Elementary faculty & staff profiles

Nancy Kestek, Lower Elementary Program Director

Read Nancy’s profile here.

Liz Hoyer, Upper Elementary Program Director

Read Liz’s profile here.

Innovation & Design Lab, Bryce Aktepy

Western Washington University (psychology and sociology)
Training and work as ABA therapist in early intervention programs
Hired at WMS—2006

Co-Head Teacher, Laura Ascolese, Juniper (LE)lascolesestaffwebprofile2016

BS (Elementary Education) University of Delaware
MEd (Elementary Education, Montessori Concentration) Plymouth State University
Montessori Credentials – Elementary I AMS certified through MEIPN
Hired at WMS—2001

Teacher, Alexa Boss, Spanish Language (LE & SEC)

BA (Spanish, emphasis in Latin American Studies) University of Oregon
Hired at WMS—2017

Co-Head  Teacher, Hillary Brestar, Spruce (LE)

BA (Elementary Education) Washington State University
Endorsements (Early Childhood, Reading) Washington State University
MEd University of Washington
Montessori Credentials—Elementary I
Hired at WMS—2000; 2016

Co-Head Teacher, LeeAnn Brown, Magnolia (LE)

BS (English Education) Florida State University
Montessori credentials, Elementary I & Level I Montessori Applied for Children at Risk (MACAR) training
Hired at WMS—2006

Co-Head Teacher, Rachel Ellis, Cypress (UE)

BA (Biology), Bates College
Montessori credentials, Elementary I and II (in progress)
WMS Alumna
Hired at WMS—2016

Intern Amanda Freerksen, Cedar (UE)

BA (Spanish Literature), New York University
California Multiple Subjects BCLAD, San Diego State University
Montessori credentials, AMI Diploma, ages 3-6, Montessori Institute of San Diego; MEIPN Elementary in progress
Hired at WMS—2018

afujimotostaffwebprofile2016Co-Head Teacher, Amy Fujimoto, Willow (LE)

BA (English),  University of Washington
Montessori credentials, Early Childhood & Elementary I
Teacher trainer for the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest, field consultant for new teachers and board member
Hired at WMS—2000

Co-Head Teacher, Robin Held, Juniper (LE)

BS (psychology), University of Washington
Early Childhood and Lower Elementary Montessori credentials
Hired at WMS—2008

vjuarezstaffwebprofile2016Co-Head Teacher, Veronica Juarez, Willow (LE)

Veterinary degree, Mexico’s City University
Montessori credentials in process, Elementary I
Hired at WMS—2014

Program Specialist, Laila Kabani (UE)

BA, (English Literature), St. Xavier’s College,  Ahmedabad, India
Masters degree (Islamic Studies), University of Mumbai; Masters in Teaching, University of Washington (Seattle)
Montessori training at MEIPN
K-8 Elementary Washington state Certification; English Language (ELL) endorsement
Hired at WMS—2013

Co-Head Teacher Durga Kanjinghat, Spruce (LE)

BA (math), University of Madras, India
Medical transcription training, Chennai, India
Early Childhood diploma, North American Montessori Center; Lower Elementary credential, AMS through MEIPN

jlancasterstaffwebprofile2016Co-Head Teacher, Jeni Lancaster, Cypress (UE)

BA (Cultural Anthropology), Western Washington University
Montessori credentials, Elementary I & II
Hired at WMS—2013

Co-Head Teacher, Matthew Long, Cedar (UE)

BS (Elementary Education, with a focus on Social Studies), Wartburg College
MA (Language Arts), University of New England)
Montessori credentials— Elementary I & II from Montessori Education Center of the Rockies
Hired at WMS—2018

Co-Head Teacher, Kaitlyn McElrath, Cypress (UE)

BA (Theatre Arts), Gustavus Adolphus College
Montessori credential, Elementary I & II
WMS Alumna
Hired at WMS—2015

Drama Instructor & EL Program Assistant, Kylie McElrath

(Bio to come)
WMS Alumna
Hired at WMS—2017

Co-Teaching Intern, Emily Murray, Hawthorn (LE)

MFA (Playwriting), Columbia University
MSW University of Washington
Montessori credentials: currently working toward Lower Elementary credential, MEIPN
Hired at WMS—2018

Art Specialist, Carol Roorbach (LE/UE)

BS (Visual Arts), New England College
MS (Art Education), Alfred University
MFA (Ceramic Art), New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
Hired at WMS—2005

Co-Head Teacher,  Alison Stern, Magnolia (LE)

BA Goddard College
M.Ed. University of Washington Bothell
Washington state K-6 reading endorsement
Montessori credentials, AMS Elementary I, MEIPN
Hired at WMS—2018

Music specialist, Andre Thomas (UE)

Hired at WMS—2016

Teacher, Carlos Valencia,  Spanish Language (UE) & soccer coach

See Secondary pages for more about Carlos.

Co-Head Teacher, Laura Webb, Hawthorn (LE)

BA (English Literature), Boston University
MS (Special Education), University of North Dakota-Grand Forks (in process)
Montessori credentials, Elementary I; Montessori Applied for Children at Risk (MACAR) training
Hired at WMS—2011

twestphalstaffwebprofile2016Co-Head Teacher, Taylor Westphal, Cedar/Birch (UE)

BS (Earth and Space Sciences), University of Washington
Montessori credentials, Elementary I & II
Hired at WMS—2013