Kindergarten

Rebecca Akester

Kindergarten

Rebecca Akester

Rebecca Akester

Kindergarten 

Ms Rebecca is the Kindergarten teacher. Her love of children and desire to teach began when she was very young. Often she would gather the neighborhood children together for lessons. She even set up her own classroom in the basement! Her first job was at a daycare center working with children. She eventually became a full-time preschool teacher and taught for three years at Willowcreek Children’s Center.

She lived in Korea for over a year and while she was there, she taught children English and spent time working with children in an orphanage.  Upon returning, she finished her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University.  As a lifelong learner Ms. Rebecca is currently working on her HQ credentials.  Rebecca was introduced to the Montessori Method over ten years ago and implemented the Montessori principles in a preschool she owned for almost five years.

Rebecca and her family moved to Riverton nine years ago and at that time she became very involved in the homeschooling community. She taught several classes of mixed-age groups in this community and founded a commonwealth school in the area.  She was excited to learn of a Montessori charter school closer to home and left her job as the director of a multi-age program in south Provo.

She has a passion for education and is active in studying and learning how to improve her pedagogy. She is currently working on a M.Ed. from Westminster College and will receive her Montessori Early Childhood credential in July. She is happily married to a brilliant scientist and together they have four wonderful children.

Email:  rakester@mwmacademy.org

Lower Elementary

Alden Thorpe

Alden Thorpe

 

My name is Alden Thorpe. I believe that teaching is about guiding others to discover what drives them to learn in a safe, respectful environment. As a teacher, my responsibility is to help my children gain a love of learning. The Montessori method at our school provides such a rich foundation for accomplishing both of these goals. I am so excited to work in the lower elementary at Mountain West Montessori. We have an amazing team of teachers that will be facilitating student-centered learning and intellectual curiosity for all of our students. I am a graduate of the University of Utah as an early childhood and elementary educator. I was a student teacher in kindergarten for one year at Elk Run Elementary before moving to Mountain West.

Outside of teaching, I love learning and being active. Anything that gets me moving is great, especially baseball, martial arts, and frisbee. I have always been interested in astronomy, math, physics, reading, history, and just about anything else. I also enjoy learning new languages. I have picked up (but not mastered) German, Russian, Ukrainian, and some Spanish. There’s nothing like being able to share in someone’s culture and language.

Email:  athorpe@mwmacademy.org

Terri Stephens

Terri Stephens

 

Hi, I’m Terri Stephens.  I’m looking forward to teaching at Mountain West Montessori Academy as a lower elementary teacher this year. I believe that children learn best when they participate in active, hands-on activities that are personally engaging.  I enjoy teaching children how to think, rather than what to think.  I also feel that it’s important to get children excited about learning, and to help them develop a love for learning that will last throughout their entire lifetime.  This is why I have chosen to teach at Mountain West Montessori Academy!

So that you can get to know me better, here’s some information about me:  My husband and I have four grown children and two grandchildren (with one more on the way!).  I went back to college when my youngest child was in kindergarten, and earned my Early Childhood and Elementary Education degrees from Utah Valley University.  After graduating, I taught kindergarten for ten years, second grade for four years, and then kindergarten this last year; all in the public school system.

When I’m not teaching, I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking, Spider Solitaire, movies, crochet, four wheeling, boating, spending time with my family, and vacationing.  My family and I have visited all fifty states in the United States.  My favorite state was Louisiana, where we went on a swamp boat, and watched full-grown alligators jump up out of the water several feet to grab raw meat from a pole!  We also got to hold a baby alligator.

It’ll be great to get to know all of you and your children.  This is going to be an amazing year!

Email:  tstephens@mwmacademy.org

Melissa Keegan

Melissa Keegan

 

My name is Melissa Keegan (or Melly to my friends) and I will be working as early elementary teacher this year.  I am the oldest of five children in a family with two working/busy parents. I helped take care of my younger siblings as we were growing up, so, really, I have been working with young children since I can remember!

