Mountain Village Montessori Charter School is a tuition free public charter school for kindergarten through 5th grade also offering a coveted preschool program.

 

2019-2020 STAFF

 

 

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.

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!

Nicole Hickory

Nicole Hickory

Assistant Teacher

I feel so honored to be joining the MVMCS team. My family and I relocated to Steamboat Springs last year after living up in Seattle Washington for 11 years. I grew up just down the road in Craig so returning to the Yampa Valley is a homecoming for me. We have so enjoyed all the wonderful things this area has to offer from skiing to biking and hiking to this wonderful school. After 7 years at home with my girls it feels really exciting to be back in the education world.

I received my BA in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University in 2007. My emphasis was child development and I received training in the Reggio Emilia style for early learning. Working with young children in some capacity has been always present for me. From a short stint as a social worker in Seattle to a therapeutic childcare worker helping young children with open CPS cases develop healthy attachments. I also had the unique opportunity to teach English and aid in the development of a preschool in Tanzania East Africa.

Working in Montessori feels like a really nice fit for me as I love the focus on the whole child. Over the summer I completed a two day Montessori training course. I look forward to more professional development and growing with the children.

Sharon Ort

Sharon Ort

Lead Teacher

Education of children has been one of my passions for the past twenty years. My AMI Montessori Certification was achieved in 1997 and is 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 was also a teacher in Maryland, Wyoming and Colorado.

In May of 2007 my family and I moved to Steamboat. My husband, Bob, retired from education where he was a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse in a K-3rd classroom in Centennial, Wyoming. Our two daughters, Althea & Annika, both had Montessori experiences which has proven beneficial to them as they continue on the trajectory of a more traditional education.

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!!! Thank you 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 Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies from Colorado Mountain College, and I am currently pursuing a Masters 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 contribute to local food system initiatives.

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

LOWER ELEMENTARY EDUCATORS

Jen Mac

Jen Mac

Lead 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.

Liz Meissner

Liz Meissner

Assistant Teacher / Physical Education Teacher & Wednesday Enrichment Coordinator

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 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.

Clare Berkey

Clare Berkey

Assistant 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 and Caz . 

Cassady Roberts

Cassady Roberts

Lead Teacher

I was raised right here in Steamboat with my 3 brothers. I attended Colby College in Maine and 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 teaching lower elementary. I then attended the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder and received my Lower Elementary Certification. I love how Montessori education fosters independence, problem solving, and creative thought. I seek to teach the whole child and provide a personal learning path for each child in my class!

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

Jenna Handloff

Jenna Handloff

Assistant Teacher

I am so delighted to be a part of the Mountain Village Montessori community, not only as a
mother of two students but also an assistant teacher. Originally from Minnesota, I found my way
to the mountains in 2006 after Graduating from Concordia College with a BA in Theatre Arts
Management. I accepted a job for the summer at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, fell in
love with a local and landed in Denver. We came back to Steamboat in 2015 and again in
2018, after much adventure, and now we have rooted ourselves back in the Valley. I spend my
mornings in the Columbine classroom with an amazing collective of students. I am inspired
daily by their unique work environment and how motivated one can be when they are in charge
of their space and pace. This is my first year in a classroom and I feel so grateful for the
opportunity to learn alongside each student. I’m looking forward to watching them grow!
Outside of school I own and run a little apothecary downtown called Aspen Botanicals, love to
camp, hike and play at the river, spend much time in my kitchen crafting and baking bread and I
always enjoy a good bike ride.
 

UPPER ELEMENTARY EDUCATORS

Leah Ramberg

Leah Ramberg

Lead Teacher

It has been a wonderful journey these past two years, working at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School. I am originally from Minnesota. My husband and I moved to Steamboat Springs in 2012 for my previous role as a school based mentor. Since 2012, I have worked in several positions at both public and private schools in Steamboat, and now feel at home at MVMCS. In the spring of 2017, I received a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Throughout the school year I will continue and complete my Montessori training through Age of Montessori, MACTE accredited training site, based out of Bozeman, MT. I look forward to another incredible school year!

