Carolina Contreras moved to the Raleigh area five years ago from Pennsylvania but is originally from Colombia. She has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting, a fundamental Montessori certificate, and her Montessori early education certification. She has been working with infants and toddlers for around seven years, but she has been in the education field since 2008.
Carolina’s Montessori career started in 2018 as a bilingual assistant teacher. A year later she became a lead teacher and has spent time working with both infants and toddlers. She is passionate about the Montessori philosophy of following children, helping them work independently, and allowing them to explore their natural curiosity of learning.
Outside of teaching, Carolina enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, Sofia and Alejandro.
She feels privileged to be a part of The New School Montessori Center in such a warm community and is looking forward to working with the Nido team, children, and families.
In Kaitlin’s own words, “I am thrilled to be here!” Originally from Ohio, she made the journey to our beautiful state in 2018 with her husband and dog. She comes to us with six years of early childhood experience in a classroom and is very excited to join The New School in the 2021-2022 school year in the Early Years room with Ms. Sarah.
In her free time, Kaitlin enjoys reading, baking, walking her dog, and watching movies!
Originally from Long Island, New York, Maureen obtained certificates in early childhood education from Stanley Community College and Nassau Community College.
Her teaching experience includes three years as lead teacher at the Seeds of Faith Preschool and as a classroom assistant at Southern Wake Montessori School. She joined The New School in 2010 as a classroom assistant and has continued to be an integral part of our strong teaching team.
Maureen is married, has two boys, and enjoys Korean martial arts, growing her own vegetables, and raising chickens.
A true New Englander at heart, Jaimie grew up in Rhode Island, went to undergrad school in Connecticut, and spent many years living, working, and getting her Master’s degree in education in Boston, MA.
Jaimie moved to the Raleigh area for her husband’s job with Wegmans in 2019. They now have a 2-year-old boy who has been at The New School since he was 10 months old and is the absolute light of their lives.
Her love for children started at a young age. Jaimie has been working with children in various capacities since she was 11 years old. However, her favorite job was working at American Girl where she hosted birthday parties and special events.
She is excited to be back working with children after working corporate jobs for the last decade. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, spending time exploring the area with friends and family, and, of course, playing with her son.
Sarah is from England and moved to North Carolina in May 2018 as part of her husband’s work relocation. They live in Holly Springs with their daughters, Millie and Lottie, who both attend our school and love it here.
Sarah has a wealth of experience in early years education, graduating from college in 1999 with a diploma in childhood studies and has worked with children ever since. As well as being a certified Montessori toddler and infant teacher, Sarah also holds a certificate in Understanding Health and Social Care through The Open University and a certificate in Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments with the Natural Learning Initiative via NC State University.
Her experience includes managing a nursery that received the highest accolade of “Outstanding” in all areas by the UK schools regulator OFSTED. She’s worked in an orphanage and in a school for children with emotional and behavioral problems as well.
Sarah is a passionate individual, especially when it comes to personalizing your children’s education. Discovering and nurturing a child’s individual talents is vital to her.
She is also a huge advocate of outdoor learning and the benefits it has developmentally for children. Removing the separation between indoors and outdoors allows children to freely and naturally follow their own desires no matter the weather (unless extreme). So if your child is new to the school, investing in what Sarah calls “Wellington boots” (aka rain boots) and raincoats are a must! (Dr. Montessori herself described the ideal environment as having an indoor space with an adjoining garden, allowing the children to flow freely between the two.)
In her free time, Sarah likes to dance, travel, watch musical theatre, and spend time with her husband Dave, her girls, and her super cheeky French Bulldog Teddy. Cooking, shopping, and attending her favorite pop star Robbie Williams’ concerts are also high on her list of favorites.
Favorite Montessori Quote
The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences. ~ Dr. Maria Montessori
Michelle is originally from Manila, Philippines. She came to New York City with her parents and three siblings. After living in NYC for eight years, she moved to New Jersey with her husband and two sons, Kevin and Matthew.
She has many years of experience working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in a long-term care facility and then in a convent, both in New Jersey.
Michelle loves children and wants to be a part of their learning because she sees them as our future. She enjoys working at The New School around our caring teachers and staff and feels it’s an excellent opportunity to become a great assistant teacher.
