Mountain Village Montessori Charter School is a tuition free public charter school for half-day kindergarten through 6th grade also offering a coveted preschool program.

PRIMARY EDUCATORS

Jessica LeBlanc

Jessica LeBlanc

Lead Teacher

My family and I have been in Steamboat for several years. We love this community and the endless outdoor opportunities for our family!  We feel fortunate to be raising our two boys, Marc (6) and Timothy (4) here.  Our favorite activities include skinning up Blackmere, skiing down Why-Not, hiking around Buffalo Pass, and splashing in the Yampa.

My teaching background includes a Masters degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Antioch University and a Montessori certificate from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. This is my eleventh year in the classroom–three years in Evergreen, five years in Denver, and three years in Steamboat.

As both a parent and a teacher, I truly appreciate all the opportunities a Montessori classroom has to offer. I enjoy supporting children as they follow their interests, learn to self-regulate their needs, and find joy and meaning in their learning.

Deidre Saunders

Deidre Saunders

Assistant Teacher

I love teaching and I love children! It all started in college when I became a camp counselor, and from then on I knew I wanted to work with kids. I am a product of Montessori education – attending my home town Montessori school (that was started by my parents!) from 2 ½ years old through 3 grade. I have an undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I earned my Masters of Arts in Elementary Education from UNC. I taught second grade in Greeley, CO for 5 years before moving to Steamboat. At that point I was fortunate enough to stay at home with my three children (Katie 16, Kari 15, Kyle 12) who all attended Montessori! While my children were young, I worked for and helped restructure the non-profit Montessori preschool in town. I also helped begin the elementary Montessori strand at SPE. I have taught preschool at Heritage Park Preschool from February of 2011 until the spring of 2016. My husband, Dr. John Saunders, is also an educator. He runs the outdoor/wilderness studies program at CMC. As a family we love to raft, hike, camp and do as much as possible outside. We have 2 dogs, 1 snake, 14 chickens and a chinchilla – Billy. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and working with children. I look forward to my next chapter with Montessori and with MVMCS!

Corrina Schliske

Corrina Schliske

Assistant Teacher

It feels amazing to find my niche at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School! This year marks my 4 and a half year with the Montessori community in the valley. I am so blessed to live here with my husband and son (7 years). My family is a huge support system for us, and I am so lucky to have my parents in town also

I earned my Early Childhood Certification from Colorado Mountain College. I have worked in Early Childhood education for 16 years. My background started with a love of Reggio Emilia based education and evolved to a love for Montessori.

I have worked at several local schools after high school. I went on to teach at schools in Boulder and Denver. I returned to Steamboat to raise my son and teach at Grandkids Childcare Center and inter generational program. After four wonderful years there, I met the founders of the Steamboat Springs Montessori School. I am so lucky to have been educated by the amazing community of Montessori teachers.

I have been fortunate to experience and gain knowledge at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. I look forward to building strong relationships with our Montessori families as well as reaping the benefits for my son. It has been such a joy to start at our sweet one room schoolhouse and watch it grow into a Charter!

Clare Berkey

Clare Berkey

Lead Teacher

It’s been an amazing journey to be a part of the Mountain Village Montessori Charter School from the beginning and to then be presented with the opportunity to continue being involved as a Lead Teacher in a Primary classroom the inaugural year! I attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a degree in Humanities. After college, my husband and I traveled throughout South East Asia and the South Pacific, scuba diving along the way. Upon returning to the States, I literally fell into the Montessori world as I started working at the Montessori School of Evergreen. I was an assistant in 2 classrooms for several years and eventually decided to get my Montessori certification at the Primary level (3-6 year olds) in 2003 at Montessori Education of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. I continued on at MSE as a Lead until we decided to move up to Steamboat and start a family. For the last 4 years I have been the Head of School at Steamboat Springs Montessori, where both my children attended. I am a Colorado native and have lived in Steamboat Springs for the past 10 years with my husband and 2 sons, Soren (6) and Caz (10). I have been serving on the MVMCS Board to get this school up and running. We are almost there! Montessori holds a special place in my heart and I am thrilled that more children will be able to experience this educational philosophy.

