Lynn Gulick, Teacher
Lynn has led the Assistants to Infancy ("Toddler") Program at Marin Montessori School since 1994, and is an AMI Consultant at the same level. A graduate of Sonoma State University, Lynn received her AMI training in Colorado before joining the MMS faculty. In addition to her work with the children in the Toddler classroom, Lynn has guided a series classes designed to help parents' better guide the development of their young children. She has also worked independently as a post-partum care provider in Marin. Lynn credits her wonderful family with having enabled her to achieve her life goal of supporting young children in their development to create a better world for everyone.
Deirdre joined the Sandpiper classroom in 2016 as the Toddler Assistant. Deirdre grew up in San Francisco and has been enjoying the wonders of Montessori education since the age of 4½. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from California State University, Sacramento. She then received her AMI primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego and her Masters of Montessori Education from Loyola College, Maryland, after which she taught for 13 years. She is excited to assist in the toddler program while she and her husband enjoy the world of parenting with their two beautiful daughters.
SandpiperAlyssa Conklin-Moore, Teacher
Born in upstate New York, Alyssa spent her childhood years enjoying life on the East Coast. She is a lifetime fan of traveling, good books, fresh fruit, and bodies of water. Her college years brought her to the Midwest where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College, with an emphasis on Anthropology and Psychology, and her Master’s degree in Education from Cleveland State University (specializing in Montessori Education). Alyssa holds two Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diplomas at the 0-3 years old and 3-6 years old levels. For two decades, Alyssa has been serving children under three and their families by offering parent-infant programs, morning and all-day toddler communities, and birth support as an A.L.A.C.E. trained doula. Alyssa has also worked in conjunction with adolescents at the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Ohio, along with supporting adult learners at the Orientation to Adolescent Studies (2003-2018). More recently Alyssa has been trained as a facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal. Having spoken internationally in Australia (Sydney and Coogee Beach), Czech Republic (Prague) and New Zealand (Auckland), Alyssa loves sharing with other educators her deep love for the young child, human development, peace education, and Montessori education. Along with her husband, Chris, and their three Marin Montessori children, Alyssa is grateful to have found her way to MMS and the West Coast at last.
Gloria Pastor, Assistant
Gloria graduated from University of California, Davis with a BA in Psychology in 2008. Her dedication to early childhood education developed during the five years she spent working at a preschool for emotionally troubled children. Passionate about child development, Gloria is currently studying for an AMI Toddler Teaching diploma with the Montessori Institute with the goal to have her own classroom one day. She is delighted to be a part of the MMS team.
Great Blue Heron
Cheryl Chretien, Teacher
Cheryl has been working at Marin Montessori since 2006. Cheryl studied Child Development and Education at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her AMI Primary training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego and has her Masters in Education from Loyola College in Maryland. In her free time, Cheryl enjoys being with her family outdoors hiking and exploring in nature. She and her husband Lee have two young girls, Quinn and Rooney who are both students at MMS.
Susan Lloyd, Assistant
Before joining the Marin Montessori community, Susan worked in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. After raising her own two children, Susan discovered her true passion for working with children. She received her Early Childhood Education degree through Springfield College, Massachusetts. Born and raised in Switzerland, Susan loves hiking and traveling with her family. Additionally, she enjoys playing the violin, reading, and baking.
Shellie Occhipinti, Assistant
Shellie is a native San Franciscan, born and raised, who has dedicated her life to early childhood development. In addition to spending 20 years working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Shellie opened her own family daycare and has established three inner-city educational centers where she collaborated with families to create a Community Garden. Shellie is excited to be warmly welcomed into the MMS Community. She enjoys cooking with her husband and exploring the Bay Area with her two grandchildren.
Roshini Fernando, Teacher
Roshini has been a faculty member at Marin Montessori School since 1992. Prior to moving to California, Roshini taught at Milwaukee's Urban Day School and Lake Shore Montessori. A native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Roshini received her AMI Primary training in Sri Lanka and earned her AA degree in General Education/Child Psychology from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. She is a regular participant in AMI refresher courses and conferences. Aside from her passion for teaching young children, Roshini enjoys cooking, dancing and reading.
Heidi Newell, Assistant
Heidi holds an AMI Primary qualification. She has served our community as an assistant and parent since 2013. Her passion for Montessori is fueled by a Master’s degree in industrial design, early interests in medical studies, and the inherent rights of children to be educated with respect. She is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Smith College, and Pratt Institute. Her family recently enjoyed a sabbatical year in the Alps at Mont Blanc Montessori in Chamonix, France. She sits on the board of Global Montessori Games based in The Netherlands. Her favorite Montessori material is the Decanomial.
