Butler Montessori Faculty & Staff

 

Our AMI-certified teachers and highly-skilled staff nurture and guide your child in the classroom and beyond.

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We have high standards! Butler Montessori is a private accredited AMI-certified Montessori school

Which means we have the highest standards of certification required for a worldwide Montessori school.

Why we LOVE our Faculty and Staff!

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Our AMI-certified Montessori teachers are professionally trained to support the social, emotional, and academic needs of your child 

Butler shaped some of my most formative years and now I have the privilege to give back to the community through my work with the Intermediates. It is a joy to be here every day; I can't imagine working anywhere else!

~ Emma Rodwin, Intermediate Program Guide

Faculty & Staff

YCC / Nido
Primary Staff
Elementary Staff
Intermediate/Specialists
Support Staff

Administration

Laura Manack ~ Head of School

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B.S., Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I enjoy spending time with my family and walking my dog Winston, a rescued Shih-poo. In the past few years, I began taking golf lessons and can sometimes be found on late Sunday afternoons playing twilight golf with my husband.

Natasha Soderberg ~ Associate Head of School

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B.A., Environmental Science University of Cape Town, South Africa
M.A., Education University of Cape Town, South Africa

I came to Butler Montessori first as a parent and felt that I had found a home for my children. Then I found ways for myself to be useful that grew into more purposeful work that matched my experience and passions. I love to come to work each day where enough stays the same that I can find ways to improve, but no day is duplicated and every day is stimulating.

 

Scott Chidakel ~ Business Manager

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B.S., University of Maryland

I have been at Butler since 2010. I love being outside on my bicycle, or doing any indoor or outdoor activity with my 2 boys!

Amy D'Elia ~ Administrative Coordinator

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B.A., Monmouth University, New Jersey

I have been with Butler Montessori since 2004. I like to exercise (yoga, walking, and rowing), cooking, and spending time with my family.

Alex Goffin ~ Administrative Coordinator

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I am a former parent of 2 boys who went to Butler from Lower Elementary through 8th grade (2010–2019).

Hobbies: listening to podcasts from evolutionary anthropology to current events; hiking with my dog; connecting with friends and family in 3 different languages; sailing the world; traveling in general; yoga and meditation.

Primary Staff
Elementary Staff
Intermediate/Specialists
Support Staff

YCC & Nido Guides & Assistants

Children Ages 6-weeks – 3 years

Heather Pelkey ~ Young Children's Community (YCC) Guide

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AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma, Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
Certified Nursing Assistant for School Health, Certified Medical Technician

I joined the Butler Community in 2011, and have served as the CMT (Certified Medication Technician), the Camp Director, and the Administrative Coordinator before becoming the YCC Guide in 2021. My 3 children Colin (2016), Meghan (2020), and Caitlyn (current student) have all attended Butler.

I love spending time with my family, crafting, sewing, handwork of all kinds, reading, floating down a river, live music (any and all of it), and listening to all things True Crime!

Rhonda Sabater ~ AMI Nido Guide

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AMI NIDO (0-3) Diploma, MEd.

I joined the Butler staff in 2015 as a Primary guide and then left to do my AMI Training of Trainers so that I could train others to be Montessori guides. While I was away, I still kept in contact, doing part-time consulting as needed. And now I am so excited to be back and getting the NIDO started so that I could help Butler fulfill its mission and provide a quality Montessori experience from birth to adulthood.

I am a parent of five, my youngest is a sophomore in high school. I love reading, cooking, singing, and talking to folks about Montessori as an aid to life.

Zahra Javaheri ~ Young Children's Community (YCC) Assistant

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B.A., University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran
AMI Trained Primary Assistant at WMI
AMI Montessori 0–3 Orientation, Southwest Institute

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019. I love watching documentaries, listening to music, and doing activities with my daughter.

Amanda Schaaf ~ Nido Assistant

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I joined Butler Montessori in 2022. I saw the joy that the school brought to my child, and to me as a parent, and felt excited to join the community as a teaching assistant and help create that magic for others!

 

Administration
Elementary Staff
Intermediate/Specialists
Support Staff

Primary Guides & Assistants

Children Ages 3–6

Kelly Beall ~ Primary Guide

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B.A., Salisbury University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler in 2017 and began as a guide after I completed my Primary Montessori training in 2019. In my spare time, I like to garden and go bird watching. I love to sit by the campfire with my husband and family!