“Helping to teach children to learn is my passion. I believe if you give them choices and responsibilities, they will learn to develop their best skills to be good individuals,” Michelle shares.
Michelle loves music and enjoys playing the piano, taking walks in the park, and traveling back to the Philippines.
Megan has had a long history with The New School, as it was where she attended school from Children’s House through the MAP Program. And now she is thrilled to be back here working as a classroom assistant.
She is very familiar with the Montessori philosophy and loves to observe that every day in the classroom. She currently attends Campbell University’s nursing school and is working toward a degree in pediatrics.
When she isn’t studying or working with the kids, Megan enjoys spending time with her friends and family and doing anything outdoorsy!
Amanda, who is British, and her husband, who is Irish, moved from their home in England just south of London to Holly Springs four years ago. They have four boys who are 13, 7, 7, and 4 years old.
Amanda’s career experience includes working as a class lead in a children’s nursery, an emergency medical technician for EMS for 10 years, and many volunteering roles in her children’s school.
As one of her children is in the severe range of the autistic spectrum, she has become a fast learner in being a parent of a special needs child and everything that brings.
Amanda’s interest in early years development really began when her “mum” gave her the book entitled “Why Love Matters” which sparked a desire to learn more about childrens’ neurodevelopment in her spare time. Reading “The Joyful Child” and discovering the Montessori method confirmed everything she had been trying to do with her own children over the years.
“Babies are born curious, and by creating an interesting, age-appropriate indoor and outdoor space, they can develop their enquiring minds and problem-solving skills whilst strengthening their bodies,” Amanda adds. “I feel so blessed to be able to work in the Nido room to help provide an interesting, safe, and beautiful environment to watch young minds and bodies grow.”
Favorite Montessori Quote
The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.
∼ Dr. Maria Montessori
Born in Tallahassee, Florida, Laurel entered the Montessori experience at two weeks of age with her mother as head teacher and director of the school.
Those early years of working in a hands-on, diverse environment left a very strong impression on her. This solidified Laurel’s idea of what school was for her — a fun place to look forward to each day, full of friends young and old who worked together to learn and play.
After nine years in this progressive community, Laurel transferred into public school where assigned desks, blackboards, and textbooks with tests were foreign to her. She then attended a project-based, private middle school and graduated from a traditional public high school where she sang in a competitive choir and learned American Sign Language. Today, she actively incorporates ASL into her teaching.
Before graduating from Florida State with a B.S. in child and family sciences and a minor in education, she also earned her AMS certification for three to six-year-olds. She felt honored to complete this at her godmother’s Montessori school that was started with her mother before she was born.
From 2004 to 2011, Laurel was lucky enough to teach alongside her mother at Seminole Montessori School in Tallahassee. In 2011, she moved to Woodbridge, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C., to work at Cardinal Montessori School. Here she received her AMS certifications in lower and upper elementary at the Barrie School where she met her husband Lionel, who had taught for many years in London. They visit Washington often and now enjoy introducing their young son London to all the adventures the city has to offer.
Laurel takes grace and courtesy very seriously and enjoys instilling these qualities into her young learners in both conflict resolution and classroom stewardship. She also loves to incorporate movement, dance, yoga, singing, music, and nature into learning whenever possible.
She enjoys living in the state she used to vacation in each summer on Asheville camping trips. Laurel embraces being part of a large Montessori community and delights in working alongside so many talented teachers and enthusiastic Montessorians.
Born and raised right here in Raleigh, Sarah received her B.S. in public history from East Carolina University. She began her Montessori career with a job at SAS Montessori School onsite at the SAS Institute. Within six months, she was made an assistant teacher.
Sarah fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and received her Infant/Toddler certification in 2006 from CMTE. She became the lead teacher in SAS’s Ones class and was at that location nearly 21 years.
She transitioned to The New School in the summer of 2021 and is so happy to be here! Sarah loves watching children discover and learn about their world.
Her favorite thought from Fred Rogers is “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” It reminds her that play is truly important and all play has a purpose which is why Montessori draws her so much. She has hopes to continue her Montessori education in the future.