For 7 years, I taught children with severe special needs. I taught pre-academic skills (such as identifying numbers and letters) as well as functional skills.  As a life long learner I am currently working on my HQ credentials.  I loved getting to know such interesting, wonderful kids, and it was very rewarding to help give them a voice of their own.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to teach English in South Korea. I fell in love with teaching all over again!  I taught English immersion kindergarten, which meant that neither the students nor the teachers were allowed to speak Korean in class. Those kids were incredible—they picked up languages and concepts so quickly! I finished my year-long contract with the school and was able to travel for a few months on my way home. In addition to exploring the amazing Buddhist temples, bustling cities, and culture of South Korea, I traveled to Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia (where my fiancé proposed on the beach!), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and, finally, toured through India.  What an incredible adventure!

I’m back in Utah now, and have just moved into an adorable house in Sandy.   When I’m not teaching, I love arts and crafts. It’s been a hobby of mine for years. I particularly enjoy making jewelry, but any craft will do!  Creativity is my favorite outlet!

I am so excited to be a part of Mountain West. I’ve been curious about the Montessori method for years, and I think it will be a good match to my personality and teaching style. I look forward to helping our kids get inspired to learn, and to seeing each student’s potential unfold!

Email:  mkeegan@mwmacademy.org

Audrey Marshall

Audrey Marshall

 

Hi! My name is Audrey Marshall. I am so excited for this opportunity to be one of the lower elementary teachers at MWMA. The Montessori philosophy is so great to keep up children’s curiosity and allows children to learn in a way that is best for them with many different hands-on methods. My favorite subjects are Literacy, Science, and Art. I look forward to creating a close-classroom community and helping every child find his natural passion to learn.

Before MWMA, I worked up at Snowbird Ski Resort as a Camp Counselor, with kids ages 5-12. We did several activities with them, including hiking and swimming.  Every week was a themed week with science day, team building day, hiking day, sports day, and art day.

I recently graduated from Westminster College in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Minor in teaching English as a Second Language. Throughout my time at Westminster I had many roles in different elementary schools. I began as an AmeriCorps aide in a Kindergarten classroom helping with DIBBLES testing and working with students independently. Before student teaching I had placements at two public schools and one private school in 6thgrade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten, where I helped the teachers in many ways and teaching many lessons in different subjects. I did my student teaching in 5thgrade in a public school teaching all subjects and using creative outlets as much as possible.

I enjoy skiing, hiking, dancing, swimming, trying new foods, being with friends and

family, reading, crafting, and attending concerts and plays/musicals. I love to travel and hope to be going to Copenhagen, Denmark soon with my brother. I spent a month studying abroad in Paris and there is so much more of Europe that I wish to see.

Email:  AMarshall@mwmacademy.org

Ashley Graves

Ashley Graves

 

Email:  agraves@mwmacademy.org

Autumn Lord

 

Email:  alord@mwmacademy.org

Christi Cox

 

Email:  ccox@mwmacademy.org

Upper Elementary

Hailey Mowen

Hailey Mowen

 

Hello! My name is Hailey Mowen and I’m ecstatic to start my career with Mountain West Montessori Academy! I have always been interested in Montessori since it supports my philosophy of children reaching their full potential at their own pace. I love how the Montessori environment can use the child’s natural curiosity and physical materials to teach the principle. I also think it’s important that my classroom creates a haven of safety. A place where it’s okay to make mistakes and only person the child competes with is themselves.

For my background, I was born and raised in Utah Valley and graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education at Southern Utah University. There I discovered my affinity with children when my educational program took every opportunity to throw us into the deep end of the “class” pool. Afterwards, I decided to broaden my horizons with teaching English in Japan for two years. It was an enriching ESL experience that taught me how to work with multiple ages in small group settings. I admit I fell in love with the culture so I may try to bring some Japanese into the classroom. *Wink*

Some things I love to do are sing, play tennis and volleyball, do ballroom dance, nurture my inner bibliophile and go sightseeing. I believe that trying new things is a wonderful way to grow character so this summer I tried hang-gliding for the first time! My next goal for an adventure is to try hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I guess I better start training!

I can’t wait to meet you all, but until then またね! (mata ne = see you later!)

