MMS Middle School Faculty
Bridgett Steveson, Middle School Lead Guide
Bridgett brings experience from premier environmental educational programs in the United States and Africa to MMS this fall as our middle school lead guide. While pursuing her degree in anthropology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, Bridgett had the opportunity to study in Kenya. She returned to Africa after graduation to serve as one of only three students world wide selected for a prestigious position with the South African National Parks, People and Parks Department. She acted as a global vision international intern for two years in Agulhas National Park- L’Agulhas, South Africa, located at the southernmost tip of Africa. While there, she planned and coordinated environmental education programs and acted as park liaison for community events and park outreach programs.
Bridgett returned to the United States to continue her career in environmental education. Most recently, she served as the education director at Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School (NCI) at its Texas and Wisconsin campuses. Nature’s Classroom Montessori, which also has sites in New York and Ohio, is considered the premier environmental education program in the United States.
During her tenure at NCI, Bridgett was given the opportunity to work with Texas schools on the implementation of garden and composting programs and developing outdoor classrooms. She also was a guest lecturer on integrating nature into the classroom at Baylor University and co-presenter at the AMS conference in Dallas. The daughter of a Boeing executive, Bridgett spent her childhood in Washington State and Ohio.
Bridgett’s Montessori middle school teacher training is through the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies at Hershey Montessori in Ohio. The founders of the Hershey Adolescent Education program worked closely with MMS in formation of our middle school curriculum, site and faculty development. She also completed the Advanced Mathematics for the Adolescent training program presented by the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA).
Kate Laisley, Middle School Assistant
Kate is beginning her second year in our middle school classroom. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in anthropology and trained as an EMT. Prior to joining the MMS faculty, Kate taught in the Kanawha County Schools and was also a gymnastics teacher. Kate enjoyed her training at the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies this summer, where she earned her AMS Montessori Assistant credential. “As a group, we were able to discuss the role of freedom with limits in the Montessori school, which only reinforced one of the main reasons I was drawn to Montessori teaching,” she says.
Her interests include yoga, running, hiking, knitting and literature. She brings a warm and encouraging spirit to our adolescent program.
Emma Grose, Middle School Math Specialist
Emma brings a new dimension to our Middle School math program, expanding our curriculum with advanced and specialized classes for seventh and eighth year students two mornings a week. These classes are coordinated with distance learning programs that qualify for high school credit in the Kanawha County School system. Emma earned both a B.S. and M.S. in engineering at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Emma is also a tutor with Jamie Dickenson, LLC, teaching math and science at all levels.
Emma grew up in Charleston and graduated from George Washington High School. She is working towards getting her doctorate in physical therapy. In her free time, she enjoys playing the clarinet and the piano, as well as traveling. Emma greatly enjoys working with students. “It is very fun and rewarding to watch them as their knowledge and confidence in math grows over time,” she says.
Maria León Kershner, Foreign Language Instructor
Maria, a native Spanish-speaker from Costa Rica, holds the American equivalent of a master’s degree in preschool education from her university studies in Costa Rica. She has worked with young children in education for 23 years. She completed the AMS Basics Course at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Ill., and Positive Discipline in the Classroom training. Maria teaches Spanish to all classes in the morning, and works with our primary students in the Plus Program in the afternoons. At the Middle School level, Spanish classes are coordinated with distance learning programs that qualify for high school credit in the Kanawha County School system. Maria has two children, both of whom have grown to be MMS alumni. Her favorite pastimes are reading, traveling and working in her garden. Maria shares her enthusiasm and love of children while skillfully integrating Spanish lessons into the Montessori curriculum. This is her eighth year at MMS.