MMS Primary Faculty
Isabelle Bournigault, Primary II Lead Guide
Isabelle brings a rich background in languages and early childhood education to MMS, joining our staff in early 2018. A native of France, Isabelle has served as a primary guide at Montessori schools in Toronto, Canada, Paris and the Bordeaux region of France; a kindergarten teacher at a trilingual (English/French/Russian) school in Russia; and a French instructor at the Alliance Francaise in Montclair, New Jersey. Isabelle also has extensive experience in e-learning and was an instructional designer for three years in Paris. She has a master’s degree in linguistics and PhD preparation at the University of Paris Dieterot, a master’s in diadectics of French as a second language from the Sorbonne in Paris, and an AMI Primary Certification from the Foundation for Montessori Education in Toronto.
Kathryn Rhoads, Primary I Lead Guide
Kathryn has been dedicated to Montessori education for more than 20 years, and serves as our Lead Guide in Primary I. Kathryn earned her B.A. in liberal arts, and subsequently her AMS Primary Certification from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Ill. She also completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training. In addition to her work at MMS, Kathryn is a reading tutor at the Appalachian Reading Center with specialized training and proficiency in the Wilson Reading System and Handwriting Without Tears. Kathryn encountered the writings of Maria Montessori during her years managing Barnes & Noble bookstores. Once her curiosity was launched, she pursued opportunities to work in Montessori schools and immersed herself in the philosophy and methodology. A native Midwesterner, Kathryn’s personal interests include hiking, gardening, music, art and creative writing.
Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary Lead III Guide
Samantha is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, with a degree in psychology and a minor in child and family. Prior to joining MMS, Samantha was an assistant at the Family Life Childcare Center of Berea, and has experience doing research and as an intern at schools and community centers. Samantha holds an AMS Early Childhood credential from the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond, Va.; she has also completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training. Samantha is in her sixth year at MMS and brings vibrancy, caring and careful insight to her students. Her son is an upper elementary student at MMS.
Ben Cohen, Primary III Assistant
Ben joins MMS this fall as an assistant in our third primary classroom. A native of Connecticut, Ben is a recent graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in environmental science. Ben’s experience includes environmental research at the DIS Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark; lab and field work at the US Geological Services New England Water Science Center in East Hartford, Conn.; and serving as an farm based educator at the FARM Institute-Katama, at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Ben participated in many volunteer service events with the Boy Scouts of America, including wildlife conservation projects with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the McKinney Wildlife Refuge and is an Eagle Scout.
Stephanie Spradling, Primary II Assistant
Stephanie brings extensive experience in child care and in business settings to her role as an assistant in Primary II. She is a graduate of Ben Franklin Career Center and South Charleston High School. Since 2010, Stephanie has performed with “Reliance,” musical group that plays and sings throughout the community to raise money for children to attend a church camp each summer.
Angela Walker, Primary I Assistant
Angela joins MMS this fall after serving as the Lead Teacher for Bream Center for Childhood Development, where she created spaces for discovery and exploration that promoted beauty and harmony for students. She studied elementary education at Concord College in Athens, W.Va., and Marshall University, and received her AMS Montessori Assistant certification from the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond, Va.
Susie Newhouse, Plus Guide/Montessori Mentor/Positive Discipline Instructor
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 24 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 lower 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!” Susie is the mother of an MMS alumnus and grandmother of two current students. Susie is now serves as a Montessori mentor to our primary classrooms as well in our Plus Program, ensuring a rich, consistent Montessori experience to students throughout the day. She is also a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, and leads workshops on parenting for our school community.