Colleen McAree, Teacher
Colleen has been teaching at Marin Montessori School since 1999. After graduating from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development, she received her AMI Primary training in northern California. Colleen began her Montessori teaching career at the Corvallis Montessori School in Oregon. She enjoys sharing her love of ceramic work, knitting, and drawing with her students, and spends much of her free time outdoors with her husband and twin sons, Nick and Gerry.
Melissa Lari, Assistant
Melissa joined MMS in 2010 as an assistant in the Pelican classroom. Melissa is a San Diego native and received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature from the University of San Diego. While she studied Early Childhood Education, she worked as an elementary assistant at the Montessori School of San Diego. She enjoys spending time with the children in the MMS community. During her free time, Melissa likes cooking, hiking, and relaxing at the beach with her husband, Omar, and her two children, Aiden and Milla
Megan Rooney, Teacher
Megan is an AMI accredited Primary leader teacher from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California. Since completing her student teaching at Marin Montessori School in 2010/11, she has looked forward to teaching here again at MMS. Megan spent the beginning of her Montessori career nurturing and guiding children in Arizona for almost a decade and she is proud to uphold the authentic Montessori pedagogy. She has a great passion for Maria Montessori's vision of helping children grasp all aspects of life and learning. Megan has certificates in Scriptwriting, Film & Media Studies, Performing Arts, and a BA degree with Honors in Theater
Susan Larson, Resource/Primary Support
Susan loves her job because it invites joyful collaboration within the classrooms. She finds it extremely rewarding to create Montessori materials that invite children to explore, use their senses, and engage. Susan has an AMI Assistant Certificate, Primary Montessori Certificate, and California Child Development Program Director Permit. At Sonoma State University, she earned a M.Ed degree plus Multiple Subject and Single Subject-Art credentials. Susan taught kindergarten and K-8 art for over ten years in public and charter schools before joining MMS in 2011.
Elaine (Alon) Shahbaz, Primary Support Assistant
Elaine has worked in non-profit organizations for 15 years and is the happiest working in an environment with children. She has been tutoring, guiding, and mentoring children for over 25 years. Elaine is incredibly creative and always eager to help others. She received her Bachelor of Science from California State University Northridge. During her free time, Elaine loves to write.
Kathy Winkler, Primary Movement Specialist
Kathy is a Marin native and earned a teaching credential at University of the Pacific. She holds a BA in Economics and minors in Organizational Studies and Textiles from U.C. Davis. After a hiatus in full-time teaching to support her own daughters as they completed their college adventures, she joined MMS to blend two passions: teaching children and movement. Kathy is an avid triathlete and enjoys coaching and introducing newcomers to the joys of open water swimming.
Tasmin Pesso (Taz), ASC Coordinator
Taz is a Kidpower teacher with a focus on people safety and healthy boundary setting skills, and a PCI (Parent Coaching Institute) certified parent coach. She earned her BA and MA with an emphasis on Media Literacy at San Francisco State University. She is excited to join the Montessori community and support the healthy growth of young children. Tasmin and her husband are proud parents of two young adults. She enjoys commuting to school by bike, hiking, skiing, and geocaching.
Maria Diaz, ASC Assistant
Born and raised in Marin County, Maria has worked with primary-age children in a number of different settings. Maria attended College of Marin and received her Early Childhood Education certificate. She loves working, learning, and laughing along with the children. In her free time, Maria enjoys hiking, listening to music, dog walking, and traveling to new places to explore.
Minnie Wales, Teacher
Minnie began her Montessori education at age three in San Francisco. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. In 1997 she earned her 6-12 Elementary AMI diploma and an M.Ed from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2001 she completed the AMI primary training in Phoenix, Arizona. Since becoming a Montessori guide, she has continued to discover and rediscover the gift that a Montessori education offers to children, families, and society. Minnie is happy to be sharing her life here with her husband and her three not-so-young children.
Tabitha Gaffney, Assistant
Tabitha was born in San Francisco and raised in San Rafael. She values the vast beauty of the Bay Area and feels grateful to have received an education that emphasized the expressive arts and a relationship with nature. Singing and the dramatic arts have been huge driving forces in Tabitha’s life. She has performed with choirs and in theater since she was 9 years old, and she trained in New York City at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She has participated at the U.N. Indigenous Forum and performed with the original cast of Hair in Golden Gate Park. Tabitha has been with Marin Montessori School in varying capacities since 2005, and feels honored to be part of this inspiring community!
Great White Egret
Lynda Harrington, Teacher
Ashley Anderson, Assistant
Ashley knew early on in her life that she wanted to be an educator. She graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education from New York University in 2012 and discovered the Montessori approach not long after. Ashley has been teaching in a Montessori preschool since 2015 and is thrilled to finally join her two educational passions: Montessori and the upper elementary environment. In her free time, Ashley loves traveling, surfing, hiking, reading, and spending time with her loved ones.
