Staff


Administration


James M. Farwell

Head of School

Mr. James grew up in Woodbury, MN attending several Montessori schools throughout childhood including Woodbury Montessori (3-4 years old), Nokomis Montessori School (Kindergarten), J.J. Hill Montessori (1st grade) and Valley Crossing Community School (5th – 6th grade).  After working in finance for several years, he found his passion of providing Montessori education.  As a lifelong learner and teacher, Mr. James has served for three years as a Sunday school teacher (1st – 3rd graders), six years as a snowboard instructor (11 – 13 year olds), one year as a teaching assistant at the University of Florida, has served as an occasional guest speaker at Florida International University several times from 2009-2013, and now works full time in education for Montessori School of Fort Myers.

James enjoys finding ways to better serve the children, families, and faculty of Montessori School of Fort Myers as Head of School.  In his free time, he enjoys working on the school facility, playing soccer, weight lifting, growing fruit trees and hot peppers, and reading.  James is semi-fluent in Spanish.

Credentials

  • Head of School at Montessori School of Fort Myers since 2013.
  • Montessori Administrator Credential – September 2016.  Seton Montessori Institute, an American Montessori Society (AMS) affiliated teacher education program.
  • B.S.B.A. in Finance and minor in Spanish – University of Florida
  • Montessori Alliance of Florida – Communications Committee Chairperson
  • Montessori Administration intensive training course – Bridges Montessori
  • Coursework in Early Childhood Education – Nova Southeast University
  • Florida Department of Children & Families – Staff Credential, Director Credential, Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Director Endorsement, 40 hours of child care training, numerous continuing education courses
  • Certified Instructor of 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course
  • American Heart Association – Infant & Child CPR, AED, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogen training

 Natalie Carter
Office Manager

Ms. Natalie is a Fort Myers, Florida native. She left Fort Myers to attend the University of Florida (Go Gators!) where she studied special education and early childhood education. After spending time as a kindergarten teacher and later a third grade teacher, Ms. Natalie found her way to Montessori School of Fort Myers. She is thrilled to be part of the team and is enjoying learning more about the Montessori method every day. Natalie enjoys the outdoors, running, cooking, and reading.

 
Credentials

  • B.A. in Special Education from the University of Florida
  • M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida
  • Completed 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course
  • American Heart Association – Infant & Child CPR, AED, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogen training

Primary Environments (3-6 years old)


Cindy Taveras
Lead Teacher – Primary Red Door Environment

Cindy Taveras has lived in New York; Puerto Rico; South Florida; Gainesville, FL; and currently in Fort Myers, FL.  With her family (namely her mother, sister and brother-in-law and their adorable children, and her brother-in-law’s mother) nearby, Fort Myers feels like home to her.  

Originally, Cindy pursued journalism, but after discovering her passion for working with children while working at a child care facility for three years in Gainesville, she decided to merge her passion for writing and reading with her passion for children by pursuing her master’s degree in English education from the University of Florida.

Cindy is also passionate about people, craft-making, and teaching, and she enjoys amusement parks, animals, and sightseeing.


Credentials:

  • Early Childhood (3-6 years old) Montessori Teaching Credential, Summit Montessori Teaching Training Institute (SMTTI), graduation expected in June 2018.  SMTTI is accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS).
  • Professional Educator’s Certificate in English and an ESOL endorsement
  • M.Ed. in English through the University of Florida’s ProTeach Program
  • B.S. in journalism and a minor in political science from the University of Florida
  • Oak Creek Charter School – substitute teacher
  • Lehigh Senior High – English language arts teacher
  • Internship with P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School (taught four eighth grade English language arts classes)
  • Six practicums with six Alachua County schools through ProTeach graduate program: J.J. Finley Elementary School, W.W. Irby Elementary School, Westwood Middle School, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Gainesville High School, and Eastside High School
  • Preservice Shewey Scholar Teacher
  • Kagan Structures Level 1: Cooperation Learning Institute

Jamie Stanaland
Morning Assistant Teacher – Red Door Primary Environment

Ms. Jamie has been teaching preschool since 2015 where she started teaching at an early learning center in Clearwater, Florida.  After moving to Fort Myers, Ms. Jamie joined our school in January 2017.  She is very passionate about teaching, nurturing, and expanding her own education in early childhood education and development.  In her free time she enjoys paddleboarding, archery, baking, and snuggling her dogs. 

