The ‘only choice’: MMS testimonials

“The only choice”….. “a gift”….a “magical experience”…..”excited about learning”…..”different from any other place”….”a complete educational experience.”

These are a just a few of the words you’ll hear from MMS parents, students and alumni when asked to describe their experience at our school. We invite you learn more about Mountaineer Montessori from the people who know it best:





Emily Beal, Ethan (primary student), Arie Spitz, Owen, and Ellen and Tom Beal

MMS gave me a wonderful foundation for my education and a love of learning.   Throughout my life, I have talked to people from many states and countries and different backgrounds, and I cannot name one person who had a better elementary school based both on happy memories and good education.”

Emily Beal, PhD.

Read Emily’s story








“I distinctly remember doing basic algebraic equations in kindergarten, which kept me interested and motivated. This desire to keep up with and perhaps even complete a little with the older students is what drove me at the time and the rest of my life. I have to believe that my ambitious spirit was instilled in me at an early age at Montessori and this stuck with me throughout the remainder of my academic career and remains with me today.”

Nilay Shah, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematological Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation, West Virginia University/MMS Alumnus

Read Nilay’s story







“Montessori has impacted me in so many ways, from the nonrestrictive work schedule to the one-on-one teaching methods, it has pushed me to do my best without the structured and confined atmosphere of a regular school program. MMS has helped me ‘fly’ by letting me work the way I need to work and helping me the way I need to be helped.”

Shannon Rogers, Eighth Year Student

Read Shannon’s story








The Faridi Family

“The Montessori method for the child’s development as a whole always inspires me. It teaches them how to be a productive member of the society no matter what profession they choose. In today’s world, which is so self-centered, when you see your 11-year -old taking initiative to help the poor and needy and show concerns for the environment, you know that you have made the right decision!”  

Kiran Faridi, M.D., mother of four MMS students








Becca and Drew Moore_AF_small

After experiencing her son’s education at MMS, Becca Moore received her AMI 6-12 certification and joined our staff.

“Montessori guides children toward independence with more freedom to go where they need to go rather than where the testing goes. Instead of just checking boxes for a list of standards, a Montessori education helps children to discover and become who they were meant to be.

Rebecca “Becca” Moore, MMS parent who became an Montessori guide. Learn more.









Alumnus Clifton Clark says MMS was the only choice when it came to choose a school for their family.

Alumnus Clifton Clark says MMS was the only choice when it came to choose a school for their family.

“I attended MMS as a child. My experience at MMS fueled my desire to learn. That desire to learn is invaluable to me and has set me up for success in life. As a parent, I wanted my own child to have a similar opportunity, and Mountaineer Montessori was the only choice for my wife and me.”

Clifton Clark, JD/MBA 









“I want the students to come away with their minds full of thousands of ideas and opinions. I want my students to care about the world, to have strong feelings about the world, to abolish their apathy. I hope to model moral courage and a strong work ethic for them, and I hope that they come away with a love for work and the satisfaction it can bring. I try to instill in them a healthy skepticism, without it curdling to cynicism. In the end, I want them to be able to say that they experienced freedom at MMS.”

Jason Winesburg, Upper Elementary Lead Guide, Former Montessori Student

Read Jason’s story










Ukiah Cordell

MMS is a place that I can be myself without worrying about judgment.”

Ukiah Cordell, seventh year student.

Real more about Ukiah.












Yasin, Bettina Werner, Dr. Ali Shams and Amin

“The most important decision parents make in their life is how to provide the best education for their children in order to make them happy and successful individuals. After doing extensive research we decided that a Montessori school was the best choice for us. Montessori schools keep the curiosity and the love of learning that every child is born with alive, and help them become happy individuals by showing them there are no limits to what they can do.” 

Ali Shams, M.D.

Learn more from the Shams family.







Connor, Judi, Luke and Daniel Malone

“We relocated to the Charleston area from Georgia over the summer.  Connor had been attending a Montessori school there and we wanted to continue in a Montessori environment to help him transition to our new hometown and because he was thriving in the classroom.  We were thrilled to find a well-established Montessori school here. We sense that when the concept of a ‘MMS community’ is discussed, it is not just lip service.  In our short time at the school we have all felt welcome and included.  Connor loves going to school at MMS and looks forward to going to school each day.” 

Daniel Malone

Read the Malone family story








Jenna, Leana and Deema Kahwash

“Montessori influenced my education by reminding me the point of why I go to school. It’s easy to get lost in the point and grade system, so having the background of Montessori helped me not lose sight of learning.” Deema Kahwash, senior, George Washington High School; National Merit Semi Finalist, Beta Club.

