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.

Ms. Kelly - Montessori Intervention

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 - ELL / Montessori Intervention

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.

Ms. Midori - Intervention

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

I’m a seasoned art teacher; I have a master’s degree in Art Education from the University of Arizona, and I’ve taught in Tucson, AZ; Berlin, Germany; Istanbul, Turkey, Conroe, TX, and Reno for 17 years, from middle school through community college. I also have a degree in Spanish and am certified in that as well, though my Spanish skills have gotten quite rusty since attempting to learn German and Turkish.  This is my first year as a reading interventionist, and while I love to read, I’m totally new to teaching reading and this age level, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit! This is my first year at HDMS. My daughter just started preschool at HDMS, so I was thrilled to join the staff to be nearer to her. When my daughter started preschool at HDMS I applied for any open part-time positions that I’d be eligible for in order to work near to her, and learn more about the HDMS community.

Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I love the students and staff at HDMS.  Everyone is wonderfully supportive and open to learning; I love the energy in the classrooms and seeing students’ love of learning. I love the fact that HDMS makes Montessori education available to all demographics, and not exclusively those who can afford to pay private tuition.  Having taught for 17 years in a wide variety of public and private schools, one of my concerns with traditional education systems is the lack of individualization… students are expected to learn within a box that doesn’t fit many students’ learning needs and styles. I love the fact that the Montessori philosophy holds chidlrens’ intrinsic love of learning as one of its highest priorities, and works to nurture and grow it in all students.  

Ms. Erica - Intervention

Bio Coming Soon