Toddler Community Guides

 Launa O'Gara

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Launa O'Gara

Toddler Community

Working in education wasn’t Launa's original plan. She graduated from MCLA with a degree in Literature and a desire to follow Chaucer’s path to Canterbury. Instead she started a bookkeeping business which enabled her to write checks with one hand while holding her infant in the other. Three years later she enrolled her son at MSB and was amazed by the sense of community, the devoted staff and her son’s growth, and just had to be a part ofthis amazing environment. After starting as an assistant in the Toddler room, she realized that she was embarking on a pilgrimage. After several years of training, research and splashing in the Pacific Ocean off of San Diego, Launa earned an AMI Assistants to Infancy certification. Witnessing the growth and change in children is more fulfilling than she could have imagined.

 

 Kalee Tart

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Kalee Tart

Toddler Community

Kalee received a BA from Westfield State College, in Westfield, MA. There she studied Early Childhood Education with a concentration in reading. In 2012, Kalee began working at Ithaca Montessori School in Ithaca, NY. There she found her passion of working with toddlers. Kalee completed her AMI Assistants to Infancy program through Montessori Institute of San Diego. In her time outside of MSB, Kalee enjoys scrapbooking, reading, boating and spending time with her family, friends, and dog Milo.

 Lisa Rebello

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Lisa Rebello

Toddler Community, Afterschool

Lisa has always had a passion for working with children and began her career at Hillcrest Educational Center as a youth development counselor, where her interest in teaching children developed more fully. Lisa furthered her work with children as a teacher’s assistant as well as a company trainer at Hillcrest. After five years, Lisa became curious about the earlier side of child development and enrolled in an early childhood education program at Mildred Elley. Soon after joining MSB she completed her AMI Assistant training. In her free time Lisa enjoys hiking, running, and spending time with family and friends.

Children's House Guides

 Bonny Flower

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Bonny Flower

Children's House Level Coordinator

Children's House: Spruce

Bonny graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana with a B.A. in Sociology/Psychology, and received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training from the Washington Montessori Institute, the oldest AMI accredited training center in North America. In addition to her Montessori Training and experience teaching in schools in Newport News, VA, Scituate and Housatonic, MA, and most recently Litchfield, CT, Bonny spent many years studying with various teachers in the alternative healing arts and the field of human consciousness and received certification as a Reiki practitioner and Holodynamic Life Coach. Her four beautiful children are now grown, which allows her even more time to devote to her work, her love of children and Montessori Education. In her spare time, Bonny enjoys photographing nature, gardening, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and catching up on her children’s latest adventures.

 Vicky Sideropoulos

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Vicky Sideropoulos

Children's House: Spruce

Vicky has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education and a B.A. in Communication from SUNY Buffalo. Vicky has worked in early childhood classrooms in New York City and The Berkshires for over 9 years as an associate and lead teacher. She is excited to join the MSB community and looks forward to the upcoming year. Outside of the classroom, Vicky enjoys hiking, cooking and gardening.

 Jodi Standring

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Jodi Standring

Children's House: Cedar

Jodi Standring is a native of Berkshire County, and was raised in Lenox Dale. She started her work with children at the young age of 17, as an intern in a first grade classroom for Lenox Public School System. Soon thereafter she began working with traumatized youth at a residential educational facility. There she played a role in developing, creating, and enhancing the student’s social skills and emotional well being, along with teaching life skills. Jodi returned to a classroom setting as a teacher’s assistant in a therapeutic day school, where her role allowed her to find creative ways to make education interesting, fun, and obtainable. Jodi is completing her AMI Primary certification through Montessori Institute of North Texas. She has also been trained in Experiential Education, in particular using non-competitive activities that create a positive social and emotional learning environment. During her free time Jodi enjoys hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and making arts & crafts.

 Vanessa Luman

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Vanessa Luman

Children's House: Cedar

Vanessa, a trained Montessori Guide, brings over 10 years of experience with Montessori practices and principles as well as a Masters in Education from Centro Universitario Villanueva, Spain.

Elementary Guides

 Erika Chait

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Erika Chait

Elementary Program

Erika graduated from Colby-Sawyer College with a BS in Exercise and Sports Science, and has spent much of her professional life in healthcare and human resources. She’s been part of the MSB community as a parent for five years with her son Roberto, and her daughter Thalia. After spending time as a parent volunteer and class liaison, she was excited to join the Elementary classroom two years as an Assistant Guide. Erika has enjoyed getting to know all of the students, and learning about Montessori from a different perspective. She has also recently completed her Montessori Primary Assistants Certification through AMI. Outside of the classroom, Erika enjoys reading, hiking, cooking and gardening.

 Gussie Greer

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Gussie Greer

Elementary Program

Gussie has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Connecticut College. She completed her Associate Level Training in Orton Gillingham in May of 2016, and AMI Elementary Certification through MTCNE in Hartford, Connecticut in 2019. She joined the MSB elementary team in 2014. Previously she worked in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and was the Assistant Teacher at the South Egremont School. She moved to Great Barrington from NYC with her husband and three children in 2000. Gussie enjoys hiking, yoga, Pilates, and reading. She also loves spending time at home with her two French Bulldogs and her cat.

