershey Montessori School. Ali also worked for several summers as a camp counselor and subsequently as the lead counselor at Stone Mountain Adventures, a residential camp for children/adolescents 12-18 years of age, in State College, PA. She also spent a semester in Budapest, Hungary, studying math education.
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.
Danielle is our Literacy Specialist who works with both teachers and students in Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School. She received her Masters of Education in Reading with Reading Specialist Certification from the University of Pittsburgh and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from California University of Pennsylvania. Before joining MCC, she taught middle school in Pittsburgh Public Schools and Kindergarten through sixth grade English Language Arts and Humanities at Propel Charter Schools.
Rochelle is the Lower Elementary Music Teacher. She began her music studies at the age of five in a local Suzuki Program. She holds a Masters Degree in violin performance from Duquesne University. Rochelle joined the Center for Young Musicians faculty in 2010 and has taught Early Childhood Music, Music Literacy, and American Legends (glockenspiel, recorder, and keyboard).
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.