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our staff

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Chloe Reed

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, 2020, & 2022. 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 and is a student at Kents Hill in Maine beginning this Fall. 


Special Focuses: Program Development, School Operations,  Parent Communication, Montessori Model UN,  Reading & Writing Workshop

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LaViva Dakers

Lower Elementary 

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. 

Susana Jung

Business Administrator

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:


Heather Chappell


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

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Holly Sinclair

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 is 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. Holly welcomed her first child, Claire, last year and returns to MdMCS Fall 2023. 


Special Focuses: Math, fitness, athletics, health


Kara de Vries

Classroom Assistant

Kara is thrilled to have joined the Montessori Del Mar teaching community in January 2023 as the Primary classroom assistant teacher. Her love of children goes back as long as she can remember. As an undergraduate in the Nature and Culture program at UC Davis, she began to explore environmental education and place-based learning in conjunction with bioregional and watershed studies. After a year of substitute teaching youth in the Davis and Winters school districts, Kara enrolled in the Bilingual Multicultural Education Department’s Teacher Credential Program at Sacramento State and earned her Multiple Subject Teacher Credential with a supplemental in art education. She completed her student teaching in second and sixth grade classrooms. She went on to educate in alternative classroom capacities including a farm to table Head Start program and Waldorf after-school program. Kara’s love of children and education has been a common thread throughout her work experiences. She is a self taught artist and naturalist and completed a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Credential training in 2019. She loves combining place-based and experiential learning with mindfulness and is eager to deepen her knowledge of Montessori principles and education through a literacy program and Montessori training program this year. She looks forward to assisting in both the Primary and Lower Elementary classrooms in the fall. Contact:

                         Zoe Lord
                  Literacy Intervention

Zoe has been supporting students on the Mendocino coast since 2011. When she first moved to Fort Bragg, Zoe worked as a reading tutor, after school teacher and behavioral aide serving elementary students. Since then, she received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CalStateTeach UC Monterey Bay and spent seven years teaching both Kindergarten and First Grade. In late 2020, she had her son Theodore and took a hiatus from teaching. Now that Theo is a bit older, she is looking forward to working with students and families again. Zoe is passionate about teaching others early literacy skills. Having worked with Kindergarteners, First Graders, as well as young students in reading programs, she has almost a decade’s worth of experience in providing foundational support to early readers and writers. She believes that the hands-on learning that exists in the Montessori paradigm provides a meaningful foundation for literacy development. She also deeply appreciates that the Montessori model values an individual’s development and potential.

Special Focuses: Early literacy intervention, balanced literacy, structured literacy


Robin Bott

Art & After-School 

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.Contact:

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Kristi Lentz-Taylor

Independent Study & Literacy Support

Virtual Program

Kristi joined our staff in 2020 and came 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 works with MdMCS students virtually. Contact:

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Veronica Hamilton

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


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