Jennifer Carriger and Suzanne Sanders named MMS Co-Directors
Jennifer Carriger and Suzanne Sanders have hit the ground running as the new educational leaders of Mountaineer Montessori School. They bring rich and extensive experience in Montessori, public and charter school education, organizational leadership, and non-profit management that will serve our school well at this transformational time in our history.
Jennifer has been the MMS reading and learning specialist since 2008, providing screenings and support for students in reading, spelling and writing. The co-founder of the Appalachian Reading Center, Jennifer was honored as “Teacher of the Year” by the West Virginia Learning Disabilities Association in 2014. Jennifer also brings ten years of public school experience, serving students with learning differences in Madison County Schools in Madison, Va., and Boone County in West Virginia.
Jennifer earned a BA in international studies, a BS in secondary education and an MA in special education from West Virginia University. She has pursued additional graduate studies at the University of Virginia and Marshall University, and holds permanent WV certification endorsement for students ages 5-12 in social studies, learning disabilities, mental impairment and behavior disorders.
Jennifer has completed advanced professional training in the Wilson Reading System (Levels I, II and Advanced), “Handwriting Without Tears” and special education. She is the past president of the WV Learning Disabilities Association. Jennifer and her husband, David Carriger, are the parents of two MMS students.
Suzanne has been a part of the MMS community since 2011, leading our upper elementary class for three years and founding our middle school program in the fall of 2014.
Prior to joining our faculty, Suzanne was the upper elementary lead guide at the New School in Lancaster, Pa., the school director and lead early elementary guide at the Manuel Antonio Montessori Academy in Costa Rica, and the lead early elementary guide at the Compass Montessori Charter School in Wheat Ridge, Colo., where she worked with the elementary team to meld state standards and the Montessori curriculum. Suzanne also brings a rich background in business and sales to MMS.
Suzanne earned a BS in sports medicine from Penn State University, and holds the following Montessori certifications: AMS Elementary Education I, Montessori Center of the Rockies, Boulder, Colo.; AMS Elementary Education II, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New Rochelle, NY; and AMI Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies, Cleveland, Ohio.
Suzanne is the mother of a former Montessori student.
In February, Jennifer and Suzanne participated in AMI Montessori School Administration Sessions in Atlanta.
Although our accelerated transition into the co-directorship is not something we could have anticipated or planned for, we have eagerly jumped into our new roles, and feel energized and uplifted by the outpouring of support from our special community, say Jennifer and Suzanne.
For the remainder of the school year, the two are maintaining their positions at the school (Suzanne as our middle school guide and Jennifer as our reading and learning specialist) while serving as co-directors. They are currently recruiting for new faculty to assume their classroom duties in the fall, and working on the following:
- meeting with all staff members to assess classroom needs for the rest of this year and beyond
- mentoring teachers-in-training
- coordinating communications among and between staff, families and board
- analyzing standardized test scores
- organizing enrollment, staffing, and budget information for the upcoming school year
- meeting with lead teachers to discuss individual student needs
- assisting with field trip preparation and other special events for the children
- meeting with board members and community members to further the school’s strategic plan
- recruiting staff for next year and developing a plan for continuing education for staff members
We are grateful for Jennifer and Suzanne’s extraordinary service to our school community, its students, faculty and parents, and as MMS approaches its 40th anniversary, are excited for their vision for our future as the state’s premier Montessori school and a nationally-recognized leader in excellence and innovation in education.