Meet Our Staff

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Meet Our Staff

At MDS, we are a team of dedicated individuals who are committed to offering quality Montessori education to our students.

Toddler Program

Kathryn Procko

Toddler Directress

Kathryn Procko joined MDS as our Toddler directress in 2017. She had worked in the Norwich Public Schools for eight years as a pre-K special education teacher’s assistant before deciding to pursue Montessori Infant/Toddler training. Her relationship with MDS began when her son Henry attend our school so it was no surprise that she was very excited to help us open our toddler program. She completed her Infant/Toddler training at the Center for Montessori Education in New Rochelle, New York and received her AMS Infant/Toddler certification in 2018. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Charter Oak State College and plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master of Education with a minor in Montessori Studies. In 2019 she was appointed as Assistant Head of School and serves in the office in the afternoon, working with Patrice Champagne.

Erika Frank-Poletto

Toddler Assistant

Erika Frank-Poletto joined MDS as a toddler assistant in 2020. Erika came to us with seven years of Montessori experience at The Homestead School in Glen Spey, New York. She served for four years as an assistant teacher in their Primary and Lower Elementary programs and then four years as head teacher in their Primary program. Erika holds an Infant/Toddler Diploma and a Primary Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, a well-known on-line training center located in Canada. Erika holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Drew University in Madison New Jersey.
Erika discovered Montessori when searching for preschool options for her oldest daughter, Lily. Once her younger daughter, Clara, was old enough to begin school, Erika began her journey into teaching. The family recently moved to CT to be closer to family and Erika began a search for local Montessori schools. She was drawn to MDS because of the warm, friendly atmosphere and the ability to bring the classroom outdoors.
In addition to teaching, Erika is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor. She has been certified to help families make sure that all children under the age of 13 are riding safely in the car for 13 years. She has been an instructor teaching new technicians and supporting current technicians for 7 years.


Haleigh Harper

Primary Directress

Haleigh Harper joined our MDS community as Primary Directress in August of 2019. Haleigh first experienced Montessori during a field trip to a Montessori school while she was pursuing her associate degree in early childhood education at Naugatuck Valley Community College. While pursuing her Bachelor degree, Haleigh worked for three years as a preschool assistant at a Reggio Emilia inspired laboratory school. She also has two years of experience working with children with autism in home, school and community settings.
Haleigh completed her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education in May, 2018 from the University of Hartford. She is currently pursuing her Master of Education degree in early childhood education with a Montessori concentration at the University of Hartford. Haleigh holds an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center, Northeast. In addition to her passionate interest in the Montessori method of education, Haleigh has been fascinated with butterflies since her childhood. She also enjoys practicing yoga and Pilates, playing the piano, and spending time with her family.

Ericka Schaedler

Primary Assistant

Ericka joined Montessori Discovery School as a primary assistant in 2018. She received an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Three Rivers Community College in May, 2018. While studying for her Early Childhood degree, Ericka observed MDS’ Primary classroom and was impressed with how independent the children were. Prior to joining MDS, Ericka worked at Thames Valley Community Council for Action Childcare Center as a floating teacher’s aide. This gave her experience with toddlers through preschool aged children. All the while, however, she remembered the Montessori classroom. She was thrilled to join MDS to learn firsthand about the Montessori approach. Ericka is an animal lover and has ridden horses “since before I can remember.” She rides competitively and is looking forward to learning how to care for our llamas.



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We offer school tours and Zoom conversations so you can see how Montessori works.