Outside of school, she looks forward to time spent with friends and family. She loves to read (especially cozy, light mysteries), do some knitting (just picking it back up, so mostly scarves right now), and involving herself in simple DIY projects, like furniture refurbishing and growing her favorite flowers (tulips) and some veggies. She also has a couple of furry pals named Jake (her dog) and Jasper (her cat).
Laurie was born and raised in southeast Virginia by the beach. She graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a sociology degree and two years later with an MSW degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005.
After working for a few years with older adults in memory care, she and her husband Matthew moved to North Carolina. While their sons were young, she continued her work with older adults through volunteering.
When her oldest son was ready for preschool, she researched and discovered Montessori. The Montessori method quickly became a passion of hers, and she wanted to share it with others. She was drawn to the philosophy’s tenets of respecting and following the child.
Laurie completed her IMC certification through The Center for Guided Montessori Studies in January 2016. She enjoyed being a lead Children’s House teacher at Peace Montessori before joining her sons at TNS as a faculty member in 2020.
She loves watching children learn and thrive within the Montessori prepared environment and encouraging their natural curiosity. It is her goal to help each child in her care to become an enthusiastic lifelong learner.
Outside of the classroom, Laurie enjoys cooking, music, watching movies, and spending time outdoors by the water with her family.
Favorite Montessori Quote
Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world.
Born in Wilmington, her family moved to Sanford which is where she’s lived since high school. Meg then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in child development at Meredith College. As an NC Teaching Fellow when the program was active, her thesis was on “The Status of Pretend Play in the Montessori Method.” She chose this to research the myth she had of Montessori not cultivating the child’s imagination sufficiently. What she found was the exact opposite.
“I always loved working with children, and I was happy to discover that Montessori helps us focus on what’s important in child development,” shared Meg about her early education perspective.
One summer Meg studied with the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the Nordic approach to children with special needs. She then taught Pre-K for four year and was Curriculum Specialist at Creative Schools of Apex for almost three years.
After working in the preschool world for seven years, a chance meeting in the park one day of a retired Montessori teacher opened up a whole new understanding of Montessori for Meg. That serendipitous encounter helped her realize that this method was truly the best fit for her.
Meg accepted a job at TNS in the summer of 2021 and now works with Children’s House where she is excited to learn to be more hands-off and step further back to “follow the child.” Her current goal is to become a Montessori-certified teacher.
Tennis and sports in general are Meg’s interests, and downhill snow skiing in The Canyon just outside Salt Lake City is a favorite spot. In her spare time at home, Meg enjoys time with her rescue dog, Norman, and getting to clean in peace. They travel to Wrightsville Beach to relax, be with family, walk all the dogs, play tennis, and chase Ellie for miles down the beach.
Favorite Educational Quote
A mind once stretched with a new idea is forever enriched.
From her time spent at a dude ranch in the West while working on a UNC Chapel Hill B.S. in biology (with a chemistry minor), that adventurous experience in the Rockies totally changed the trajectory of Diane’s future! A Roxboro, NC, native, she grabbed an opportunity to work with children and horses in Granby, Colorado, in the summer of her junior year where she returned after graduation.
Five years later, she went back to UNC (this time, the University of Northern Colorado) to receive her master’s in elementary education. After teaching first grade back in Roxboro, Diane discovered the Montessori education option at SAS Institute Montessori Preschool where she then taught for 18 years. During that time, her CMTE and AMS early childhood credentials were earned in 2006. One more trip to the C Lazy U ranch back in her much-loved Granby as the Children’s Program Manager, and then Cary (NC) became her home in February of 2022.
She found her way to us toward the end of the ‘21-’22 school year and is very excited for the opportunity to work at The New School and to be back in the classroom.
Diane enjoys walks and hikes with her husband and their yellow Lab, Addie. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and baking.
“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”
Born in New Jersey, Jessica came to North Carolina with her family in 2011. She found her way to The New School in 2016 and settled into CH3 the following year where she loves working in the classroom with the children.
Jessica graduated in May of 2022 from Campbell University with a degree in birth to kindergarten education.
Outside of school and work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends the most. Recently married, Jessica and her husband travel when they can and love to binge-watch Netflix series when at home.