Jamie Stone, Teacher
Prior to MMS, Jamie served for five years as the lead elementary teacher for a lower elementary classroom at Austin Montessori School. Jamie earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history (major coursework on US history and education theory) from Green Mountain College, VT; his Masters Degree in Education, Montessori Studies, from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD; and his Association Montessori International (AMI) elementary diploma from Washington Montessori Institute, Columbia, MD. Jamie grew up in rural Pennsylvania and spent his youth running through the woods. The call towards adventure and movement never left him, and being active outdoors is a love of his. He recently saw his first Redwood tree, camped on the beach and ran the Dipsea Trail.
Matthew Stratton, Assistant
Matthew grew up in Anchorage, AK, surrounded by a tight knit Montessori community, and enjoyed a formal Montessori education from primary through elementary. He graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in International Studies. While pursuing his degree and studying abroad in Italy he worked with an NGO supporting children of families that were political refugees, which energized his passion for working with youth and the Montessori approach. Matthew is currently studying for an AMI Elementary Teaching diploma with Montessori Northwest. Matthew enjoys sharing his joy of cooking, ultimate frisbee, soccer, nature, and exploring the outdoors, and is excited to be a part of the MMS community.
Anna Mitchell, Teacher
Anna's connection with Montessori began as a small child in a Primary Montessori classroom in Virginia. Soon after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from James Madison University, Anna completed her Primary training and obtained a Master’s degree in Education from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Anna taught in a Primary classroom in Virginia for many years before returning to school to complete the AMI Elementary teacher's training at the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University. After teaching in the Lower Elementary level in Virginia for a number of years, Anna joined the Marin Montessori community, serving as one of the Lower Elementary teachers. Anna loves Marin Montessori and teaching in the Burrowing Owl classroom, and when not in the classroom, she enjoys hiking, reading, yoga, movies, and of course, spending time with family and friends.
Tatyana Fateyeva, Assistant
Tatyana was born and raised in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the birthplace of apples. She studied painting, drawing, and art history at the leading fine art school in her city. Shortly after arriving to the United States, Tatyana had two art exhibitions in downtown Seattle, featuring work in watercolor, acrylic, and printmaking. She worked as an art teacher at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, providing art instruction for preschool and elementary school children from low income families. In addition, she worked with “Kids Unlimited,” a program serving teenagers with behavioral challenges and learning disabilities. Soon after arriving in California and starting a family, Tatyana conceptualized and founded a unique fine art and theater program at the Russian Berkeley School. In 2005, Tatyana discovered face painting and began face painting at her local farmers market; since then she has painted thousands of children of all ages from all over the Bay Area (including MMS events!). In 2013, she became a First-place winner at the Face and Body Art International Convention in Florida. More recently Tatyana studied costume design and theater makeup at College of Marin and became a Makeup Artist for San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and various film productions. Tatyana is honored to be part of the beautiful Montessori community and to be working in support of the Burrowing Owl elementary classroom.
Bryanna Antle, Teacher
Bryanna grew up attending a Montessori school, starting at age three. In high school, she qualified for and spent the last two years of high school in the Washington State Running Start program, attending college and high school simultaneously. She graduated with her high school diploma and an Associate's Degree and went on to attend both the University of Washington and Evergreen State College. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Psychology and Business Leadership. She also holds an AMI Elementary certification from Montessori Northwest and a Master's in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland. She enjoys cooking, singing, and dancing. She also practices yoga, loves the outdoors, and utilized deep contemplation as a daily practice.
James Yeager, Elementary PE
James started his life in New York and spent his formative years in Louisville, Kentucky. However, he has deep ties to Marin County. Both his grandmother and his father were raised in a house that is just a few miles from MMS! While attending UC Santa Cruz, his ambition was to be a professor of anthropology. For a while his love of the outdoors led him in a different direction, including becoming a ropes-course instructor. A call to request that he teach physical education at a Waldorf School brought him back to his original interest in education, and this move to our school is part of a serious commitment to physical education.
Junior High Program
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.
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.
H. Brinesh, Junior High Faculty
Heather Brinesh has been a part of the Marin Montessori School community since her* infancy. She developed a deep love of self-directed learning, first in primary and later as an elementary child. Heather pursued this educational philosophy in her bachelor's degree program at Hampshire College. After completing her master's degree at the Academy of Art University, Heather returned to MMS in 2010, first as an elementary assistant and later as an art specialist at the Junior High. In 2014, Heather joined the faculty and currently shares her many passions with her students – literature, history, cooking, art, poetry, scientific inquiry, and Chinese. Heather continues to pursue freelance illustration in educational materials and comics. As any accomplished Victorian, Heather draws, paints, plays pianoforte, and occasionally falls prey to a three-volume novel.
