FACULTY & STAFF

 
 

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Sarah Veitenthal
Toddler & Beginnings  Teacher/Coordinator

Sarah Veitenthal has been a part of Mountain Laurel Montessori School since 2011. The Veitenthal children, Emma, Audrey, and Tucker, are second generation students of Mountain Laurel, who’s father attended in the first years of the school in Mrs. Nixon’s primary class. Upon moving back to Front Royal, it was the family’s desire to find a school that complimented the emotional, physical, and intellectual development of the children already implemented at home; hence, another journey at Mountain Laurel began.

Mrs. Veitenthal obtained a BA in Philosophy from the University of Mary Washington and is currently working on a MA in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University. It is Mrs. Veitenthal’s hope to incorporate Dr. Montessori’s techniques in a counseling setting to promote overall wellbeing and positive development. Over the past four years, Mrs. Veitenthal has worked at Mountain Laurel as a lunch time/recess aide, Laurel Club provider, Primary substitute, Elementary Assistant, Toddler Assistant, Administrative Assistant and Toddler/Beginnings Teacher.

Mrs. Veitenthal loves being a part of the Mountain Laurel community and appreciates the abundant support MLMS provides for her and her family. It is important to Mrs. Veitenthal to have her children involved in an educational community that provides not only vast intellectual opportunities but also promotes a spiritual and emotional balance. She looks forward to seeing her family grow and blossom as a part of the Mountain Laurel Community.


 

Deborah Fritts
Toddler Assistant


 
Primary Program


Carrie Irre
Primary Teacher

Carrie Irre has served as an educator for over thirty years. Her educational background includes teacher certification from the Association Montessori Internationale at the primary level (2 ½ – 6), M.Ed. In Special Education from James Madison University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Cedar Crest College. Mrs. Irre holds Virginia State Teacher Certification in Elementary and Special Education.  Mrs. Irre has taught at MLMS for almost twenty years at the primary level. She finds such joy implementing Dr. Montessori’s methods and observing children thrive.  Prior to teaching Montessori, other work experiences include teaching 2nd grade, supervising a group home for children with autism, behavior consulting, and a broad range of tutoring experiences. Mrs. Irre has two adult daughters and a son-in-law who benefited from a Montessori education at Mountain Laurel Montessori School.


 

Pam Thomas
Primary Teacher

Pam worked as a Montessori assistant while earning her undergraduate degree in elementary and early childhood education from the University of Louisville. Soon after, she received her AMS primary certification from MMTTC in Chicago. That began the journey which brought her to Mountain Laurel after teaching in 10 other schools across the country. Although certified as a primary teacher she has also assisted in Toddler and Elementary classes. Because of her love of all things Montessori, Pam became a faculty member of the Center of Guided Montessori Studies in the primary teacher training program.

Married for 35 years, Pam has traveled the country for her husband’s career. They have two grown sons both who went to Primary Montessori programs. When she isn’t pondering the best ways to connect with children to make their Montessori experience joyful and filled with awe, Pam likes to bake, garden and take motorcycle trips with her husband.


 

Beth Irwin
Primary Assistant (Irre)
Laurel Club Coordinator

Beth Irwin has fifteen years experience at Mountain Laurel Montessori School. She came to work at Mountain Laurel in 1998 and was asked shortly thereafter to become a classroom assistant. Her love of children and her strong commitment to the work of Mountain Laurel shine through in her work each day.

Ms. Irwin is a natural in the classroom, providing loving guidance to each child in her care. She has attended multiple classes and workshops as part of her training at Mountain Laurel. She received a certificate from the Butler School upon completion of a workshop titled The Fundamentals of the Montessori Classroom Assistant. She has attended many assistant workshops through Loyola University’s Montessori Training Program, including academic workshops and those involving movement and outdoor education. Beth has attended behavioral workshops provided by local county schools, and a workshop series at The Samuel’s Public Library titled Love and Logic. Ms. Irwin works effectively with children in general, as well as those with special needs.

Ms. Irwin attended classes at Lord Fairfax Community College concentrating on early childhood development. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, and has taken Medicine Administration Training.


 

Naomi Egger
Primary Assistant (Thomas)

Naomi Egger started working at Mountain Laurel in the summer of 2015. She previously worked for two years as a primary assistant at Renaissance Montessori School in Manassas, before coming back to her hometown of Front Royal to join Mountain Laurel’s staff as primary Spanish teacher and nap/daycare supervisor. She loves being around the children and sharing in their joy, simplicity, and wonder.

