Executive Director & Upper Elementary
Chloe has been an active part of the North Coast community since 2007. Her love of teaching and collaborative classrooms began twenty years ago with her teacher credentialing program at the University of Vermont. At UVM, Chloe was trained in curriculum development and assessment-based instruction which allows her to design academic programs rooted in student interests and needs rather than rely on packaged curriculum. After several years as a classroom teacher, Chloe attended Literacy Collaborative Coordinator training at Lesley University in order to become a literacy teacher trainer and coach for her district. Chloe worked in classrooms from grades Kindergarten to eighth, implemented the district’s staff development program, and acted as a bridge between administration, faculty, teachers, and parents. Chloe has studied organizational leadership through the Master's program at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Chloe is a trained Montessori Model United Nations leader and led student delegates to the New York conferences in 2018 and 2020. Chloe has held the role of Montessori parent, FMDM Board member, Upper Elementary teacher, and Director of Montessori del Mar Learning Center before transitioning to be Executive Director of Montessori del Mar Community School. This year, Chloe will also be co-teaching the Upper Elementary with Holly. Chloe’s son, Griffin, has attended Montessori schools since pre-school.
Special Focuses: Program Development, School Operations, Parent Communication, Montessori Model UN, Reading & Writing Workshop
Jacob has had the privilege of teaching all over the state of California, starting his educational career at the University of California Los Angeles as an undergraduate student in 2015. Prior to graduating and receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Education in 2015, he worked at the UCLA Lab School as a teaching assistant for three years. Inspired by the students and staff he worked with, he decided to become a full-time teacher and have his own classroom. In 2019 he attended the University of California Santa Barbara, where he received his Masters in Education as well as his Multiple Subjects Credential. During this time, he was a student teacher for a TK classroom as well as a 6th Grade Gate classroom. Upon finishing his graduate degree, he moved to San Diego, where he taught 5th and 6th grade at Scholarship Prep Public Charter School for two years. While he loved the beach town lifestyle that San Diego offered, he wanted a change from 28 years spent in Southern California. He moved to Willits in 2021, where his grandparents had lived for 40 years, to teach 5th grade at Eagle Peak Middle School. When he discovered Montessori however, he felt that he had an opportunity to not only grow his skills as an educator, but to provide an education that he believes is truly meaningful and impactful for all students. While he has taught from grades TK – 6th, Jacob has a special place in his heart for the Upper Elementary age range, where he has spent most of his time teaching these past four years. He is also grateful to be back on the coast again!
Upper Elementary Math & PE
Holly knew she wanted to work with children early on in her college career. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Education before going on to get her Masters in Education and Single Subject teaching Credential in Mathematics, all at UC Santa Cruz. She taught mathematics at a public school in Scotts Valley, CA and loved working with children, but she wanted to work more collaboratively with the students and connect with them on an individual basis. While pursing her professional career in teaching she also was very passionate about all things athletic with a focus on soccer. After playing college soccer she went on to coach Fort Bragg High School girls soccer and now the Mendocino High School girls team as well as the co-ed Middle School team. She feels that by working at the Montessori school she will be able to work with students both academically and athletically in a way that feels more authentic to who she is and how she wants to inspire the youth. She is excited to integrate, learn, and grow from the Montessori program.
Special Focuses: Math, fitness, athletics, health
As an educator and parent, LaViva has developed and pursued her life-long passion for student-based education over the past two decades. She has worked with children K through 12 in traditional programs, as well as in alternative, independent study, and blended programs. During the past four years she has done immersive training and teaching specifically in Montessori education with a year long, full-time training position at Montessori Del Mar, as well as philosophy and methodology trainings with AMI (American Montessori Internationale) and NAMC (North American Montessori Center) programs. Her greatest goal in teaching is to support, guide and joyfully challenge children to excel in their education, to which the end purpose is the full development and expression of their individual selves and as world citizens. Contact:
Special Focuses: Social-emotional learning, whole child development, inquiry based learning and team-building.
