Ms. Kristen - School Counselor

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

I am thrilled to be part of High Desert Montessori and to be able to provide counseling services for students and families.  I graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Psychology. I stayed in Gainesville, Florida and earned my graduate degrees from UF in School Counseling & Guidance.  I began my career as an elementary school counselor working with military families and students at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. I moved out west in 2011 and worked for Washoe County School District at Incline Elementary and later at Kings Beach Elementary for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.  I live in Truckee with my husband, three children and golden doodle and love living in mountains and enjoying the outdoors.

As a professional school counselor, I follow the standards modeled within the American School Counseling Association. I am available to all students and can provide support in a variety of ways.  I meet with students individually and also offer small group counseling sessions. My job is to foster student success by assisting in the areas of social and emotional development. I look forward to partnering with staff at HDMS to promote academic and emotional growth for our students.

Ms. Chrislyn - Special Education

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

I received my Bachelor’s from UNR in Integrated Elementary Teaching with Emphases in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language in 2014. I taught my first year here in Reno, then life took my family to Las Vegas for my husband’s work. I taught in charter schools there, including a Montessori charter school, until 2018 when life brought us back to the Biggest Little City. While in Vegas, I earned my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from WGU Nevada. I originally came to HDMS as a parent, but as fate would have it, the school needed a Special Ed teacher and I fit the bill. So here I am!!

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I believe in a fair, equitable, and practical education for ALL children, not just the ones who can pass a test. Dr. Montessori designed her method while working with children with special needs, and so the idea that growth can be made by focusing on the whole child is totally aligned with how Special Education is meant to be: teach the child the skills they need to function successfully in the world, not just to pass a test.

Ms. Tiffany - Special Education & Reading Intervention

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

I am excited to be part of the High Desert Montessori family this year teaching reading intervention to children in the lower elementary grades. I graduated from UNR in 2003 with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. I taught at 3 different schools for 7 years before I was able to stay home with my children while they were small. I truly enjoy working with children, seeing them learn and grow. I have a passion for early literacy and phonemic awareness.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

Our family has been part of High Desert for the past 5 years and all 4 of our children attend school here. I love that Montessori teaches our children respect for their environments and each other while letting children develop at their own pace.  I look forward to being part of the High Desert community for a long time and am excited for the school to be all on one campus soon.

Ms. Olivia - Montessori Intervention

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

When I was younger I had never thought I would become a teacher even though I had several jobs working with children and teens.  I have been a tutor, therapeutic aid for a student with special needs, leader of youth adventure trips and summer camps, and organizer of youth events.  I was born in Hawaii but have lived in other states and countries. I have always gone to public schools but felt that something was missing in my education.  Becoming a teacher seemed disheartening until a Montessori school opened my eyes.

From the University of Hawaii, I transferred to Humboldt State University, California and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences.  I continued to have different jobs working with kids and one was a summer school teacher for a Montessori class of 6-9 year olds. That summer program was my first interaction with Montessori students and I was amazed.  It was my first time planning school lessons as well. I developed a curriculum involving Hawaiian culture, geography, biology, math, language and art and the students were interested and eager to do the work. What’s more, if a student was out of line, it was not always me who intervened but another student.   I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about Montessori principles, which has become my answer to what was missing in my public education.

As a result, I pursued an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Elementary Diploma and Masters of Education from Loyola University, Maryland.  I have taught upper elementary Montessori for three years and worked as an assistant for a Montessori upper elementary class. After observing Elyse’s upper elementary class at HDMS, I felt excited to have the opportunity to work as a Montessori teacher again.  I feel fortunate that I am able to substitute for her class while she is on maternity leave for the year.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

HDMS strives to be an effective Montessori school and makes Montessori education available to all children.