 

Credentials: 

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – Staff Credential (Birth through 5 years), 40 hours Child Care Training.
  • Associates Degree
  • Working on Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Florida Southwestern State College.
  • CPR and First Aid certified 

Natalie Coveleski

Aftercare Assistant – Primary Environments
Ms. Natalie is a Fort Myers Beach native and is currently working toward a B.A. in Music Education at Florida Southwestern State College. She is a vocalist and plays several instruments including guitar and ukulele. In addition to her work at the Montessori School of Fort Myers, Ms. Natalie tutors college students at FSW.

Credentials

  • Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Education – Florida Southwestern State College (in progress)
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – on going training
  • Infant and Child First Aid and CPR certified

 

Danielle Brill
Lead Teacher – Green Door Primary Environment

Ms. Danielle is an experienced Montessorian who loves working with primary age (3-6 years old) children.  She has over eight years of experience teaching in Montessori environments and 15 years of total teaching experience.  In her free time, Ms. Danielle enjoys spending time with her three children and two grandchildren.  

 

 

 

Credentials

  • National Child Development Associate (CDA), Charlotte Vocational-Technical Center, 2013
  • Certificates: Montessori classroom leadership, The Montessori Foundation
  • Florida Department of Children & Families – 40 hours of child care training, numerous continuing education courses
  • 2016-2017: Renaissance Montessori – primary teacher, Fort Myers, FL
  • 2014-2016: Charlotte Academy – Montessori primary assistant teacher (3-6 year old), Port Charlotte, FL
  • 2012-2013: Sequatchie Valley Head – Assistant preschool teacher, Start School 
  • 2010-2011: The Montessori School – Infant lead teacher, Chattanooga, TN 
  • 2006-2010: Charlotte Academy – Montessori primary assistant teacher (3-6 year old) & academic coordinator, Port Charlotte, FL
  • 2005-2006: Educare Learning Center – PreK4 lead teacher, Port Charlotte, FL
  • 2003-2004: Private teacher and nanny. 
  • 2001-2003: Laurel Oaks Academy – Montessori primary assistant teacher (3-6 year old), Lake Suzy, FL
  • 1999-2001: Baker Center and Meadow Elementary – Head Start PreK teacher, Port Chalotte, FL

Emily Peters
All Day Assistant Teacher – Green Door Primary Environment

Emily Peters grew up in Miami, FL and moved to Fort Myers to attend Florida Gulf Coast University. She graduated with a bachelors degree in Child and Youth studies. She has years of experience working with young children. She is committed to creating an atmosphere that is encouraging, safe, and supportive for the children. In her free time she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and taking her dog to the park. 

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Science in Child and Youth Studies – Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Internships with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Little Saints Early Learning Center (0-5 year olds)
  • Multiple mission trips to Colombian and Haitian orphanages

 

Erica Pica
Afternoon Teacher – Green Door Primary Environment

Pica, Erica

Ms. Erica developed her love for working with young children at a young age. She has volunteered at her church for the past seven years with children in grades kindergarten through fifth. Ms. Erica is currently pursuing an education in Early Childhood Education at Florida Southwestern State College. Her passion is to be able to help her students learn and grow to the best of their ability.

Credentials

  • 5+ years of childcare experience
  • Florida Department of Children and Families- on-going training
  • Completed 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course

 

 

Toddler Environments (18 – 36 months)

 

Livia Adams
Lead Teacher – Toddler East Environment

Livia AdamsMs. Livia has been teaching since she first taught lamaze (childbirth) classes for 6 years from 1987-1993.  She got certified as a substitute teacher and teachers aide in the early 1990’s working with elementary, special needs, and high school students.  In 1991, she worked for a Head Start program working with 4 and 5 year olds.  In 1992, she started taking classes with the Florida Department of Children and Families for early childhood education.  She managed an early education childhood program  for a year before working in the classroom from 1994 – 1997 with infants, one-year-olds, three-year-olds, and after schoolers.  Since 2000, Ms. Livia has worked for the Montessori School of Fort Myers where she found a passion for the Montessori method of learning.  Two of her children graduated from Montessori School of Fort Myers one of which currently volunteers at the school in a teaching capacity.  In 2004, Ms. Livia earned her Infant/Toddler Montessori Credential from North American Montessori Center.  Ms. Livia loves spending quality time with her family and her granddaughter.  She likes reading, gardening trying new foods, and is very active with her bible classes.

