Early Childhood Teachers

Jeannette Beltran

Jeannette BeltranSupport/Extended Day Teacher

Jeannette recently moved to Utah from the East Coast and is excited to join the Montessori Community School team. After nine years in the technology industry working as an editor and writer, Jeannette discovered her passion for education in 2015, when she began working with children. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, writing, and spending time with her twins.

Kristine Withem

Kristine WithemSupport/Extended Day Teacher

Kristine Withem is a Support and Extended Day Teacher for the Aspens class just joining us this school year. She is originally from San Diego, CA, but has spent the last three years in Muncie, Indiana where she received an Associates Degree (in Early Childhood Education) and is working towards her Bachelor' at Ball State University. Kristine hopes to graduate from Ball State in the coming Spring as she completes her degree online in Early Childhood and Special Education. She has wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl, and is thrilled to be pursuing her passion in the Montessori environment. In her free time, she enjoys to do crafts, travel-- especially road trips to places she has never seen before, and occasionally watch Netflix. Kristine really enjoys the outdoors, and is looking forward to exploring the terrain here in Salt Lake City, hiking and possibly skiing/snowboarding.

Catherine Mathews


Catherine's passion for Montessori began when her oldest child was five while she teaching her own children at home. She found the Montessori method reaching her children in ways other programs simply couldn't and didn't. After seven years of Montessori based homeschooling they enrolled in school she began teaching professionally. Cathie received her Montessori Early Childhood training from the Institute for Guided Studies (IGS) and has been teaching in both Early Childhood and Early Elementary Montessori classrooms since 2009. She is keenly interested in the success of each student by searching out their needs and striving to meet them with their perfect "work".

Ruby Chouldjian


Ruby Chouldjian was born in Tehran, although her ancestry is Armenian. She traveled to many places, including Russia, Armenia, India, Kuwait, Bahrain, Austria, Italy and Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1987. Her husband Mike is a mechanic (Range Rover Specialist) and they have two sons, their older son Michael (and his wife Armineh) and their younger son Albert. Ruby obtained her Montessori Certification through the Montessori World Education Institute (MWEI), Utah Montessori Teachers Education Program (UMTEP), Early Childhood Language, Arts, Music, and Children with Special Needs Course from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS). Ruby started teaching in 1997 at Willow Creek Montessori and joined the Montessori Community School in 2000. Her favorite aspect of Montessori philosophy is the independence and visual hands-on that it provides. Ruby enjoys reading in her spare time and spending time with her grandchildren Amelia and Eva.

Kayla Jones

Kayla GrimmAssistant Teacher

Kayla is new to Montessori Community School but she is already excited to work with the students, families, and staff. She grew up in Nevada and moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah. Kayla got her degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences this past May. In her free time she likes to read, hike, and spend time with family. She is looking forward to watching the students grow, develop, and learn new things.

Karey Smith

Smith KareyTeacher

Karey Smith was born in Lehi and is the oldest of five girls. She was an "Army Brat" and traveled all over until her family settled in New Jersey. She lived in England for awhile and then returned to the U.S. to complete her Montessori Infant and Toddler training in Princeton, New Jersey. She then moved to Utah for her Early Childhood Education Montessori training. She has been working in Montessori since the age of 16! She loves to read, listen to music, watch movies, cross-stitch and spend time with her family. Little known fact about Karey: Her sisters are all named with K's – Krissy, Krisha, Kendra, and Kimberly. Her mom's name is Karen. Her dad's name: Bob!!

Cinthya Barajas

Barajas CinthyaTeacher

Cinthya Barajas was born in Baja, Mexico. She worked as an ESL teacher at a private school for 6 years in which she taught students from 1st though 6th grade. While teaching, she attended the University of Baja where she obtained her degree for teaching English in elementary schools. She moved to Salt Lake City in February 2001 and continued her education at Salt Lake Community College for an introduction to Utah Schools. She joined the MCS staff in 2007 and received her Early Childhood Montessori credential through the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). She really enjoys being part of children’s educational development which is extremely rewarding. She truly believes that learning should be fun and a memorable experience, and therefore activities, songs, and manipulative materials should be used to reinforce and develop the children’s learning capabilities. 