… although Montessori has greatly influenced my success in academics, the most important things I learned there were not from a book. The teachers treated me and all of the students as equal and did not dismiss opinions and concerns just because of the age of the speaker, but listened and took every child into consideration. I learned, through my experiences, to respect everyone, especially those who share vastly different opinions than me. I learned to appreciate diversity and the value of knowing people from different backgrounds and learning from their stories.” Jenna Kahwash, 10th grade, George Washington High School; Beta Club. 

“Montessori has influenced my education and interests in an amazingly positive way. It has helped me think deeply about situations and analyze them differently.” Leana Kahwash, sixth year student

Learn more about Deema, Jenna and Leana



Dylan 3“I am so pleased that my grandson, Dylan, is attending Mountaineer Montessori School. As soon as I observed the Primary classroom, I knew it was the best setting to help him reach his full potential. I look forward to sharing many Montessori moments with him!”

Jane Reifsynder, a retired Ohio Montessori educator with 39 years of experience, and grandmother of Dylan, who is now a first year student.  

Read more observations from this proud Montessori Nana and teacher here.







MMS has become a major component of her life, says middle school student Jasmine Phillips. "MMS is special, both in the way it educates and the way that we interact and that's what counts the most."

MMS has become a major component of her life, says former MMS elementary and middle school student Jasmine Phillips. “MMS is special, both in the way it educates and the way that we interact and that’s what counts the most.”

“Mountaineer Montessori School has become a very big component of my life — it has shaped a lot of my social life, friendships, mindsets, and education in such an important way. I like it because I enjoy the way I learn and figure things out and can be independent at the school that’s all different from a lot of other places. If you ask me, MMS is special, in both the ways that we educate and the way we interact, not only to me, but a lot of other people, and that’s what counts the most.”

Jasmine Phillips, MMS Alumna








Tysean Lynch, Samantha Van Den Berge-Lynch, primary guide, and Xavi, second year student

“The Montessori difference is that the education the child receives is for the whole child and that it is such a personal path. I think that one of my favorite components of the Montessori approach is the concept of ‘following the child.’ I think it’s such a beautiful opportunity for children to take the lead and show the guide what resonates most with them. As I think of my son growing up, I hope most that he will always be engaged in the direction his life path goes that is what he has learned and continues to learn at Mountaineer Montessori.”

Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary II Lead Guide and MMS parent

Read Samantha’s story






Dina says MMS is the best place for her children to grow into independent, confident young adults.

Dina Sorour says MMS is the best place for her children to grow into independent, confident young adults.

“If you are wondering whether MMS is worth the investment, I want you to know that it is! We enrolled our fourth child this fall. This school offers more than academic excellence, it offers a complete educational experience for our children. Our 11-year-old daughter is confident and happy with who she How many 11-year-old girls do you know that can say that? MMS is the best place for our children to develop and grow into independent, self-confident young adults.”  

Dina Sorour, mother of four MMS students








Sarah Halstead says her son is excited about learning at MMS. (Photo by Charleston Gazette.)

Sarah Halstead says her son is excited about learning at MMS. (Photo by Charleston Gazette.)

“Our son has learned so much in his first year and he’s so excited about learning. We appreciate the focus on personal responsibility and accountability and the emphasis on caring for others. The nature of the lessons in different topical areas offer Chace and other kids amazing opportunities to ask questions, to work independently, and together to explore and experiment and master information and skills that are so important to life. We can’t imagine a better, more loving and intellectually stimulating place for our child.”

Sarah Halstead









Brian Glasser, a Rhodes Scholar, chose MMS for

Brian Glasser, a Rhodes Scholar, is the father of four MMS alumni

“We are living in an age of knowledge.  Only the highly educated will be positioned to succeed. The Montessori method gives children the intellectual discipline to understand how learning is a personal responsibility.”

Brian Glasser, co-founder, Bailey & Glasser, LLP, and parent of four MMS alumni.









River Schroeder-Neal, left, and a classmate release trout into the wild.

River Schroeder-Neal, left, and a classmate release trout into the wild.

“At Mountaineer Montessori we are independent. We learn to take care of each other and the environment.”

River Schroeder-Neal, lower elementary student.














"There are all kinds of people from all over and I'm friends will all of them," says Chace Boland, a first-year student.

“There are all kinds of people from all over and I’m friends will all of them,” says Chace Boland, a first-year student.

“The thing I like best about my school is that here are all kinds of people there from so many places and I’m friends with them all. I make new friends every day. The adults lift you. They encourage you, not discourage you.” Chace Boland












At MMS, "it's figure it out. Do it," says Jamie Coleman.

At MMS, “it’s figure it out. Do it,” says Jamie Coleman.

“It’s not sit down, book, paper, pencil. It’s get your hands on it.  Do it. Figure it out.”

Jamie Coleman, former middle school student.














Learn more about MMS and its impact on education, career and life from our alumni.