Michelle Roos

Michelle Roos

Assistant Teacher

I am so excited to be an assistant teacher here at MVMCS! I love that my path in education has led me to this amazing school. My background in education began in Texas, where I graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Elementary Education. I then taught fourth grade in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for seven years. Many of those years were spent specializing in Language Arts with English Language Learners. Our family made the leap to move to Steamboat in 2015 and I stumbled upon Steamboat Springs Montessori while running down from Spring Creek trail head. I immediately enrolled my younger son and quickly fell in love with the Montessori way! When the charter school turned into a reality I was so excited to enroll BOTH of my boys here. After subbing here last year I realized how much I missed working with the older students and decided to get back into the classroom!

Laura Godt

Laura Godt

Lead Teacher

 I’m delighted to be joining the MVMCS community this year! This is my tenth year as a teacher and Montessorian and I can’t wait to meet all the students and families. I attended Montessori training at Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and am certified in both lower and upper elementary. I also hold an elementary teaching license with the state of Colorado.
We just moved to Steamboat from Boulder and are thrilled to be here. My daughter, Neva, will be an 8th grader at Steamboat Middle School. She is a passionate alpine ski racer and is so happy to be part of the winter sports club. My husband, Jonathan, also loves downhill skiing, while I prefer cross country or snowshoeing. Off the snow, I enjoy hiking, yoga, camping, and spending time with my family and our two Old English Sheepdogs. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all!

ENRICHMENT TEACHERS AND SPECIALISTS

Darcy Walters

Darcy Walters

Instructional Coach / Director of Exceptional Student Services

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!

Izzy Sucha

Izzy Sucha

Literacy Specialist

I am very excited to be 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!

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 Mindful Movement with my students! My teaching experience has been with grades K-3, mainly in dual language (Spanish/English) classrooms in New Mexico, as well as teaching Spanish over the past two years here at Mountain Village Montessori Charter School. This year I will continue to expand and develop the Spanish language program here at MVMCS.

I have lived in Steamboat for four years with my husband, Patrick, and our sons, Sebastian (8) and Diego (6), who are lower elementary students at MVMCS. We love traveling, 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 Spanish program for our students and their families!

Laura Tamucci

Laura Tamucci

Art Teacher

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.

Tyler Surwoicz

Tyler Surwoicz

Special Education Teacher

Hi I am Tyler Surowicz! I am from Oklahoma! I went to college in Durango, Colorado at Fort Lewis. Where I received  my BA in interdisciplinary studies with a licence to teach K-6! This summer I received my English Language Learners endorsement, and currently hold a Special Education Generalist Alternative license! I will be going to school this year in order to obtain this license. Therefore this is my first year teaching Special Education! I have worked in Education for 8 years and last year was my first year to work in a Montessori school and I loved how hands on it was! I feel so lucky to be teaching at MVMCS! My family and I moved to Steamboat this winter! We love hiking, biking, skiing, swimming and paddle boarding! We love everything Steamboat has to offer! 

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

Director of Business and Finance

I grew up in the Midwest and have lived in Steamboat Springs for the past 8 years.  I have 2 boys Frankie (6) and Thomas (4).  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 to be apart of the MVMCS staff!  During my free time, I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, camping, paddle boarding and skiing.

Kristen Gilligan

Kristen Gilligan

Office Manager

I am THRILLED to be one of two “front desk girls,” here at MVMCS! My husband is a founding board member & our two daughters (Hutton-1st grade, Bergen-PreK) are MVMCS students so it was only a matter of timing before I officially got involved in the school!

I’m a proud Minnesotan & moved to Colorado in 1999 to attend CU-Boulder where I received my degree in Communications.  I worked in advertising as well as corporate sales before I took a break from the workforce to stay at home with my girls.

I love biking, skiing, skinning and hiking and our family loves cooking, traveling, our golden retriever Bedford…. and anything outdoors!

Deidre Saunders

Deidre Saunders

Office Manager

Montessori has always been a large part of my life since moving to Steamboat 20 years ago!  My family and I were involved with the original charter and my three children (Katie, 20, Kari 19, Kyle 15) went through the program!  I feel very fortunate to still be involved and able to contribute to public Montessori in Steamboat.  Education has always been a top priority in our family.  My husband, a professor at CMC, and I moved here after completing education programs at UNC in Greeley.  Steamboat is home!  We love to raft, hike, ride, play with our dogs, raise chickens and be outside!!  

 

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

 

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