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Angel Ramirez-Herrera, Upper Elementary Assistant, is originally from Mexico City, and has recently lived in Oregon and Washington. While Angel’s education focused on Visual Arts, his work experience is wide and varied, with time spent fighting fires, working as a print screener, working as a group home care provider for young adults, and working in landscaping. He is excited to continue to learn more about Montessori education in this role, and spend time speaking Spanish with our children.

 


Audrey Ugrin, Classroom Assistant, brings with her a wealth of experience working with very young children and elementary children. She most recently worked for the YMCA as a toddler teacher, and before that was a teacher at another local childcare facility. Audrey also worked for Bricks and Beyond in an after-school setting assisting with LEGO robotics tools and programs. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Western Washington University.


 

Annika Berry

Annika Berry

Lower Elementary Teacher, rejoined our staff in 2013. Annika worked as Classroom Assistant in our Children’s House during the 2010-11 school year before moving to Portland, Oregon, where she completed her AMI Elementary Montessori Diploma at the Montessori Institute Northwest. In 2010, Annika graduated from Western Washington University, Fairhaven College. Her background includes working as an Interpretive Ranger for the USDA Forest Service in Forks, Washington, and as a volunteer for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, teaching stream ecology to high school students.

 


Gina Salazar, Classroom Assistant, was born in Montreal, Quebec. She has lived in the United States since she was 20 years old, and is fluent in French, Spanish, and English. Gina has five children and several years of experience working with children in different settings, including daycare. Her past experience also includes work as a certified nursing assistant and professional photographer. Working with children is something Gina enjoys the most, and she is excited to be learning more about the Montessori pedagogy every day.

 


Jennifer Chapman, Flex Assistant, holds an Associate in Arts degree from Whatcom Community College in English and Art, and she will be attending Western Washington University in the spring to complete her Bachelor’s Degree. Jen previously ran her own small business, and has also worked as a customer service representative for several local companies. She greatly enjoys  spending time with children, including her 11-year-old step daughter. Jen writes for the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, and runs a local crepe stand at festivals all over the county in the summertime.

 


Kaye Lubach 

kaye lubeck

Children's House teacher, received her AMI diploma from the Montessori training center in Portland, Ore., in 1987. Since then, she has worked in numerous educational environments, both in AMS and AMI Montessori classrooms, as well as traditional programs. She brings an extensive background in music and music education for chiildren, and holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. Kaye also received a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Mumbai, India, where she lived for a year. Most recently, she worked as a director and teacher for EarthSong Education in Kitsap County, and a music teacher for Discovery Depot Montessori and Montessori Schoolhouse of Tracyton, both in Bremerton.

  


Kimberly Connor

Kim Connor

Administrative Director, holds a Washington State Teaching Certicate and taught 10th grade Language Arts and 12th grade Public Speaking for five years at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington. Prior to that, she worked for nearly 10 years in marketing and graphic design for engineering, architectural, and consulting firms in both Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Providence College in Rhode Island, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a master's degree in Teaching from Seattle University. She is passionate about the Montessori method, and enjoys working with the Board, staff, families, and students of Pioneer Meadows to continue to foster the excellence that a Montessori education can bring.

 


 Kristen Hopkins

kristen buck

Classroom Assistant, joined the staff of PMM in 2013 and has more than nine years of experience working with children of all ages. Her past experience includes work as the Aquatics Director for the Bellingham Athletic Club, where she handled all aspects of the swim lesson program. Kristen holds an associate degree from Whatcom Community College.

 


Lee Smith

Lee Smith

Head of School, joined our staff in 2015. She has worked extensively with elementary and adolescent students in both Montessori and traditional public settings. She has an AMI elementary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, and completed the AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies at the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Ohio, where she spent two years as a residential staff member and instructor. Lee is passionate about sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, and has worked on a variety of farms to pursue this interest. She has been involved in the Montessori Model United Nations and the Connecticut River Salmon Association. Most recently, she worked as a Montessori guide in New Hampshire.

  


Lisa Melia

Lisa Melia

Children's House Teacher, holds a primary (2-6 years) diploma from AMI and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Huxley College, Western Washington University. Her formal teaching experience includes environmental education with elementary students, and English as a second language with various age groups in Spain. She has also worked as a case manager for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Lisa lived and worked in Uganda, Africa, for three years, collaborating with community members, park staff, and teachers to achieve sustainable use of resource s and improve daily living conditions.

 


Nancy McNeely

Nancy McNeely

Office Assistant, joined the staff in 2015 and brings numerous years of administrative experience, many from specifically working in schools. She was an active parent volunteer for 12 years in several Bellingham public schools. Nancy has also owned her own small business, assisting business professionals in many fields, including property management and construction, as well as education. She has experience with graphic design, customer service, and event planning. Nancy's oldest daughter attends the University of Portland, and her son goes to Whatcom Middle School.

 


Reed Braden

reed braden

Upper Elementary Teacher, holds an elementary (ages 6–12 years) diploma from AMI and a Master of Education in Montessori Elementary Education from Loyola University in Maryland. He is a graduate of the AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies in Ohio. He has worked with children and adolescents in a number of settings, including as an elementary teacher, environmental educator, and art instructor. From 2004 until 2006, he co-directed a Montessori adolescent program in Surrey, British Columbia. Reed has taught in the elementary program since 2006 and has taught in Montessori environments for 14 years. He amuses himself these days with trail running, playing bassoon in the Whatcom Wind Ensemble, painting, gardening and making cider.

 


Rena Churchill

Rena Churchill

Flex Classroom Assistant, has been with Pioneer Meadows since 2008. Her background includes working with children with developmental disabilities, and working for the Whatcom Center for Early Learning. Rena is a parent of a former student, and and now works in all the classroom environments to provide support. She also helps in the office when needed.

 


Tiffany McGary

Tiffany McGary

Administrative Assistant, has been actively involved as a PMM parent since 2007. During this time, she has been a key player in our school fundraising efforts. She has taken numerous classes in Early Childhood Education at Whatcom Community College, and spent a number of years handling the bookkeeping and billing for a local psychotherapist’s office. Tiffany started assisting in the office in 2009, and officially joined the staff as our Administrative Assistant for the 2010-11 school year. Two of Tiffany’s children currently attend the school, and one has graduated.