Ali Canter, Junior High Faculty
Ali holds an AMI Elementary diploma and completed the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies, her Master of Education degree, and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ali brings to the Junior High her love of place-based education, honed during five years as a Naturalist at nearby Walker Creek Ranch Outdoor School. Prior to joining the Junior High faculty, Ali spent three years as an Upper Elementary Assistant at a nearby Montessori school. When Ali is not teaching, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors, camping in the V.W. Vanagon that she shares with her partner, swimming in rivers, dancing, and making succulent arrangements in the garden.
Jessie De Jonghe, Junior High Faculty
Jessie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Education with a duel credential in Special Education and English from Dominican University of California. Jessie also holds certification from AMI’s Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Bringing her twin passions for art and experiential education, in her classes Jessie integrates art, science, social studies, and humanities through project based learning: she enjoys teaching zoology through the lens of beekeeping, the physics of simple machines, classical archeology, and Great Philosophical Debates. In her spare time she can be found hiking along the coastal trails or painting in her Petaluma studio.
Liesbeth Koning, Junior High Faculty
Liesbeth has been a faculty member at Marin Montessori School since 2012. Previously, she has taught in schools in Kansas and Chicago. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Michigan University, Liesbeth served in the Peace Corps in Thailand. Further training includes earning a Master in Educational Leadership from Fort Hays State University and the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies in Cleveland, OH. Liesbeth enjoys sharing her passion for the outdoors, theater, and music with her students. When not at school, Liesbeth enjoys spending time with her two children, Grace and Phoenix.
Seth Kroschel, Junior High Faculty
Seth joined MMS in 2015. His previous teaching experience includes an international school in Tokyo, public high schools in Okinawa, an alternative learning center for troubled youth, and another Montessori adolescent program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is originally from the Twin Cities area and graduated from St. Olaf College in 2004 with a BA in Mathematics and Education. Through the University of Minnesota, he spent two years on graduate level course work in the field of education. He has held teaching credentials in both Minnesota and Oregon in the area of secondary mathematics. In 2017, he completed the NAMTA/AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Seth is a strong believer in the constructivist approach to education and strives to role model the behavior of a reflective learner and a global citizen. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, and cyclo-touring
Minnie McBride, Junior High Faculty
A third generation teacher, Minnie McBride is one of the Junior High's founding faculty members. Minnie studied environmental science at Oregon State University and later earned her teaching credential in science from Dominican University. She is currently finishing her Master of Education at Dominican as well. Minnie has completed her AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies certification. In addition to science education, Minnie is passionate about mindfulness education, and has trained with Mindful Schools. A Marin native, Minnie lives in West Marin with her partner, daughter, and Labrador.
Kate Stout, Farm Manager
Kate is an experienced, thoughtful, and environmentally conscious farmer with rich and varied experiences. For 23 years Kate owned and managed North Creek Community Farm, a 150-acre farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Wisconsin, where she trained and mentored beginning farmers and engaged the CSA families in the farm. Additionally, Kate has worked with a Montessori program in Minneapolis, Minnesota, supporting microeconomy ventures, cooking programs, and varied farm work enterprises. Kate also has impressive experience starting two restaurants and teaching folk dancing. She returned to her roots in Berkeley and enjoys living with her mother and sharing her farming experience with MMS. Kate graduated from UC Davis with a BS in "Agrarian Studies" with emphasis in Animal Science and Agronomy.
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.
Emily Brockman, Director of Learning Support
Emily has been an educator and an advocate for children for over twenty years. At the heart of her educational philosophy are child-centered, research-based, and inclusive approaches that encourage choice and independence. She has her Education Specialist Level II Credential from California State University, Northridge, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in textile design from the University of Georgia. In addition to teaching, Emily has implemented programs in both public and private schools to support alternative learners. She is passionate about reading and strives to instill that same passion in her students as they learn to read. Emily is thrilled to be back in the Bay Area after a long absence and enjoys exploring Marin with her dog, Bowie.
Talia Carter, Reading Specialist
Talia joined the Marin Montessori community as a parent in 2015. After initially getting involved in the school community through various volunteer positions, she is thrilled to return to a teaching role in the classroom. Talia began her teaching career as a third grade teacher in Oakland and Berkeley. As a reading specialist and literacy coach, she has worked with diverse populations of emergent readers at public schools in San Francisco and San Rafael. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University and her multiple subject teaching credential, her Masters in Education, and her Reading Specialist Certificate from St Mary’s College of California. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, honing her beginner gardening skills, doing yoga, and reading.