Meagan Garrison ~ Primary Guide

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B.S., Towson University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori as a Guide in 2020, however, I was a student here as well (many years ago!). Butler feels like my second home and I feel honored to be a part of this unique and special team on this gorgeous campus. Outside of my passion for Montessori, some of my other interests include singing and playing folk music, all things outdoors, my dog Woody, and airplanes.

Yijun (Freda) Zheng ~ Primary Guide

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M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma

I joined Butler Montessori in the summer of 2021. I hold a Master of Arts with a major in Asian and Asian American Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies and Japanese Language. I am proficient in English, Japanese, and Chinese. Some of my other interests include botany, piano, and painting.

Shailaja Maru ~ Montessori Resource Guide

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B.S., Michigan State University
M.A., Michigan State University
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I have been a parent at Butler Montessori since 2014 when my daughter joined the YCC.  After moving away briefly, we returned last year.  This is my second year teaching as a Montessori Primary Guide and my first at Butler Montessori.  In my spare time I enjoy dancing, hiking, and journaling.

Maria Kamezawa ~ Primary Assistant

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B.A., Instituto Tecnológico de Oaxaca, México
AMI Introduction to Assistants to Infancy Certificate, AMI Introduction to Assistants Certificate

I joined Butler Montessori as a Young Children’s Community Assistant in 2014 when the program started. However, I have been part of the Butler community since 2010 when my daughter began first grade. My son Ken completed 8th grade in 2022. 

In my spare time, I like playing the piano, gardening, taking walks with my family, and traveling. I love to interact with people of different cultures.

Cecilia Stohlman ~ Primary Assistant

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B.A., Towson University, Early Childhood Education

I joined Butler Montessori at the beginning of July 2022 as a Primary Assistant. I love singing and playing folk music, creek-walking, hiking, and children! I am the fourth of eight children and I live on a pig farm with my family.

Sureeporn Sudjada ~ Primary Assistant

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I joined Butler Montessori in August of 2021. I love the rich nature Butler has to offer. I love hiking and camping with my family and vacationing at the beach or in the mountains. I enjoy cooking and doing yoga as well. My son is a student at the Primary level.

Administration
YCC / Nido
Intermediate/Specialists
Support Staff

 

Elementary Guides & Assistants

Children Ages 6–12

Rainy Blomgren ~ Lower Elementary Guide

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B.A., Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori as a Lower Elementary Guide in 2016 after spending two years teaching English as a foreign language in Guatemala. I love swimming and reading, spending time out in nature, and learning to crochet.

Anastasia Jantz ~ Lower Elementary Guide

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B.F.A., Savannah College of Art & Design, Georgia
M. Ed in Elementary Education, University of Hartford, Hartford CT
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma

This year (2022–23) is my third year working as a guide, though I’ve been supporting Butler for 6 years now. I am a passionate Montessorian, artist, and birdwatcher. I love to play the ukulele and sing with the children. I love the incredibly supportive community, the amazing campus, and being with the children.

Grace Rind ~ Upper Elementary Guide

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B.S. Loyola University Maryland; English Literature and Global Studies: Conflict Resolution
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University Maryland

I am thrilled to join the Butler community this year (2022) and look forward to making many wonderful memories here. Playing my ukulele, spoken word poetry, and golf are a few of my hobbies. I very much enjoy traveling, eating all kinds of food, and playing with my dog.

Kelly Nguyen ~ Lower School Director of Education, Upper Elementary Guide

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B.A., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I started at Butler as an Elementary Guide in 2014 and moved into the role of Admissions Director in 2019. I love traveling, learning about different cultures, and trying new foods.

Linda Wilson ~ Montessori Resource Guide

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B.S., Philadelphia University
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I am in my sixteenth year at Butler Montessori. I have shared my passion for the Chesapeake Bay across the levels of Elementary classes over the years as a guide. I love sailing, spending time at the beach, and swimming in the ocean. I am also a classically trained singer and pianist.

Brenda Lacayo ~ Upper Elementary Assistant

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I joined Butler Montessori in August 2022 as an Upper Elementary Assistant.  I worked in Montessori for four years in Charlotte, North Carolina before moving back to my home state of Maryland.  In my free time I enjoy the outdoors and creating art such as paintings, ceramics, and photography.

Laura Lindner ~ Upper Elementary Assistant

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I joined Butler in January 2021 as the Upper Elementary Assistant. I love reading, cooking, and being outdoors.