Naomi earned her Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in Liberal Arts from Lord Fairfax Community College in 2013 and is a certified Suzuki violin instructor. In her spare time, she enjoys trying her hand at sign language, jogging on the bike path, and rescuing dying orchid plants.


 
Elementary Program

Monica Nixon
Elementary Teacher & MLMS Co-Director

Monica Nixon, Head of School at Mountain Laurel, founded the school in 1989 for her own daughter. Ms. Nixon holds a Bachelor Degree in Art Education from Middle Tennessee State University. Her graduate work includes an AMI Primary Diploma from Atlanta Montessori Institute and an AMI Elementary Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute. Ms. Nixon has over 28 years of experience as a Montessori teacher at both the Primary and Elementary levels. She has directed her current elementary class for the past fifteen years.

Ms. Nixon loves to be in the thick of classroom life – she and the children making new discoveries and expanding horizons. She especially appreciates supporting the students as they nurture friendships and resolve conflicts with strength and compassion.


 

Tara Hutchinson
Elementary Teacher


 

Catie Noel
Elementary Assistant (Nixon)

Catie discovered Mountain Laurel while researching schools for her oldest daughter in 2005. Catie has worked at Mountain Laurel for over 9 years, first as a classroom assistant in elementary and  also as administrative staff. In 2009 she completed her AMI Elementary Assistants training at Loyola University in Columbia, MD.  Catie loves working with young children, where every day is filled with joyful self-discovery.

Ms. Noel lives in the Linden area with her partner, Jason and their children Cadence, Charlize, Caleesi and Jamison. Cadence is enjoying the Jr High program, while Charlize is experiencing the many benefits of the elementary program, Caleesi is growing in the primary program and Jamison will begin Toddler this year. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking and reading.


 

MLMS 2014-232Elizabeth Schelin
Elementary Spanish Teacher

Elizabeth considers it her life’s work to explore as many perspectives and ways of looking at the world as she can. She’s been everything from resource analyst to professional calligrapher. Her undergraduate degree is in biochemistry, where her teaching career began as an instructor for a laboratory course and which she used in genetics and environmental research. She returned to school for a Master’s degree from the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins University. For over a decade she worked in newswire, first as a science reporter and eventually as deputy editor of international news.

She escaped this invigorating but frenetic career to become a mother at the tender age of 39, and soon found Montessori while researching school options. She was impressed that a lady named Mrs. Glier (above) was considerate and conversant enough to be “interviewed” on the spot for 45 minutes by a perfect stranger who just rang up. Her descriptions of Montessori education sounded like a combination of solid academics with thoughtful, caring guidance that emphasized self-reliance and respect for the individual as well as a sense of responsibility.

Eleven years later, Elizabeth has found that a Montessori education produces kids who love to explore, ask interesting questions, instinctively see connections, are problem solvers and self-directed learners, have discipline and a sense of self-worth that come from within, and are both kind people and good citizens.

Elizabeth has been teaching homeschool groups for the past three years, but is delighted to begin a new career as Mrs. Nixon’s classroom assistant. She aims to help morph her diverse background and skills with the students’ inquisitiveness and enthusiasm… and to watch what creative exploits and achievements spring to life.


 
Support Staff

Betsy Grover
Nap and Laurel Club Assistant


 

David Salgado
Jr High Teacher

 


 

MLMS 2014-195Mary Bell
Jr. High Teacher

Mary found Mountain Laurel in August of 2012 and it was the best thing that happened in quite a long time. She has 3 kids, 1 dog, 3 cats, 3 kittens, 5 horses, 14 chickens, 8 guinea and 1 husband. Mary has lived most of her life in NoVa and this is her 3rd year at MLMS as an employee, 4th as a parent. “I LOVE the Montessori philosophy and wish I knew about it for the previous two children:)” Mary studied Environmental Studies at Shenandoah for 3 years and she enjoys sewing, riding horses, cooking and children….not necessarily in that order. Her older daughter is a sophomore at VA Tech studying pre vet animal science.  “I Love the parents and fellow teachers at MLMS, it is such a unique and wonderful community!!”


 
Administrative Staff

Monica Nixon
Co-Director

Monica Nixon, Head of School at Mountain Laurel, founded the school in 1989 for her own daughter. Ms. Nixon holds a Bachelor Degree in Art Education from Middle Tennessee State University. Her graduate work includes an AMI Primary Diploma from Atlanta Montessori Institute and an AMI Elementary Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute. Ms. Nixon has over 28 years of experience as a Montessori teacher at both the Primary and Elementary levels. She has directed her current elementary class for the past fifteen years.

