Additional information about individual teacher qualifications can be obtained though the Main Office upon request.
Joy Baty has a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She is a level 2 licensed teacher for the State of Utah in the areas of Early Childhood and Elementary Education. In addition she is also a certified Early Childhood Montessori teacher. Joy has taught for over 9 years with the vast majority of those years as a Montessorian.
The most important accomplishments for Joy come each day in her classroom working with the students. She knows that their small success in these early years will make the difference as they learn and grow.
Joy is dedicated to providing a high quality education for her students. She has an unquenchable love for learning. She is innately positive and sees the good in everyone. Her classroom is the forefront in peace education and she strives each day to teach the children tolerance, respect, gratitude, and love for all living things. Joy lives life in the present, is amiable, loves to sing, laugh, and enjoys making others laugh with her witty, yet quirky, sense of humor. She views parents as partners in teaching and values their insight.
Currently Joy with her husband Joe, are busy raising their 4 daughters ranging in age from 15 to 1 year. Her dreams are to go on to receive her Masters in Montessori Education sometime in the near future.
Jen received her first Early Childhood certificate through the Utah Montessori Education Foundation in 1999 with Dr. Lois Bobo. She was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go through a second AMS Early Childhood Montessori certification program in 2010 at Westminster College. Jen has been teaching for 15 years in Early Childhood classrooms. Her first year was at Willow Creek Montessori. She then was able spend the next ten years at the Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City followed by two years at Evergreen Montessori in South Ogden. Jen has been at Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden for the past two years. Jen is in the process of getting a degree in Elementary Education through WGU. Jen is involved with the Montessori teacher training program at Westminster College
Jen was born and raised in Utah. She lives in Clearfield with her husband and 3 boys and enormous dog Knox. She loves the outdoors especially skiing (in the water or the snow). She also enjoys spending time with her family doing whatever boys like to do. Right now this includes riding four wheelers, fishing and hiking. Her favorite food is chocolate and her favorite colors are green and blue. She loves teaching and feels blessed to have an occupation that allows her to work with such amazing small people each day.
Martha Trease earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a dual major of Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Weber State University. Last year she received a license in Special Education. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree at Weber State University with Curriculum and Instruction as her major and with a concentration and emphasis on Special Education. She has also taken several courses with the Institute for Guided Studies which is accredited with the Montessori Education Program International.
Martha is in her fifth year working at Maria Montessori Academy. She started as an assistant in the Special Education program, then worked two years as a teacher in the Special Education program, and now she is in her second year working as one of the Early Childhood teachers. She loves children of all ages and abilities and is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful Montessori community.
Martha has lived in Utah all her life. She married her high school sweetheart 40 years ago. They have four grown children and twelve grandchildren. Her favorite pastime is anything to do with spending time with her family. As a family they look forward to vacationing at Lake Powell and spending time together.
Lower Elementary Teachers
Jill Blazer received her Bachelor's of Arts degree from Weber State University in 1998. She also graduated a lower elementary Montessori program from the Institute for Guided Studies, which is accredited with the Montessori Educational Programs International. Jill has been a lead teacher at MMA since 2011. Jill has always had a love of learning. She likes to find ways to include what she learns into her life, and profession.
When first introduced to the ideas of Montessori, Jill thought that it was a parenting program that could help her with her job as a mother. She quickly learned that it was so much more! She and her family have been completely immersed in the philosophies of Maria Montessori since that first impression.
She was born and raised in the Ogden area and currently lives in Hooper with her husband and three of her four children. She has a daughter who is married; she and her husband live in North Ogden. Jill is hoping to be a grandmother soon!
Krista Curran has been a part of Maria Montessori Academy since it opened in 2010. She and her assistant, Sharon Gallegos, have been working beside each other here for the past 6 years. Ms. Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from Thomas Edison State College and has a level 2 teaching license. She has also received her certification as a lead teacher in the Montessori lower-elementary classroom through the Institute of Guided Studies. Previous to working at MMA, she worked at Ogden Valley Montessori School.