Email:  hmowen@mwmacademy.org

Alisha Kocs

Alisha Kocs

 

Hi all, I’m Alisha Kocs and I will be joining MWMA this year as a lower elementary teacher. Before MWMA, I worked a Primary Children’s Residential Treatment Facility, helping teach children (ages 5-12) with a variety of behavioral and cognitive abilities. I have also had the pleasure of working for the Youth Center at Hill Air Force Base as a Child/Youth Program Coordinator. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of Utah, where I met my husband, Lance. We have been married for almost a year. I am excited to be at MWMA because I love the hands-on style of teaching and the sense of community in the classroom. My favorite subjects are English, Literacy, and Art. I look forward to teaching in small groups, incorporating art into the classroom, and building relationships with the students. Here are some facts about me in hopes that you get to know me a little better.

1. I collect hamburger-related memorabilia, such as pillows, slippers, and paintings, but I do not eat beef.

2. My weekends are often filled playing board games with friends, hiking, camping, reading, crafting, or attending a play or musical.

3. For fun, I am currently trying to write my own YA novel.

4. My husband is the band director at American Fork Jr. High, so our closets at home are always full of musical instruments.

5. Soon, I am hoping to go backpacking in South America with my husband. I would love to see Machu Picchu and the Amazon.

This year is going to be a real adventure and a great growing experience. I can’t wait to get to know you all!

Email:  akocs@mwmacademy.org

Kimberly McDonald

 

My name is Kimberly McDonald. I began my teaching career twenty years ago in a two room school house teaching Kindergarten through third grade in remote, rural Idaho. I spent the next four years enjoying the energy of junior high school students in grades 6-8 before I stepped out of the classroom when my second daughter was born.

During my time away from public school I began to experiment with entrepreneurship and opened my own preschool in order to spend more time with my oldest daughter as well as becoming a correspondent for my local newspaper. I was also given the opportunity to write my own weekly column titled, “Back at the Ranch.”

Eventually, I began working one-on-one with students and was asked to help a little boy with severe autism. This sent me on a journey that resulted in me becoming certified as an intensive behavior intervention specialist and a developmental specialist for children and adults. I learned Applied Behavior Analysis and the Picture Exchange Communication System while working with children who had significant developmental disabilities. One of my little clients changed my life after I observed her continual struggles with school.

I resigned as a behavior therapist so I could experiment with homeschooling my former client whom I discovered had dyslexia. When no resources could be found to help her I began training to become a dyslexia specialist and ultimately opened my own reading clinic in Burley, Idaho.
Years later I was asked to work with a little boy with dyslexia who attended a Montessori school. I was intrigued by my experience in his classroom, so I applied to work part time as an assistant in a Montessori classroom in Ogden, Utah so I could learn more. The next school year I was offered a co-teaching position in an upper elementary classroom in a different Montessori school in Utah.

My dyslexic students in my classroom pulled at my heart strings, however, and I was prompted to open a school for dyslexic students the following year. I loved having the opportunity to direct Inspire Academy for two years where we celebrated dyslexic learners and educated the public about this unique learning style. Unfortunately, circumstances occurred that made it necessary to close the school, so I began to look for a teaching opportunity that would bring me back to the Montessori method.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to be teaching now at Mountain West Montessori Academy. As a lifelong learner I am currently working on my HQ credential. My adorable husband and I recently moved to Daybreak with our firecracker toddler son who attends a Montessori preschool. We love it when my two teenage daughters and kindergarten son come to stay with us from Idaho. My favorite thing in the world, besides teaching students, is being a mom and finding fun things to do with my family.

Email:  kmcdonald@mwmacademy.org

Sara Feil

Sara Feil

 

Sara Feil graduated from the University of Utah in elementary education, taught in elementary schools for several years, homeschooled her children, and recently enjoyed the opportunity of teaching high school math. Now she is excited to teach at Mountain West Montessori Academy.

Sara loves hiking, gardening, puppetry, music, reading, cooking healthy foods, and learning. She loves spending time with her family (her husband, six children, two cats, and one giant Saint Bernard named Gracie).

