Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff of Montessori County school are a passionate group of educators who are devoted to creating and sustaining an environment of respect and joyful learning for children and families.

Administrative Staff

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Meghan Kane Skotheim, Head of School

Meghan has been a member of the Montessori Country School community since 1993 when her oldest son joined the toddler class. She has served as a room representative, French teacher, substitute teacher, and head teacher. Meghan received her undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Colorado, her Montessori training from the Rocky Mountain Training Center, and her Master’s in Education with an emphasis on early childhood from Seattle University. Her years of teaching and parenting have strengthened her belief that the first twelve years of life are profound. She considers it an honor to spend time in the presence of young children, following their lead.

When she is not in the classroom, Meghan spends most of her time with her children, Benjamin, Maxwell, and Rebecca, and her husband Kris. She loves to spend time at her cabin on the Olympic peninsula, reading novels, and enjoys gatherings with her extended family.

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Karla Piecuch, Associate Head of School

Karla first became acquainted with the work of Maria Montessori while studying Philosophy and Comparative Religion at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she graduated with Honors. Karla came to MCS in 1987 to work as a classroom assistant; she loved how the philosophy of Montessori translated into the actual classroom experience and received her Montessori certification shortly thereafter. After serving as a classroom teacher, she became the Associate Director in 1991. Before coming to MCS, Karla worked as the Executive Director of the American Cetacean Society in San Pedro, CA.

Karla’s time outside of school is spent hiking, climbing, indulging her passion for books and music, trekking in the Himalaya, and doing volunteer work for street dogs in India and Nepal.

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Elaine Salot, Office Manager

Elaine and her husband moved to Bainbridge Island in 2000. She holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. Elaine worked as a Technical Writer in several high tech companies until her daughter was born. Her daughter started at Montessori Country School as a toddler and finished as a 5th grader. Being a parent volunteer in the classroom and school office allowed Elaine to discover how much she enjoys being at school and watching her daughter and other students blossom into confident and compassionate people. Elaine joined the elementary staff in 2011, and she has enjoyed getting to know all the students, siblings, parents, and grandparents when they come through the office. Elaine loves to sew, read, bake, and spend time with her family and friends.

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Dorothy Mak Thompson, Communications & Development Manager

Dorothy is delighted to be a part of Montessori Country School both as a parent and member of the staff.  She loves getting to know MCS families, and to share the stories of our school with the community.

Prior to life on Bainbridge Island with her family, Dorothy lived in New York City for over a decade. She built a career in marketing, public relations and events, leading print and digital efforts in the magazine publishing and hospitality industries.  Dorothy graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Art History.

A few of her favorite things are children’s picture books, bubble tea, calligraphy, and time with her family.

Teaching Faculty and Staff

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Shirley Becker, Primary Guide

As a military child, Shirley grew up in Europe, Asia, and across the United States. Shirley earned her undergraduate degree in Family and Consumer Sciences, Family and Child Science, from New Mexico State University where she graduated with honors. She received her AMS Primary Credential from The Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Springs, Maryland and throughout her Montessori career has held the role of lead teacher, assistant, and currently offers extra support in the classrooms. Before coming to Montessori Country School as a Primary Teacher in 2013, Shirley ran her own Montessori preschool for several years in New Mexico.

Shirley has four children and spent her early adult years raising her family, volunteering in her children’s classrooms, and serving in her church. She now has eleven grandchildren who bring joy to her world. She enjoys spending her time outside of school with her family, friends and animals. She likes antiquing, home design, gardening, and spends as much time as possible at the beach.

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Zach Bohonos, Lower Elementary Assistant

Zach Bohonos is the teacher's assistant in the Maple Classroom.  He lives and works on Bainbridge Island, living with his wife, Aubrey and their two cats.  Zach did most of his growing up on Bainbridge, later traveling to Winnipeg Manitoba to attend University.  After completing his Bachelor of Arts and a Public Fire Paramedic program, he moved back to Washington to be closer to family and the magical, beautiful environment of Home.