As a teenager, Ms. Krista had the unique opportunity to spend eighteen months in Saudi Arabia. While there she was able to educate herself and choose what she wanted to study. Through this experience she learned firsthand that students learn best when given a choice in their education. As an adult, Ms. Krista also lived in Hong Kong. She has traveled to various parts of Europe and Asia, and loves to immerse herself in the rich cultural heritages to be found around the world. She has a great interest in history, art, language, and music. She also enjoys reading, piano, biking, learning new things, and especially spending time with her family.
Ms. Krista loves teaching the children and truly respects them as human beings. Her greatest priority as a teacher is to help each child feel loved, appreciated and welcome in her classroom, so they will have the confidence to reach their highest potential in all aspects of their life.
Holly Gladwell attended Weber State University and earned a Bachelor's of Science Degree and has a level 2 teaching license. She completed her Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary Montessori Certification through Institute of Guided Studies. She receive her teacher endorsement through the State of Utah. She has been working at Maria Montessori School since it opened in 2010.
She discovered the Montessori philosophy while working at Ogden Valley Montessori School as an assistant teacher. She became inspired to be a Montessori teacher at Maria Montessori Academy and applied at the opportunity. Holly was furthering her education in the science profession at this time and made a career transformation. She observed that children were learning respect for themselves, the environment, and for others. The environment was prepared for the sensitive development of the child. The child revealed personal insight through manipulation of the materials. They developed confident personalities as they engaged in prepared lessons and activities with classmates. She was charmed to a world of education that enlightened the minds and hearts of children and gave them the tools to become leaders. It is exciting for her to be part of an educational philosophy that does not inhibit the development of the child's mind, body, and spirit.
She is currently taking Merpati Putih an Indonesian Martial Arts. She has a love for learning and enjoys music, art, camping, biking, hiking, cooking, sewing, reading, and traveling. Family is a huge part of her life.
Marleen Hensley obtained a dual Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Geography from Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. She holds an Association Montessori Internationale Early Childhood certification from the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Phoenix, and started the Master’s of Education program at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. As part of this program, she received an American Montessori Society Early Childhood certification.
Marleen’s journey in Montessori education began as an Early Childhood class room assistant teacher. After receiving her first Early Childhood certification, she transitioned from assistant teacher to lead teacher. Before joining Maria Montessori Academy, Marleen worked at Montessori One Preschool Academy in Albuquerque, at Woodland Montessori School in Phoenix, and at a local Montessori preschool in Ogden.
Marleen grew up in a military family traveling the world. Her background includes a Montessori education from when she was 15 months old until she graduated from High School in Texas. She has been married to her husband since 2010, and together they have one son who is also growing up as a little “Montessorian”. In her free time, Marleen enjoys traveling, skiing, riding bikes, puzzles, reading and CrossFit.
Marleen’s professional goals are to finish the Master’s program, and to learn more about the Montessori elementary curriculum while working at Maria Montessori Academy. She is currently preparing for her first Montessori conference presentation and workshop. Her personal dream is to one day open a homeless shelter, and to implement ways to help those less fortunate.
Brittany Herrera graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and minor in Art Teaching from Weber State University. She presently holds a Utah State level 1 teaching license. She is currently furthering her education, as lower elementary Montessori guide, with the Institute for Guided Studies, which is accredited with the Montessori Education Programs International.
Over the past 13 years, Brittany’s educational experience has led her to amazing experiences working with individuals of all ages and circumstances. Brittany has always had a desire for helping individuals grow in their own unique paths. Her true passion was found within the Montessori philosophy. She has been involved with the Maria Montessori Academy community since 2010. She is currently in her third year as a lead lower elementary guide. Brittany appreciates the beauty of the Montessori philosophy and how the focus is about unfolding the potential each individual holds and sharing those gifts with the world.
When Brittany isn’t in the classroom, both professionally and personally, she is busy with her husband and three daughters. She loves the mountains. Her ideal weekend is spent hiking and camping. She enjoys learning and plans to complete her Master of Education degree in Montessori Education.
