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 method 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 in 2013 and became Head of School after three years, delighted at the opportunity to lead our school. This is now my sixth year as Head of School, and it is something I look forward to doing for many years. I am currently pursuing my AMI Montessori diploma for ages 3-6 through Montessori Northwest, along with my Master’s in Education through Whitworth University.

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 4 years now! I assisted Ms. Joy in the Otters classroom for 2 happy years and have been an assistant to Madelynn for 2 years. I am so excited to be moving into my third 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

Hi there! My name is Zoe Doran and I am the Lead Guide of the Nido classroom. I have worked at MCS for the last 2 years and I am so excited for this upcoming school year.

I am born and raised in Santa Cruz. I’ve worked with children of all ages in many capacities; tutor, behavioral technician, after school science program coordinator, babysitter etc. I graduated from Sonoma State University in 2019 with a BA in Early Childhood Development. In Spring 2021, I took a course at UCSD and am now a Lactation Education Consultant.

Starting in the end of September, I will begin my AMI 0-3 training at Montessori Institute of San Diego, the program will end mid-May 2022. I love being able to watch infants communicate and evolve into the people they are going to be. Our classroom is full of joy and positive energy, which is something I take a lot of pride in. When I’m not working, you can find me at the beach or walking my dogs in West Cliff Drive!

Kim Rocchio | Nido Assistant

Hello friends, my name is Kim Rocchio! 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 working with children. This is now my fourth year at MCS and I am excited to be back for another 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 Jade | Nido Assistant

Hi there everyone! I am so enthused to be working with you and your children! I was born and raised in sunny, Santa Barbara and just moved to Santa Cruz. I will be working as the assistant in the Nido classroom this year. This is the second time I will be working in a Montessori setting and am currently enrolled at Cabrillo College majoring in Early Childhood Education.

In my free time I enjoy reading, drawing, crocheting blankets, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. I look forward to working with you all!

Miss Andrea | Nido Assistant

Hello! I am miss Andrea, but feel free to call me Andy! I’m starting my first year with the MCS community in the Nido classroom. I just graduated from UCSC with a double major in Film and Digital media and Latin America and Latino studies.

During my last year at UCSC, I discovered that teaching and being part of the development and growth of children was the path I wanted to pursue for a career, so I’m very excited to start my journey alongside this team, and to support our community in any way that I can.

In my free time, I love going to the beach and watching the sunset with some ice cream or boba milk tea, having game night with my friends. and exploring my creativity by creating new and bold makeup looks.

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 2021-2022 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 Annika | Puffin Assistant

Hi all! I’m so excited to be officially joining the puffins community as an assistant this school year, after having been a floater my whole MCS career. I never really thought I would be working with children after college (I graduated with a BA in environmental policy), but feel so lucky to have landed at MCS and to have forged a relationship with the children and parents in this community!

Since working here, I’ve realized I have a special interest in creating space in children’s lives where they can self-discover, without societal pressures. I hope to continuously find communication that teaches children the fluidity in gender expression, in self kindness and kindness towards others, in acknowledging and working with hard feelings, and in taking care of the planet. I am an advocate for communicating honestly and openly with children, in an age appropriate manner, so that we can aid in the growth of teenagers and adults that have strong inclinations towards communication within their future relationships (friends, partners, workplace) so they can speak up for what’s best for them, while having empathy and compassion for those around them.

Aside from those development-centric passions, I enjoy riding my bike, reading a good book, and laughing till my belly hurts with my friends!

Miss Corrin | Puffin Assistant

Hi Everyone! My name is Corrin and this will be my first year with MCS. I am so excited to be an Assistant Guide in the Puffin classroom and look forward to working with all of the children.

I grew up in Felton and graduated from SLVHS. In 2013, I received my Bachelors in Social Work from San Jose State University.

I have been a stay at home mom for the last 10 years and have also worked as a one-on-one nanny for the last couple years.

In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family, read, and hike.

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 2021-22 school year at MCS. This is now my fourth year as the Jellyfish Lead and 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 Melissa | Jellyfish Assistant

Hi, my name is Melissa Copt. I recently relocated to the Bay Area and I am thrilled to join Montessori Community School. I have over 15 years experience in a preschool setting and I am inspired by watching young children learn and grow in the classroom. Their creativity and curiosity is exciting and I often find that I learn right along with them.

I was honored to represent the school this summer as a student at Montessori teacher training. I am excited to continue my educational journey and learning as much as I can about the Montessori method of teaching.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my partner and our 2 dogs. I am an avid lover of dogs and all animals. I love being outdoors especially the beach. I am looking forward to getting to know all the children and families this year.

Miss Shelley | Jellyfish Assistant

Greetings! My name is Shelley.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the MCS family. Warmly welcomed recently, I am an assistant in the Jellyfish classroom.
Previously, I had worked in the insurance industry for +15 years. Upon discovering the Montessori method many years ago, I am thrilled to now be able to play a role in your child’s developmental journey.