Favorite Educational Quote
“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”
∼ Robert A. Heinlein
Starting out in Central America, Iris took the long way round via New Jersey and Pennsylvania to finally settle in the southeast. Honduras is her homeland, but Fuquay Varina is now her home.
Having earned her degree in business administration in 2002 from San Pedro Sula University, a friend told Iris about a job opportunity at a small Montessori school nearby. She found herself in a preschool classroom and immediately found her calling.
She went on to get her international Montessori teaching diploma in preschool/Kindergarten from the NAMC in 2012. She worked for 16 years at Little Flower Montessori School as a teacher assistant for six years and then as a lead teacher for 10 years.
“I really enjoy working with children,” Iris added. “I have had many wonderful experiences with them. It is very satisfying to see them grow and to see how much they learn from the moment they begin to be independent, developing their emotional and social skills — even how to hold a pencil.”
A chance invite to visit friends in Holly Springs led her to applying for an opening at The New School. And only a month later, Iris, along with her parents and sister’s family, all moved to Fuquay Varina.
Though she loves Spanish music and played the drums in her school’s parades, Iris is eager to learn more about country music. She loves salsa dancing, romance novels (her favorite movie is “The Notebook”), hiking, and finding new parks to walk in.
Iris is thrilled to be here and can hardly wait to explore our North Carolina beaches and experience all the new adventures waiting for her in the place she now calls home.
Favorite Montessori Quote
A mind once stretched with a new idea is forever enriched.
Originally from Maine, Abbey has worked in daycares, preschools, and elementary classrooms over the last 15 years. After spending some time in a Montessori setting, she knew this was exactly where she wanted to be.
Graduating from St. Petersburg College in Florida with her associate’s degree in art, Abbey continued in the College of Education until her family’s move to North Carolina in 2020.
Abbey’s goal as a teacher is to ensure that all children have an environment that allows them to learn and grow through individual experiences so they can flourish in their own unique ways. She believes the Montessori method best supports that goal. Encouraging children to explore independently at their own pace takes the pressure out of the learning experience, making it more enjoyable. It also allows children to create their own sense of pride in their successes.
She will soon begin training to become a Montessori certified teacher. She shares that she is excited to learn more so that she can provide the best support for the children in her care during this critical period.
In her personal time, she loves being active and outdoors, just as much as she loves playing board games or curling up with a good book. However, most of her weekends are spent on the sidelines of one of her son’s youth sports games.
Favorite Montessori Quote:
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” ~ Maria Montessori
Jane was born in the Philippines. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the University of Mindanao. After college she worked in Department of Engineering at Panabo City Hall for eight years. Jane moved to the United States in October of 1998.
Her native language is Bisaya. However, she is fluent in Cebuano,Tagalog, and English. She also speaks some Spanish and German.
She completed her early childhood certificate in 2007 at Wake Technical Community College. Jane earned a Montessori diploma in 2010. She joined The New School in 2007 and has taught at the New School for 14 years.
Her interests include travel, singing karaoke, shopping, and Zumba. She has traveled much of the U.S., Europe, and Asia with her family and now lives in Holly Springs with her husband and two children.
Jane’s favorite educational quote below echoes her belief that a clean, beautiful area provides a pleasant environment for children to learn in. She sees a well-equipped learning space as one of those beautiful places.
Favorite Montessori Quote
“The child should live in an environment of beauty.”
∼ Dr. Maria Montessori
Joshua was born and raised in Wake county. He and his three younger brothers were homeschooled most of their lives. Josh went to high school and graduated from Southern Wake Academy and is now studying electrical engineering.
In his free time, Josh enjoys playing guitar and piano. He also greatly enjoys playing sports, going to the gym, rock climbing, and roller coasters.
Joseph was born and raised in Wake county. He and his three brothers were homeschooled most of their lives. A recent Holly Springs High School graduate, Joey came to TNS at the summer of 2020 to help out with COVID protocols and now works with us in Children’s House.
Jake comes to us as a New School alumni where he had been a student since age five. He has worked on campus in various capacities since moving on to Wake Christian Academy a few years ago. Jake now attends Wake Tech Community College where he is taking basic prerequisite courses as he decides the area he wants to focus in.
