Ms. Nancy, our founder and Head of School, received her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Education Center in Mountain View, California in 1976. She had the honor of training under the late Dr. Lena Wickramaratne, a student of Dr. Maria Montessori and teacher trainer for the Association Montessori Internationale. She also completed the NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies at the Hershey Farm School in 2005. Ms. Nancy founded Community Montessori School 1989 and was Primary Directress from 1989-96. Under her guidance over the past 30 years, CMS has remained passionate about providing an authentic Montessori experience for the thousands of students the school has served.
Ms. Renae has 16 years’ experience teaching, with over half of them at CMS! She graduated from University of Florida with a B.A. in English and French and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language as well as a M.A. in Education- Curriculum & Instruction. Renae received her AMI Elementary Training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego and has also completed NAMTA’s Orientation to Adolescent Studies, as well as received her FL State Teaching Certificate. Miss Renae has taught at schools all over the Tampa Bay area and a fellow teacher introduced her to CMS, and her life changed forever! Ms. Renae loves the outdoors and when she isn’t teaching you can find her swimming, camping, dancing, enjoying the beach, or chasing around her son, who attends CMS! Ms. Renae loves to travel and experience new cultures. She is fluent in French.
Ms. Maria was born in Queens, New York, and came to Florida in 1990, where she completed her A.S. at Hillsborough Community College and completed her B.A. at Florida International University. Maria received her AMI Montessori Assistants to Infants diploma in Denver, Colorado. Maria has been with CMS for 15 years, and worked in all of the classrooms, teaching Spanish to all levels of students. Maria’s dedication to teaching is fueled when she witnesses the capability of a toddler when the prepared environment aids him to his independence.
Ms. Diane came to CMS in 1995 when she enrolled her older son in the elementary program and a year later her younger son joined the primary program. Ms. Diane attended Brooklyn College in New York and received a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and completed her Montessori training at the Montessori Institute of North Texas, Dallas where she received an AMI Elementary diploma. Ms. Diane practices yoga on regular basis and is certified in yoga basics. She can speak, read and write in Greek and is currently learning to play classical guitar. Ms. Diane feels privileged to see the satisfaction and joy on the faces of her students as they make discoveries, master a skill or gain independence.
Ms. Jean is in her 23rd year as a teacher at CMS, and has been working in Montessori classrooms for 33 years. She was born in Wales, United Kingdom, is a mother of 3 sons and a nana to 6 beautiful grandchildren. Ms. Jean has a degree in Primary Education from University College of Wales and she received her Montessori Primary Training from St. Nicolas College in London. She is also a certified instructor and parenting coach with the International Network for Children and Families, and teaches a Redirecting Children’s Behavior class at CMS. Her favorite part of teaching is when a child “gets it”. While she isn’t teaching you can find her playing with paint, paper and creating beautiful scrapbooks.
Ms. Baan has taught for over 20 years at Community Montessori School! She began her journey with Montessori when a family who she was a nanny for convinced her to observe their child in a Montessori school. After observing, she fell in love with the idea of creating an environment where children have the opportunity to develop and become independent without external pressure from adults. She knew that this was a place she wanted to be! Baan completed her AMS Primary Training at the Montessori Teacher Training Institute of Miami, Florida. She also has a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University in New York. Ms. Baan has working knowledge of Arabic and French which she uses in the classroom. Baan’s favorite part of teaching is watching a child concentrate on a piece of work and then be able to say “I did it!”
Ms. Phyllis is an AMI Certified teacher who has taught at CMS for over 20 years. Phyllis grew up in a small town in New Jersey near the ocean, then moved to Manhattan, but later returned to complete college. Ms. Phyllis has always loved an intellectual lifestyle! She has an Associate’s Degree for Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, NYC, a B.A. from Keen University in New Jersey, and a M.A. & PhD. from University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Phyllis received her Montessori Assistants to Infants Training in Denver, Colorado. Her favorite part of each day is "seeing" the Montessori philosophy and theory in practice. She enjoys the challenge of knowing, understanding and loving each child for who they are and experiencing the mystery of who they are becoming.
Ms. Rashda is an AMI Certified teacher that has worked at Montessori schools all over the world. She received her B.A. from University of the Punjab in Pakistan. Rashda has two Montessori diplomas; she received her Primary Diploma from the Karachi Center in Pakistan and her Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. Rashda has two children at CMS and is fluent in English, Urdu and Arabic.
Ms. Sakura was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. During her school years she had the opportunity to live in Beaufort, SC and Granada, Spain as an exchange student. She holds a BA in Spanish from Kansai University of Foreign Languages and is fluent in Japanese, Spanish and able to converse in Cantonese. Ms. Sakura has lived all over the world including Hong Kong and Amsterdam, where she became familiar with Montessori education. She has two children that have attended CMS since Primary and over the years she has observed their passion for learning, kindness, responsibility, and independence grow, which has made her a true believer of Montessori education! Ms. Sakura loves to see the satisfaction on a toddler’s face every time they make a new discovery!
