Toddler Support/Extended Day TeacherDani is one of our toddler extended day teachers who just joined us this year. She loves traveling, singing, and dogs! Dani is currently attending the University of Utah to double major in Communications and Spanish. Dani is very excited to be working at the Montessori Community School, and we are so lucky to have her!
Toddler Support/Extended Day TeacherKenza is originally from San Francisco, California, but was recruited to the University of Utah for her talents in swimming. She has been teaching swim lessons her whole life, which is where she discovered her passion for education. Kenza is a fifth year at the University of Utah and will be graduating this Spring with a bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in political science.
Toddler Support/Extended Day TeacherKathy Murnin grew up in a beautiful mountain ski resort in Idaho. Her first experience with Montessori was when she entered her son into Growing Light Montessori in Midway, Utah. Kathy immediately fell in love with Montessori philosophy and the way that it allowed children to grow freely while guiding them to being their best.
Kathy spent the last eight years substituting in the Catholic school system. She is thrilled to be able to get to know and love your children in this amazing environment. Kathy is married to a wonderful man, Jeff Murnin, and has two beautiful sons, Elijah and Micah.
Early Childhood Sequoias Support/Extended Day TeacherJeannette 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.
Early Childhood Willows Support/Extended Day TeacherKristina McCoy is a new support teacher for the Willows classroom. She has a background in art and design but also loves working with children and seeing how they learn. She is excited to be joining Montessori Community School this year. Her other interests are cooking, hiking, and photography, which are how she spends her time outside of school.
Early Childhood Magnolias Support/Extended Day TeacherRaquel was born and raised in Alaska till she was 12, then moved with her family to Hawaii. She joined the U.S. Air Force at the age of 18 and served for 6 years as a mental health technician. She received her Bachelor's of Arts in Social Services in 2014. Drawn to working with children, since she was a child, Raquel has worked both as a mentor to juvenile delinquents and with foster youth. Passionate about quality education and experimental learning, Raquel was naturally drawn to the Montessori Method and to Montessori Community School. She considers the outdoors to be her second home and loves to bike, swim, and hike.
Early Childhood Aspens Support/Extended Day TeacherKristine 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.
Elementary Extended Day TeacherNicole was born on a chilly February morning in Mesa, Arizona, where she lived with her parents and Grandma. Her grandmother always taught her the importance of taking care of things, why it matters to have people or things depend on you; and not only what you can teach it - but what it can teach you. When she was three years old her family decided to move to Utah for a new start and a new job for her mother. Nicole has grown up in Utah ever since and loves it. She believes that you really can’t beat these Utah mountains and sunsets! Growing up, Nicole has always loved plants, children, and animals. Nicole knew she had a couple of dreams and choices to make to figure out where she wanted to be and what she wanted to be doing in life.
Nicole has been a vegetarian since age 12 and as of last year is now fully vegan. She never plans on going back! Because she was so passionate about animals, Nicole graduated high school a year early from Valley High to get a head start on her vet schooling. She did one year of pre-vet at SLCC while also teaching and taking childhood development classes, and started to realize that she was enjoying the childhood classes and being around children more than the vet studies. Around this time she got a job at Cactus & Tropicals in Draper. Shortly after starting there she found that her true passion was not as much in animals as it was plants. Her plant obsession took over and soon her house was full! She knew she had to follow where her heart and passion were and decided to switch her major. She applied and got accepted to Utah State University where she is currently working towards her degree in Horticulture.
Substitute/Music TeacherAna Bunce is a Utah native who spent some time in Arizona before returning to the Wasatch Mountains she adores. Hiking, skiing, climbing, biking, camping and river rafting are her favorite adventures. Ana has two kids that attend MCS, aged 7 and 4, and we absolutely love having them here! As a family, they enjoy recreating together as well as music and the arts. Ana loves architecture and cities - design is a huge passion. Playing and teaching the violin has been apart of her life for over 30 years and she believes that music soothes her soul.
Upper Elementary Spanish
Maria was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She and her husband moved to Utah in 2001. They have three beautiful children, Valeria, Jose, and Gabriel. Maria has spent many years working with young children. Maria has taught Spanish at McKee Language School but currently tutors children from preschool to elementary school ages in Spanish privately. Maria has a bachelors degree in Preschool Education and a degree in Communications and Journalism. Maria's favorite hobbies are reading, watching movies, and traveling. She has been falling in love with her city's historic heritage. She has already started on her bucket list of places to visit: UNESCO Heritage World Cities in Mexico such as Guanajuato, Guadalajara, etc.
Movement & Dance
At a young age Haley began dancing with Virginia Tanner. Throughout her childhood and teen years she trained with Clytie Adams School of Ballet in Kaysville. Her love of dance really blossomed as a young teen dancing contemporary under the direction of Sarah Adams Robinette. She was an officer in her dance company at Davis High School and continued taking dance classes while earning a bachelors degree in Economics at the University of Utah. After marrying the love of her life, having children, and moving to central Washington, she realized there were no dance classes for her young daughter who loved to dance! So, naturally, she created and began to teach Pink Tutu’s , a creative movement class for toddlers. Later she took classes from Frankie Bonnell-Jones at Chelan Dance Centre and soon after was teaching creative movement. She introduced and taught the only Mommy and Me class in the Chelan Valley and enjoyed having her three year old daughter a part of that fun experience! Haley and her husband John have three children and she is very terrified of snakes.
Outdoor Classroom & Great Outdoors ("GO")
Donda Hartsfield was born in Amarillo where she grew up learning to love the high plains of Texas. She studied the arts at USU and practiced massage therapy for 6 years. When Donda’s son started going to the Montessori Community School when he was three and a half, she was immediately taken with the Montessori method and over time decided to go through the Utah Montessori Teacher Education Program (UMTEP) to get her certification in Early Childhood Montessori method. Donda started out teaching yoga and creative movement in Montessori. In 2005, Donda began teaching at the Montessori Community School as she also started the Great Outdoors Expedition program for elementary. In 2009, Donda initiated the Outdoor Classroom for Early Childhood where she delights in seeing children thriving in their natural environment. Donda has completed both the Project Wild as well as the Project Learning Tree courses for teachers, which continue to inspire her natural studies. One of Donda’s favorite things is eating yummy food while she dances to music that she loves. Little known fact: Donda starred in Neil Simon’s comedy play Star Spangled Girl in her early twenties.
Elementary Art Specialist
Kindra Fehr was born and raised in Utah and Colorado. Her husband John is a musician, her daughter Aria is in the Upper Elementary class and her son Azur is in the Magnolia Class at MCS. Kindra earned a BFA in drawing/painting from the University of Utah and has also studied at the Lacoste School of the Arts in France. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She works out of her studio in Sugarhouse (her website is www.kindrafehr.com), wrote the column "Babying the Buddha" for Catalyst magazine from 2004-2008, and has taught at the Salt Lake Art Center, Visual Art Institute, Art Access, the Children's Museum, and a variety of schools. Kindra started working at Montessori Community School as our art teacher in 2006. Little known fact about Kindra: she was named the "best art teacher for kids" for 2006 in the Salt Lake City Weekly's Best of Utah.