“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

-Maria Montessori

The Montessori teacher has the critical job of preparing the classroom and outdoor environment so it is interesting and enticing to each child in the classroom. This involves a deep understanding of human development as well as always being alert to the specific interests of each child and where he or she is on that path of development. Continuously refreshing the classroom and connecting the children to purposeful activities that match their needs are rewarded by the children making ever more challenging choices and delighting in their learning. Every part of the curriculum is managed in this way – care of oneself and the classroom, sensorial explorations, language and mathematics, expression through art, music, and drama, geography, science, and the grace and courtesy needed to live in harmony with others. There are never enough words to express our gratitude and appreciation to our exceptional teaching staff. They consistently keep the children’s love of learning as their top priority.  In every classroom, our guides recognize each child’s individual strengths, talents, and unique qualities while fostering literacy, intellectual curiosity, compassion, creativity, community awareness, and physical well-being.

Our Head of School supports the Spruce Pine Montessori teachers and oversees the finances, fundraising and program operations of the school. 



Vicki Austin, Head of School, worked here for several years as an assistant in the Primary classroom before joining us as the Office Manager in 2017-18. She loves the Montessori philosophy and is committed to making our program accessible to as many children in our community as possible. She received her Early Childhood Credential in 2007, and is currently working on her Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and holds a certificate in Childcare Administration. Two of her three children attended Montessori.





Toddler Classroom

Rachel Sorrells, our Lead Toddler Teacher, has been with SPMS since 2013.  Rachel was awarded her NC Early Childhood Credential in December 2013 and completed her Infant-Toddler Montessori training in the fall of 2016.







Leona Pendley, our Toddler Assistant Teacher, has been with SPMS since 2011.  Before beginning with the Toddler Class full time in April, 2012, Leona worked with our After Care and Summer programs and as a substitute.  She was awarded her NC Early Childhood Credential in December 2013.




Primary Classrooms

Anna Vislocky Early, Primary Lead Teacher, received her Montessori Primary Certification in May, 2015. She has a B.A. from Evergreen State College and a NC Early Childhood Credential. Anna has enjoyed past work as an Early Intervention Specialist with toddlers and families, teaching art in schools and summer camps, and three years as a preschool assistant teacher prior to joining SPMS. She is inspired by a love of nature and outdoor experiences, music and art, and the inquisitive nature of children. Her daughter is currently enrolled in our elementary program.




Desiree Duncan, Primary Floater, has her NC Early Childhood Certification and has worked at SPMS for over 15 years. 





Christine Henry, Primary Lead Teacher, received her Montessori Primary Certification in May, 2013. She has a BA in Psychology from UNCA and an NC Early Childhood Credential. Christine has been with the school since 2008 and has worked at every level of classroom as an Assistant Teacher.  Her two sons graduated from SPMS.






Jennifer Tuffo, Toddler House Lead Teacher, has her NC Early Childhood Certification. Her youngest daughter is enrolled in our elementary program.





Elementary Classrooms



Meghan Lundy-Jones served as our Head of School from 2013- 2018.  She fell so in love with the Montessori method during that time that she decided to follow her passion and leave administration to return to the classroom. Following graduation from Warren Wilson College in 2002, with a BA in Outdoor Leadership, she landed a job at Arthur Morgan School, where she worked for seven years as a houseparent, outdoor trips leader, classroom educator and administrator. She is passionate about experiential, hands-on learning and loves working with groups of all ages. Her son started at SPMS in the toddler program and is now in the elementary program. Watching him thrive in the Montessori environment has been a great inspiration and testament to the strength of the curriculum. Meghan holds a MACTE teaching credential in Montessori Elementary I-II. She is the Lead Educator in our elementary learning environment.



Cassie Floan, Upper Elementary Co-Teacher

Claudia Green, Lower Elementary Co-Teacher

Ashley Wright, Assistant Teacher Toddler House