Email:  sfeil@mwmacademy.org

Shanna Bowles

 

Hello! My name is Shanna Bowles and this is my first year teaching at MWMA. I am originally from Fresno, CA and I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in the 6th grade. I had a lot of wonderful teachers during my elementary school years and they all inspired me to become a teacher. I attended BYU Idaho and graduated with a BS in Elementary Education. I am married to a wonderful man, Andrew, and we will have been married for 3 years come this December. We don't have any kids yet, but we hope to start a family soon. Some of my hobbies include swimming, listening to music, reading, arts and crafts (when I have time), and writing/typing in my journal. My top five things I absolutely love are my family, cats and dogs (but mostly cats), Mexican food, the color green, and teaching! I look forward to becoming a part of the Mountain West Montessori Academy family and hope that I can be an inspiration to all of the children I have the privilege of being with.

Email:  sbowles@mwmacademy.org

Heather Kirby

Heather Kirby

 

My name is Heather Kirby and I am excited to join the team at Mountain West Montessori Academy! I have been working the last three and a half years at the Westview School in Houston, Texas. Westview is a private school for high-functioning children on the autism spectrum. An important aspect of a Westview education was building self-reliance, self-control, and self-worth in our students. I am excited to keep emphasizing these skills through the Montessori method. In the right environment, every child can progress and thrive.

 

I was born and raised in Southern California. I received my B.A. in English from BYU in Provo, UT. I focused on Creative Writing, Editing, and Children’s Literature. It took longer for me to find my calling, and therefore I have a varied background, including an editing internship at the Friend magazine and a summer working as an extra in TV and movies in Hollywood. I have worked as an educator for several years, starting out in Early Childhood Education and then working as a Tutor for students K-12. While tutoring elementary school-aged children, I discovered that I enjoyed working with that age and decided to pursue certification in this area.

 

I love traveling and am happiest when I’m on a beautiful beach. I also enjoy writing and reading, particularly young adult and middle grade literature. I’m very interested in the arts, and enjoy going to local performances. I love to eat, and am on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, so I’m always excited when I find a restaurant that caters to that. Now that I’m in Utah, I’m trying to get in to hiking more—but while I enjoy the outdoors, I hate bugs (because they love to eat me lol), so these two facts are constantly battling each other.

Email:  HKirby@mwmacademy.org

Middle School

Becca Bumgarner

English

Becca Bumgarner

Becca Bumgarner

English 

Hello! I’m Becca and I will be teaching Middle School English this fall, an opportunity that I’m looking forward to immensely. My passion for literature developed at a young age, fueled by suggestions and recommendations from my own teachers and mentors. I am excited to share this passion with the students at Mountain West Montessori Academy. My favorite part about English is learning how the same pieces of writing can have different meanings for different readers, and examining the reasons behind that.

My devotion to literature followed me to the University of Utah, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in English in 2012. While in school, I coached a water polo team for 7-12th graders, which I really enjoyed. It was my first experience teaching in any capacity, and I loved to watch the player’s progress throughout the season.

After working in marketing for a couple of years, I realized how much I wanted to get back to essays, reading, and analyzing. I moved to Oxford, England, where I got my Master’s Degree in English at Oxford Brookes University in 2015. My dissertation was focused around literary pieces created through the use of the Internet, and explored how technology is changing the way literature is consumed in today’s modern world. My experience across the sea allowed me the opportunities to travel around Europe and explore some of the world’s most amazing museums and monuments.

In my spare time I enjoy traveling, baking, swimming, and going to plays and concerts. I love music and most of my travels are built around concerts and musicians I want to see. I also volunteer regularly, teaching ESL to refugees who are preparing for their citizenship test. As you can probably guess, I absolutely love to read—my favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

I’m looking forward to meeting all my students this fall, and I’m excited to help them discover their own literary passions.

