Montessori Community School Administration

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Madelynn | Head of School

My name is Madelynn and I am the Head of School here at MCS! I have been entwined in the Montessori philosophy since birth. Growing up, my parents and grandparents had a deep love for the methodology and when I was young they started this wonderful school, MCS.

I have a strong background in Business Administration, holding a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I started working at MCS as the Assistant Director and became Head of School after three years, delighted at the opportunity to lead our school. This is now my fifth year as Head of School and it is something I look forward to doing for many years. I will start my Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training age 0-3 in January, along with my Master’s in Education.

My goal for our school is to create a warm and inviting community, where everyone feels welcome, and all children are supported as they unfold their unique personalities while receiving the very best AMI Montessori education. This is such a special community and I am proud to be a part of it; our parents, guides, and children are filled with love and constant support.

When I am not at work, I love to hike, swim, travel, and spend time with my family. Any chance I get I am exploring the world with my husband, learning about diverse cultures and appreciating the beauty around us.

Miss Jessica | Assistant Head of School

Hello! My name is Ms. Jessica and I have been working at Montessori Community School for 3 years now! I assisted Ms. Joy in the Otters classroom for 2 happy years and have been an assistant to Madelynn for 1 year. I am so excited to be moving into my second year in administration, getting to know every child and family that joins our community brings truckloads of joy to my daily life.

Each family is so unique and each child within the family is as well, which is one of the reasons I am so taken by our Montessori Philosophy. There is nothing like seeing an interest become a passion and a mastered skill, identified and molded by the child him/herself and encouraged and guided by one of the compassionate and caring Guides we have on our team. I love the daily excitement and brand new moments we get to spend with the children, and supporting the needs of the teachers and our community as a whole brings me great satisfaction in my work.

I am committed to sharing my belief in a fair, respectful and inclusive world, where children learn at a very young age to accept those around them for who they are and to lead their peers to do the same, and I feel blessed to have found the opportunity to do so. I am always available to any family or child for support of any kind, please come say hello any time, your visits are always a bright spot in my day!

Nido Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Zoe | Nido Lead Guide

Hello! My name is Zoe and I am so excited for my first year as Lead Guide in the Nido classroom! I worked as an assistant guide for a year and I also was able to work in a toddler classroom for a few months. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz. I graduated from Sonoma State University in May 2019 with a BA in Early Childhood Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Development.

In January 2021, I will be starting my Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training course for ages 0-3. This is a satellite program through Montessori North West in Portland. The first block of the program is planned to be online and the other 2 blocks will be in person in San Jose. I am excited to learn more about the Montessori philosophy; it’s important to me that children have the chance to develop autonomy and have the ability to explore what they are interested in. In my free time, you can find me walking my dogs or spending a day at the beach!

Kim Rocchio | Nido Assistant

Hello friends, my name is Kim Rocchio and have recently moved back to the Santa Cruz area after living in Nevada for the past 5 years. I was born and raised in South San Jose and have a lot of family who reside in the area. Although most of my career revolved around restaurant management , my true love and desire has always been to work with children. I have been working at MCS for almost two years now and thrilled to be back this year.

I love kids of all ages and really enjoy watching them experience new things, learn and grow. I have been blessed with 3 children of my own and 6 grandchildren that fill my heart with joy! I am truly proud of each and every one of them, and enjoy watching them make their way through the world.

Currently I am pursuing a bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education units at Cabrillo College. I cannot wait to continue to grow and learn in this field! I truly believe that it is never too late to start a career, and am so happy to be here. I have found the staff, children and families to be amazing. I am very excited to continue this journey!

Miss Claudia | Nido Assistant

Hi there! My name is Claudia and I am elated to be with MCS this year. I graduated from University of San Francisco in May 2020 with my BA in psychology, and moved to Santa Cruz soon after. Prior to moving here, I worked with primary students at an after school program and a daycare, both through the YMCA.

I have been drawn to Montessori after learning about it in my first Child Development course. I believe that the focus on independent learning and internal motivation to learn emphasized in the Montessori method make for a happier, healthier, more effective learning environment for students. I feel so lucky to be a part of the MCS community and for the opportunity to support students as they learn and grow.

I plan to continue my education, as I hope to become a Psychologist and study the effect of spirituality/mind-body work. I enjoy spending time with family, reading, and hiking in my free time.

Miss Kelly | Nido Assistant

My name is Kelly Buckler. I graduated from Willamette University in 2020 with a BA in English Literature, and I hope to continue my schooling in childhood education and learn to be the best educator I can be.