Julia Ben Asher

Julia Ben Asher

Assistant Teacher

I’m so excited to be part of our school’s opening year! Most of my time spent working with kids has been outside of the classroom — leading canoe and hiking trips, being a counselor at summer camp eight out of the past nine years, teaching adaptive skiing, working in a day care center — and I’m looking forward to help bring adventures to school and the after-school program. I grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania with degrees in psychology and sociology. After traveling and working in Glacier National Park, I’ve lived in Steamboat since the winter 2014-2015; for most of that time, I’ve been working at the local newspaper and at the mountain day camp and ski school child care. I love hiking, biking, skiing, camping, reading, sketching, playing volleyball and soccer, and hammocking all over this beautiful town.

Samantha Nimock

Samantha Nimock

Assistant Teacher

It is such an honor to be a part of the Mountain Village Montessori Charter School! I am thrilled to be working in the after-school program and look forward to getting to know the students interests and desires for their after-school time. I foresee lots of nature walks, soccer, art, yoga, and music ahead of us!

My journey in the education field began while in high school working part-time in a pre-school. Each day I would eagerly await the end of my school day so that I could enjoy the rest of my afternoon with toddlers and preschoolers. Working with children brought me so much joy that I knew it was the path I was meant to take. After high school, I went to SUNY New Paltz where I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education. I then moved to Denver and a Montessori position fell right into my lap. The Montessori philosophy blew me away. It was unlike any other school I had taught in, and I loved seeing children of all ages excel in their own way, in their own time. I noticed that the Montessori approach truly understood the child as an individual and allowed students the freedom to explore their innate desire to learn. It was amazing! After living in Denver, my husband, Jimmy,  our daughter, Scarlet and I,  moved to South Korea where we taught Kindergarten for a year  before deciding to settle in Steamboat. We love all that Steamboat has to offer, and can often be found hiking, reading, cooking, and enjoying picnics in our local parks.

Sharon Ort

Sharon Ort

Lead Teacher

I am an AMI Certified Teacher coupled with a Masters Degree in Education. I have taught children from birth to 6th grade and all of my teaching experiences have been in multi-age environments. My first teaching job was in a little red one-room schoolhouse in Sisters, Oregon where I taught K-8th. I’ve also taught in Maryland, Wyoming and Colorado.

In May of 2007 we moved to Steamboat, but my husband, Bob, is still teaching at his two-room schoolhouse in a K-3rd classroom in Centennial, Wyoming. This is the transition year for our two girls. Annika, our youngest, starts at the Middle School. Annika is a SSM alumni and she was able to complete the three-year primary Montessori cycle with me. My oldest daughter, Althea, is now 14 years old. She attended the public school Montessori program for 4 ½ years and now she is approaching her 1st year at the Steamboat Springs High School.

We love to ski, bike, hike, read, garden, listen and play music, and do the many outdoor activities all of you like, so I’m sure I will see many of you in and around Steamboat. I look forward to an exciting school year!!! Thanks for sharing your child with us.

Megan Walker

Megan Walker

Assistant Teacher

I have been a member of the Yampa Valley for nearly ten years and am strongly committed to my family and community.

I earned my Associate of Arts in Outdoor Education and her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies from Colorado Mountain College, and I am currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Management, Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities from Western State Colorado University.I am passionate about providing experiential education to children and discovered my love of early childhood education while teaching horseback-riding lessons, leading children on horse-back rides and pack-trips in Colorado’s backcountry, and leading nature-based children’s programs as a naturalist. Along with raising my family, I enjoy raising chickens, bees, horses, and growing and preserving food. I lead the Routt County Cloverbud 4-H club and contributes to local food system initiatives.

I am incredibly grateful to be serving as an educator at MVMCS, and looks forward to contributing to a nurturing and inspiring environment where children can confidently grow, learn, share, and explore.

Leslie Weinheimer

Leslie Weinheimer

ECE Director & Afternoon Pre-K Lead

I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the teaching team and community of MVMCS! I just moved to Steamboat Springs from Fort Collins in June with my husband, Dan and our two boys, Bennett (7) and Dean (5). We have already found Steamboat to be a friendly and thriving community. My teaching background includes a master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a focus on Human Learning and Development. Prior to the move, I had been working at Boulder Journey School as a Mentor Teacher in a preschool classroom. I thrive on learning and collaboration. My interests in the classroom include project-based learning, constructivist approach and supporting learning through the children’s interests. I love the sense of wonder and curiosity within children as they explore the world around them. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors with my family. I look forward to the upcoming school year and meeting the families of the MVMCS community!