Zach has been working with children since he was in High School - coaching youth sports and teaching swimming lessons.  His goal is to create a comfortable, welcoming environment where children are able to grow into critical thinkers, armed with knowledge and imagination.  There will be a common component of physical and environmental education in most activities he leads outside.  In the classroom Zach is passionate about being able to tell a good story - placing an emphasis on reading, writing, and history as a means to do so.

He is excited to be a part of the MCS community.  The Montessori learning environment has been a welcome change in style and strategy to education and development.  His goal is to further his own education and experience as a teacher - the Maple classroom seems to be the perfect place to be to continue honing these skills as a leader, role model, and professional educator.

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Jaclyn Chao, Upper Elementary Guide

Jaclyn was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. After earning her BA in History from University of California at Berkeley, she embarked on a fellowship teaching in Oakland public schools. For six years, Jaclyn taught high school and elementary students with special needs.

First as a parent, then as an educator, Jaclyn discovered and fell in love with Montessori education. This newfound professional curiosity led to work as an Education Specialist at a Montessori school. During interim summers, Jaclyn pursued AMI Elementary training with Montessori Northwest.

In 2016, Jaclyn, her husband and two daughters moved to Bainbridge, returning to her husband’s native home. She was thrilled to join MCS in 2016 as both a parent and an Upper Elementary teacher. They have thrived in the natural beauty and warm community of the island. Jaclyn enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, hiking, camping, climbing, reading, cooking, and learning how to tend a yard.

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Isobel Coney, Art Specialist

Isobel Coney is a teaching artist, living and working on Bainbridge Island since 2001. A former parent of Country School students, she was educated and taught in public school in the United Kingdom before moving to Bainbridge Island. She graduated from the Scottish College of Textiles and has a postgraduate diploma in Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University. She also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Art Education from Goldsmiths College, London.

Isobel has worked in the textile industry, and as public-school teacher in London, including work in the studio of fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. One of her most important goals as an art teacher is to give all students opportunities to make art in their own unique ways, learning new skills and techniques through their work. She encourages each student to respond to their own creative instincts and become more confident sharing their ideas and creations.

Isobel has taught all age groups, in many different settings, schools, and public events during her twenty years in the Pacific Northwest. She progresses her own textiles and ceramics work and has exhibited in local galleries.

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Joelle Cowan, Upper Elementary Assistant

Joelle has always considered herself a Pacific Northwesterner, even during her middle childhood years in Texas and Alabama. She lived in Portland for the majority of her Pacific Northwest years, until moving to Bainbridge Island with her husband and daughter in 2007. Joelle credits her parents with starting her Montessori career when they enrolled her in Childpeace Montessori at the age of 2.5. Despite a few interruptions, Montessori education is where Joelle has returned again and again, and she relied deeply on its methods and materials when homeschooling her children for the last 12 years. Joelle also has a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education, and is certified to teach in Washington. She is beyond joyful to be returning to the Montessori classroom.

Joelle lives in a local cohousing community with her husband and son, while her daughter (a former MCS student) is off in New York City for college. The family’s three cats enjoy lounging about and begging for treats. In her spare time, Joelle is a voracious reader, a knitter, swimmer, and sewist, loves learning languages, and is often seen walking or biking for transportation around the island. Occasionally, you might see her driving her VW camper off the island to enjoy outdoor adventures with her family.

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Cheryl Dauber, Primary Guide

Cheryl earned her BA in Developmental Psychology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. She was introduced to Montessori education in 1997 when she began her work as an Assistant at Montessori Country School. She earned her AMS Primary Teaching Certification through the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Cheryl took a sabbatical from MCS when her daughter was born; she taught part time for a local preschool. During this time she earned a Master’s in Teaching and K-8 Teaching Certificate. Cheryl went on to teach third grade at a Montessori inspired elementary program in Kitsap County. Her passion for teaching is motivated by the excitement children have about learning. She believes it is an honor to witness the moment at which a child makes a new discovery and finds a new level of independence.

Cheryl grew up in Santa Cruz and Paso Robles, California. Outside of teaching, Cheryl enjoys knitting, reading, hiking and camping, traveling, and swimming in Puget Sound with her family. Her daughter is a 2007 graduate of Montessori Country School.