Elise graduated from the University of Wyoming, with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and an Early Childhood endorsement. Elise is currently working on her lower elementary Montessori certificate, through the Institute of Guided Studies.
Elise was raised in Gillette, WY. Her family is a huge part of her life and is a great support system. Her mom is a kindergarten teacher, and her dad is an elementary principal. Elise has a younger sister who is 22, working in criminal justice. Elise went to Casper College, and majored in personal training. Taking care of our bodies, with exercise, and proper diet, has always been a passion of hers and still is today. Then, she changed her direction to elementary Physical Education. It was the best of both worlds, being active and being with children. She was drawn to elementary education, and she knew this was where she belonged. Elise felt that she needed something more challenging and more innovative than what her public school student-teaching experience had offered her. After researching the Montessori Method, she knew this was the place for her to start her teaching career. A few of her future goals, are to be a highly respected teacher in the community, and compete in a triathlon.
Kaley has been with MMA since its opening in 2010. Prior to teaching at MMA, she taught 3-6 year olds at another Montessori school. Kaley has been teaching at the lower elementary level since the 2011-2012 school year. She has her Montessori Lower Elementary certification, Utah State Level 1 licensure, Bachelors degree in Industrial Design from The Savannah College of Art and Design, and her Masters Degree in Art Education from Boston University.
Kaley has presented at The Utah Montessori Conference on art and currently serves on the Advisory Committee for MMA.
Living in Utah since 2008, Kaley comes from Baltimore, Maryland. Her interests are: sports, music, making art or crafts, trying new recipes, and reading. Her favorite areas of teaching are: History, Science, Geometry, Zoology, and the Montessori Large Math materials. Currently presides in North Ogden with husband and daughter.
Kaley understands how different each student is at learning and is exceptional at a variety of teaching methods; currently providing students ways to become better writers and how learning is applicable to real life through projects, cultural subjects, the Montessori teaching philosophy, and learning materials. Her organized and art-like approach allows all her students to enjoy the learning path that he or she is on. She looks forward to obtaining her Level 2 Utah State Licensure in the near future.
Jalee Schofield grew up in the small town of Woodruff located in Northern Utah. She is the 7th of 10 children. She currently lives in North Ogden with her husband Eric, their daughter, Sloane, and their new baby boy Sawyer who was born in March of 2016. Sloane is a very active and independent 2 year old. Sawyer has Down syndrome. He is a healthy, growing boy who may come with some challenges in the future but is most definitely a great blessing to their family and home.
Jalee graduated in 2009 from Utah Valley University with her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. She currently holds a Level 2 Utah State Teaching License. She is a Montessori certified Classroom Director of Elementary Education, ages 6-9 through the Institute of Guided Studies.
In the fall of 2010, Jalee began her teaching career when she was hired as a Special Education Assistant Teacher at Ogden Preparatory Academy. She worked there for one year specializing in building up and helping children in reading recovery classes. She was also privileged to tutor a young autistic student after school. She began working at Maria Montessori Academy in 2011, one year after it opened. For her first year she was the assistant to Ms. Kaley Parsons. Not only did this year give her a chance to form a strong lasting friendship with Ms. Kaley, but it allowed her to grow as a person and a teacher as she went through the process of growth as a Montessori teacher. In 2012, Jalee was blessed with the opportunity to become the lead teacher in her own classroom. The last 4 years, have been a wonderful journey of growth and love.
Jalee enjoys being with her family, especially her husband and children. She loves to find time to spend with her younger siblings and reminisce about growing up. Her favorite season is Autumn, and she loves living in a place where all the seasons are so different. Some of her favorite things are reading, laughing, being with her family, being with her students, hamburgers and fries (especially Red Robin and Five Guys), Sweedish Fish, Starburst, the color blue, and being outside.
Her husband says she is an “awkward gift receiver,” but she loves to give to others.
Her goal as a Montessori teacher is to continue to grow in peace education and be able to share her love of learning with her students and let them know she loves and believes in them.
