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 Adolescent Team

Ms. Kelly - Adolescent Humanities

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.

Ms. Nia - Adolescent Math

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.

Mr. Eric - Adolescent Science

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.

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. 

Ms. Monica - Adolescent Program Assistant

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

I have been a parent at High Desert Montessori school since 2009.  I feel very fortunate to have found HDMS while searching for a small community with hands-on learning for my three children.  When my youngest child started preschool in the primary program, I decided that after 9 years of being a stay at home mom, it was time to go back to work.  I have been employed at HDMS as an Adolescent Assistant since 2018. 

I have found that I really enjoy working with youth and it’s my passion.  I have been a volunteer soccer coach of multiple soccer teams, both recreational and competitive in our community for 10 years.  I have both an E license and F license along with many other certifications.  I volunteered for 2 years at our local co-op Preschool.  I have my Substitute teaching license and have completed an AMI Adolescent Montessori training course.  I have my Associates Degree and many more credits that I plan to put toward my BA in education in the near future.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I believe it’s important to have a public Montessori charter school because it provides many students with the opportunity for a Montessori education that they otherwise could not obtain due to finances.  Our community provides students with a diverse, well rounded education.  Montessori education has been an amazing experience for my children.  I’m happy that my children and others are free to explore their educational interests while obtaining the same general education that the district offers.  I feel the Montessori philosophy supports my parenting style of raising healthy, strong, hardworking and independent children.

Ms. Sandy - Adolescent Program Assistant

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

I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Speech Communications (major) and an English (minor) from the University of Texas at Arlington. Later I got my teaching credential from the University of Nevada Reno, in English. Although I do not have any formal training in Culinary Arts, I taught Culinary and Food Safety ( I am a certified food protection manager) at Rainshadow Charter High School , Also at Rainshadow our students and I ran a public coffee shop and bakery, a pizzeria and served over a 100 free lunches a day to our staff and students. I worked there  just prior to coming to High Desert Montessori. I came to HDMS through a teacher that worked at Rainshadow and later got a job at HDMS.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

To be honest, I knew nothing about the Montessori School and its philosophy until I started working at the school. As the years went by, I grew to learn, appreciate and implement its concepts. As I have seen students move from grade to grade, more than not, I have  witnessed their growth in many amazing ways. Some students return to visit after graduation and I am thrilled to hear about their academic successes, as well as their personal ones. I am honored to work at the school and be a part of a great staff that is dedicated and works tirelessly to make the school what it is today, AWESOME.