MMS Primary Faculty
Brianne Parsons, Primary I Guide
Bri is excited to join the staff at Mountaineer Montessori this year. She earned a BA in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and is currently pursuing a masters of teaching at Marshall University. She is training with the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies. Prior to her work in Montessori education, Bri worked in the non-profit industry serving communities throughout the state of West Virginia and in Nairobi, Kenya. She has six years of Montessori experience as a parent, a volunteer, and an administrator. Bri and her husband, Mike, are the parents of three children, two of whom are current students at MMS. In her free time, Bri enjoys camping, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Angela Walker, Primary II Lead Guide
Angela joined MMS in 2018 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., where she soon will complete her AMS Early Childhood Montessori certification studies. She has completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training.
Margaret Lawrence, Primary I All Day Montessori Assistant
Margaret found her way back to West Virginia and extended family after living 30 years in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and joined our faculty last year. She serves as a reading specialist and provides support and guidance to Primary I children as an All Day Montessori Assistant. Margaret earned a BA in language arts from Western Oregon University. While supporting herself through college, she was afforded the opportunity to work as an assistant at Salem Montessori School. While there, she witnessed profound and holistic growth of Montessori students. Her confidence in the Montessori method led her to enroll her twins in the same school years later. Upon graduation, Margaret taught ESL to international students at The English Language Study Center located at the University. Margaret enjoys wilderness backpacking, skiing, running and gardening.
Maria Kershner-Leon, Primary II All Day Montessori Assistant
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. Maria teaches Spanish to all levels in the morning, and works with our Primary II students in the afternoons. She has also previously worked five years as a primary assistant. 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 into the classroom.
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. Her Montessori Assistant training is with the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies and she has completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom training.
Brooke Young, Primary I Assistant
Brooke is excited to join the MMS community this year. She grew up in Shenandoah, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa and Peru State College. In 2009, Brooke moved to West Virginia and began her management career in retail and leadership development. Joining the MMS administrative team is a new and exciting adventure where she can apply her leadership and development experience. Brooke and her husband, Evan, our MMS Physical Expression specialist and chess team coach, are the parents of four girls, ages 10, 8, 6 and 2. She enjoys adventures with her family, paddle boarding, camping, hiking, playing basketball, cooking and travelling. Brooke and Evan opened their business, Appalachian Boarding Company, in 2016 to help West Virginia “Regain balance, on and off the board.” She is a certified Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor and loves to help get families out for adventure.
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.