MMS Plus Program Faculty

Karen Kelly, Plus Program Director

Karen Kelly Plus Program Director

Karen Kelly
Plus Program Director

A native of Charleston, Karen earned a B.S. in biology from Bethany College and studied veterinary medicine in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Prior to joining MMS 16 years ago, she  worked for 15 years as a veterinary technician and as the children’s book manager for Renaissance Book Company in Huntington.  She retains an avid interest in children’s literature, especially through her work with Junior Great Books and our library. She also directs our after-school program and is the caretaker for all Mountaineer Montessori animals.  She is the parent of a college-aged son who spent 10 years at MMS.  Karen enjoys knitting, reading, caring for animals, storytelling and cooking.




Maria León Kershner, Foreign Language Specialist and Plus Program Assistant


Maria Kershner-Leon Foreign Language Specialist

Maria León Kershner
Foreign Language Specialist
Plus Program Assistant

Maria, 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 21 years.   She completed the AMS Basics Course at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Ill.  This is Maria’s sixth year at MMS.  She teaches Spanish to all classes in the morning, and works with our Primary students in the Plus Program in the afternoons.  Maria has two children, the youngest of whom is a current MMS students. Her favorite pastimes are reading, traveling and working in her garden.





Susie Newhouse, Plus Program Guide

Susie Newhouse Plus Program Guide

Susie Newhouse
Plus Program Guide

Susie is an AMS certified primary guide, having trained at the National Center for Montessori Education in Atlanta. Since earning her certification, Susie has worked as a primary lead guide, director, and mentor both in Charleston and in Montana, totaling more than 12 years as a certified Montessori guide out of her 22 years in Montessori education. She has recently returned to MMS and her Charleston roots after many years in Montana. Her early role at Mountaineer Montessori as a movement and swimming specialist, and later as a classroom assistant in both primary and junior elementary, opened her heart and mind to the Montessori philosophy. “I’m excited by all that MMS has to offer and I’m blessed to be part of it for a second time!”  Susie is the mother of an MMS alumnus and grandmother of two current students.  Susie is now working with our Plus Program students, enhancing the Montessori nature of our after-school program.



Michelle Scarbrough, Plus Program Assistant

Michelle Scarbrough Plus Program Assistant

Michelle Scarbrough
Plus Program Assistant

Michelle, who is in her first year at MMS, graduated from West Virginia State University with a B.S. in communications.  Michelle has experience in child care as well as unique experience in television and film.  As a Charleston native,Michelle has performed in local theater productions with Children’s Theater, Kanawha Players and The Contemporary Youth Arts Company.  Michelle is currently pursuing her master’s degree in media studies. She is the mother of a two-year old daughter.