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

Co-Teaching Intern Amanda Freerksen, Cedar/Birch (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
M Ed in progress at Endicott College, The Institute for Educational Studies
Montessori credentials, Early Childhood & Elementary I
Field consultant for new teachers and board member for Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest
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

Frances Ju, Program Assistant, Lower E/EL and CH; YMCA chaperone

Certificate, community college studies (Phlebotomy)
Montessori credentials, MEIPN assistant training
Hired at WMS—2008

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

Veterinary degree, Mexico’s City University
Montessori credentials, 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
Hired at WMS—2015

Co-Head Teacher, Matthew Long, Cedar/Birch (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