Lower Elementary Assistant & Art
Robin comes from a family of artists and her creativity has been fostered by her
parents since she was a child. Following this path, she has taught children and
adults in several schools and art institutions. Robin has over 20 years of experience in teaching art and is an imaginative and versatile artist that works in many mediums. She finds that working with and exploring different mediums provides endless creative avenues for self-expression. Her works are frequently noted for their whimsical style and her inspiration often comes from dreams. Robin’s love for teaching and passion for art go hand-in hand. Knowing the importance of self-expression, Robin
provides supportive guidance to each student she works with, so that they may
develop creatively in their own unique way. Robin recently moved from Southern California to the Coast of Mendocino with her family. Raising a family in Mendocino and teaching Art at a Montessori school in Mendocino had always been a dream of hers as she holds a very special place in her heart for the Montessori philosophy. Robin attended Montessori schools as a child from preschool through elementary school. Some of her most fond and memorable experiences were those of her childhood Montessori years. Robin is thrilled to be a part of MDMCS and looks forward to another creative and innovative school year.
Heather has been a beloved early learning teacher for decades in our community. Heather ran Heather's School House in her home and also acted as assistant director at the Children's Garden. Heather describes her teaching style as encouraging "...individualized education through open-ended questions and discovery in multi-age classrooms with an emphasis on peer mentoring". This approach is an ideal match with Montessori philosophy. Heather completed NAMC Montessori Primary teacher training in 2021. She found a meaningful connection between her past practices and educational beliefs and the Montessori method. Heather looks forward to offering a creative and individualized Primary Montessori program for our students.
Special Focuses: early childhood development, inquiry based learning, social/emotional development
Upper Elementary Math
Molly has always loved learning and teaching math, and she firmly believes that nurturing inquiry and curiosity will allow any student to find math interesting, important and engaging. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Concentration in Sustainable Food from Smith College in 2021. While in school, she worked as a Math TA, an after school program assistant at the Campus School of Smith College, and, later, as a Discrete Math grader. She assisted Holly with the Upper Elementary Mathematics program in Spring 2022, teaching algebra lessons to advanced students and expanding the existing geometry curriculum. This school year, Molly is excited to use the Montessori curriculum to help her students engage with math topics through observation, experimentation, and practical applications that align with their other interests and skills.
Susana is an original founder of Montessori del Mar Learning Center and the President of Friends of Montessori del Mar, the precursor to MdMCS. Susana has been instrumental in guiding the vision and financial health of successful Montessori programs for over 10 years. Susana has a wealth of administrative experience from her time as Board President and as Manager of Patient Registration at Mendocino Coast Hospital. Both of her daughters graduated from Montessori elementary and middle school programs and currently attend high school in Mendocino. Contact: email@example.com
Kristi joins our staff with a wealth of experience supporting homeschool families and providing one-on one virtual instruction to children of all ages. Kristi is a credentialed teacher; she holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education and literacy. Like Chloe, Kristi is trained in the workshop model of literacy instruction. Kristi also is a fluent Spanish speaker and has taught Spanish in school and private settings for many years. Kristi is pursuing her AMI Montessori training at the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
Chef & Nutrition Educator
Veronica Hamilton, our Nutrition Education Chef, is a long time resident of Mendocino County. Growing up in Willits, she loved spending time with her parents in the kitchen. Those early memories led to a lifelong passion for nutritious cooking. Veronica raised her son in the beautiful Willits Valley. She realized early on in her son’s education that smaller non-traditional schools such as Sherwood School and Willits Charter School provide students with a better opportunity to learn. Her son, currently a Fire Engineer with CalFire, thrived in smaller schools and as such she believes in the mission of MDMCS wholeheartedly. Veronica comes to us with rich culinary experience and education specializing in vegetarian and vegan cooking. She has worked for The Ravens Restaurant at The Stanford Inn, a Vegan eco-resort, as well as Fog Eater Cafe, serving southern inspired vegetarian food. Veronica graduated from Living Light Culinary Institute here in Fort Bragg and is certified by the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals as a Food Safety Manager.
Chef Veronica is returning to MDMCS as she was one of our Nutrition Education Chef's in 2019-20. She is excited to work with the students this year and is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of chefs.
"Cooking is chemistry, art, intuition, and love" - Chef V