Faculty & Staff

AMI Montessori Teachers

Nancy Breeden

Nancy Breeden

Primary Teacher

Nancy has been with Staunton Montessori School since 1997. She has a BS in psychology from Longwood College, a BS in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University, and her primary AMI diploma. She recently pursued her love of writing by completing two Writing for Children’s Magazines courses with the Institute for Children’s Literature. 

“I truly believe that Montessori provides the most natural and hands-on way for children to learn.”

Susan Rehfield

Susan Rehfield

Primary Teacher

Susan has a BA in art from George Mason University (1990) and an AMI primary diploma from The Washington Montessori Institute (1995). She especially enjoys art, music, literature and geography. Through working with children, she loves that every day is full of new discoveries and joyful learning.

Lia Craft

Lia Craft

Elementary 6-9 Teacher (grades 1-3)

Lia began her undergraduate studies at Radford University and completed her BA in psychology at Georgia State University. She was an assistant in a Montessori upper elementary classroom at Arbor Montessori in Atlanta for 10 years before moving back to Virginia. After a year as Nancy’s assistant, she completed the AMI elementary training at WMI and received a Master’s Degree in Education.

Alison Oelke McCaul

Alison Oelke McCaul

Elementary 6-9 Teacher (grades 1-3)

Alison is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College with a BA in Sociology & Social Work. She has worked with children in Day Cares, Summer Camps, Puppetry Workshops, and Boys & Girls Clubs in Virginia and Maryland. She loves animals, art, puppetry, games, and watching the children learn and grow.

Chrissie Hall

Chrissie Hall

Elementary 9-12 Teacher (grades 4-6)

Chrissie is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College, with a degree in psychology. Additionally, she earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola College of Baltimore. Since beginning the elementary program at SMS in 2002, Chrissie continues to focus on fostering the independence, responsibility and curiosity of all students.

Robert Hale-MacKinnon

Robert Hale-MacKinnon

Adolescent Lead Teacher (grades 7-12)

Robert has spent the past two decades working with students in elementary and middle schools in New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Virginia. He began his adult life as a metal and ceramic artist in Portland, OR and then became interested in historic building restoration. After a job as a therapeutic teacher in adolescent adjudication, he earned his MS in Special Education. In 2002, he moved to Italy with his wife to obtain the AMI Elementary Montessori Diploma at the 6-12 level from Bergamo. He holds a BA in Studio Art from Washington & Lee University and loves to create art with the children.

Specialists

Alix Brewer

Alix Brewer

Post Secondary Advisor

Alix facilitates our college and post-secondary advising program, in addition to assisting with the implementation of our Upper Cycle Adolescent Program and school accreditation. She graduated from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA and taught adult literacy in Baltimore, MD for two years before going on to earn an MSW, specializing in working with children and adolescents in school settings. Alix spent several years working as a clinical school social worker before moving to Virginia in 2005. She joined us in 2019 following 13 years working in education research at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. She completed a certification in college advising from Teachers College, Columbia University and is excited to share what she has learned about how best to prepare students for successful post-secondary experiences. She enjoys spending time with her family, exploring cities, good books, strong coffee and creative expression of all sorts.

Sean Psujek

Sean Psujek

Integrated Science Specialist

Sean grew up around bench and field science with one parent a medtech, the other an environmental biologist. His father gave him some “lab” space in a shed in high school to keep him from burning down the house. Not in any particular order, Sean has lived in Thailand and South Korea teaching ESL, worked as a lab manager for a molecular biology lab, wrenched in bike shops, maintained hawkmoth colonies at two universities, attended a traditional wooden boatbuilding school in Maine, and, somewhere in there, he earned his Ph.D. in Biology through a NSF training grant in neuromechanical systems.

Pam Chan

Pam Chan

Math Specialist

Pam graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in mathematics and international studies.  Before joining the SMS team in 2019, she worked one-on-one and in small groups with students doing SAT math test prep and algebra tutoring.  Pam grew up in Pennsylvania, but apart from a two and a half year adventure in China, she has lived in various parts of Virginia since college.

Assistants

Kelly Harris

Kelly Harris

Primary Assistant

Kelly is a graduate of Bridgewater College with a BA in liberal studies. While at Bridgewater she also received her PK-6 teaching license. She has worked at Staunton Montessori School since 2008 and has developed a deep love and appreciation of the Montessori method.

Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown

Primary Assistant

Carolyn attended Ferrum Jr. College and transferred to VCU where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. She has some training in sign language and worked as a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser for several years.

Brigid Bronik

Brigid Bronik

Assistant in Elementary Grades (4-6)

Brigid earned her BA in Spanish and Women’s Studies (1995) from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, before going on to earn a Master’s in Library Science from North Carolina Central University . She has worked in public and university libraries, and she was the Library Media Coordinator at Easley Elementary School in Durham, NC, for six years before her family relocated to the Shenandoah Valley. She joined the staff at Staunton Montessori School in 2016.

Aftercare Program

Rodi Sutherland

Rodi Sutherland

Aftercare Director

Rodi graduated from Wilson Memorial High School and attended Blue Ridge Community College. She has worked in child care since 1996 with ages ranging from Infant to Adolescent. Her personal philosophy on children is to “follow the child.” She is also a credentialed Child Development Associate (CDA) and a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Connor Phillips

Aftercare Assistant

Bio coming soon

Administrative Team

Kelley Flanders

Kelley Flanders

Head of School

Kelley’s passion for Independent Education started as a child. She had the privilege of growing up as a faculty child and attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut for Preparatory School. After Choate, she received a BA in psychology and English Literature from Lake Forest College. Kelley was the Dean of Admission at Stuart Hall School, taught English and ESL, as well as coached varsity soccer and softball and organized student activities. She has managed a large retail store as well as owning her own retail business (Byers Street Housewares) for 14 years. Kelley has served on numerous local non-profit Boards of Directors. Her vast knowledge and experience in management, fundraising and marketing has been an asset as she leads SMS during this time of growth in the school.

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