I have always been interested in teaching, taking tutoring opportunities through my schools and volunteering through my college. I love to learn from the creativity and brightness of children and do my best to help guide them into productive and fulfilling pursuits in their lives.

I love creative activities like writing, drawing, or sewing and studying new languages. I enjoy learning new things through the process of creating, and feeling the excitement of starting a new project.

Puffin Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Amanda | Puffin Lead Guide

Greetings! My name is Amanda and I am honored to continue as Lead Guide for our Puffin Community through the 2020-2021 school year. I earned my B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies from Texas Tech University. Upon graduating, I dove headfirst into Montessori education and haven’t looked back since. I received my Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diploma for Assistants to Infancy, birth to 3 years, from the Montessori Institute of North Texas. I have been working within Montessori schools since 2008, and have been a part of MCS since 2012.

As a guide, I am committed to assisting our children, with love and complete acceptance, in reaching their fullest potentials within a prepared space that deeply respects and values their unique and unfolding development. Throughout the year ahead, I look forward to getting to know the families and children of MCS. Cheers to a beautiful year of working together to honor and nurture our children’s natural desire for a ‘love of learning’! I am a mama to two adventurous and growing ‘little’ boys that attend MCS. As a family, you’ll often find us getting salty and sandy at the beach or getting extra dirty living a campers life.

Miss Deanna | Puffin Assistant

Hello, my name is Deanna and in March of 2019 I was welcomed to the Montessori Community School. I have worked with each class at MCS and have loved getting to know all the children and parents. I’m currently working as the Puffin Assistant Guide for the 2020-21 School Year.

I have been working with children since the beginning of my professional career, and I greatly value the responsibility and the privilege to participate in the nurturing of young minds.

While I’m working full time at the school, I’m also beginning to further my education and I couldn’t be more excited.
In my free time I have a need to travel, I hike as often as I can, I sketch portraits, and I cultivate rare plants. I love to work with my hands, and I love working with children.

Miss Anna | Puffin Outside Assistant

Hello! My name is Anna and I will be the Puffins outdoor assistant starting this fall. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Montessori method over the past year working at MCS and I am so excited to be able to utilize these principles in the coming school year. I am a senior at UC Santa Cruz majoring in cognitive science with an emphasis in linguistics. Along with childhood development courses at UCSC, I have also taken an early childhood education course at the Montessori Teacher Education Center in Sunnyvale.

I plan to continue my studies so I can eventually work with children as a speech therapist. I am so happy to be a part of the close-knit community at MCS that plays an integral role in a child’s healthy development. Making hands on connections with the natural environment around us is such a wonderful way for children to develop empathy and appreciation of nature, and I am so excited to help facilitate those early connections! In my spare time I like to do yoga, go hiking, and practice meditation.

Jellyfish Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Stephanie | Jellyfish Lead Guide

Hello Families! My name is Stephanie. It is my honor and privilege to lead the Jellyfish Classroom for the 2020-2021 school year at MCS. I am incredibly grateful to the families we serve for allowing me to play this role in your child’s developmental journey.

My Montessori journey began in 2007 while I was attending UC San Diego and working towards a B.A. in Linguistics. At the time, I was also working as an in-home aide for children with developmental delays and special needs, using an ABA framework. It was during this time that I came across the work of Maria Montessori and first read The Absorbent Mind; and really set forth the importance of observation in delivering a holistic approach to education. Her work and theory embodies for me all it means to teach peace; that education begins with our respect for diversity and continues with advocacy that promotes inclusivity and meets everyone’s needs.

I’m passionate about music, the environment, and education. When the school day is done, you can find me and my family out and about, exploring the many beautiful natural spaces in Santa Cruz County and the many wonderful places around town. The health and safety of your families is paramount to me, and to be able to work with all of your little ones this year warms my heart. I look forward to partnering with each of you, building relationships with all of you, and helping your children to explore their interests and discover all there is to know about the world around them.

Miss Mariana | Jellyfish Assistant

Hello Families! My name is Mariana Timmer and I am thrilled to assist in the Jellyfish classroom for the 2020-2021 school year! I am a recent San Jose State University Graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Spatial Art. I grew up in a big family and am very passionate about working with children.

I have a background in teaching dance and art, as well as a passion for baking. I am excited to bring these skills into the classroom to aid in the children’s exploration of movement and materials. I grew up in a homeschooling community and highly value independent learning. I am excited to learn more about the MCS philosophy and its emphasis on independence and exploration first hand.

In my spare time I enjoy dancing and evening walks with my Husband, as well as game nights with friends.

