Primary Program, Room 1
(from L to R; Dianne Wallis, Kathy Berger)
Kathy Berger — Primary Directress
Kathy joined MDS as a Primary Directress in 1997. After having been an assistant for two years and inspired by Lorna McGrath, in 1988 Kathy attended Northeast Montessori Institute and then served as primary head directress at Mount Hope Montessori School through 1995. Kathy received her Montessori 3-6 certification from Northeast Montessori Institute in 1994. She served as head directress at Kidderbrook Montessori School for two years prior to coming to MDS.
Kathy attended Silvermine Art School, studying watercolor, acrylic and oil painting with the late Robert Franco. Kathy has also studied pottery making and photography. She is a member of the Mount Hope Montessori School Board of Directors and is studying music and the Alexander technique with Paul Recker.
Dianne Wallis — Primary Assistant
Dianne joined MDS as an assistant in our summer program in 1999. Her involvement in Montessori began as a substitute in the 3-6 class at Oak Grove Montessori School in 1992. After that she was an assistant in the primary classroom and headed their before & after school program. Dianne joined MDS full time in 2007 as a primary classroom assistant.
Dianne loves art and cooking and hopes to increase her skills in knitting.
Primary Program, Room 2
(from L to R; Shirley Karkow, Debra Denis,)
Debra Denis — Primary Directress
Deb joined MDS in 1999 as a primary assistant. She had five years experience leading her own child care program and led our summer program beginning in 2000.
Deb earned an AA in Early Childhood Special Education from Three Rivers Community College in 2004. She also received her AMS 3-6 certification from the Montessori Teachers Institute at Three Rivers Community College in 2004. Deb became head directress in Room 2 in 2004. Deb plans to continue working toward her BA in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys teaching the children yoga and sign language.
Shirley Karkow — Primary Assistant
Shirley joined MDS as a primary assistant in 2007. Originally from Wisconsin, Shirley moved to CT in 1991 when her husband was assigned to the Groton Sub Base. In 2000 she started the High School Volleyball program in Montville where she coached for seven seasons, leaving to coach volleyball in Ledyard schools.
Shirley has a BA in Art from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. She holds an AA in Early Childhood Education from Three Rivers Community College and an AMS Montessori 3-6 Credential from Montessori Teachers Institute at Three Rivers Community College.
Shirley has two grown children and enjoys painting and playing volleyball.
Extended Hours Lead Teacher
Rachel Chaplin joined MDS as a volunteer and became an assistant in our Extended Hours program in 2004. Rachel became head of the Extended Hours program in 2009. In 2011 Rachel joined the Rm 2 staff as a primary assistant while continuing to lead the Extended Hours program. Rachel attended Montessori schools through fifth grade and has a BS in Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University.
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