Administration & Staff

Responsible and responsive. They are the foundation of our school.

Our administrative team works to support Marin Montessori School from the ground up. From maintenance to admissions and communications to school management, our experienced and friendly staff make school days a pleasure.

Head of School

Sam Shapiro, Head of School

Sam is responsible for ensuring that Marin Montessori flourishes and that we bring our school's mission to life each and every day. Educated on both coasts, Sam received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the UC Santa Cruz, and his Master’s degree in the study of World Religions and secondary education teaching credential from Harvard University. Before coming to Marin Montessori, Sam studied and taught in Sumatra, Indonesia; Canberra, Australia; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Makawao, Hawaii. He also spent fifteen years at the Athenian School in Danville, California, where he served in a variety of roles, including teacher, dean, and admissions. Sam’s professional interests include mindfulness in education, curriculum design, and the neuroscience of learning. Sam lives in Marin with his wife and two teenage sons. In his free time he enjoys cycling, hiking, and camping, as well as cooking large meals with his family while listening to jazz.

sshapiro@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 117

Education

Jules Layman, Lower School Director

Jules's role is to ensure outstanding AMI Montessori teaching and learning in each toddler and primary class, and to work closely with staff and families to best serve the children in our community. She received her AMI primary training in London, England and taught in Yokohama, Japan and the Bay Area. Jules is passionate about Montessori education and is the proud mother of two sons, who both attended MMS, and is very excited to also be a new grandmother of twins.



jlayman@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 103

Jodi Pickering, Junior High Director

Jodi Pickering, Junior High Director

For over two decades, Jodi has been working with adolescents in independent schools. Taking her own self-described mid-life "gap year," Jodi spent the 2018-2019 year in Cincinnati, Ohio, as an AmeriCorps member. For the twelve years prior to this, she was part of the founding team of middle school educators who began, and very successfully established, the San Francisco Friends School. At San Francisco Friends School she served as an educator, professional-development administrator, developmental support coordinator, and trips and advisory leader; she developed a highly successful, rigorous service-learning trip to Nicaragua. Before helping start up San Francisco Friends School, she served as Middle School Dean of Students for Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania; as Director of Non-Academic Affairs for Germantown Friends School in Pennsylvania; as a Spanish teacher for Plymouth Meeting Friends School in Pennsylvania; as a Spanish and Humanities teacher at the Windrush School in El Cerrito, California; and as soccer coach for the Urban School in San Francisco. Jodi is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her daughter Sophie is in college.

Annie Reece, Consulting High School Placement Counselor

In her work as an educational consultant, Annie has a depth of knowledge of independent schools in the Bay Area and boarding schools throughout the country, and has developed good, trusting relationships with admissions professionals throughout the independent school world. Taking a highly personalized approach to her process, Annie strives to get to know her students well so she can best advise families in finding the high schools that are the right fit for their children.

Before becoming an independent educational consultant, Annie was the Assistant Director of Admissions at The Urban School of San Francisco. Annie has also served as a teacher at Town School for Boys in San Francisco, and has worked at other schools on the East Coast and abroad. An East Coast native herself, Annie graduated from the Taft School, a boarding school in Connecticut, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Colgate University, where she was also the captain of the Women’s Ice Hockey team. Annie now lives in Marin with her husband, Evan, three children, and their Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Pulver.

Robin Stallard, Junior High Assistant Administrator

Robin Stallard, Junior High Assistant Administrator

Robin grew up on the Central Coast and received her degree in Environmental Science from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining MMS, Robin spent nearly 10 years working in the environmental nonprofit world, where she supported a variety of energy efficiency programs in Philadelphia and the Bay Area. Robin lives in the East Bay with her husband and their three cats.

Admissions

Leslie Kastner, Director of Admissions

Leslie's work focuses on engaging current and prospective families in an effective and thoughtful enrollment and transition process into MMS. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Sociology from Indiana University and her Master's in Social Work focused on Interpersonal Practice from the University of Michigan. Leslie loves helping people find meaningful ways to engage in non-profit organizations and has served as the Director of Admission at three other schools - working with families on both coasts (New York and California) and in the middle of the country (Ohio). Leslie lives in the East Bay with her husband and two children, both of whom are students at Marin Montessori School.


lkastner@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 104

Kim Cyphers, School Registrar & Database Administrator

Kim’s work focuses on maintaining student records, both physically and digitally. Kim spent their first three years with us managing administrative and behind-the-scenes aspects of the Junior High program. Prior to that, Kim came to us from the horticultural nursery business, where they spent five years working for two prominent East Bay nurseries as both a plant authority and an administrative specialist. Kim holds a BS in Biological Science from Chapman University and spent a semester studying environmental science in South Africa. In addition, Kim holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. A strong believer in ecological conservation, Kim enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring the numerous botanical gardens and museums in the Bay Area.

kcyphers@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 119

Business Office

Deborah Snyder, Director of Finance

Deb’s work focuses largely on the financial, health, safety, and regulatory stability of the school, as well as oversight of Human Resources, Internet Technology, and Facilities. Deb received her Master’s in Business Administration from Dominican University. Prior to joining MMS, Deb spent many years working for assorted non-profits across Marin. In her free time, Deb is a passionate gardener. She lives in Novato with her husband, Jim, two cats, and a flock of chickens.


dsnyder@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 105

Colin Xu, Accounting/IT Manager

Colin manages billings and accounts receivable, and ensures that MMS’s technology works well. He has a degree in Accounting and Computing Information System from San Francisco State University, and he is Microsoft MCSE certified. Before working in the accounting profession, Colin spent eight years in technology support and systems maintenance. In his free time, Colin enjoys hiking throughout the Bay Area, as well as bowling, badminton, and swimming.