Upper Elementary Teachers
Paula is a retired Air Force officer who served as an aircraft maintenance and logistics officer at locations throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. She has a Bachelor of Art in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master in Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. She is a Certified Classroom Director of Elementary Education (Ages 6-12) from the Montessori Education Programs International, Inc. and has a State of Utah Professional Educator License, Level 2.
Her children attended both public and private schools thorough out America, Europe and Japan; with vastly different educational experiences (including a private Montessori school in Germany). Paula became increasingly more involved with her children's schools through volunteering for the PTO, as a teacher's aide, substituting, and as a member of the Board of Director for a local charter school. She has coached girls’ basketball and soccer, boys’ soccer and was an avid supporter of the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, volunteering as a Girl Scout Leader and Cub Scout Den Leader.
As she once felt "called" to serve in the Air Force, she now feels another calling to work with children. Believing families should have a choice in educational options for their child, she is thrilled to join the Mari Montessori Academy team. From her own observations and experience, Paula believes that children learn and develop best when they are respected as individuals, helped to identify and work toward goals, learn to work as a team in a safe and supportive environment, encouraged to question, explore and think independently with the opportunity for their thoughts and ideas to be heard.
Paula is married to Rick, a site manager for Lockheed Martin at Hill AFB. They have two children; Jessica, a social worker in Colorado and Derek currently a student teacher from Utah State University. Her overseas tours fueled in her a love for travel and experiencing different cultural traditions, which she has done at every possible opportunity. She loves to spend her spare time with family and friends skiing, and hiking, cooking and eating gourmet food, and reading.
- 2016 Utah K – 8 Elementary and K – 12 Special Education Level II Teaching License
- 2015 Post Baccalaureate Elementary Teaching Certificate (Weber State University, Utah)
- 2015 MEPI (Montessori Educational Programs International) K – 6 Elementary Teaching Certificate
- 2011 Master of Education in Inclusion (Chichester College, United Kingdom)
- 2006 Post Graduate Certificate of Education (Brighton University, United Kingdom)
- 2001 Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Environmental Health Studies (University of the West of England, United Kingdom)
- 1987 Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate (Marble Arch Training Center, United Kingdom)
- 1984 Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Environmental Science (Sussex University, United Kingdom)
- Since February 2012 employed first as a teaching aide in Special Education and then from June 2012 to the present day as a full-time Upper Elementary teacher (grades 4 – 6) at Maria Montessori Academy, Utah.
- From October 2006 until December 2011 worked as a full-time Special Education teacher for grades 9 – 12 at Chichester College, England. Instructing mainly students with mild to moderate disabilities, but also students with severe disabilities.
- From 1987 through 1992 teaching English as a foreign (second) language in Tokyo, Japan and then Santander, Spain.
- From 1993 through 2005 working full and then part-time as an acupuncturist and massage specialist in Spain, Australia and England.
- From 1999 through 2005 employed part-time as a medical triage administrator with General Medicine Practitioners in England.
- English, Spanish, some French and Japanese.
Ongoing Professional Development:
- Developing ideas to use in mathematics common core 4-6.
Kirsten grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi as the youngest of seven children. She moved to Utah in 1998 and graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies in 2000. She continued her education by pursuing her level 1 Utah teaching license and being trained as a lower and upper elementary Montessori guide by the Institute for Guided Studies. She has worked as an assistant teacher for two years and a lead teacher for three years in an upper elementary classroom at Maria Montessori Academy.
Kirsten is the proud mother three amazing daughters. She loves spending time with her family, taking walks, bike rides, and reading books. She also loves teaching using the Montessori philosophy as a guide. She enjoys building relationships with her students and watching them grow and progress through the curriculum. She plans to pursue her level 2 Utah teaching license and continue learning and growing as a teacher.
Ms. Nicoletta is originally from the Pacific Northwest area. She holds her B.A. in Ecological Studies and minor in Sociology from Seattle University. She received a M.Ed. in Montessori Education from St. Catherine’s University. She has her upper and lower elementary Montessori certification through the Institute for Guided Studies, lower elementary Montessori certification from North American Montessori Center and her Utah State teaching license.
