Our adolescent program (grades 7-8) offers a unique combination of academic work and field experiences within a small, safe community.

Our teachers are Montessori trained. Under their guidance, students participate in rigorous, individualized work.

Students also have regular opportunities for creative expression, and are encouraged to organize community projects.

Through knowledge and experience, our adolescents develop a better understanding of their roles in the larger society. They leave our program prepared to succeed in any high school environment.

Meet the Teachers

Ms. Kelly - Rose Peak - Adolescent Humanities

About Me

What is your experience and training and how did you come to our school?

I have many years of university credits collected over the years culminating in a BS in Education from UNR. I also have many years of work experience that really comes in handy when doing projects and real world activities with students. I started out my education interested in human development and business and have worked with Head Start and Visiting Angels as an assistant to the elderly. I have also been a kitchen manager an innkeeper, bookkeeper and maintenance inspector,  among other things, so I really felt a connection to the Montessori Adolescent curriculum that values each of these “works” and teaches the whole child with real world work.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

Our school focuses on community and has a strong dedication to the Montessori Method. These are very important to me and they are why I believe our school is special.

What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?  

Working with our “head and hands” in hospitality, occupations and creative expressions with integrated projects is a natural way to learn and each student can find value and a deeper connection to the work.

What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?  

We partner with community members in many ways and are frequently inviting experts and role models into the class to share information and knowledge with the students in a meaningful way. We also look for opportunities to venture outside the class in a virtual way or as field experience. This connection to community helps give meaning to the work students are undertaking.

What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?                   

All people can continue to grow from whatever level they are at, so it is important for guides to model growth and help students celebrate successes and to help them be resilient in the face of adversity. Reflection and observation are both important practices in the classroom, and outside the classroom, that promote growth on all levels.

Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

As HDMS grows, we strive to keep Montessori practices active and serve the whole child.

Ms. Sandy – Middle School Assistant

Ms. Nia - Wheeler Peak - Adolescent Math Occupations

About Me

What is your experience and training and how did you come to our school?

I earned my Bachelor’s in Integrated Elementary Education from the University of Reno, Nevada in 2015. I taught in Washoe County School District for four years. I have taught mainly middle school math, but have also taught EL courses. I’ve taught at RISE Academy for two years (Government, English, and Algebra). I was a tutor and substitute for a long time before that. I have also worked closely with school counselors at various middle schools while I finish my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in School Counseling.

I heard about the theories of Maria Montessori at the beginning of my college career studying

Early Childhood Education and thought it was a beautiful way of thinking about teaching, learning, and children. When the opportunity to come to HDMS presented itself I knew I had to give myself the opportunity to try something very different from what I am used to. I will spend summer 2019 in the NAMTA/AMI Adolescent Montessori Training at Compass Montessori in Golden, Colorado, to extend my knowledge of Montessori philosophy.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

After learning about the philosophy of this school and the design to reach student of all backgrounds, while teaching them skills that go beyond a math classroom and themselves, I believe this to be a great place for students.

What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?

All children should be seen as individuals, that being said, they all have the ability to grow no matter where they are. Having a curriculum that is diverse allows students to find their interests and learn by doing hands-on projects.

What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?

Parents are encouraged to be a part of the adolescent team and join the class if possible. Community involvement is imperative to a Montessori program and ideally, will have a role in making students work meaningful and giving the varied experiences.

What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?   

Professionally, through reflection, observation, and continued development through trainings, observations, reading research and working with colleagues. It is important to step out of my comfort zone and learn from what works, what doesn’t, and continue to try new things this applies to my personal growth along with never being fully satisfied with where I am at, always growing.

Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

I look forward to learning how to create interdisciplinary curriculum. As HDMS grows I hope to grow and learn with my team.

Ms. Monica – Middle School Assistant

Mr. Eric - Star Peak - Adolescent Science Occupations

About Me

  1. What is your experience and training and how did you come to our school?

I earned my Bachelor’s in Life Sciences from Whittier College in 1992, and completed teacher training in 1995. I taught in the Washoe County School District from August of 1997 to June of 2017. For most of that time, I taught middle school science, but spent 2 years teaching biology and physical science at Galena High School.  In 2008, I earned my bachelor’s in educational administration and spent four years as the dean of students at Vaughn Middle School.

Having had a child go through the program from first grade through middle school, I have always held HDMS in high regard and have wanted to be a part of the staff for many years. At the end of 2017, I felt that I needed a change and chose to leave the Washoe County School District. I got very lucky to find there was an opening at HDMS that summer, interviewed for the position, and was hired. I am so happy to be here and am committed to spending the remainder of my career in this school.  I spent the summer of 2018 attending NAMTA/AMI Adolescent Montessori Training at Beacon Academy in Chicago, Illinois, to solidify my knowledge and to integrate my experience in the public school with Montessori philosophy and practice.

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

After watching my son grow to the amazing student and person he has become, I was sold on the benefits of an education with social and community responsibility, that focuses on the needs and development of the child, but also integrates the national standards of the traditional science education. I truly believe this school is the best place in town to reach students of all backgrounds. 

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?  

All children have struggles, concerns, and need a nurturing environment to succeed to the best of their potential. It is our responsibility as Montessori educators to foster a sense of social responsibility, empathy, and care for one’s community, as well as to provide a rigorous curriculum that will prepare them for a changing world. Some children excel and some struggle, but all have the potential to become normalized citizens of the world with much to give back, and we can guide all students to reach those lofty goals.

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?  

Parents are actively encouraged to join the class and bring their expertise whenever possible.  Every parent has contact with the entire adolescent team, as well as the administration to express concerns, get involved, and bring anything they can to the table to help their child and their community.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?          

I am a lifelong learner.  I love to read and research ways to improve my practice. I am also a traveler. I love to experience new places and cultures, and bring to the classroom the experiences that I have had, to excite my students about the world we live in, and the different cultures that are out there. Finally, I am an explorer. I love to tinker with ideas and find ways to present lessons to students in fun and engaging ways that will “hook” them into wanting to investigate further.

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

This school is an amazing, great place for all levels of Maria Montessori’s planes of development. Even though we are great, there is room to grow and improve, and I see us staying on the path to become even better than we ever thought possible.  I want to continue to be a part of that growth for many years to come.