“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.”
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 administration supports the Spruce Pine Montessori teachers. The Head of School oversees our program as a whole, while the Business Director helps with external communications, fundraising and finance. Our Child Care Coordinator helps with details pertinent to maintaining compliance with our child care license.
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 a certificate in Childcare Administration. Two of her three children attended Montessori.
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.
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 Primary program.
Desiree Duncan, Primary Floater, has her NC Early Childhood Certification and has worked at SPMS for 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. One of her two sons graduated from SPMS and the other is in our Elementary class.
Jennifer Tuffo, Primary Assistant Teacher, has her NC Early Childhood Certification. Her two daughters are enrolled in our toddler and Elementary programs.
Alexandria Ravenel, Upper Elementary Lead Teacher, was the Founder of Montessori Day School in Charleston, SC, where she served as Head of School for the last 15 years. She completed her Montessori Elementary I Certification in 2000 and Elementary II Certification in 2005, both from CMTE NC.
Meghan Lundy-Jones served as our Head of School from 2013- 2018. She fell so in love with the Montessori method that she decided to follow her passion and teach our Elementary program instead of leading our administration. Following graduation from Warren Wilson College, she worked in Asheville developing youth garden programs and eventually landed a job at Arthur Morgan School, where she began to explore Montessori education at the adolescent level. 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 one of the oldest in the Primary program. Watching him develop within the Montessori method has been a great inspiration. Meghan received her NC Child Care Administrator Credential in December 2013 and is working towards her certification in Elementary I-II. She is the Lead Teacher of our Lower Elementary classroom.
Joel O'Brien, Elementary Assistant Teacher, is a graduate of Arthur Morgan School and Scattergood Friends School. He enjoys cooking and baking with his family, playing and listening to music, percussive dance, and telling corny jokes! Joel is excited and honored to uphold the ideals of the cooperative and Montessori learning that he benifited from in his education.
Sara Wiseman, Primary Assistant Teacher
Maggie Austin, Primary Afterschool Teacher
Ashley Wright, Elementary Afterschool Teacher