Anita Ermish

Teacher - Magnolias

Anita was born and raised on Long Island, NY.  After receiving an AS degree, she attended The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and worked in Graphic Design.  She has lived in New York, Boston, Phoenix and Salt Lake City while raising her three wonderful children.  She owned and operated a vintage furniture shop in Sugarhouse. Anita has a BS in Psychology from Westminster College and has received an AMS Early Childhood Montessori Certification.  She began an MED program at Westminster College last year and has taken a leave of absence for the second year so she was able to travel this summer and will be able to focus her time and attention on preparing and teaching in the Magnolia's classroom this fall. She is honored to be part of the Montessori Community School to help guide and nurture the values of love, respect and perseverance in the Early Childhood classrooms.  Anita enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, dancing, art and spending time with her family and friends.

Christina Economy

Name Spanish Teacher - Magnolias

Christina was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts from CSU Long Beach in 2011. She and her husband moved from Southern California to Salt Lake City in 2016. They share a  love for natural spaces and outdoor activities which is what brought them to Utah. She is currently attending the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College and will be receiving her Early Childhood Credential in June of 2019. Her love for children and desire to contribute to their education is what led Christina to Montessori Community School. Her favorite aspect of the Montessori environment is being a part of a welcoming environment that fosters the child’s love for learning. She has a passion for sewing, arts, travel, and ceramics. In her free time, Christina enjoys hiking or biking with her  husband and beloved dog. She also enjoys skiing, climbing, gardening, cooking, and camping. A little known fact is that Christina and her husband had a year long traveling honeymoon; and some of their travels took them through four South American countries.

Alisalee Bowyer

Alisalee BowyerMagnolias Support/Extended Day Teacher

Alisalee was born here in Salt Lake City, UT. She has had the opportunity to live in Guatemala, Ohio, and travel extensively around Germany. She has a passion for life and it’s many opportunities finding humor and joy in almost every situation. She has an affinity for laughter and will go out of her way to help those around her feel joy and smile. Alisalee has two beautiful children of her own and she loves to be able to spend special time with each of them. It is important to Alisalee to be able to balance time for herself with her children and her day-to-day life. Alisalee finds this freeing time through dance, music, movies, and snagging an ice-cold Pepsi.

Candace Wiseman

Support Teacher

Candace loves working with the students at MCS. She works during the school year in Early Childhood as a teacher in the Sequoias classroom. During school breaks, she helps direct and organize camps offered at the school. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Candace received her bachelor's degrees from Georgia State University, and moved to Salt Lake City in 2011 after falling in love with the beautiful mountains on what was supposed to be a quick vacation. Prior to working at MCS, she worked at nonprofit organizations in the Salt Lake Valley reuniting children and their families who were recovering from addiction and trauma. Currently, she is pursuing her Early Childhood Montessori Certification at The Center for Guided Studies. In her time outside of the classroom she enjoys cooking, reading, hiking with her dog Behr, going to local farmers markets, and festivals.

Annie Hays

Early Childhood Teacher

Annie Hays has been teaching at MCS since 2015. She has worked in the Toddler and Early Childhood programs, inspired by the Montessori philosophy for young children. She a holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education from the University of Utah, and is currently working with the Center of Guided Montessori Studies to receive her Early Childhood teaching credential in Montessori Studies, predicted to graduate in December 2018. Annie lives in Salt Lake with her husband and hedgehog, and enjoys spending time exploring the city with her loved ones. 

Adrianna Begay

Support/Extended Day Teacher

Adrianna is 25 yrs old. She is originally from Arizona and moved to Utah a year and half ago. She worked with Salt Lake School District in the recent school year. Her hobbies are painting and photography. She is also Native American. The education field is what she loves.

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