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Angie Godfrey, Music Specialist

Angie joined the MCS community as a parent in 2013 and shortly thereafter became the music teacher. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria with a BA in Music Education. Angie teaches Pre-Primary, Primary, and Elementary students. Her classes are largely based on the Orff Shulwerk Approach. She creates a child-centered way of learning music by using everyday activities for music creation. She uses singing, dancing, and rhythmic instruments to introduce students to the fundamentals of music.

Prior to her arrival at MCS, Angie taught Orff Music in the Bay Area of California. She also has experience teaching middle school band, orchestra, choir and musical theatre. She is very active with the Bainbridge Chorale including the Olympic Girls Choir. Angie lives on the island with her husband and two daughters.

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Chasitty Haro, Infant & Toddler Assistant

Chasitty grew up in Kitsap County and spent several years in Portland, OR. She is currently wrapping up her Associates in Early Child Education, before beginning a Bachelors program at UW in the spring. She has worked in Montessori programs for two years at both the Primary and Toddler level. She is very passionate about the Montessori method and plans on pursuing her Infant and Toddler Certification at the end of this year. She is also interested in social emotional learning in young children. She completed her mindfulness certification from Breathe 4 Change this summer and is currently working on her yoga certification through their program.
Chasitty enjoys baking and holds a degree from the Oregon Culinary Institute. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her daughter, Willow, and partner, Chris at their home in Bremerton. They love to garden, take care of their chickens, and work on home improvement projects.
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Elizabeth Houghtaling, Infant & Toddler Guide

Elizabeth, a Colorado native, spent much of her childhood nurturing a love for the outdoors. A graduate from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA focused on Ethnic and Gender Studies, she went on to begin her career working in early childhood education in Ethiopia as a volunteer teacher. After her return to the United States, she was introduced to the Montessori philosophy as an assistant in a Montessori classroom. She immediately fell in love with the Montessori method and quickly realized her life’s calling. She returned to school at the Montessori Centre International where she completed her International Certification for the Primary level. She went on to teach at a public charter school in Denver and later, internationally, at a school in Albania.

Elizabeth most recently completed her second Montessori certification for Infants and Toddlers at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. Elizabeth is deeply passionate about working with families with infants and children of toddler age. In 2016, Elizabeth was asked to be a part of the American Montessori Society’s inaugural cohort for the Emerging Leadership Program.

Elizabeth loves living on Bainbridge Island and being part of the Montessori Country School as both a teacher and a parent. She is excited to raise her children in the same place where her husband grew up. When she is not in the classroom, she spends her time taking walks, reading, traveling, and struggling to learn how to both knit and play ukulele.

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Pearl Kerber, Primary Guide

Pearl earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Arts in Education and Theater from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York in 2013. A former east coast resident, Pearl began her Montessori journey as an assistant teacher in 2014 for two years in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  Pearl also taught nature and science programs at a Mass. Audubon wildlife sanctuary for 13 years, 3 of which she was the Assistant Director for their summer day camp.

In 2016, Pearl obtained her Masters from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and graduated in 2018 with a dual  M. Ed in Early Childhood Education & Creative Arts in Learning with Moderate Disabilities and Sheltered English Instruction endorsements. While teaching first grade in public school, Pearl missed the methodology that Montessori classrooms embody and found herself incorporating Montessori elements into her classroom.

After graduation,  Pearl moved to Washington to join her husband who had recently been restationed due to his job in the Navy. This became an exciting opportunity for Pearl to continue her work in honoring how important environmental education and hands on experiential learning is for children of all ages. Since arriving in Washington, Pearl has been a lead Montessori teacher for two years and recently earned her Montessori Teaching Certification for Early Childhood. She is excited to join the Montessori Country School's community in the fall of 2021!

In her spare time Pearl loves going on hikes, reading, and volunteering at various organizations that promote environmental and wildlife education.

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Hollind Kevo, Reading & Language Specialist

A Seattle native, Hollind graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Special Education. She has focused her 25 year career on teaching and educational support. This includes serving as an Assistant Director at a K-5 school in the early 90s, where her responsibilities included hiring and training teachers, managing school admissions, and curriculum design. Hollind has developed a deep respect for Montessori education during her time as an assistant in the Lower Elementary classroom. She especially appreciates how the Montessori classroom is thoughtful and beautiful, yet simple in its design. She values the way in which the classroom fosters curiosity and success among the students. Hollind lives on Bainbridge Island with her husband and daughter (a former MCS student), where she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking with friends, and traveling with her family.