LOWER ELEMENTARY EDUCATORS

Darcy Walters

Darcy Walters

Lead Teacher

I am excited to be leading one of the lower elementary classrooms at Mountain Village! I have 10 years experience as a Special Education teacher, mainly in Denver Public Schools. I became frustrated with the traditional school model and knew I wanted a different experience for my own son, Phineas. In 2014, I observed a Montessori charter school in Golden, Colorado and immediately fell in love! Not only did I want my son to have the Montessori experience, I wanted the experience, too! I’ve spent the last year working in an international school in Ankara, Turkey, but am ready to move back to the states. I’ve dreamed of living in the mountains and am looking forward to calling Steamboat Springs my home. When I am not working with students, I enjoy spending time with my amazing husband, Josh (he is the upper elementary teacher!) and my silly son, Phineas. I love running, yoga, reading, camping, music, biking around town and exploring new places. I look forward to learning from all of you!

Jen Mac

Jen Mac

Assistant Teacher

A native of Vermont, Jennifer Mac has lived in Steamboat Springs for almost 16 years. She graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 1994 with a degree in Journalism. Jennifer has worked with children of all ages for most of her professional life. At a young age, she was a camp counselor and a daycare assistant. More recently she studied to become an elementary school teacher and currently is a caregiver for local children while she looks after her own child at home. In her down-time, she loves to play with her daughter and read. She also can often be found in the mountains skiing, running or riding her bike.

Kelly Hohman

Kelly Hohman

Lead Teacher

I am thrilled to be teaching one of the Lower Elementary classes this coming school year at MVMCS. I was born and raised on a hog and grain farm in Indiana. I attended Indiana University and graduated with a BS in Elementary Education and a Kindergarten endorsement. I later attended the University of Montana and graduated with a MA in Fine Arts that focused on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to teach young children, inspire them to love learning, and encourage them to reach their fullest potential! I have been teaching in public and private schools for the last 18 years. I have taught pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and many multiage classes. I also wrote my own curriculum that connects children’s brains and bodies to help them become stronger learners. I was lucky to teach this movement and brain-based curriculum for 3 years to students in grades Kindergarten through 6th. This last year, my husband and I have been traveling around the USA and Canada in an RV with our sweet 10 year old dog, Seamus. Our goal has been to visit every state and by the beginning of this summer we will have visited 49 states. The one state we will miss this year is Alaska. We decided that Alaska is so vast and beautiful that it is in need of its own special trip! Besides spending time and traveling the world with my husband and dog, I love hiking, camping, paddling, SCUBA diving, mountain biking, dancing, singing, painting, and yoga. After all of our travels we are thrilled to call Steamboat Springs our home! We are happy to become part of this amazing community and look forward to building and growing our lives here. I am especially excited to get to know and work with each and every individual in the Mountain Village Montessori Charter School community.

Izzy Sucha

Izzy Sucha

Assistant Teacher

I am very excited to be an assistant teacher here at MVMCS this year! It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work with and educate children. I started working in schools at age 15 and haven’t stopped since! After graduating from the University of Montana in 2014 with my BA in Elementary Education and student teaching on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, I set about trying to find a new place to call home. As a native of western Montana, I feel comfortable in the mountains, where I can pursue my outdoor hobbies of skiing, hiking, biking, and fishing. Several states later, I can not be more thrilled to have found such a place in Steamboat Springs!

Cassady Roberts

Cassady Roberts

Lead Teacher

I am thrilled to be joining the Lower Elementary team at MVMCS this year! I was raised right here in Steamboat with my 3 brothers. I then went to Colby College in Maine where I graduated with a BS in Environmental Policy and Education. I spent three years working as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher in Denver, where I grew my love for and knowledge about lower elementary. I then attended the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder and received my Lower Elementary Certification. I spent last year subbing at MVMCS, and fell in love with the culture and community!

Outside of school, I love to ski, bike, hike, camp, and cook. I look forward to a great year here at MVMCS!

UPPER ELEMENTARY EDUCATORS

Josh Walters

Josh Walters

Lead Teacher

I am excited for a lot of reasons. First off, I am excited to be joining MVMCS. I have taught for 10 years in Denver and in Ankara, Turkey; but I’ve never been part of opening a new school. I look forward to helping our school community grow.