When he is not working here as a maintenance assistant or as after-school staff support, Jake’s spare time is spent on his collegiate homework, gaming, and the occasional soccer game which is the sport he enjoys the most. One thing he is not “known” for is that, on one occasion, he suited up as the TNS mascot Talon for a school event and successfully remained incognito, in fact, until this day!
Anna was raised in Georgia and attended Emmanuel College where she graduated with a B.S. in early childhood education. She moved to North Carolina after graduation and taught in a public school for two years.
Her family relocated to New Jersey where she worked at a Montessori charter school in New Brunswick for three years and was voted Teacher of the Year by her peers. It was here that her passion for the Montessori method was ignited.
Her family moved back to North Carolina, and she continued work as a 2nd-grade teacher at Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay-Varina where she was once again voted Teacher of the Year.
Deciding to stay at home once she began having children, Anna began researching Montessori for herself so she could transform their home into a place that was truly accessible and engaging. When her oldest of two sons was ready for kindergarten, she began homeschooling him determined to use as much Montessori materials and methods as possible.
Toward the end of his 1st-grade year, she realized that their next step was to find a school at which they could both continue their Montessori education. Caleb and Daniel both fell in love with The New School. Anna completed her AMS Montessori teacher training in the summer of 2019.
Ashley was homeschooled her entire life and graduated from Wake Tech in the fall of 2019. Her favorite high school subject was biology, taking a major interest in animals and insects and their natural instincts and habitats.
Since she has a large extended family, she grew up watching and taking care of her younger cousins and her little brother. She loves to spend time with them when she can. And when she’s not working or interacting with her family, you can usually find Ashley painting, skateboarding, or playing the ukulele.
At TNS, Ashley hopes she can pass on her passion for the arts and sciences to the students and help shape their bright futures.
Working with children in some capacity since 2002, she has been a Pre-K teacher, an early childhood STEM teacher, a park aide, a Tinkergarten leader, and a nanny. Krista has a bachelor’s degree in parks and natural resource management from NCSU and is currently pursuing her Lower Elementary Montessori certification.
A mother of two, she was initially drawn to the Montessori method because of its power to support a variety of learning styles and ability levels by following the child. Her love of nature and humanity also drew her because the curriculum promotes peace, community, and the interconnectedness of all living creatures. She is looking forward to helping guide your child on this Montessori journey and hopes to learn and grow with your child for years to come!
Krista is a huge “Doctor Who” fan and used to watch the original show on PBS as a kid. Her interests include hiking, tubing, going to amusement parks, visiting historical sites, nature and environmental education, and reading and watching sci-fi and fantasy. She also loves to learn, explore, and have adventures!
A North Carolina native, James earned his B.A. in history from Campbell University. With that degree, he’s enjoyed work at various historic sites throughout the state as a museum educator where he began working with students in the summer of 2012.
Spending his lower and middle school years at Sterling Montessori himself, James recognized the importance of community and desired to enter into a profession of service. Beginning with firefighting and EMS, he earned his North Carolina Firefighter certification in 2013 and was soon accepted as a cadet in the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy at Wake Tech.
Once graduated, James was sworn in as a police officer in a local Wake county agency. His duties lead him to serve in diverse capacities as supervisor, investigator, crisis intervention officer, and field training officer. While working on North Carolina Central University’s police department, James was selected as Durham county’s Crisis Intervention Officer of the Year in 2020. He currently holds a North Carolina Intermediate Law Enforcement Certificate as a Sergeant with North State Company Police and is trained in CRASE.
A career opportunity was perfectly timed to transition back into the field of education with his wish to enter the classroom with the same humility and purpose as he had with law enforcement. He received substitute teacher training through the Wake County Public School System and worked as a classroom and intervention teacher at Green Hope Elementary until he was invited to join the TNS teaching team in the summer of 2021.
James also enjoys working with students with academic and physical disabilities and would like to eventually earn his therapeutic riding certification, hoping to “combine” a Montessori approach to equine therapy.
During his free time, James enjoys searching for the perfect historic site with his wife Katherine, along with their dog, cat, and many horses. His favorite is a newly rescued American Saddlebred named Jackson, who’s adjusting happily and hardily to his new forever home.