Email:  bbumgarner@mwmacademy.org

Katie Martin

Art and College and Career Awareness

Katie Martin

Art and College and Career Awareness 

Email:  kmartin@mwmacademy.org

Olena Yermolova

Mathematics

Olena Yermolova

Olena Yermolova

Mathematics 

My name is Olena Yermolova. I was born and lived large part of my life in Ukraine. During the time I lived there we were considered part of the Soviet Union, because we were forced to speak Russian, my native language is Russian even though I am Ukrainian, I also learned to read and understand Ukrainian. (Yes, they are different). I have a master’s degree in electrical engineering and bachelor’s degree in math.

I love teaching math. I love to see that transformation in children’s eyes from fearing math into understanding it. I believe EVERYONE can do it and my students prove it every year to those, who have doubts…

Long ago I came to America searching for a better life. I love this country and very proud to be an America citizen. I have a great family, they support me in my passion of teaching. This is the country of opportunity and my dream of being a math teacher came true. I honestly believe I have now the best job ever!

Someone said: “It takes a village to raise a child.” It takes a whole team of teachers to make a student successful. I love teaching at Mountain West Montessori Academy. I love the Montessori Philosophy and it feels great to be part of the Montessori family.

In my spare time I love reading. Of course, if the books are in Russian – I read it ten times faster, than in English. I also love swimming, bowling, golfing and target shooting.

Email:  oyermolova@mwmacademy.org

Allison Fairbourne

History and English

Allison Fairbourne

Allison Fairbourne

History and English 

The crackling of rotted birch deafened, and I found that I could no longer smell pine, it had masked by the potent aroma of spilled gasoline on my boots. I was hustling as fast as the Red Wing leather could carry my weight, but the loose dirt and juvenile roots kept slipping under me, making it nearly impossible to gain ground. I was convinced my feet would catch fire. When I was lucky enough to catch a full breath, no, not a breath, a gasp, it filled my lungs with more soot than oxygen. Every follicle, every cell on, and in my body, was bogged down with ash and smoke. With sweat oozing out of every pore and snot dripping from the skin slope of my nose into the crooks of my mouth, I was able to mutter the most ridiculous and awesome thing that I have ever said. I looked at my fire chief and exclaimed, “This just isn’t scary enough for me anymore, I am going to quit fighting fire and teach junior high.”

My name is Ms. Allison and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach history, humanities, and film at Mountain West Montessori Academy. Like most people, I have dreams. One of those dreams was to jump out of perfectly good helicopters into flaming trees. I spent 6 years working for the United States Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. However, I had a nagging voice in my head reminding me that my ultimate dream was to become an educator. In college, I studied as many subjects as possible, traveled to faraway places, and became a professional chainsaw operator. At the University of Utah I studied psychology, film, gender studies, history, language arts; I even took a class on dinosaurs. If it wasn’t math, I took the class! As a life long learner I am currently working on my HQ credential. Travel made me even more passionate about language arts and history. After a decade of enjoyable, yet productive shenanigans, I earned a Bachelors of Arts in English Teaching and a History Teaching minor from the University of Utah. I went on to earn my Masters in Teaching from Westminster College, and I plan on returning to school for my doctorate.

My path to be an educator was bizarre, but indispensable to my philosophy of education. In a nutshell, I believe that every child has a right to an equitable education that incorporates aspects of real life. Every child deserves to be given the time, resources, space, skills, tools, and encouragement to figure out how to live a happy and fulfilling life.

I live with my dog Wilbur in Salt Lake City, Utah. I like to pretend that I like running. 02:55:37 is the half marathon time that I will be attempting to beat this fall in Moab. Most recently, and as part of the MAT program at Westminster, I was able to spend time with the Global Education Center in Nicaragua. I love reading, writing, learning new things, and most of all, I love teaching.

Email:  afairbourne@mwmacademy.org

Courtney Conover

Courtney Conover

Science 

Email:  cconover@mwmacademy.org

David Squires

Health and PE

David Squires

David Squires

Health and PE 

My name is David Squires and I am the Secondary Health and Physical Education Teacher here at MWMA. I am excited about this opportunity to start school with a great group of kids.
It is my goal to serve as a positive role model for my student’s and to be a teacher who makes a difference in their lives. The material that I teach in both Health and P.E. provides multiple opportunities to equip my student’s with valuable life skills. From how to make healthier food choices and maintain an active lifestyle to the dangers of alcohol and drug use, every topic is potentially life changing.

