Children's Houses (preschool and kindergarten)
Head Teacher, Children's House South
Elementary Teaching Diploma, Kantonales Lehrerseminar Mariaberg
MMTCC, American Montessori Society, Montessori Teaching Certificate 2-6
The Shelton School, MACAR Level 1
After studying traditional Elementary Education in Switzerland and later moving to the United States, Angelika was introduced to the field of Montessori Education when she started working as a Montessori assistant. She immediately fell in love with the philosophy and its impact on children and their development. Originally, she thought her work should be at the elementary level but soon learned that her true heart is with the early childhood years. She believes that as a Montessori head teacher she can support the natural development of the child while encouraging independence and their love for work.
Angelika brought her amazing teaching to PVMS in 2013. She enjoys the camaraderie and cooperation with the other teachers and staff very much. She feels that the school offers an authentic Montessori education by maintaining fidelity to the Montessori Method and encourages teachers to be their best.
Angelika and her husband have three adult children who they love to spend time with. When visiting family and friends in Europe, they enjoy hiking together as a family. When home in Massachusetts, she and her husband explore many of New England’s rail trails on their recumbent bikes.
Assistant Teacher, Children's House South
Rosemary has been at PVMS since 1993 as an assistant in our children’s house program. She loves our small school with its family feel and the dedicated teaching staff who help children grow into independent and confident adults. She loves and believes in Maria Montessori’s philosophy regarding what “works” for children and how respect for children is most important.
Rosemary is known in the school as an amazing cook, and loves to share this experience of cooking with family. When her children were young she made homemade pasta with them, having them participate fully, in true Montessori fashion. Even before she was Montessori trained she was presenting her children with the opportunity to learn hands on with her in the kitchen.
Classroom Assistant, Children's House South
Gerri found herself looking for something to spark her interest after her boys grew up and left home. She heard about an opening at PVMS and applied; she has been here at Pioneer Valley Montessori School since 2007 as a classroom assistant during lunch and rest period. She loves the openness of a Montessori classroom and the quiet approach used by the head teachers as they speak to the students. In her spare time Gerri enjoys doing Yoga, and tries to practice 5 to 6 times a week.
Head Teacher, Children's House North
A.A., Florida Community College
B.S., Elms College
Northeast Montessori Institute, American Montessori Society Early Childhood Credential
Sheryl’s was introduced to Montessori when her daughter was almost 3 years old; as a mother she was an avid reader about child development. She found Maria, her practices and beliefs, to be exactly what she had been looking for. It was what she wanted for her children and for her teaching; and so her Montessori journey began, and led her here to Pioneer Valley Montessori School.
Sheryl remembers how hard it was to leave her own children at school, and tries to remember this as she is teaching: To care for her students in the way that she would have wanted someone to care for her own children is always her goal.
Assistant Teacher, Children's House North
Debbie truly has a gift for helping and caring for children. She and her husband served as foster parents for over 150 children over the years, in addition to their four adopted children and two biological children. She now enjoys the best part of being a parent…being a grandparent, to her eight grandchildren.
Debbie was hired in 2012 as an assistant in the after school program, and eventually took the lead position. She was also readily available as a substitute teacher during the day, and then was offered an assistant position. Debbie has a natural and easy rapport with children and with parents. Although she was new to Montessori when hired, she was intrigued by the philosophy and did the assistant training program as soon as she could. She continues to learn about the materials and how they are used in the classroom.
Classroom Assistant, Children's House North
Lisa was hired in 2011 as a classroom assistant in children’s house, and has since held positions in both children’s house and elementary. Little did we know, she was also a talented yoga instructor! Lisa has been studying and practicing yoga since 1997. Originally she began her journey into the world of yoga as a student in a pursuit to learn more. She became certified as an Atma Yoga teacher, and a friend eventually convinced her to teach; at first filling in here and there and finally leading classes of her own at Heartsong Yoga in East Longmeadow. Lisa has found a calling in teaching yoga and her passion for the practice is undeniable.
Her background and training is a synthesis of several schools of yoga, including the traditions of Atma, Ashtanga, and Kripalu. Lisa also studies Mindfulness Meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Her teaching style is a wonderful blend of all of her practices. After working at PVMS for 5 years, we are pleased that Lisa has brought her yoga expertise to us as our kindergarten and elementary yoga instructor.
Lisa still lends a hand in the children's house north as a classrooms assistant during lunch time.
| Tara Emery Gagnon |
Head Teacher Children's House East
B.A. Theater Arts and Psychology, Drew University
American Montessori Society, Early Childhood Credential, NEMTEC
M.S. Developmental Psychology, Bay Path College
Tara’s plan going into college was to become fluent in Russian and study international relations. She had recently returned from a student exchange program in Paris and was excited to make her mark on the world. Two things happened that changed her plans. First, she traveled to the Philippines during college and there she, found the Theater Department. Theater was where she finally discovered her strengths as a learner. Second, after college she went for a job interview as a drama teacher at a Montessori School.
Her first spark of interest in this type of education came from that job interview. Almost immediately she got the sense that something truly remarkable was happening there. She was so taken by the school that she started reading about Montessori and shortly thereafter, applied for the Montessori teacher training program. She began her career in 1995 as an early childhood Montessori teacher.
Tara loves to share stories about her two cats with her students. One cat has stripes and one has spots, she sees if the children can guess which is Max and which is Dottie. Max and Dottie find their way into her teaching and the stories about them inspire students to draw and write about animals or their own favorite pet.
Assistant Teacher, Children's House East
Sara began working at PVMS in 2005 as an assistant teacher, and fit right into our community. She was intrigued by the Montessori Method and loved how she could see the independence being nurtured within the child.
Both of Sara’s daughters have had the opportunity to experience PVMS as students. Her older daughter graduated from our 6th grade program, and her younger daughter was one of our very first students in the toddler program. Sara and her daughters are so pleased with the education that they received at PVMS and are looking forward to what will come next.