The Grapevine

Woodinville Montessori School
Weekly Newsletter, June 22, 2018

LEARN self-respect, compassion and commitment to community | GROW academically, socially, emotionally, creatively and intellectually | BECOME world citizens who have a voice and make a difference.

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WMHS Class of 2018 commences onward

Class of 2018

Anisha Chutani and May Hong are the Woodinville Montessori High School Class of 2018.

In a uniquely WMS-style ceremony on June 16, Anisha and May graduated from WMHS, and now the accomplished pair head into the UW’s School of Engineering. Read more, and see more photos on the Secondary site.→

School’s out!

Crossing the bridge

Leaping into the next grade and summer, this sixth-year student crosses the bridge during the annual school Closing Ceremony on June 21.

See more photos of students in the gallery

Mary says goodbye and announces additional staff

We are happy to tell you that faculty for next year will remain the same in all Toddler and EC classrooms, though some assistants may be moved to different classrooms. Meg Venkatachalapathy will assume the position of head teacher in Aspen with Jen Ward working in an assistant role.

Laura Webb will move from Magnolia to lead the new fifth Lower El Hawthorn classroom. Emily Murray will be her co-teacher. Emily is a parent at WMS who has worked as psychotherapist for several years. She taught high school in New York and playwriting at ACT Theater prior to her career as a therapist. After observing her children here, she has decided to go back to teaching. Emily has a master’s degree in social work clinical practice as well as a Master of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in theater and cultural studies. She will be taking MEIPN Lower Elementary Montessori training this summer.

Alison Stern will join LeeAnn Brown as co-teacher. Alison has been a Lower El Montessori teacher since 2002 at Whole Earth Montessori. She was an instructor for MEIPN (Montessori Teacher Education Institute of the Pacific NW) until taking what we hope is a temporary break in 2014. In addition to her Montessori credentials, Alison has a BA in education and social ecology and a Master of Education in literacy, and she holds state teaching credentials in both Vermont and Washington state.

We are adding extra staff to both Upper El classrooms in preparation for adding a third Upper Elementary in 2019-2020, and to cover medical absences for current staff. Laila Kabani will be on maternity leave beginning in November. She has elected to come back for one half-day each week in the spring, so she will not be assigned any checking students, but hopes to be here full-time the first two months of school to support adjustment of the new sixth-graders coming to our school without a Montessori background.

Matt Long will join Cedar classroom as co-teacher with Kaitlyn McElrath and Taylor Westphal. Matt has a B.A. in elementary education, a master’s in education in K-12 Literacy and AMS Elementary I-II credentials from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colo. He taught in a Lower El classroom for three years, Upper El for six years and a class of first-through-sixth-years for two years. He has also taught in public school and worked as a school director. Matt and his wife Shannon and their two children just arrived last week from South Dakota. As mentioned in previous Grapevines, Shannon is the new registrar at North Creek, and their children will be joining our Upper and Lower El classrooms in the fall.

Marissa Roecks, WMS Associate Admissions Director, will begin work on her Montessori Elementary I-II credentials this summer and will be interning in Cypress with Jeni Lancaster and Rachel Ellis. Marissa previously taught at the Early Childhood level before taking the admissions position this past year.

Spanish teacher Alexa Boss will be joining Secondary next year.

Finally, we are giving Elementary Program Director Nancy Kestek some relief from her very demanding job by adding a part-time program director for Upper Elementary next year. With faculty, students and families for five Lower Elementary classrooms to oversee, we feel that there should be an additional program director to focus on Upper Elementary as we prepare for its expansion. We are very happy to have Liz Hoyer returning to WMS to fulfill this role.

Liz has a B.A. in Psychology with minors in business and philosophy, and a Master in Teaching. She holds National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification, Washington state K-8 Residency Certification and AMS Elementary I and II credentials. She taught at WMS for three years, then moved to Tacoma where she taught in the highly regarded public school Montessori programs at Bryant, and then Geiger, elementary schools. The past three years she has taught at Daniel Bagley Public Montessori program in Seattle. She also taught one year at a Montessori school in Poland and has been an instructor for MEIPN since 2013. Her classroom experience has been in both Lower and Upper Elementary. Liz will be increasing her hours after her toddler is old enough to enter the toddler program in the spring.

As announced in February, Sunita Pailoor’s position as Secondary Director will be filled by Carter McCoy, who is moving from California, and has Northwest roots. His experience prior to discovering Montessori includes positions as an instructor at Camp Nor’Wester, as Coordinator of Outdoor Education and Maritime Instructor at the Ocean Institute in Dana Pt., Calif., and as program director for the Junior Statesmen Foundation in California. He then became part of the leadership and teaching team that established and grew the Alsion Montessori Middle and High School for seven years. Carter holds two B.A.s, one in Political Science and one in History from the College of Charleston. He earned a Master of International Relations and Asian Politics from the University of Queensland, a Montessori Teaching Credential for ages 12-18 and a Master of Education in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College. Carter is happy to be moving back to the Northwest, and excited at the prospect of supporting the growth of Montessori Secondary. Carter and Liz begin work July 1. Also spending some or all of their summers in school will be Assistants Kelsey Mooseker and Dolly Jose who will begin work on their Montessori Early Childhood and Infant Toddler credentials respectively.

Thank you

Thus concludes my very last staffing update. The emotions and thoughts running through me have been overwhelming at times this spring. How astonishingly lucky I have been to have had such a fulfilling and motivating place to go to work every day! After 35 years it is very hard to imagine life without WMS in it daily. I will most miss being around the special people here who care so much about helping children to become their best selves. The amount of heart and energy and thought that is extended to every child means that what we set out to do in the beginning will continue to happen when I am gone.

Thanks to the board, to my admin team and to all of our wonderful faculty and staff for their selfless devotion to the school and the children it serves. And, even though I already get way less time with them than I would like, I will of course miss the children whose uniqueness is a never-ending source of fascination and inspiration.

“Growing” WMS has been a source of constant learning and challenge, reward and excitement. My husband and my children have made their own contributions over the years, putting in lots of hours on various school-related tasks or waiting for me while I do “just a couple more things” at school.I thank them for their patience and support.

I extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all of you, the parents who trust us with your children, who work hard to partner with us through the struggles and joys of parenting, and who contribute in so many ways to make this the school it is. I wish you all a wonderful summer and good fortune in the years ahead.

Very best wishes,

Thanks to organizers, Field Day was a circus!

Field Day

Balloon tag takes agility, quickness and speed—and is a favorite at every annual Elementary-Secondary Field Day.

Big kudos go to Kylie McElrath for spearheading the planning and organization of the circus-themed Field Day, and to all the Elementary and Secondary teachers and students, and the Facilities crew of Tim McQuery and Jared Walls. They worked hard in the unseasonal heat to set up and run games and activities that were fun and safe for the students. Thank you, too, to the parents who loaned pop-up tents which provided shady relief. More photos are posted on the Upper Elementary page.→