To achieve my goal I will focus on creating community in the classroom to build trust and a sense of belonging. Once that is accomplished I believe my students will engage in thoughtful discussions and interactive lessons.
Early in my career I worked in the fitness industry. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with an Exercise Science concentration from Western Washington University, I worked as a Personal Trainer, Director of Fitness, and Club Manager, including managing clubs in China and Malaysia. Most recently I served as the Program Director and Lead Instructor for Eagle Gate College’s Personal Fitness Training program.

In August of 2012 I left Eagle Gate to pursue my Master’s in Teaching at Westminster College, completing my degree in December of 2013. I am currently working towards the Teaching English as a Second Language endorsement. As a life-long learner I look forward to sharing my love of learning with my students and the many discoveries that lie ahead for us both.

Personally, I enjoy spending time with my wife Cherry and our six-year-old son, Joshua. Travel is an area of interest, having traveled to ten different countries so far, including my wife’s home country of the Philippines.
I also enjoy the writing process and have self-published a book on goal setting and a time efficient conditioning program called, SMART FITTness. Fitness and sports have always been a big part of my life and I love sharing my passion with others. My philosophy, “Life is a game and we are all athletes; academics, business or sports we all compete at some level. Being fit allows us to compete at our best, making the most of our lives.”

Email:  dsquires@mwmacademy.org

Kacee Neff

Choir and Theater

Kacee Neff

Kacee Neff

Choir and Theater 

Email:  kneff@mwmacademy.org

Support Staff

Annie Cox

Annie Cox

 

I am truly excited to start teaching at MWMA this year! Teaching using the Montessori Method is new to me, but I have been interested in the philosophy for years. My passion is teaching students with a variety of disabilities, struggles, and strengths, but I took a roundabout way of getting here!

After graduating from Michigan State University, I served in the Air Force as a finance officer for five years. I then had the opportunity to separate from the Air Force and return to school to earn a master’s degree in special education from New Mexico State University. My first teaching job was as a special education teacher for kindergartners through eighth graders in a charter school in North Carolina. That is also where I met my husband. When he accepted a new job in Denver, Colorado, we packed up our two dogs and cat and came out west. I taught at a middle school focusing on phonics instruction and literacy. When my husband was offered a position as an instructor at Salt Lake Community College, we could not pass on the terrific opportunity.

We moved to Utah in January and have been familiarizing ourselves with the area. It has been a great place to spend time with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. I am looking forward to moving into our new house this summer because my newest passion/hobby is making home improvements and building furniture. My other passion is traveling to new and exciting places all over the world. I am currently focused on getting to Antarctica; that is the only continent I have yet to visit!

Email:  acox@mwmacademy.org

Wensedae Miller

Special Education Director

Wensedae Miller

Special Education Director 

Hi! My name is Wensdae Miller. I was named after the character Wednesday Addams of the 1960s TV show The Addams Family. It was my dad’s favorite show, and he created the unique spelling. All my siblings have pretty common names; I guess I was just lucky!

I am the Special Education director and Elementary Special Education teacher at MWMA. I am love to help children discover their own unique gifts, build confidence, and gain academic skills, so they can build happy, productive lives. I have been a Special Education teacher since 2007. I was also a Special Education assistant for four years before that, always in charter or private schools. In 2015 I earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Reading and Literacy, from the University of Utah. Teaching reading is a passion of mine because reading opens the door to so many other opportunities. I also love to make math concepts understandable for children; creating and adapting materials to illustrate a principle is lots of fun for me. I’ve realized that many of the materials and activities I had created on my own (before I learned about Montessori) are very similar to Montessori ones! Some of my greatest strengths are creativity and intuition; I can quickly comprehend where a student’s understanding has broken down and find creative ways to fix the misunderstanding.