Being a mama to 3 daughters is the joy of my life. Away from school, you can find us on the yoga mat or going on our next outdoor adventure! Guided with support from my daughters has led me to pursue my passion for working with children. I look forward to getting to know your children this upcoming school year!

Dolphin Guides

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

Hello there! My name is Megan Kelleher and I am thrilled to return as the Lead Guide for the Dolphins Primary class. I have worked within the Dolphins community here at MCS for the past 3 years, with 2 years as an Assistant Guide and the past year as a Lead Guide. Additionally, I am currently attending my AMI training to become a certified Montessori Lead Guide!

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and have previously worked in mental health and with children throughout my life. After completing several Montessori trainings, I quickly discovered that the Montessori philosophy was 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 partner and crazy dogs, camping, hiking, enjoying the beach, and playing with my flow arts props!

Miss Ericka | Dolphins Assistant

Hello families! My name is Ericka and I will be a dolphin assistant for the 2021-2022 school year. I am enjoying learning the Montessori method in class and with my coworkers at MCS. I’m so thrilled to apply everything I have learned this coming year.

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and my first language is Spanish. I moved to NYC went I was 18 years old where I went to college to pursue an associates degree in applied science while working and volunteering in two different Child Care facilities. I recently moved to the Santa Cruz area after living in NYC for the past 14 years. I have been working with children from infants to ten years old for the past seven years. I adore kids all ages and it gives me joy to see them growing everyday.

I’m a mother to one very curios, adventurous girl. As an educator, I’m very passionate about supporting our children to help them become more independent. In my free time, I practice hot yoga. I love hiking, biking, running, reading, camping and the beach.

Miss Katie | Dolphins Assistant

Hello! My name is Katie Johnson. I am so excited to start my first full year as an assistant guide in the Dolphins classroom. The past few months have been an incredible start to my Montessori journey.

Growing up in Santa Cruz, I have been so fortunate to experience nature and spend my free time in the art and makers community of Santa Cruz. I have always had a passion for teaching and am currently taking ECE classes at Cabrillo. My long term goal is to complete my degree and earn a credential/masters in multiple subject primary education.

I enjoy gardening, crafting, art, films and spending time with my wonderful dog Barkley.

Otter Guides

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

Howdy! My name is Marissa and I am so thrilled to begin my journey leading the Otter’s class for the 2021-2022 school year at MCS. It is an honor and a privilege to serve such a role in the lives of children and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the families for allowing me to participate in their child’s journey through life.

I graduated from SFSU’s Humanities program with a focus in Philosophy and Art History and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the same field. This summer I began my Association Montessori Internationale training course for primary age children and have been excited to deepen my knowledge of Montessori pedagogy and learn more about the theory behind the practice. Outside of the Montessori classroom, I have years of experience as a gymnastics coach. I began coaching and working with children at age 16 and it was there that I found love and inspiration in helping children learn, grow, and master challenges.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors-camping, hiking, biking, and amateur mountaineering. You can often find me hanging with my family, on a hike, at the beach, reading, or working on my film photography.

Miss Amanda A. | Otters Assistant

Hello! My name is Amanda Adelman and I am thrilled to be working as the Assistant teacher in the Otter classroom this year. Last year, I worked as the Jellyfish assistant and helped with Otters towards the end of the year.

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!

Miss Jordan | Otters Assistant

Hello! My name is Jordan and I am an assistant for the Otters Primary classroom. This will be my first year working for Montessori Community School and I couldn’t be more excited! I am currently finishing up my time at Cabrillo College earning my Associates degree in Psychology and Sociology, and will be transferring to a CSU to earn my bachelors. Growing up in a big family surrounded by kids, I have always loved to be around children and took an interest in child development while taking a class at Cabrillo, so now I look forward to finally being able to work with the children and learn from hands-on experience.

I am particularly happy to be going into a school following the Montessori philosophy, as I have seen what incredible progress the children make and the skills they are capable of developing.

When I’m not at work or studying for school I like to get together with friends and family at the house or go out for a delicious meal. My love for good food is also why one of my favorite hobbies is cooking, right next to painting and drawing.

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, traveling 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 and Miss Deanna! This will be my second 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!

June of 2020 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!

Miss Deanna | Octopus Assistant

Hello, my name is Deanna and I am lucky enough to call myself an assistant guide in the Octopus classroom beginning the 2021-2022 school year.
This is my third year at MCS and last year I worked as the Puffins assistant.

I’m currently in school continuing my education in Child Development as well as Horticulture Science.

In my free time I care for my tiny homestead, play guitar, draw, and hike with my dogs as often as possible. I love to work with plants and animals, and I love to share these interests with the children of our community.

Substitutes

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

Hello Families! My name is Mariana Timmer and I have been 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.

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, traveling when I can, and spending time with my wonderful family.