Miss Amanda A. | Jellyfish Assistant

Hello! My name is Amanda Adelman and I am thrilled to be working as the Outdoor Assistant in the Jellyfish classroom. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz before I moved to San Luis Obispo to attend California State Polytechnic University. There, I graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in Biological Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I also found my passion for education by serving as an environmental educator at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens where I had the opportunity to restore the 4-acre Children’s Garden and lead guided family explorations.

As an educator, I have always strived to allow children to explore their natural curiosities and connect with nature, and I look forward to continuing that work with the lovely community at MCS. In my spare time, you can find me propagating plants, hiking in the forest, or doing lots of crafts!

Dolphin Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Megan | Dolphins Lead Guide

Hello there! My name is Megan Kelleher and I am so excited to be the Lead Guide for the Dolphins Classroom! I have worked as a Primary Assistant in the Dolphins Classroom for the past 2 years, and am thrilled to begin this new journey at such an amazing and supportive school.

I received my Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and have worked in mental health and with children throughout my life. After completing several Montessori trainings, I quickly discovered that the Montessori philosophies were a perfect fit for me. These values are ingrained in my approach with children to support increasing their independence. I am passionate about freedom of individual expression, while fostering a sense of community, and respect for fellow classmates.

When I am not in school, I love spending time with my crazy dogs, camping, hiking, and playing with my flow arts props!

Miss Marissa | Dolphins Assistant

Howdy! My name is Marissa and I am thrilled to be joining the MCS team as the assistant guide in the Dolphin class. I adore children and helping them foster essential skills that will set them up for future success.

I worked formerly as a gymnastics coach and earned a bachelor’s in humanities and single subject teaching credential.

In my spare time I am avid reader, hiker, and do digital and film photography.

Otter Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Asia | Otters Lead Guide

Hello everyone! My name is Miss Asia and I am the lead guide for the Otters Primary Class. I have been working at Montessori Community School for the last three years and absolutely love working here. I enjoy being around children and teaching. I also love the teachers and staff members here who make up our community.

I am drawn to the Montessori philosophy because it allows children to be independent and brings out the best in a child’s potential. I believe the Montessori philosophy allows for the child to develop creative skills and instills a natural love for learning. My favorite part of teaching is observing my students master a work and the complete joy on their faces when they are successful.

I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Human Rights at San Jose State University and hope to continue to further my education.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I love to go to the beach and look for sea glass with my daughter. I enjoy looking up fun recipes on Pinterest and cooking. The one thing I love more than anything in the world is being a mother. A couple of interesting facts about me are: I know how to play the saxophone and love to dance Salsa, Bachata, and Cumbia (pretty much any form of Latin dance).

Miss Danielle | Otters Assistant

Hello! My name is Danielle and I am the primary assistant teacher for the Otters classroom. I graduated from Cabrillo Community College with three degrees in Studio Art, Liberal Arts and Science and Art History. I will be working towards getting my bachelors degree so I can become a high school art teacher.

I have always had a passion to teach children and help them grow and learn in a positive and creative environment.

Octopus Guides

Mrs. Madelynn, Head of Montessori Community School
Miss Joy | Octopus Lead Guide

Hello. My name is Joy. I am the Octopus primary class lead guide. I have been a Montessori primary guide for over twenty years now. I first became interested in Montessori while living in France and teaching English as a second language. During a discussion about different educational methods, Montessori came up. I was intrigued by a way of teaching that followed the child’s interests and fostered independence, self motivation and a love of learning. I chose to do my training in Mountain View, California and received my AMI certification in 1989.

The following year I moved to Paris, France and worked in a bi-lingual Montessori school for several years. My daughter was born while I was in France, and I decided to return to the United States to spend some time being a stay at home mom with my family close by. Later, I moved to Santa Cruz and began teaching again at a Montessori based school in the Santa Cruz mountains. I joined the Montessori Community School teaching team back in July 2016. It is great to be a part of such a warm, friendly community!

In my free time I enjoy running, hiking in the mountains and at the beach, reading, travelling when I can, and spending time with my wonderful family.

Miss Hannah | Octopus Assistant

Hi, I am Miss Hannah and I’m the Octopus assistant working alongside Miss Joy! This will be my first year with MCS and I am excited to learn more about the methodology behind Montessori education and to be part of the supportive community here!

This past June I graduated from UCSC with a BA in Anthropology and hope to eventually go to Nursing school or earn a Masters degree in Public Health.

In my free time I love to cook, hike, and go climbing. I look forward to getting to know the students and this upcoming school year!