MMS Elementary Faculty
Rebecca “Becca” Moore, Lower Elementary II Lead Guide
Rebecca “Becca” Moore is a graduate of Marshall University with a major in elementary education and is beginning her fourth year at MMS. She is a native West Virginian from Tucker County and a former elementary teacher in the Kanawha County Schools. Her more than 10 years of experience working with children includes teaching inquiry-based science to third, fourth and fifth graders and engaging students with hands-on lessons and student-led activities. This approach and her educational studies led her to the Montessori methodology, which allows children to work on their level and follow individual interests. Becca holds an AMI Elementary 6-12 certification from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee (a three year program) and completed robotics teacher training through NASA IV & V. She is the mother of an MMS second year student, and enjoys skiing, softball and good literature.
Tara Fought, Lower Elementary I Lead Guide
Tara is beginning her third year at MMS. She brings 15 years of experience as the lead teacher of lower elementary at the Montessori School of North Miami in Florida. She is a graduate of Florida International University and completed Positive Discipline Training. Her AMS Lower Elementary training is through the Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Davie, Florida. Tara loves to be out and about, but also loves being in her new home with her family enjoying activities like cooking together, having game night, playing with their three dogs and two cats, or catching lightning bugs in the backyard. Tara is very excited and thankful for the opportunity of living in a beautiful state that is so connected to nature, and especially for being a part of the Mountaineer Montessori community. She leads her class with enthusiasm and respect, and provides a classroom environment where each child will feel safe and have the confidence to learn and grow as students and as young people.
Juli Taylor, Upper Elementary Co-Lead Guide
Julianna (“Juli”) is a graduate of both Concord University in Athens, W.Va., with degrees in history and philosophy, and West Virginia State University with a degree in psychology. Julianna, who is certified through the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education (AMS) in Covington, Ky. and has completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training, is a graduate student at Marshall University, working toward her master’s degree in early modern European history. Her passion for history runs deep! Juli’s favorite period in history is 14th-17th century England with emphasis in the Wars of the Roses and Tudor England. She became intrigued with the Montessori method through her younger sister, who attended MMS from primary through middle school Juli is a native of the Kanawha Valley, and enjoys exercise, walking her dogs, travelling, spending time with her family, and reading historical and philosophical works in her spare time. This is Juli’s fourth year at MMS. She and her husband, Toby, are the new parents of twin girls.
Jason Winesburg, Upper Elementary Co-Lead Guide
Jason returns to MMS this fall for his fourth year as an upper elementary lead guide and coach of our cross-country team and state championship-winning chess team. Jason previously taught elementary students at Evergreen Montessori in Memphis and Malta Montessori in Malta, New York, for five years. He holds an AMI Montessori credential for ages 6-12 from the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) and has completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training. A former Montessori student himself, Jason is dedicated to fostering independence and self-ownership in his students. He earned a M.Ed. from Loyola University in Baltimore and a B.A. in English from Hood College in Frederick, Md. Jason loves literature and the classics, philosophy and ethics. He likes to keep up with the newest technology and is a compulsory tinkerer. Jason keeps in shape with weight-lifting and jogging, and in his free time he enjoys acting, comedy, computer games and outdoor sports.
Alasha Al-Quadwah, Lower Elementary II Assistant
Alasha brings a passion for the arts and deep commitment to Montessori education to her role as an assistant in Lower Elementary II, and says her educational philosophy can be summed up in one of Maria Montessori’s most famous quotes: “Within the child lies the fate of the future.”
Alasha holds bachelor’s degrees from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and West Virginia State University. She is a composer, music instructor and performer, and contributed to the success of one of West Virginia’s most notable bands, Qiet. Outside of MMS, Alasha is a private music teacher, violin teacher with the Partnership of African American Churches, and a vocal and violin faculty member of the Albans Arts Center.
Alasha joins MMS with three years of experience at a Montessori school, where she served as a music specialist, administrative assistant and after school program director and started a summer arts program. She is the mother of an MMS student.
Nancy Johnston, Lower Elementary Assistant, Art and Physical Education Specialist
“Every school should have a Nancy Johnston.” That’s what a former student recently said about Nancy, who has been a beloved part of MMS for more than 20 years. A Charleston native, Nancy attended Marshall University and West Virginia State University, studying education and art. She completed the AMS Basics Course at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Ill., and Positive Discipline in the Classroom training. She has taught art to elementary students for the last 10 years and wants to be an artist when she grows up! The mother of three children, Nancy is an outdoor enthusiast. She loves walking, biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking and her latest obsession, boot camp.
Kristie Simmons, Elementary Assistant, Office Assistant
Now in her fourth year at MMS, Kristie can be found almost everywhere at our school, bringing her warmth, caring and enthusiasm for Montessori education to many departments. She is the morning Plus/early drop off coordinator, office assistant, a part-time Upper Elementary assistant, a PE assistant, supervises the playground and lunch, and rolls up her sleeves any where else her help is needed. A graduate of WVU-Parkerburg and WVU Institute of Technology, Kristie is a registered nurse. She and her husband, Donald, are the parents of two MMS students.