Adrienne Smith ~ Lower Elementary Assistant

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Certificate: Montessori Orientation, Montessori Training Center

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019. When I am not at school I enjoy spending time outdoors, knitting, and playing guitar with my blues band.

Christy Mullins ~ Lower Elementary Assistant

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I joined Butler Montessori in 2020. I enjoy movies, music, anything outside, working out, and spending time with my kids.

Jagruti Dave ~ Elementary Support

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I have been working at Butler Montessori since 2000 when my youngest child started in Primary, joining his older sister who was in Elementary. Being around the children and watching them grow and mature has been a delight. Each day at school is an adventure with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. On the personal side, I greatly enjoy cooking and taking long walks with my dog.

Administration
YCC / Nido
Primary Staff
Support Staff

 

Intermediate Guides & Specialists

Children Ages 12–15

Emma Rodwin ~ Upper School Director of Education/
Intermediate Program Director

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B.A., Dickinson College, Pennsylvania
AMI Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori in 2014. I love horseback riding and being at the barn. I am also an avid reader, knitter, and enjoy spending time in nature.

Bertha Castillo ~ Intermediate Guide, Spanish Specialist

[email protected]

B.A., Metropolitana University, Puerto Rico
M.Ed., Metropolitana University, Puerto Rico
AMI-NAMTA Adolescent Certification
Certification in Bilingual Teaching, Cervantes Institute, Canada

I joined Butler Montessori in 2009. I love teaching, being in nature, and spending time with my grandchildren. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and doing crafts.

Lisa Daly ~ Intermediate Guide,  IT Specialist

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B.A., Virginia Tech, Virginia
M.A., Hood College, Maryland
AMI-NAMTA Adolescent Certification

I joined Butler Montessori as a part-time math guide in the adolescent program in 2004. I have worn many hats over the years and cant imagine working anywhere else. My daughter was a student at Butler for 12 years. I love all things beach and warm, reading, ballet, and pilates.

Sam Jones ~ Intermediate Guide

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B.A., University of Maryland College Park
AMI Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies

I first joined Butler as a camp counselor in 2018 and then became a Lower Elementary Assistant in 2021. I received my pre-school education through the Montessori system.

Cinzia Maddalena Mattiace ~ Music & Performing Arts Director

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B.A., Music Education, Niccolò Piccinni Music Conservatory, Italy
M.A., Piano Pedagogy and Performance,  Carlo Gesualdo Da Venosa Music Conservatory,  Italy
PhD., Pedagogy, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy
Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certification, The Institute for Jaques-Dalcroze Education
World Music Drumming Certification, VanderCook College of Music
Early Childhood Music Teacher Training Diploma, Levine School of Music / Musikgarten Certification (for ages 0 to 10)

I enjoy snorkeling, birdwatching, drawing, and reading. I love spending time with my family and my little dog.

Eriq Powers ~ P.E., Outdoor Specialist, Intermediate Guide

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I began working at Butler in 1998 as a ropes course facilitator on the challenge course and joined the Butler team In 2001 as an outdoor activities guide. I love teaching, running my outdoor adventure company, and making things with my hands.

Katie Rattigan ~ Art Specialist

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B.A., Hood College

I joined Butler as the Lower Elementary Art Teacher in the winter of 2018. Now I teach Upper Elementary and Intermediate Art as well as Creative Expressions. On days when I'm not at Butler, you can find me making pots for Wild Thing Pottery or making up characters with Oh Crit! The D&D Improv Show.

Administration
YCC / Nido
Primary Staff
Elementary Staff

 

Extended Day, Camp, Equestrian, and Administrative Support

Isuri Appuhamilage ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess

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B.A., International Relations, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
M.A., Development Studies, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

I joined Butler Montessori in April of 2022.  In my spare time, I enjoy reading books, cooking, and hiking. I love working with children, so I'm ecstatic to be a part of Butler Montessori. 

Ariana Adamson ~ Extended Day 

 

I joined Butler Montessori in 2021 as a Butler Camp counselor and started working during the school year in the fall of 2022. I grew up locally, in Germantown, MD, and am currently attending Montgomery College. In my free time, I enjoy writing novels, singing, and hiking.

Jessica Benavides ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess

 

I have been a camp counselor at Butler Camp in the summers since 2017 and started full-time at Butler Montessori in the fall of 2022. I live on a farm and can be found feeding the goats, chickens, pheasants, and cats every day before and after school.