She has been in the Montessori classroom since 2005 as an upper elementary lead teacher and has been at Maria Montessori Academy since conversations began to open a Montessori Charter School. She has been teaching at Maria Montessori Academy since the doors opened in 2010. She is currently finishing her third term on the board of directors for Montessori Education Programs International. Montessori is a part of her lifestyle; it is not only applied in the classroom, but in her daily life. She is very excited to work at Maria Montessori Academy and know that the Montessori philosophy is an inviting and astounding education tool to watch blossom within a child. She fully believes all children need to have an opportunity for the love of learning.
Ms. Nicoletta loves the outdoors, snow, the colors green and blue, live music and traveling. She is married to a Pacific Northwest native, they moved here in 2001 to ski for one year and never turned back. They now have two children, both attending Montessori education. As a family they love to take road trips, camp, hike, ski, live music, laugh, play board games, and swim in freshwater.
Amy Otto graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She is a level 2 licensed educator for the State of Utah. Amy has completed her Montessori training and is now a certified Lower & Upper Elementary Montessori guide. She has spent most of her life teaching children, youth and young adults.
Amy is currently taking professional development classes through USOE. She is constantly learning new techniques to implement into the classroom. She would like to pursue another degree in the future. Those plans are yet to be determined.
Amy is married to her college sweetheart. Together they are raising 4 wonderful children ranging in age from 18 to 10 years in age. One of her greatest challenges and successes in life is being a cancer survivor. With the help of a fantastic family, great surgeons and a wonderful school family she is now a 5 year breast cancer survivor. Her heart is with her family and her classroom. She absolutely LOVES teaching and educating children.
Amity Rockwell received a Bachelor of Science, in 2006, from Weber State University, where she studied Botany and Chemistry. Before pursuing teaching, she worked as an analytical chemist for a local nutritional supplement company. Amity received both her lower and upper elementary Montessori training from the Institute for Guided Studies. She is currently part of Utah’s ARL program working toward her level I license, and plans to pursue a level II license when she is able.
Amity’s experience in Montessori Education began when she enrolled her daughter in an early childhood program nearly 10 years ago. Prior to becoming a teacher at Maria Montessori Academy, she volunteer taught Botany in an upper elementary classroom for two years. 2015-2016 marks Amity’s third year as a lead upper-elementary teacher at Maria Montessori Academy.
Amity lives with her husband and daughter on the East Bench in Ogden. She enjoys spending time with her family making short films, hiking, camping, gardening and cooking.
Stephaney Williamson is originally from Idaho where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Psychology. While living in the mountains of Idaho she worked as a children’s librarian, a district library director, a client mentor at a teen treatment center, and as a part of a team which brought a county-wide preschool program to a rural area. She has also had additional training in child development, parent education, crisis intervention, management and Montessori education.
Stephaney entered the world of Montessori education in 2012 at Maria Montessori Academy and has since completed her Montessori Classroom Director Certification for Ages 6-9 from MEPI and Ages 6-12 from AMS. Presently she is completing her final semester of the Masters of Education program at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT.
In her spare time Stephaney enjoys visiting her children and grandchildren, riding dirt bikes, teaching, doing research, gardening and learning new things.
Shanan Zollinger is a native of Utah. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Education and Minor in Physical Education from Utah State University. She is certified as an early childhood, lower and upper elementary Montessori guide through the Institute for Guided Studies. She holds a level 2 license. Shanan has been in a Montessori classroom since 2005. She started out in an early childhood classroom and when Maria Montessori Academy opened she moved to a lower elementary class. She switched again and has been an upper elementary teacher going on three years. She is currently employed by the Institute of Guides Studies as a field supervisor and trainer.
Her commitment to the Montessori philosophy is lifelong. Her deep respect for the child and understanding of the Montessori philosophy is evident in her classroom and her practices.
Jr. High Teachers
Derek Dugan received his Bachelor of Science in Geography (major) and Physical Education teaching at Utah State University in December 2015. He obtained his Level One Teaching Certificate through the Utah State Office of Education. He has wanted to be a part of the Maria Montessori community for 3 years now and is eager to be a part of the Jr. High team.