When I have free time, I enjoy flower gardening, reading, watching Netflix, writing stories, and doing arts and crafts. I also enjoy traveling; I have been to Peru, Costa Rica, and several US states. Spoiling my 28 nieces and nephews is another pastime! Some of my favorite things are: Harry Potter, Dr. Who, chocolate, music of the 1930s-1940s, and bright colors.

Email:  wmiller@mwmacademy.org

Kerri Smith

Special Education

Kerri Smith

Special Education 

Hello, my name is Kerri Smith and I am a Special Education Junior High teacher at MWMA. This is my sixth year teaching both public/charter schools. I have my Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education, and Masters in Education from the University of Utah. This is my second year teaching the Philosophy of Montessori and working in a charter school. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with wonderful students, teachers, support staff, and administrators.

Together my Husband and I have been married for 10 years. In August of 2011, our “crazy fun” triplets were born (two girls, one boy). In our free time, we love to watch movies, go camping, hiking, boating, play racquetball, and go on vacations to visit new cultures.

I am excited for this new adventure to learn and grow as a teacher as well as support and guide our students with their Individual goals.

Email:  ksmith@mwmacademy.org

Melissa Zuckerman

Library Media Specialist

Melissa Zuckerman

Library Media Specialist 

Hello parents, caregivers and students,

My name is Melissa Zuckerman. I am the Library Media Specialist at MWMA, but I'll also be helping students with their reading and lending a hand during testing. I've spent the past 6 years as a public librarian, where I helped families cope with many issues ranging from struggling readers to sibling rivalry to the loss of loved ones. Whatever struggles your family faces, know that I'm here to support you and am happy to guide you towards resources that can help.

I received my B.A. in Child Development in 2002 from California State University, Chico (yes, I'm a California transplant), and then received my M.S. in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2008. I was hired by Weber County Library in 2008 as a Children's Librarian and had the wonderful opportunity to be a liaison between elementary schools and the public library. This opened my eyes to my love of teaching, which is how I ended up at MWMA!

Our Library Media Center extends the Montessori Method found in the classroom by giving students many self-directed hands-on experiences. Here, students will explore literature and technology in meaningful ways while building the skills needed for today's 21st century learner.

Fun facts about me:

1. I play several instruments (not necessarily well), including ukulele, 12-string guitar and drums. I love singing and seek opportunities to add music to classroom activities!

2. My husband and I are exploring vermiculture and vermicompost at our home. This means we're breeding worms and using their castings (poop) as soil amendments! If we're successful in keeping them healthy you may just get to meet them next April!

3. I'm good with electricity and have done several electrical upgrades in our house.

4. I have a funny cat named Grey. He has long hair, talks a LOT, and loves to show off his bug and bird chasing skills outside.

Im looking forward to a great year working with all of you and hope you will stop by the Library Media Center to see what your students have been up to!

Email:  mzuckerman@mwmwacademy.org

Rick Pettingill

Chef 

My name is Rick Pettingill and I am the Chef Here at Mountain West Montessori Academy. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing team and help shape the Healthy eating habits of the Students here. My goal is to provide a healthy and delicious meal for your children and maintain exceptional standards of service and cleanliness.

I have spent the last 25 years in food service and cooking is my passion in life. I started cooking at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant when I was just 16 years of age and from there I worked at Shish-Ka-Hods Greek eatery for nearly 10 years before I opened up my own Greek Restaurant in the Cottonwood mall. When the Cottonwood Mall closed I spent the next 5 years at Market Street Grill & Oyster Bar where I learned a great deal about fine dining and exceptional Customer service. Now the last 5 years I spent as the Foodservice Director at a residential treatment center where I had the great pleasure to work with troubled youth and help mold their eating habits.

My hobbies include spending time with my Wife and 2 children that are Students here. I love all sports watching and playing, cooking, watching movies and singing Karaoke. I look forward to seeing your Children’s smiling faces as they come through the lunch line for years to come.

 

Parents have the right to request and receive information on the qualifications of their child’s teacher.  If you have any questions or want more information please contact Amy Pilkington at (801) 566-6962 or APilkington@MWMAcademy.org.   You can also refer to the student information system.