James attempts to inspire the students around him by encouraging them to replace “I can’t do it” to “ I can’t do it YET.”
Lina was born in Kenya and moved to the U.K. for further education in accounting and taxation. She then moved to North Carolina in 1998.
Lina has two boys who joined The New School at ages 2 and 4. They stayed in the Montessori environment until they transitioned to other schools for middle and high school.
She decided to pursue her Montessori training after she saw how Maria Montessori’s method of teaching benefitted her own children by using hands-on materials. Lina truly believes that giving her own children the foundation of this special education has paved a path for them to be successful and independent.
Lina completed her training for a 3 to 6-year-olds AMS credential at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in July 2000 and has taught since 1999 at The New School.
Lina loves to work with the children, watching them develop and seeing how each child, although different from one another, is successful in his own individual ways.
Favorite Montessori Quote
The child has other powers than ours, and the creation he achieves is no small one; it is everything.
∼ Dr. Maria Montessori
Lisa earned her B.A. in advanced technical theatre from SUNY New Paltz. She also holds a nonprofit management certificate. After 12 years of professional work as a costume designer and theatre technician in New York City, Lisa and her husband moved to North Carolina to raise their lovely twins, Milo and Lola.
She joined The New School in the spring of 2012 as an administrative assistant. After subbing in the class many times, Lisa decided to pursue her Montessori training on the Children’s House level and graduated in the summer of 2013. With this firm background in Montessori education, she then decided to pursue training at the lower elementary level, which she completed in the spring of 2014.
Lisa enjoys camping, bread-making, sourdough experimentation, and designing and building costumes for her twins.
Favorite Montessori Quote
A leader, therefore, is not somebody with a sense of great authority, but somebody with a sense of great responsibility.
∼ Dr. Maria Montessori
Ryan was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and attended North Carolina Central University. He graduated with a B.S. in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development.
Ryan’s Montessori journey began in 2001 at SAS Institute in Cary. Starting as an intern, he worked his way up and became a certified Montessori primary teacher. While there, he received his 3-to-6 years AMS credential at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (CMTE) in 2007. Ryan then transitioned to Heartwood Montessori School in 2018 to become a lower elementary teacher. As of August 2020, he will hold an AMS certification in lower elementary from CMTE.
Wanting to continue his growth in the Montessori field, Ryan pursued an opportunity to join The New School Montessori Center community. He hopes to make a difference in guiding the youth of the future. Ryan has always had a passion for teaching children and watching them develop.
When not working on his do-it-yourself home projects or playing chess, Ryan enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two daughters, both of whom attend Montessori schools in Durham, NC.
After moving around much of her adult life from cities such as San Diego, Austin, and London, Alli achieved her life-long desire of moving to North Carolina. Two years ago, she and her family settled down right here in Holly Springs.
For as long as she can remember, Alli always wanted to have a career in education. After receiving her teaching certification from Virginia Tech, she taught 8 and 9-year-olds for four years at an alternative private school and one year of kindergarten before receiving her master’s degree at the University of San Diego.
Her passion for helping students who have reading and learning challenges took her down the next path of her educational career. For 12 years, Alli worked for a private, research-validated educational company called Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes.
Working with students of varying ages and abilities helped her see that with the right individualized intervention, all students can achieve their potential. That same passion she has for helping learners grow and succeed will be brought to The New School. Her own children have experienced Montessori classrooms, and Alli is thrilled to now be a part of that environment herself.
When Alli isn’t working, she enjoys reading, experimenting with gluten-free baking, walking her 2-year-old dog Maisy, and traveling with her husband and two sons.
Penny is thrilled to be joining TNS for the 2022-2023 school year. She comes to us after concluding a 23-year career in the Navy where she proudly served around the world.
She earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, her M.A. in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and her M.S. in industrial and organizational psychology from Capella University. Prior to joining our team she taught naval science at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, NC.
Penny and her wife live in Fuquay-Varina with their daughters Wylie, Braelyn, and Lennon, and their dogs Millie and Frankie. She likes to travel, play outside, eat ice cream, build Legos, and cook.