While a student at USU, Derek volunteered as a judge for the Science Fair and as a soccer instructor for the lower elementary here at MMA. During his student teaching at Roy Junior High School, he was an assistant coach for the girls volleyball team, helped coach the girl’s softball team and assisted with the Pickle Ball club.
Social Studies has been a passion for Derek since he was a freshman in high school. He was born in Germany into a military family and has lived throughout the United States and overseas including an exciting tour in Japan. He loved moving and experiencing different cultures, traditions and unique geography and hopes to share some of that passion with his students.
Derek enjoys being outdoors and playing sports. Eventually Derek hopes to expand his travel experiences to visit some of the exciting sights of the world such as; The Great Barrier Reef, The Great Pyramids of Egypt, and Burj Al Arab and bring these experiences back with him to the classroom.
Rob Garrett is amazed and proud to be a part of the Jr. High School at Maria Montessori Academy since it began in 2013! He currently teaches 7th and 8th grade Integrated Science as well as high school Earth Science and Biology. Before becoming a Montessori educator, Rob received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Weber State University and completed Master and Doctoral coursework in Theology from Loyola University Chicago, where he also worked as an adjunct professor. He subsequently worked as an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming.
While teaching college students he realized how unprepared academically and socially the majority of students were upon entering the university. He often thought of the possibly teaching and mentoring adolescents where he could help them develop critical thinking skills and provide social and experiential learning opportunities. After moving back to Utah, Rob was fortunate to pursue this ambition by receiving training at the Houston Montessori Center under the tutelage of Dr. Betsy Coe and being hired as a 7-9 grade teacher at MMA. In addition to Montessori secondary training, he is furthering his passion for education by pursuing a second Master Degree in Secondary Education from Utah State University.
Rob is a father of four children; two of whom have grown up as “Montessorians.” In his recreational time he can be found running trails and cycling or actively involved in the Ogden community.
College and Career Awareness
College and Career Awareness
Ms. Emily is the instructor of College and Career Awareness, a 7th grade core class. She also teaches keyboarding and Computer Technology. She graduated from Weber State University and is in her ninth year of teaching. She has endorsements in Business Education and Physical Education and is currently working toward the Business and Marketing Information Technology Endorsement. She completed her Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary Montessori training through Institute of Guided Studies.
Ms. Emily loves to hike, dance, read, swim, run, eat, sing, bake and learn. She has three children and an awesome husband that is always reminding her of the wonders in life.
She believes that human beings are a composite of physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and intellectual dimensions. All aspects of our humanness must be nurtured. The potential of each individual is great. It is not my role as an educator to determine this potential, but to provide an environment such that each individual can begin to discover their own individual potential.
Theater/Yearbook/ 9th Grade English
Lisa Holliday Mukabire
Theater/Yearbook/ 9th Grade English
Lisa Holliday Mukabire has an Master of Art in Teaching and Learning. She has a Level 2 Professional Teaching License, with endorsements to teach Theatre and English. She student taught at Northwest Middle School, in the Salt Lake City School District. Her professional teaching experience has included: Mont Harmon Junior High (Carbon Country School District); Fort Herriman Middle School (Jordan School District); Gompers Preparatory Academy (San Diego, CA); Dasman Model School (Kuwait); Al Shahama Girls School (Abu Dhabi Education Council); and Aisha Bint Abi Baker Girls School (Abu Dhabi Education Council).
She is currently in her 10th year of professional teaching. Lisa has had the privilege of initiating the Theatre programs at several schools in which she has taught. Additionally, Lisa has directed several student plays. At Northwest Middle School, she was the Musical Director for the student production of Annie. While teaching at Mont Harmon Junior High, she directed Antigone, the first-ever student production for that school. At Gompers Preparatory Academy, she wrote and directed an adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. While teaching in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Lisa was part of a systemic educational reform program, and helped to create the English curriculum that is currently being used across all of Abu Dhabi.