Ms. Nixon loves to be in the thick of classroom life – she and the children making new discoveries and expanding horizons. She especially appreciates supporting the students as they nurture friendships and resolve conflicts with strength and compassion.


 

Meg DeMato
Co-Director

Meg DeMato grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She attended Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and minored in French. She then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, from Loyola, as well as her Primary AMI Diploma. Before working at Mountain Laurel, she worked at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in the International Office. She also taught as a Primary teacher at the Montessori School of Manhattan in NYC.

Meg, and husband Mike, moved to Front Royal from New York in 2010, when Mike received a job teaching music at Randolph-Macon Academy. They have three children, Michael (age 6), Grace (age 4), and Maggie (age 1), all who started at MLMS in the Beginnings program. She enjoys cooking, yoga, and recently took up Flamenco.


 

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Rose DiNinno
Business Manager

Rose DiNinno was born in Sommerset, PA. Before working at Mountain Laurel, she worked on accounting and taxes for Sullivan and Company. She, and husband Bryan, have one son, named James, and a cat named Saphire. When James was little, Rose told her mother-in-law that she wished there was a Montessori school in town. Low and behold, her friend pointed her towards Mountain Laurel. Jimi started school here at age three, and went all the way through the Farm School (Jr. High program). In June of 1997 she interviewed for the position of office manager at Mountain Laurel and was thrilled to get the job! Rose was also a Cub Scout leader for Jimi. She loves to bake, knit, crochet, and is attempting quilting.


 

JessicaKuzmickJessica Kuzmick
Admissions & Records

Jess earned a B.A. in European Cultural Studies and Philosophy from the American University of Paris. Jess is our office guru who seems to know everything and be everywhere at all times. She is the go to person no matter how big or small the need. While greeting the students in the morning, she will usually be wearing one of her beautiful vintage aprons and will be working on her newest craft project. Her special interests include (but are not limited to!) art, science, traditional crafts, and traveling. She plans to finish her Masters in Art Education when her boys are done with school.


 

Anna Burling
Reception


 

photo-coming-soon
Odalys Martin
School Store Manager
& Web Support

Bio content coming soon.


 
Transportation

Cristina_DenteCristina Dente
Driver

Cristina Dente is from Rome, Italy, where she studied photography at Insistuto Roberto Rossellini. She moved to the United States in 1998. She, and husband Reza Sabahi, have two children Sebastian (8th grader) and Sabrina (6th grader). Both children started MLMS in Primary. Cristina and Reza moved to Front Royal 5 years ago to be closer to the school after commuting 160 miles every day for their children to attend MLMS. She has 2 dogs and 3 cats, for a total of 7 KIDS! In her free time, Cristina enjoys taking pictures, hiking, DIY projects, crafts, driving, and traveling!!!!


 

Wendy Wilson
Bus Driver

 


 

Philip Baumgart
Bus Driver


 

MLMS 2014-195Mary Bell
Substitute Van Driver

Mary found Mountain Laurel in August of 2012 and it was the best thing that happened in quite a long time.  She has 3 kids, 1 dog, 3 cats, 3 kittens, 5 horses, 14 chickens, 8 guinea and 1 husband.  Mary has lived most of her life in NoVa and this is her 2nd year at MLMS as an employee, 4th as a parent.  She LOVES the Montessori philosophy and wish I knew about it for the previous two children:)  Mary studied Environmental Studies at Shenandoah for 3 years and she enjoys sewing, riding horses, cooking and children….not necessarily in that order.  Her older daughter is a sophomore at VA Tech studying pre vet animal science.  “I Love the parents and fellow teachers at MLMS, it is such a unique and wonderful community!!”

 


 
Maintenance

MLMS 2014-504 - CopyBryan DiNinno
Maintenance

Bryan DiNinno is a master carpenter and all-round repair person.  Mountain Laurel is very fortunate to have Bryan around to take care of the buildings that he was a big part of creating 20 years ago as a very generous volunteer.  When a staff person adds something to his list, we know it will be taken care of in a timely manner and with utmost finesse.  During the summers and breaks, Bryan takes on the big projects, such as new counter tops for elementary and new kitchen floors for the primary classes.  We are all grateful for the beauty Bryan brings to our campuses.


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