Office Staff

April Bench

Office Manager

April Bench

April Bench

Office Manager 

April Bench is a graduate of Weber High School. She attended Weber State; she was an office manager for the Circulation Department at the Standard Examiner for 7 years and an executive officer for the Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association for 11 years.

April joined Maria Montessori Academy as an upper elementary assistant in 2010 and then taught in the Special Education department for three years. She has a Utah para-educator certificate, and the Montessori foundations course through the Institute for Guided Studies. She entered the office as the IT Specialist in 2013 and began as the office manager in 2015.

April is a Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor since 2008. She has 3 daughters and has been married 18 years. She’s a Sci-Fi fanatic, enjoys reading, learning new things, and traveling outside of the country.

Email:  abench@mariamontessoriacademy.org

Melanie Singleton

Attendance/Field Trip Coordinator

Melanie Singleton

Melanie Singleton

Attendance/Field Trip Coordinator  

 

Melanie Singleton is a 2011 graduate of Fremont High School. Shortly after graduation, she began her journey at Maria Montessori Academy. She has a Utah para-educator certificate, and has taken the Montessori foundations course through the Institute for Guided Studies. She has had experience in both Upper and Lower Elementary classrooms as an assistant teacher. She enjoys being with the children in their classrooms. In 2015 she joined the office staff as the Attendance/Field Trip Coordinator. She enjoys the new challenges and experiences that the office is offering her. Each year has offered her new knowledge, growth, and insights. She has loved her journey with the school and looks forward to continuing her new path this year.

She has been married to her sweetheart for four years. They enjoy four-wheeling at the sand dunes, hiking in Utah’s beautiful mountains, and spending time with their Great Dane, Phoebe. She has been blessed with a fabulous life. Melanie looks forward to being a mother who will all be named after Disney Characters.

Email:  msingleton@mariamontessoriacademy.org

James Loken

Instructional Technology Specialist

James Loken

James Loken

Instructional Technology Specialist  

James Loken joined the office staff at MMA during the 2016-2017 academic year.  James holds an associate's degree in Criminal Justice from Las Vegas College, a bachelor's degree in History (with a minor in Recreation) from Weber State University, and a Master's of Public Administration (with an emphasis in Student Services) from Southern Utah University.

Prior to becoming employed at MMA James spent three years working in higher education teaching and advising at Southern Utah University and Wuhan Polytechnic University (in the People's Republic of China).  During this time James structured and supervised many research projects dealing with a variety of questions from within the realm of higher education administration, and educational technology. James' master's thesis is titled, "Cross-Cultural Virtual Interaction and Cultural Intelligence; an Examination of Affect and Method."

James continues to build his technical skills, and is working towards becoming CompTIA A+, Network+, and CCNA certified, through the College of Applied Science and Technology, at Weber State University.  He lives in Ogden with his wife (and her cat), and enjoys outdoor activities.

Email:  jloken@mariamontessoriacademy.org

Specialists

Valeri Cruze

Counselor

Valeri Cruze

Valeri Cruze

Counselor 

Valeri Cruze was born and raised in Harrisville, Utah, where she has lived her entire life. She currently lives in the same neighborhood that she grew up in because she loves the area so much. While working at home, Valeri received her bachelor degree from Weber State University in Criminal Justice in 2004, with a minor in family studies. She received her Master in School Counseling in 2010 from University of Phoenix.

Valeri had the opportunity to be an assistant at MMA for two years before stepping into the role of the school counselor. She proudly completed her lower elementary teacher training in June of 2014. She is also a licensed K-12  school counselor through the Utah State Office of Education. She feels blessed to be working with students of all ages at MMA, and that she can help students find the love of learning in such a loving and nurturing environment, as well as help them strengthen their academic goals. She has immersed herself into the philosophy of Maria Montessori by applying it daily at home and at work.

Valeri  has been with her husband Charley for 16 years. They are a blended family and have five beautiful children. She has two boys and three girls, with her oldest being 18 and her youngest being 11. Two of her children attend MMA, and have flourished.  Valeri loves hiking in the summers, going to Lagoon, drive-in movies, as well as camping with her family.

Valeri is currently working toward her level 2 Educator license, which she anticipates will be completed in the spring.

Email:  vcruze@mariamontessoriacademy.org
Website:  http://blogs.mariamontessoriacademy.org/valericruze/

Connie Starks

Choir

Connie Starks

Connie Starks

Choir 

I am a mother of three children and have been married for 15 years to a wonderful patient husband. I have lived in the Ogden area for about 7 years and grew up in Logan, Utah. I grew up on the stage and have a love for all kinds of music, dance, and art. I love sewing, dancing, playing violin, fishing, hiking, singing, being mom, traveling, and eating!

I love children and connecting with them brings life to my soul. I ensjoy their personalities and look forward to fostering their individual growth. I working with student in music and drama.

Email:  cstarks@mariamontessoriacademy.org

Lynette Jensen

Reading Specialist

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen

Reading Specialist 

Lynette Jensen has lived in the Northern Utah area for most of her life.  She attended Weber State College and Utah State University specializing in Special Education.  After raising her five children, she became a certified reading instructor through the University of Utah Reading Clinic. After 8 years working for Ogden City Schools, she joined the staff at Maria Montessori Academy.

She finds sweet satisfaction in her role as the Reading Specialist, helping  children learn critical reading skills and discovering  the magic of books.

Lynette enjoys traveling with her husband, walking in her own neighborhood, in the mountains, or wherever their travels take them.  She finds great joy in spending time with her six grandchildren, cooking, and of course, reading.

Email:  LJensen@mariamontessoriacademy.org

Julia Gee

Elementary P.E.

Julia Gee

Julia Gee

Elementary P.E.  

Julia Gee grew up trying to keep up with four brothers in Murray and later three more sisters in Mapleton Utah.  Her parents both were educators. She married her High School track star. As a high school graduate she was accepted to the UVU nursing program which was never a dream goal, but the volleyball and basketball team needed players.  Consequently these collage years were satisfying in spite of the goal confusion.  After receiving an LPN license and working at Utah Valley Hospital, she enrolled in her dream at BYU in PE.  With 30 credit hours left a new baby and a job in Brigham City, college was discontinued until her sixth child went to kindergarten.

After receiving a bachelor’s of science in Elementary Education from Utah State, she competed for numerous teaching positions.  With the competition difficult, the choice was made to take a PE position at Box Elder School District.  When better opportunities to give came open at Maria Montessori the leap of faith was made.  The leap has been rewarded with amazing school children, staff, and administrators who truly care about children and education.  The MMA philosophy has been a journey that has captured her heart and will continue as long as her service entices children to have foundational sports skills, fitness for life, friends, and fun. She is currently finishing those last 30 credit hours for PE and Health at Weber State.

Email:  jgee@mariamontessoriacademy.org

Megan Mazur

Computer Lab

Megan Mazur

Megan Mazur

Computer Lab 

Email:  mmazur@mariamontessoriacademy.org