Maria Cummings ~  Extended Day 

 

I started working at Butler Montessori School through my love of farming, working with children, and the great outdoors. Coming from a home-schooling family of ten kids, I was attracted to the Montessori Method of teaching because of the fluidness of the children's learning through play and work. In my spare time, I enjoy pottery, cooking, and camping.

Laura Normoyle ~ Photographer & Extended Day Support

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I joined Butler Montessori in 2004 as a Primary Assistant and have stayed ever since. I now have 4 children, 3 of whom are graduates of, or currently in Butler. I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking with our dog.

Colin Pelkey ~ Facilities Assistant & Extended Day

 

I graduated from Butler Montessori in 2016 and started working at Butler Camp that summer. I have worked as a Facilities Assistant and Extended Day staff since 2021. I like being at Butler Montessori because of the friendly community. When not at school I enjoy playing sports and video games.

Hannah Tolker ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess

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I joined Butler in 2021, but before coming here I worked for almost 10 years as an Instructional Assistant to students with developmental disabilities. I very much have a passion to see education and growth from students of all walks of life!

In my spare time, I enjoy the outdoors, cooking foods from other countries, embroidery, and spending time with pets: my cat Lugosi and my tarantula Betty.

Jackie Wantz ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess / Lower Elementary Art Specialist

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B.A., Shepard University, West Virginia

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I joined Butler Montessori in February of 2022. I have my BA in History with a minor in Education from Shepherd University. I really enjoy working with young people and I am very excited to be joining the team. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, swimming, and listening to podcasts.

Amy Hughes ~ Camp Director

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I joined Butler Montessori in 2018 to support the Extended Day program and was invited to join Heather Pelkey as Co-Camp Director before becoming the Camp Director in 2020. I love everything about the outdoors and having the opportunity to help children find joy in exploring nature. In my free time, I am an artist. I work in mixed media of collage, photo, and paint. I also spend a lot of time pursuing new hobbies and exploring new places with my husband Chuck.

Emily Lahaie ~ Equestrian Director

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B.A., International Studies, University of San Francisco
M.A., International Development, Gallaudet University

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019 as staff in the Equestrian Program. While my degrees are not related to my current career path, I believe that I ended up where I am meant to be! I enjoy spending time with my husband, dogs, and my pony Zulu!

To learn more about Emily and the rest of the Equestrian staff visit www.butlerequestrian.org

Miki Boulin ~ Community Outreach Coordinator

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Digital Media Design certificate, FCC

I was originally at Butler from 1987–2000 as the Equestrian Director (and the mother of two Butler Alumni). I returned to Butler in 2014 as the Communication Coordinator. I love teaching riding, SCUBA diving, spending time with my family (I am now the grandmother of 3!), and learning new things!

Aubrey Bursch ~ Director of Marketing & Development

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I feel blessed to be able to combine my passion for marketing and development with my love of Butler Montessori. This school is unique, from the Intermediate student-run farm to the caring administration - it's a fantastic community housed on a beautiful nature-filled campus. I've worked with independent schools for more than 20 years and Butler is still one of my favorites.

In my spare time, when I'm not strategizing about fundraising and marketing, you'll find me sipping green smoothies on my deck, hiking trails, and playing soccer with my children.

Christine Kruszewski ~ Speech & Language Consultant

Contact the main office to get information about appointments with Mrs. K. [email protected]

Michelle Palmer ~ Bus Driver

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Butler Montessori, our second home! My children began attending Butler Montessori in the fall of 2011. After several years of being an active parent volunteer, I upped my status to employee. You can find me helping out around campus on the intermediate farm, or substituting in various classrooms, and mostly driving the school bus. My hobbies include paddleboard yoga and playing the flute. I also love teaching music to children.

Sam Sincevich ~ Facilities Coordinator

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I joined Butler Montessori in the Fall of 2021. I am excited to be working here and tackling the many tasks required to keep the classrooms and school running efficiently and effectively.

In my free time, I am out on the trails with my dog or playing board games with friends.

Jessica Warburton ~ Delegating Nurse

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B.A., Connecticut College
B.S.N., University of Maryland

I have been part of the Butler Montessori Family since 2015 as a parent and became the Supervisory Nurse in 2018. Before working at Butler, I worked as an emergency department nurse, in both adult and pediatric departments. Currently, in addition to working at Butler, I am also working as a labor and delivery nurse. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, horseback riding on our beautiful campus, and reading.

Administration
YCC / Nido
Primary Staff
Elementary Staff
Intermediate/Specialties