Linda comes to North Carolina from Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from NCSU with a B.S. in sociology, she began working with North Carolina Teacher Corps to gain her lateral entry teaching license in special education.
Prior to graduation, Linda tutored the student athletes at NCSU, specifically the football and baseball players. She has previously worked for Durham Public Schools at Hillside High School as an inclusion teacher for 9th-12th grade students with disabilities. She is certified to teach K-12 core and content with a focus on special education.
While at Hillside High School, she received the Beginning Teacher of the Month Award on three different occasions as well as Positive Behavior Intervention Support Teacher of the month. Linda volunteers with the Special Olympics in Durham County, and she helped to coordinate an inclusive district-wide prom for self-contained students with disabilities from Durham area middle and high schools.
Linda and her husband live in Raleigh with their sons Milo and Nils and their dog Daisy. In her free time, Linda likes to run, practice yoga, garden, read, listen to a variety of music, and attend live shows, cook, and most importantly, bake. Her favorite activity is baking, so feel free to ask for a sweet treat on occasion!
She also loves to take her sons to the park to swing or on walks around the neighborhood to take in the fresh air and enjoy the sights.
Hailing from Upstate New York, Art grew up in Albany. Upon completion of two years of studies at Ithaca College, Art moved back to Albany to pursue a career in music with the band he co-founded in high school. After scratching the surface of success with a significant amount of airplay, major label interest, and the opportunity to open for some of the biggest rock acts of the time period (Collective Soul, Fuel, Cracker, Gin Blossoms), Art and his wife Beth decided to settle down and start a family.
In November 2006, he and his wife Beth, along with their newborn son Aidan, relocated to North Carolina to pursue new opportunities. While teaching elementary-aged and adolescent students music lessons, Art realized his long-time passion for teaching and decided to pursue a degree in history, obtaining his B.A. in historical studies from SUNY Empire State. Art completed the NCTeach certification program through NC State and began his teaching position at The New School in 2018. He is looking forward to broadening his long-term educational skills and goals within the Montessori environment as well as the influence of TNS in the surrounding area.
Art has taught drums/percussion to hundreds of students over the past 20 years. In addition to his love of playing drums and listening to music, Art enjoys carpentry, gardening, reading, volunteering, and spending quality time with his wife and two children, both of whom have attended The New School.
Born and raised in Raleigh, Nicole spent her youth working as both a lifeguard and swim coach for children of all ages. When she graduated from NC State with a B.A. in communications, she worked as the marketing director for a small local business. She quickly realized that education was her passion and returned to NCSU for her teaching license through their NC Teach program.
Once certified in 6th-9th grade mathematics, Nicole spent the next five years teaching at both Wake county and Durham public schools. She held multiple leadership positions during her time in both districts, including team leader and leader of several math PLTs. She was also the boy’s soccer coach at North Garner Middle School. She helped the math department plan and implement a math night for parents.
Nicole and her husband live in Fuquay Varina with their sons Orion and Caspian and their dogs Brady and Penny. She likes to craft, run, travel, read, and play board games. She also enjoys listening to and playing music (her favorite, the piano!). Her family travels to the lake and the beach often where she could happily spend all her free time in the water!
Sheldon Clark has been involved in Montessori education since the early 1990s. He has served in administration as well as in the classroom and was the founding Upper Elementary Director of Follow the Child Montessori School in Raleigh.
Sheldon joined The New School in 2011 as its Upper Elementary Director and served in that role through the 2013-2014 school year. He took the AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies in the summer of 2013 and opened TNS’s Montessori Adolescent Program in the fall of 2014.
Crystal began working for TNS in 2015 in our Children’s House Program. From there, she moved into LE2, fell in love with the teaching team, and taught alongside them through 2020.
During COVID, she helped to establish and run a virtual Montessori classroom. In June 2021, Crystal moved to the mountains of NC with her family. Happily, she has maintained a position with the school, continuing to provide virtual education for students unable to attend on-site, along with helping out Administration. Crystal thoroughly enjoys working for and with the community at TNS.
Her hobbies include reading (preferably in her hammock), gardening, spending time with her family, and soaking in the outdoors. They especially enjoy frequenting Stone Mountain State Park for fishing, swimming, and all-around R&R.