Lisa is married and has a 2 year old son. She is currently the advisor for the school yearbook and literary magazine. Additionally, she has initiated a school Thespian Society, which will perform a student production in the spring.
English Language Arts
David McConkey recently graduated from Weber State University with a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. Mr. Dave is currently in an ARL (Alternative Routes to Licensure) program which he will complete at the conclusion of this school year. Mr. Dave’s teaching experience stems from two origins: activity based discovery learning from Weber State’s Upward Bound Program and traditional teaching from the Weber State Education Program. He blends the two methods in the classroom creating a harmony of math teaching which demonstrates the concept while giving it an application.
Mr. Dave's passion for math has grown from early in his junior high years of school and expanded as he discovered new things in the ever-developing field of mathematics. This passion has naturally extended to all the sciences.
Mr. Dave is married and has a 2 year old son at home. He loves to spend his free time with his family going on adventures throughout the cities of Utah, saving the galaxy from unknown threats throughout the universe in the virtual world, and learning new ways to do math.
Ms. Leigh is originally from Utah and lived in the Pacific Northwest area for more than 18 years. She holds her B.A. in Ecological Studies from Seattle University. She received a M.A. in Sustainable Development from World Learning, SIT Graduate Institute.
Leigh has been with Maria Montessori Academy since the winter of 2016. Her background is in experiential learning which makes Montessori a seamless fit. She is excited about teaching the Jr. High Erdkinder and Peer Mentor programs. Leigh believes they both are important pieces in creating a well-rounded and prepared environment for our future leaders and caretakers of our environmental and social communities.
Ms. Leigh loves to be in nature, reading, live music and traveling. She has traveled and lived in many places both nationally and internationally. She enjoys sharing her experiences and encourages others to explore, learn, and laugh as much as possible.
P.E. / Health
P.E. / Health
Casey Swain has a bachelors degree in physical education with a minor in health and coaching. He student taught at Orion Junior High here in Pleasant View and helped coach Roy High School's girl's soccer team for 1 season. For six months he worked as a long-term substitute teacher in math at TH Bell Junior High. He has a great passion for all things related to sports and health.
This is Casey's second year here at Maria Montessori Academy. He will be teaching Physical Education, Fit for Life, Health and Weight Training. He is certified by NASPE to teach archery for Physical Education.
Casey is married and has a 1 year old daughter at home. He loves to spend his free time with family, playing soccer and participating in numerous athletic events. He choose to become a teacher to help the youth develop a passion for physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. He is excited to help students achieve this throughout the year.
Andria Yost holds a Masters degree and teaching license from Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, and a Bachelors degree with dual majors in Art and Psychology from Weber State University. Maria Montessori Academy has been home to Andria for over a year, where she started as an upper elementary assistant. Now, while the Jr. High is growing, she is eager to be a part of the Arts and life with the MMA family.
Sculpture is an expressive tool for Andria, and her work has been exhibited in galleries and publications. The mentor-student relationship has always inspired her work and given her a great passion for education, with a desire to share her love of learning and the arts.
Andria is from Ogden, and has been with her husband, Adam, for 9 years. Adam taught her how to snowboard and in return, she taught him to play chess. They met in art school, and are still developing creatively which each other. Together, they have a new baby boy, Theo. Her family loves to travel and go rock hunting; once, they found a crystal mountain.
Andria is currently a member of the Junior League of Ogden, and Chair of Oasis Community Garden in Ogden. These works are important to her because of their impact on her hometown. Working regularly with volunteers, gardeners, and other board members, she is able to see the great influence of those who are dedicated to the success of Ogden.
Dana Archuleta has a Master of Education from Texas Tech University and is licensed in Special Education and Elementary Education. Dana comes to Maria Montessori Academy from Albuquerque, New Mexico where she taught for 21 years. Dana started her career teaching at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She was there for 10 years. For the last 11 years, Dana has been a teacher in an inclusion classroom and the Head Special Education Teacher at a public Elementary School.
