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

Teachers are subject matter specialists with additional Montessori training. 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

Mr. Eric - Star Peak - Middle School Science

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.

Ms. Robin - Boundary Peak - Middle School Language Arts

About Me

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

After working at Mountain View Montessori for three years, I fell in love with the Montessori teaching philosophy and decided to go back to school to get my teaching degree. I received my Associate of Arts from Feather River College in Quincy, my Bachelor of Arts, with a focus on English, from Sierra Nevada College in Incline, and my Master of Education, with a focus on curriculum and instruction, from the University of Nevada, Reno. After receiving my teaching degree and working at High Desert Montessori School for a year and a half, I went to the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies in Huntsburg, Ohio.

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

Our school is a hidden gem within our community. Having a charter school to offer a Montessori education to all students, no matter their socioeconomic status, is amazing! Our diverse environment offers a solid education that focuses on the entire child, the community, and the earth and all of its inhabitants.

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

The beauty of the Montessori classroom is that all children are seen as individuals. All students are given the opportunity to grow, no matter where they are academically. The diverse curriculum offered throughout our school helps students find their interests and passions, which are naturally connected the mandated state standards.

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

Parents and the community are a part of the adolescent educational team. While parents may just take an offstage role, they are still an important part of the team; teachers and students rely on parents to support, in any way they can, the educational process. And, according the Maria Montessori, the community also plays a large role in adolescents’ lives, because it is the time when adolescents find their place in society. Getting out into the community, helps prepare our students for adulthood. “If puberty is on the physical side a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child who has to live in a family, to the man who has to live in society . These two needs of the adolescent: for protection during  the time of the difficult physical transition, and for an understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as a man”(From Childhood to Adolescence).

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

Professionally- I really enjoy professional development- taking classes that are focused on creating new curriculum (keeping me and my students on our toes) and continuing to attend AMI refresher courses and school district seminars to continuously renew my passion for teaching.  Personally- family, yoga, and photography :).

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

I am looking forward to continuing to create interdisciplinary curriculum with my exceptionally amazing middle school team members. We hope to grow our garden/ farm space and get vans to help transport our students into the larger community.

Ms. Kelly - Rose Peak - Middle School Social Studies

About Me

  1. 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.

     2. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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. Jessica - Wheeler Peak - Middle School Math

About Me

Hi my name is Jessica Estes and I teach Mathematics, as well as Ceramics, in the Wheeler Peak classroom. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, Mathematics from the University of Nevada, Reno. I love to be outside and be active! I enjoy helping maintain and enrich our gardens here at HDMS. I am passionate about math and art, but I am also very passionate about helping my students find their place within the community and how to be positive, active role models. Here at HDMS we all strive to challenge and support all of our students in every way we can, beyond the classroom.  

Ms. Monica – Middle School Assistant