Credentials:

  • Infant/Toddler Credential (0-3 years old), Summit Montessori Teaching Training Institute, 2017.  SMTTI is accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS).
  • North American Montessori Center – Infant/Toddler Montessori Credential, 2004
  • Hendry County School District substitute teacher and teacher’s aide
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – 40 hours of childcare training, many years of continued education
  • Attendance at numerous Montessori conferences
  • Courses on infant sign language
  • American Heart Association – Infant & Child CPR, AED, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogen training
  • 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course

Pam Miller
Assistant Teacher -Toddler East Environment
Pam Miller

A life-long Montessori teacher, Ms. Pam began teaching at Florence Foster Montessori School in Chicago, IL in 1986 where she taught until 1989 when she moved to Fort Myers.  Ms. Pam has taught at Montessori School of Fort Myers since 1990 as an assistant teacher and is a strong presence in the classroom.  She loves working with our children and is very skilled in keeping her classroom running in good order.

Credentials

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – 40 hours Child Care Training
  • 25+ years of Montessori teaching experience
  • 25+ years of in-service training courses in a variety of early childhood education topics
  • American Heart Association – Infant & Child CPR, AED, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogen training
  • 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course

 

Beaulieu, BridgetBridget Beaulieu
Lead Teacher – Toddler Far West Environment

Ms. Bridget completed her B.A. in Psychology at Florida Gulf Coast University where she took a special interest in developmental psychology and various educational models.  She has worked as a nanny, a tutor, and a toddler classroom lead teacher.  She especially loves working with toddlers because of their amazing capacity for learning and their endless curiosity. As a teacher, she aims to foster independence, compassion, and a life-long love of learning.  Ms. Bridget will begin the Montessori infant and toddler teacher training program at Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute (SMTTI) in Fall 2017.  Bridget is an avid reader who also enjoys baking, kayaking, and doing yoga.


Credentials

  • Infant/Toddler Credential (0-3 years old), Summit Montessori Teaching Training Institute, anticipated graduation in summer 2018  SMTTI is accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS).
  • B.A. Psychology, Florida Golf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers, FL
  • 3+ years of child care experience.
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – 40 hours Child Care Training (On going training)
  • Completed 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course
  • Infant and Child First Aid and CPR certified

Erica Fontanetta
Lead Teacher – Toddler West Environment

IMG_1168Erica, originally from Chicago, fell in love with Montessori as a parent. After not finding a good fit working in traditional child care, she found herself very drawn to working in a Montessori classroom. She looks forward to learning more about Montessori method of education and incorporating it at home with her daughter,  Josephine. Erica enjoys cooking, crocheting, and spending time at the beach with her family.

Credentials

  • Infant/Toddler Credential (0-3 years old), Summit Montessori Teaching Training Institute, anticipated graduation in summer 2018  SMTTI is accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS).
  • 5+ years of childcare experience, including a Montessori classroom
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – On-going training
  • American Heart Association – Infant & Child CPR, AED, and First Aid training
  • Completed 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course

Jessenia Ortiz
Toddler Aftercare Assistant Teacher

 

 Ms. Jessie is thrilled to join the MSFM family as an afternoon assistant. Prior to coming on board at the Montessori School of Fort Myers, Jessie worked in caregiving and administration. Ms. Jessie is currently attending Florida Southwestern State College pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She brings her friendly, positive attitude and her amazing patience to our toddler environment. In her free time, Ms. Jessie enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Credentials: 

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – Ongoing Training

 

Infant Environment (6 weeks- 18 months)

Joyce Mendonca
Lead Teacher – Infant Environment

102_1804 (2)Ms. Joyce was born in raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil where she studied Bio medicine. Soon after moving to South Florida she found her love of teaching at a small Montessori school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before joining our school in 2013. Her nurturing spirit and love of young children makes her a wonderful addition to our Infant program.

Credentials

  • Infant/Toddler Credential (0-3 years old), Summit Montessori Teaching Training Institute.  SMTTI is accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS).
  • 3+ years experience in Montessori Infant environments
  • Bachelors Degree in Bio medicine from Centro Universitario de Maringa in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – 40 hours Child Care Training
  • First Aid and CPR certified, as well as Fire extinguisher trained

 Margaret Medwedew
Assistant Teacher – Infant Environment


margaret-medwedew
Ms. Margaret is a Florida native who started her own education at a Tampa Montessori school. This early learning experience showed her a capacity for creative growth in unique environments. With her Bachelors of Arts in Theater from Florida State University, the patience taught by nine years in the theatrical arts, and a passion for working with children, she is excited to embark on this opportunity to learn as she teaches.