I am excited to begin my training in Montessori education. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I am looking forward to working with students who will be learning the Montessori program along with me. I am also excited to move to Steamboat Springs with my family. Mountain life has been a long-term dream of ours. When I’m not hard at work with our students, you can expect to find me outside hiking, biking, snowboarding, snowshoeing or floating the Yampa.

Leah Ramberg

Leah Ramberg

Lead Teacher

I am beyond thrilled to join the staff at MVMCS! I was born and raised in Minnesota where I earned a BA in Spanish and a BS in Human Biology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. In 2012 I moved to Steamboat Springs for an AmeriCorps position and since then I have served a variety of roles in both public and independent schools in Steamboat Springs. This fall I will enroll in my last course towards my MA in Education, which I will complete in December 2016. During my free time I love to read, host dinners, mountain bike, trail run, slack line, travel, and enjoy mountain living with my husband, friends, and family. Most of my winter weekends are dedicated to volunteering with SOS-Outreach, a non-profit that mentors underprivileged youth in our community. I am honored to be a part of a Montessori program and I can’t wait to get started at MVMCS in serving our local youth and families!

Laura Tamucci

Laura Tamucci

Assistant Teacher

I am so excited to join the Larkspur and Avalanche Lily families. My background is in art education and I have a masters in education. I have taught 6th through 12th grade art, after-school classes, and served as a school-based mentor at Steamboat Springs Middle School through Partners in Routt County. I grew up in the Napa Valley in California and went to college at Humboldt State University. I have lived in Steamboat for 11 years with a two year break when I lived in Colorado Springs and Rangely, Colorado.

For the past seven years I worked at the Steamboat Pilot & Today in graphic design and advertising. I am very excited to get back into education and be surrounded by young people every day.

My son Anthony (4) will be in the MVMCS primary program. I also have a daughter Dylan (7 months). Our family loves to hike, bike, explore and create art projects of any type. I am looking forward to being a part of the upper elementary community and learning and having fun every day.

ENRICHMENT TEACHERS AND SPECIALISTS

Liz Meissner

Liz Meissner

Physical Education Teacher

I have been a Physical Education teacher for 15 years at the elementary school level. Utilizing sound instructional practices and techniques, I look forward to bringing a great deal of creativity and energy to the classroom at Mountain Village Montessori School. This past school year I spent half my day as an academic interventionist in kindergarten, third and fifth grade classrooms. I thoroughly enjoy working one on one and with small groups of students; one of the best parts about working with students so closely is the relationships we develop. I am so excited to work in the Montessori classrooms with students and continue to connect with and help them learn.

Kelly Schaeffer

Kelly Schaeffer

Spanish and ESL Teacher

I am thrilled to be part of the faculty at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School! I will be teaching Spanish and supporting English Language Learners at MVMCS.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from James Madison University, and a Master’s degree in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies and Bilingual Education through the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. My interests in the classroom include second language acquisition, constructivist learning, and developing multicultural and social justice curricula. I also love to practice Yoga and Mindfulness with my students! My teaching experience has been with grades K-3, mainly in dual language (Spanish/English) classrooms in New Mexico. Last year I had the opportunity to work as an assistant in a Primary classroom, as well as teach Spanish to elementary students. This year I will focusing on expanding the Spanish program for our school.

I have lived in Steamboat for three years with my husband, Patrick, and our sons, Sebastian (7) and Diego (5), who are also students at MVMCS. We love biking, hiking, camping, skiing, and all of the wonderful outdoor activities Steamboat has to offer. I look forward to continuing to develop an innovative and exciting Montessori program for our students and their families!

Kathleen Bellamy

Kathleen Bellamy

Special Education Teacher

I am excited for my role at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School as the Special Education teacher and Lower Elementary Classroom Assistant, working among exceptional educators.  I have always loved working with children, and feel that I’ve found my calling in teaching, specifically in special education.  I believe that every person has the ability to learn, and I love advocating for each student on their educational path.  Teaching special education in a Montessori setting will provide a unique setting for each student to thrive.  