As the Special Education Coordinator at MMA, Dana would like to create a Special Education Program that gives all students the same opportunities and a quality education.
Dana moved to Utah in May 2016 to join her wife Stacey. Together they have 3 boys. Their oldest son is in college, and their two youngest son’s attend MMA. As a family, they enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, and playing a variety of games.
Kathleen Lowe was born in Connecticut, but grew up all over the East Coast and Asia (Korea, Philippines, and Japan), and spent most of her adult life in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. She studied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Brigham Young University, but left during her senior year to work as an artist in the video game industry. When her children entered high school, Kat went back to school at Western Governors University, and earned a degree in Elementary and Special Education. She is endorsed by the state of Utah in Elementary Special Education, K-6 Elementary Education, and Secondary Special Education. She has studied Montessori Foundations, and Upper and Lower Elementary math and language at the Institute of Guided Studies.
Kat discovered the Montessori math materials and curriculum while home-schooling her own children, one of whom has autism and ADHD. She was further introduced to the philosophy behind the materials when she came to work at Maria Montessori Academy in 2011. She is passionate about the untapped potential of “disabled” people. She feels that Montessori is a great way to integrate children with special needs into general education classrooms, by allowing them to work at their own pace and develop a real love of learning.
Painting, traveling, and reading are Kat’s primary hobbies, though she is also known to indulge in video games, sci-fi movies, and swimming.
Gabrielle Robinson received her B.S. in Elementary Education and her specialist certification in teaching mild to moderate cross-categorical disabilities from Missouri Western State University. She received her primary Montessori training at Clay Platte Montessori, and has taught in early childhood, elementary and secondary settings.
Gaby has been involved with special education since the age of ten, both as a volunteer and a peer mentor. She fell in love with teaching early in her college career during a literature study on education reform featuring revolutionary Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. She discovered Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy soon after as a result of a close friendship with a Montessorian. Montessori spoke to her soul and she never looked back.
Gaby’s experiences in her personal life have left her with a particular fondness for enriching the lives of young people with autism spectrum disorders, behavior disorders and sensory dysfunctions. She is creative and compassionate in her approach to education and strives to instill a love of learning in each of her students.
She met the talented staff of Maria Montessori Academy at the MEPI Hands for Peace Conference in 2016 and moved to Utah to join the incredible team of educators at MMA. Gaby firmly believes that one who strives to teach must never cease to learn; therefore, she plans to continue her education by beginning an Elementary Montessori certification program next year. Gaby resides in the North Ogden area with her fiancé, Alex, and their two pets, Keidis and Lily.
Jodi Smith earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah in Therapeutic Recreation in 2000, a Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (CELTA) in Hungary in 2002, a Utah Special Educator’s License in 2013 from Weber State University, and is currently working toward her Masters in Education.
She has gained vast experience through her work, and travels in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Her places of practice over that last two decades include: expeditionary learning environments, teen counseling centers, ESL schools abroad, colleges, pre-schools, and elementary schools both public and charter.
One of her most important accomplishments, besides traveling and working towards her own academic career, is being the mother of a bright and curious Montessori six-year-old! Watching him grow up in a loving home and a Montessori community has been the highlight of her life.
Jodi is married to an Englishman, also a teacher at Maria Montessori, and the mother of one. She is originally from Virginia, but traveled and lived all over the States, Europe and Asia before returning to the USA in 2011 to be closer to family. She enjoys outdoor pursuits with family and friends. She loves teaching all subjects, but especially reading. One of her main goals is to model enthusiasm and passion for learning with hopes that her pupils will grow up to value education as well. After moving to Ogden in 2011 and finding a Montessori pre-school for her son, she and her family have embraced the Montessori way. She loves working with her colleagues and students in this amazing Montessori environment.
Ms. Lynette Whitehead is a special education teacher at Maria Montessori Academy. She received a degree in special education mild/moderate from Utah State University. She is licensed to teach special education mild/moderate K-12. This is her second year at Maria Montessori Academy. This year she will be working with elementary students to hone their math and social skills. She is working with other special educators to help students to succeed in the general education classroom.