Credentials

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – on going training
  • BA in Theater from Florida State University
  • 2 + years in childcare
  • Infant and Child First Aid and CPR certified 

Neysha Deynes Fontanez
Infant Assistant Teacher

 Ms. Neysha is excited to join the MSFM family as an infant assistant. Ms. Neysha studied in Puerto Rico prior to relocating to Florida. She has previous experience working with infants at Bright Horizons Early Learning Center in Fort Myers. She brings her bright smile and kind personality to our toddler environment. In her spare time, Ms. Neysha enjoys spending time with her family.

Credentials: 

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – 40 hours Child Care Training
  • Infant and Child First Aid and CPR certified

 

Briana Conway
Aftercare Assistant- Infant Environment

Ms. Briana is a Early Childhood Education major at Florida Southwestern State College who hopes to one day become as Kindergarten teacher. She is excited to expand her experience in teaching at the Montessori School of Fort Myers, having previously volunteered at a daycare in Northfield, IL. 

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (In progress)
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – On-going training
  • Infant and Child First Aid and CPR certified

 Other Architects of the Future

Alison Bourdelais

Substitute Teacher and Educational Consultant
IMG_4663Ms. Alison has over 40 years of Montessori experience as a teacher, Founder of the Merrimack Valley Montessori School in Salem, New Hampshire, and the Academic Dean of Greenspring Montessori School in Lutherville, Maryland. We are so excited to have such a experienced lover of Montessori to substitute.

Credentials

  • Program Coordinator for the Maryland Center for Montessori Studies in Lutherville, Maryland
  • Served as a faculty member for the teacher training center she taught Montessori Philosophy, Sensorial Studies and Parent Education.
  • First Aid and CPR Certified
  • B.A. in Classics- Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois.
  • Montessori Primary Diploma from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center, Chicago Illinois
  • Early Childhood Credential (3-6 years old) -The National Montessori Teaching Certificate from the American Montessori Society.
  • Certified Instructor of 15 Hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior Course

Linda Ashton
Substitute Teacher 

Ms. Linda is a New York native with a strong background in Early Childhood Education, having worked as a one-on-one ESE aide as well as for a Afterschool Latchkey Program in Penfield, NY. She is excited to return to a classroom setting as a substitute teacher at the Montessori School of Fort Myers. In her free time, Ms. Ashton volunteers in the garden department at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

Credentials

  • Associates Degree in Accounting and Human Services with an empahsis on Early Childhood from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY
  • 10+ years in childcare experience as a Pre-School aide and Teaching Assistant
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – On-going training

Camille Ditchley
Assistant Teacher – Infant Environment

Ms. Camille is a former Montessori assistant in Indiana and is excited to return to the Montessori environment as an infant teacher here in Ft. Myers. Ms. Camille brings her strengths of patience, her kind personality and her love of young children to the classroom. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Credentials

  • Florida Department of Children and Families – on going training
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • CPR Certification

 


Autumn Wheeler

Substitute Teacher 

Ms. Autumn is a Fort Myers native who has previously worked as an assistant teacher in a Montessori setting. Ms. Autumn is passionate about animal rights and nutrition. Ms. Autumn hopes to encourage creativity, independence, and promote a positive school culture through education.

Credentials

  • 2+ years experience in a Montessori classroom
  • Completed 15 hour Redirecting Children’s Behavior course
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – On-going training

Eileen Sullivan
Substitute Teacher 

Ms. Eileen was born and raised in Belmont, Massachusetts. Recently she retired from public school after 28 years of service. Being a lifetime learner, Ms. Eileen is looking forward to learning about the Montessori method of education. She is thrilled to be back in the classroom again using her compassion and sense of humor while working with young children. Eileen enjoys spending time with her two granddaughters.

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Arts in Multidiscipline Studies in Education – Cambridge College, Cambridge Massachusetts
  • 28+ years in childcare experience, Public Schools, Preschool – 8th grade
  • Wilson Reading Recovery Program
  • Foundation Spelling Program
  • American Heart Association, CPR, AED and First Aid training
  • Florida Department of Children and Families – On-going training