I grew up in Evergreen, CO and graduated from CU Boulder in 2010 with my BA in Communication.  There I also completed two semesters in the elementary education program.  In 2014, I graduated with my MA in Special Education from Metropolitan State University of Denver.  I have spent the last few years working in special education and with severe needs students in Steamboat Springs School District.  I have lived in Steamboat on and off for the last 7.5 years and am so happy to call this wonderful community home.  Outside of work I love spending time with my outdoor enthusiast husband and our amazing baby girl, Lucy.  We love to raft, camp, hike, bike, snowboard, and teach Lucy to appreciate all that Steamboat and Colorado has to offer.

Becky Hammond

Becky Hammond

Literacy Specialist

I am thrilled to be part of Mountain Village Montessori Charter School as a literacy specialist. For the past eleven years I had the privilege of helping many students achieve reading success in the Steamboat Springs schools where I worked as a special education teacher. I have a BA in art history and a Masters in special education, moderate needs. My passion is helping all students break the code for reading. I am looking forward to a great year meeting new children, families and teachers and learning more about Montessori methods!

Sally Howard

Sally Howard

Gifted + Talented Coordinator

As a passionate learner and educator, I am invigorated by the opportunity to serve exceptional learners and work alongside inspired staff here at MVMCS. I have been in some form of education my entire life, having spent the last 16 years teaching and coordinating advanced learning services at the Steamboat Springs Middle School before retirement in 2014. I am now joyfully only semi-retired, as I work very part-time at MVMCS. Colorado born and educated, I have a BA in English and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and am certified in Gifted Education. I am a wife, mother and grandmother and raised three children in Steamboat Springs. What a delight it is to have my grandchildren have the opportunity to experience a Montessori education at this wonderful, budding school.

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Michael Girodo

Michael Girodo

Head of School

I am inspired and honored by the opportunity to serve as Head of School for Mountain Village Montessori Charter School and I am incredibly excited to be joining such a committed and passionate community of educators, board members and parents who have put so much heart and soul into creating this amazing school.

While I am new to Charter School administration, I am a long-time believer in the Charter School movement. Much like the Montessori movement whose aim is to nurture the development of the whole child, the Charter School movement aims to bring high quality educational offerings to diverse groups of children throughout the country. Steamboat Springs is very fortunate to have MVMCS as part of its public school district. MVMCS is the only Montessori school in Steamboat; it is tuition free for K-6, and offers a tuition based preschool program.

I am equally excited to be joining the Steamboat Springs community, and look forward to exploring all the beauty and splendor of the surrounding region.  I am joined on this awesome adventure by my wife Joan and our dog Ruby.

Julie Dinkens

Julie Dinkens

Administrative Director

I grew up in the Midwest and have lived in Steamboat Springs for the past 6 years.  I spent the past 4 years at home with my 2 boys Frankie (4) and Thomas (2).  We feel very fortunate to be apart of such a close-knit mountain community.

I have a degree in Business Management from Indiana University and worked for 11 years within the Insurance industry.  I’m thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to transition into new career with MVMCS!  During my free time, I enjoy running, hiking, biking, camping, paddle boarding and skiing.

Kate Godley

Kate Godley

Business and Finance Director

I am the mother of three young children, ages 3, 6, and 9.  Our family moved to Steamboat Springs almost two years ago to be closer to my parents who live in town.  I joined the MVMCS community last January as a parent when I transferred my oldest children, Jake and Dylan, to this wonderful school. Since then, I have been overwhelmed by the warmth of the MVMCS team and its dedication to our children’s education.  It is such a gift to have this public Montessori school in our small mountain town. As such, I have found myself drawn to spend an ever-increasing amount of time working to support the school’s growth.  First as a volunteer, second as a member of the Governing Board, and now as the Business Director.  

My background includes working sales and marketing roles at The Coca-Cola Company, Pfizer, and Method Products. I have an MBA from the University of Michigan. When my first child was born, I switched gears and chose to become a stay-at-home mom.  In the last few years, I have worked part-time as a financial coach, educating and empowering women. I am thrilled to embark on this next adventure, combining my professional experience with my personal passion for MVMCS.

P 970-879-6653
F 719-452-3742

info@mvmcs.org

27285 Brandon Circle Steamboat Springs, CO 80488

Mailing:
PO BOX 883141
Steamboat Springs, CO 80488

© 2017 MVMCS | All Rights Reserved