The Primary Program is the foundation of the Montessori educational system.

This program offers long, uninterrupted work periods that allow children to fully engage in tasks that they have chosen for themselves, under the careful, individual guidance of their teachers.

Montessori children thus have repeated opportunities to explore materials, become engrossed in their activities, and experience regular states of concentrated focus.

Our materials are scientifically designed to teach multiple skills and to enable children to problem solve, using their hands and senses. Thus they can independently repeat activities and achieve mastery.

Please visit the enrollment section of our website for rates and hours.

Meet the Teachers

Ms. Chrissy - Tuscarora Classroom

About Me

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

I have a B.A. in environmental science and ecology and a Master’s degree in education. I earned my Montessori primary diploma from Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 2012. I came to High Desert looking for an individualized and whole child approach to education for my two daughters.   I have been a part of the High Desert Montessori community for over 10 years now.

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

I love working with children; each day is different and new. I enjoy seeing each child reach his or her true potential through the Montessori curriculum in a public charter school setting. I believe all children should have access to a Montessori education regardless of their background.

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

As a Montessori guide, it is my job to facilitate a love of learning in all children and to follow the child’s interest. I guide all children to fully develop and realize their full potential.

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

Partnering with parents and community in a primary classroom primarily done through parent education and partnership. Most children come to us when they are very young and I provide them multiple years with the same community of teachers and families to aid them as they develop close relationships. These relationships strengthen the child’s ability and the entire educational experience.

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

I have a lifelong love of learning. I continuing to grow by refining my practice through research and a deepening understanding of Montessori philosophy.

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

I see myself to continue being involved with the growth and development of the primary program. It would be wonderful to see Montessori early childhood education continue to be offered to a diverse community.

Ms. Kristy - Toiyabe Classroom

About Me

My name is Kristy Orenstein and I am a primary guide in the Toiyabe Classroom.  I graduated from Marlboro College with a B.A. in Child Psychology/Educational Psychology and Writing.  I am currently completing my Master’s degree in Education and my AMI training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego.  I have been a part of the High Desert community for over six years, as a parent, assistant, and currently, as a guide in the Toiyabe Classroom.  Before moving to Reno, I worked with adjudicated adolescents in wilderness programs in New Hampshire and Maine.  Then I moved to Tahoe and taught preschool at a state preschool in Tahoe Vista.  It has always been my passion to find a way to reach all children, despite their back ground or circumstances, and help them to achieve their maximum potential. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors with my family.  We love to hike, camp, ski and play bluegrass music.

Ms. Katrina - Humboldt Classroom

About Me

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

My name is Katrina Reinhardt and I am the teacher/guide in the Humboldt classroom. I am in my 3rd year here at HDMS. Before joining the HDMS family in August of 2016, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from the University of Santa Cruz in 2000. After my daughter was born in 2006, I decided to study child development and once I completed my required early childhood education units, I was lucky enough to get hired as an assistant teacher at a Montessori school in Felton California. It was there that I fell in love with  the Montessori method and I began taking the teachers training program. In 2011 I received my Montessori Certification and Credential. I went on to become a head teacher in Milpitas California. I became a director of a Montessori preschool in Sunnyvale, and then took another Director’s position in a Montessori school in Cupertino. Before moving to Reno, I decided that I wanted to teach again, so when I got the position here at High Desert Montessori school, my daughter, Shanti and I moved. I currently live in Reno, and on weekends you can find me hiking with my family, taking yoga classes, skiing, painting, cooking, or taking road trips.

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

Working at a public Montessori Charter school has been a new experience for me, but I enjoy knowing that it is available to families for free. This method of teaching called me from the very being of my exposure to it. I feel fortunate to be working at this school and for this community.

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

I believe that all children are exactly where they are supposed to be, and the Montessori classroom facilitates the children’s needs. Since it is an independent learning process, children are allowed to be at whatever level they are at. This seems to meet most children’s needs, and it is fulfilling as a teacher to witness their growth.

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

The way we partner with parents and community in our classroom depends on the availability of families. If families express an interest in volunteering or wanting to help in some way, we try to facilitate that. In the Humboldt classroom we encourage observations of the classroom environment, and the school offers Montessori Education nights.

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

Professionally and Personally I strive to grow with each new day and with each new group of children. I find that there are many opportunities for me to grow, as the children’s needs are always so different.

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

I look forward to each coming year, and hope to continue being part of this HDMS community for years to come.

Ms. Pam - Beowawe Classroom

About Me

  1. Start with your experience and training and how you came to our school.

I was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States at the age of 12. Reno has always been my home away from home.

I knew early in life I wanted to work with children, and when I started seeking childcare for my eldest daughter, I fell in love with Maria Montessori’s work.

I have been a primary teacher in the Beowawe classroom for the last 12 years and before that I was an assistant for three years. I am committed to this method/philosophy because of the profound respect Dr. Montessori had for children and their developmental stages. I graduated from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2009 with an AMI diploma (ages 2-6).

In addition to teaching, I find it rewarding to serve as an interpreter and translator for our Hispanic families. I provide parent education nights and offer my expertise as an advocate for their needs and rights.

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

Our school is able to successfully serve approximately 425 students and their families. We believe that all children should have access to a Montessori education regardless of their socioeconomic, racial or cultural background. I feel grateful to be part of the HDMS community.

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

I do this by following the child. Montessori differs considerably from traditional education in this respect. Rather than following a strict curriculum, in which all children learn the same things every day, we use a more flexible approach to determine the abilities of each child so that we can meet their individual needs.   

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

Open communication with parents is an essential component to ensure the child’s success.

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

Learning from all experiences is an essential part of my life.  I am always looking for different ways to strengthen my knowledge in Montessori education so that I can inspire the children in my classroom.    

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

I am looking forward to all of the wonderful things that the future will bring to our school.    

Ms. Maria – Primary Assistant

Ms. Lisa - Toquima Classroom

About Me

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

My name is Lisa Kapellas and I am a primary teacher in the Toquima Classroom. I have a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a MEd in Early Childhood Special Education from UNR. I have completed both the Primary and Lower Elementary  Montessori training programs at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies through the American Montessori Society (AMS).

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

Throughout my time working in Montessori schools, I have worked as an administrative assistant, a classroom assistant and a lead teacher in the Front Range of Colorado and the Bay Area. When I moved to Truckee, I was aware there were no Montessori schools and looked toward Reno. I happily found HDMS which was not only a Montessori school but also, a public charter.

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

I love that children are able to have a Montessori education, where their individual educational and emotional needs are met, while they experience the diversity and community of our area.

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

Building relationships with the students and families over the years they are in the Toquima class, and beyond, are what I look forward to. Through these relationships, each child can be met and guided at his or her individual level. I enjoy working with parents and our community partners to create a environment where all children can thrive.

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

As a teacher, I am constantly looking to improve upon my skills. I always love to attend Montessori conferences which I find to be an inspiring way to renew my enthusiasm for teaching and refresh my classroom and materials and practice

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

I look forward to growing with HDMS in the years to come and seeing our school strengthen its role in our community with a thriving program that supports the individual needs of all children.

Ms. Stefanie – Primary Assistant

Ms. Dominique – Primary Assistant

Ms. Sunny – Primary Assistant

Ms. Jen – Primary Assistant

Ms. Stacey – Primary Assistant