 Leia Bibiloni-Bastow

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Leia Bibiloni-Bastow

Elementary Assistant

Leia has been part of the MSB community for six years as an assistant in the Toddler, Children's House, and Elementary classroom, in addition to coordinating and supervising the after-school program for our students. Prior to MSB, Leia has had experience working with youngsters in Japan, Guatemala, and Spain. Leia completed her AMI Montessori assistant training in the fall of 2015, and is thrilled to use her knowledge and bilingual skills with the children of the MSB community.

 K. Meagan Ledendecker

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K. Meagan Ledendecker

Co-Founder, Director of Education, Elementary Program Guide

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Meagan grew up in a Montessori school with two Montessori teachers and administrators as parents. She has an M.S. in Environmental Education through the Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University. Before co-founding MSB, she worked as an Education Coordinator for nonprofits, taught at the elementary level for Pittsfield Public Schools, and provided professional development for teachers. Meagan began her adult Montessori path after the birth of her first daughter. Meagan is trained in AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3), Montessori Educators International (MACTE accredited) early childhood (3-6), Montessori Educators International elementary training (6-12) and AMI elementary training (6-12). Although usually at the school, Meagan has been known to enjoy gardening, yoga, hiking, running, and reading with a cat curled up on her lap.

Adolescent Experience Guides

 Julie Haagenson

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Julie Haagenson

Adolescent Experience Director, Adolescent Experience Guide

Julie came to The Montessori School of the Berkshires with fifteen years experience working with adolescents. Julie was a head teacher at the Center Montessori Middle School Program in Bradenton, FL. She earned her American Montessori Society Secondary I Teaching Credential from the Houston Montessori Center. Julie also completed her Master’s of Education specializing in Montessori Integrative Learning from the TIES Program at Endicott College. Julie now serves as an adjunct faculty for the program. Prior to entering the world of Montessori, Julie worked for six years with troubled teens at the Academy at Swift River in Cummington, MA. She worked in the wilderness program, as an individual and group counselor, and finally as director of the school’s service-learning program based in Costa Rica. Julie was able to incorporate her passion for working with young people with her love of travel, outdoor adventure, culture, dance, and music. While in Costa Rica she gave birth to her twin boys who now attend MSB.

 Lori Nadig

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Lori Nadig

Adolescent Experience

Lori holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Science in Biopsychology. She has worked in a wide variety of fields from the medical field to the corporate world. Her areas of expertise include writing and consulting work focusing on finance, investment, and academic science. Lori came to Montessori education through her daughter Zoe (MSB Class of 2014) and her son Tyler (MSB class of 2018). Lori first started working with adolescents while in college and truly loves working with this age group. When not teaching, Lori enjoys knitting, reading anything she can get her hands on, and hiking with her family.

Specialists

 Joey Chernila

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Joey Chernila

Coordinator of Integrated Learning

Joey received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and has been working in early childhood in the Berkshires since 2003. He received early childhood Montessori teacher training (MACTE accredited) from Montessori Educators International, and has been at MSB since it was a twinkle in Todd and Meagan's eyes. Joey particularly relishes exploring the visual arts and picture books with our early childhood students. His at-home interests include cardmaking, papercrafts, and silkscreening, as well as spending time with his wife and two children. Joey also has fond memories of his time in Montessori when he was a young student. Joey can often be found at looking for children’s books at tag sales around the county

 Sheela Clary

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Sheela Clary

Languages

Sheela is a long-time language teacher, having taught in both public and private school settings, in New York City, Boston, Italy and with the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea. She works with the Elementary students on Latin and its connection to English. She has a Masters in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is working on an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sheela grew up in Egremont, lives in West Stockbridge, and her three children attend MSB.

 Andrea White

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Andrea White

Learning Specialist

Andrea White is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Autism Specialist and is the owner of Berkshire Speech & Language, a speech-language pathology private practice based in Williamstown. Andrea did her undergraduate work at Oberlin College in art history & applied art. She has Master’s degree in elementary and special education from Lesley University in Cambridge and a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from The college of New Jersey. She has also completed the Certificate (Earned With Distinction) in Educating and Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at University of California at Los Angeles and has received certification from the Hanen Centre in Toronto. In addition to working with children and their families, Andrea adores hiking and traveling with her husband and teenage son.

 Dana Harrison

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Dana Harrison

Drama Specialist

Dana holds a Masters degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College. She has been teaching drama at MSB since its inception in 2006. Dana is a professional actor, education artist, and manager with Shakespeare & Company, and performs with other theatre organizations. She was cast in two of the Berkshire Eagle’s top 10 productions of 2011: Shakespeare & Company’s As You Like It, by William Shakespeare and Mixed Company’s Taking Steps, by Allan Ayckbourne, and was most recently seen in Moliere’s The Learned Ladies at Shakespeare & Company in February and March 2012.