cxu@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 118

Development Office

Carolyn Woolf, Director of Development

Originally from Canada, Carolyn Woolf brings over ten years of U.S. and Spanish nonprofit experience to the MMS Development Department. With a Masters in philanthropy from the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and certifications in both fundraising and planned giving (Certified Fund Raising Executive and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy), she adds vital expertise to MMS in the development and execution of best practices in fundraising and grant writing. She also is the proud mother of two Marin Montessori School students.

cwoolf@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 120

Sarah Song, Interim Development Associate

Sarah Song taught Computer Education and Kindergarten at Sacramento Country Day School, a small independent school, for 15 years. In addition to teaching, she has coached over 10 seasons of volleyball for girls and boys 5th-12th grade. When she is not teaching, Sarah enjoys reading, writing, rollerskating, and yoga. She became a certified yoga instructor in 2010 and works with both children and adults.

Sarah became interested in making a career shift into Development. She is a skilled relationship builder and communicator who enjoys the challenges and joys of community building and fundraising.

ssong@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 331

Operations

Fran Corcoran, Director of Operations

Fran’s role is to ensure the efficient, safe, and reliable running of operations at Marin Montessori. Graduating from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology and a major in Community Service Education, she went on to complete a year of graduate study in Education as well. Fran taught at the high school level in New Jersey before moving to California with her husband, where they raised their two sons. During those child-rearing years Fran served as a locally elected official for 12 years, volunteered extensively at her children’s schools and her church, and was active in community initiatives. In her role at MMS she is able to mesh a penchant for organization and problem solving with her love of children and education. In her leisure hours she enjoys reading and walking, and cherishes precious time spent with her grandchildren.

fcorcoran@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 102

Pamela Randolph, School Secretary

Pamela joined MMS in October 2002. Her ability to juggle the many demands of the front desk, and with her “can do” attitude, Pamela provides peace of mind for parents and their children. With sincere admiration for the Montessori teaching method and with love of the children, Pamela returns year after year as our beloved School Secretary. When not at school Pamela enjoys the beauty of Marin.

prandolph@marinmontessori.org

415.924.5388 ext. 0

Robin Stallard, Junior High Assistant Administrator

Facilities

Mark Nichols, Facilities Manager

All facility repairs and improvements are managed by Mark with emphasis on ensuring the staff and students at MMS have a healthy, safe, and clean work and learning environment. He obtained his General Contractor's License in 2006 and is currently working toward a Bachelor's degree in Business at College of Marin. Previously, Mark owned his own construction company and worked in the recycling industry. He lives in El Sobrante with his husband, Francisco, and their rescue Shih Tzu, Elvis.



mnichols@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 123

Milton Pacas, Facilities Assistant







mpacas@marinmontessori.org
415.924.5388 ext. 33

Transportation Department

Carol Finnegan-Pisetsky, Transportation Coordinator

Carol’s position focuses on managing and coordinating transportation needs in order to make MMS accessible to all students. These needs include regular daily shuttle routes as well as planning and coordinating mid-day field trips and extended class trips. Prior to her position here, she was an Early Childhood Educator for 35 years. Carol lives in Sonoma County with her husband, dog, and bird, with her two adult sons living nearby. She is passionate about her long-time volunteer work as a wildlife rehabilitator.

cfinnegan@marinmontessori.org
415.713.9883

Matt Godfrey, Driver

Matt has been driving morning and afternoon MMS student shuttles—including the SF route—since 2011. He is a tech-savvy Marin native who works on audio-visual production and computer software development between MMS transportation commitments and enjoying life. In a previous life Matt designed and installed state-of-the-art electronics on world-class yachts. He’s a San Rafael resident.

Gilles LeSage, Driver

Gilles joined the MMS transportation crew in 2013 and drives the northern Marin/Terra Linda route. His background is diverse—he’s been a teacher, a sports car designer, and a home remodeler. Gilles enjoys reading, football, and tinkering with anything mechanical. He keeps our fleet looking great. Gilles lives in Sausalito.

Shellie Occhipinti, Driver

Shellie Occhipinti is an upbeat and friendly grandmother of two. She relocated to Marin a year ago after retiring from a director’s position at the Boys and Girls Club on the Peninsula. She is adventurous, fun, and passionate about nature and cultivating her organic garden. In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling with her family, and exploring the Bay Area’s hidden secrets.

Richard Stirling, Driver

Rich has been driving for MMS since 2015. He was born and raised in San Rafael. Rich earned a degree from California State University, Chico and moved to San Francisco where he worked in sales and customer service in the telecommunications industry. Rich enjoys spending summers in Clearlake boating and fishing, winters in Reno/Tahoe snow skiing, and watching football at the Peppermill Sportsbook.

Pete Hudson, Substitute Driver

Pete has been driving MMS students since May 2012. He and his wife, Anna, are the parents of MMS students Turner and Mac. They live in Sausalito. When Pete isn't juggling the van and driver schedules, he works as an engineering geologist for a San Francisco-based environmental and engineering firm.

Steve Kelly, Substitute Driver

Steve was born in New Jersey and has lived in Marin County since 1964. He enjoys taking long hikes, playing guitar, and baseball.

Connor Barr, Fleet Mechanic

Born in Greenbrae, Connor is a life-long resident of Marin and currently attends College of Marin. He has joined us in the role of Fleet Mechanic and will help with the maintenance of our many Marin Montessori School vehicles. During Connor's free time, he enjoys studying international politics and has a deep passion for rebuilding classic sports cars.

*Pronouns are words used to refer to people in place of their names. Some people choose to use gender neutral pronouns, while others prefer gendered ones. 'They' (them/their/theirs/themself) is a commonly used gender-neutral pronoun.