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Quibs Matthews, Lower Elementary Guide

Quibs was born and raised in Texas, but has lived in various places around the country all their life. They studied Photography and Sculpture, earning a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. From a family full of educators, they have worked with children most of their life, including teaching water safety and swim team etiquette for three years. Quibs frequently volunteers for hurricane relief, including cleaning and reorganizing their sister's Primary Montessori classroom post-Hurricane Harvey. They were captivated by the beautiful Montessori environment and intrigued by the materials. They immediately enrolled in the AMI Elementary program and M.Ed in Montessori Studies at Loyola University Maryland.

Quibs has always had a passion for finding beauty in the world around them. In their free time, they enjoy doing puzzles and spending time with Molly (their dog and the Maple classroom dog) outdoors hiking, camping, and swimming. They are so happy to be a part of this lovely community at MCS and PNW as they continue to secure their roots in this beautiful space.

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Mary McCormic-McInnis, Primary Assistant

Mary McCormic-McInnis is delighted to embark on her first Montessori gig assistant teaching in the Cedar Classroom. She brings to MCS a broad range of knowledge and professional experience, working with people at both ends of the life spectrum.  She has a Bachelor of Arts from the Evergreen State College, where she studied printmaking and French.  She began her professional career out of college teaching at a collaborative arts preschool in Olympia, followed by 10 years working as a professional baker.

Mary is also the mother of two teenage sons. She spent twelve years volunteering at Odyssey Multiage program, where she came to appreciate the wonders and great joy that children find through learning together, and understands that the best learning is often done when adults get out of the way.   Her professional career also included working with teens and adults with disabilities through Visualize Kitsap.  She then spent several years working with elders, as Life Enrichment Director of Madrona House, studying and training on best care practices for caring for people with dementia. For the past two years she has worked as a lead teacher at Scrappy Art Lab, and continues to teach there when not in the Cedar classroom.

For the past nine years Mary has studied guitar, bringing her music to her places of work and continues to share her music performing publicly in the local trio, Songbird.  Her favorite things in the world are spending time with her “man-child” sons, her husband, and their beloved dog in the woods or in the kitchen–or  swimming year round in the Salish Sea with seals, sharing her stories through writing.

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Ellie Montaperto, Primary Assistant

Ellie Montaperto is an Island girl through and through. She grew up on Whidbey Island and has lived on Bainbridge Island for 17 years, raising two children with her husband Greg. Ellie graduated with a BA from The Evergreen State College and has since had a varied professional career. She became passionate about education while serving a year with Americorps. She’s worked in public school classrooms as an ELL and Special Education Para and has worked as a Museum Educator at the Burke Museum, Seattle Maritime Museum, and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. She has a special interest in languages, multicultural learning, and history. Her first exposure to Montessori was through living in Italy and learning about the woman on the thousand lire note.She’s excited to join the Montessori community and continue learning alongside your children.

 

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Bree Oriard, Primary Assistant

Bree graduated from Washington State University in 2005 with a BA degree in Elementary Education and a K-8 teaching endorsement.  She taught in the public-school classroom setting for 4 years and was a district math instructional coach for one year.  As a math instructional coach she helped to design a new elementary math curriculum and coached classroom teachers on their mathematics instruction.  Her first introduction into the Montessori model was at a hybrid school she taught at in the Seattle School District where Montessori classrooms were incorporated into the school alongside traditional classrooms.  She worked closely with her grade level Montessori cohort to plan lessons and bring many of the Montessori elements into her own classroom.  Bree has been a part of the Country School community as a parent for the past 2 years when her daughter entered the Huckleberry program.  She is extremely passionate about health and wellness and completed an Ayurvedic practitioner program through Bastyr University in 2020 as well as an Ayurvedic bodywork certification through the California College of Ayurveda.  She has a part-time practice seeing clients for both Ayurvedic body work and consultations.  In her free time, Bree enjoys time with her husband and daughter backpacking and camping, traveling, hiking with her 2 dogs, and reading.