Ms. Yolanda was born in Honduras and came to Florida 25 years ago. She has been at CMS for 14 years, working at the Primary Campus. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and before coming to CMS she worked in the Hillsborough County Public School System with ESOL students with their learning.
She has two children, and her daughter attended CMS from the age of three up until the 8th grade. She loves working with children, and her favorite part is teaching with children in a way that is enjoyable for them.
Ms. Linda was born in China and is fluent in Chinese. She graduated from XI'AN International Study University and earned a B.A. in English/Tourism. Ms. Linda worked for China Travel Service, one of the leading travel companies in China, for 8 years as a licensed national tour guide. She won numerous awards for her performance and customer satisfaction. Ms. Linda moved to the U.S. in 2005 and she later became a part of the CMS community! Ms. Linda’s favorite part of teaching is the "help me do it myself" moments. Children's confident smiles are unforgettable! Ms. Linda loves reading and traveling.
Mr. Sam has been working with adolescents since 2004, and was introduced to CMS and Montessori education in 2008. Mr. Sam received a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from USF. He also has an AMI Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota, and completed the NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies at the Hershey Farm School. Mr. Sam also had the opportunity to travel to Russia, where he was invited to lecture in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and via webcast on his experiences in Montessori adolescent programs. His favorite part of teaching is seeing the beauty and potential in an age group that many people take for granted. An avid gardener and outdoorsman, Mr. Sam can be found playing outside somewhere on the weekends.
Coach Jose was born in Argentina and moved to the US in 2001. After graduating from Instituto Provincial de Educación in Cordoba with a B.A. in Physical Education, he has dedicated his life to working on sports education. Beside his B.A. in PE, he also has his USSF License (United States Soccer Federation) for coaching soccer. He has been a PE and soccer coach for over 20 years and has spent time working at soccer clubs, at private schools and in Montessori schools in Argentina and in CA, IN and FL. Coach Jose encourages young people, especially children and teenagers to do physical activity and consider it as a habit for a better lifestyle. Coach Jose is fluent in English and Spanish and can converse in Italian and Portuguese. When he is not coaching, you can find him spending time with his three children and lovely wife.
Mr. Barr has been playing guitar and other instruments since the fifth grade! He attended Loyola University in New Orleans on academic and music scholarships and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Classical Guitar Performance. He also did Master of Music studies at both Loyola and Tulane Universities and taught guitar and music theory at both schools and at the New Orleans Institute of Music. As well as classical music, Mr. Barr also performed electric guitar, bass, voice and keyboards in bands for a number of years, including performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and performing as the opening act for such bands as The Ramones and Duran Duran. In 2005, Mr. Barr began the Adolescent Guitar Program at CMS and now he teaches Upper Elementary Music and Band, the Lower Elementary Music Program, the Violin Program, and the Adolescent Recording Technology Program! Mr. Barr also provides private instruction in guitar, keyboard and violin.
Ms. Vanessa graduated magna cum laude from University of South Florida with a degree in American Studies. Both of her children currently attend CMS. Having found such enjoyment and enrichment as a CMS parent, Vanessa is honored to share her love of gardening with the students. It is a joy to be able to support the wonderful CMS teachers, and to witness the children extending the classroom into the garden. Vanessa believes it is a privilege to observe even the youngest Primary students taking ownership of the flowers, herbs, and vegetables in their gardens!
Mr. Tyler is a CMS alumnus, attending from elementary through 9th grade as part of the first Adolescent graduating class. After leaving CMS, he attended Howard W. Blake High School where he studied Classical Guitar. Tyler later attended Florida State University where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Religious Studies and Minor's Degrees in both Anthropology and Psychology. Mr. Tyler has also been fencing since he was introduced to the sport in the CMS Adolescent Program.
Ms. Mansa earned her Bachelor's Degree in Physical Therapy from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, India as well as a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Mumbai University, Mumbai, India. Mansa has worked with undergraduate physical therapy students, supervised interns and has taught a virtual science course to 6th grade students in rural India. Mansa received a training certificate in yoga from the Yoga Institute, Santacruz, Mumbai and practices yoga and meditation regularly. She is fluent in Hindi, Sindhi, Marathi and Nepali and can converse in Marwari and Punjabi. Mansa loves watching the enormous creativity that children display everyday as they quench their thirst for knowledge!
Ms. Jamie’s first experience in a Montessori environment was at the age of 19 in Southern California while working on her Associate in Arts degree in Elementary Education. She graduated with her B.A. in Mass Communications at USF’s St. Petersburg campus. While working on her degree part-time, Ms. Jamie worked at a local Montessori school as an assistant in the Primary classroom (and later on in the Upper Elementary classroom) for ten years. Ms. Jamie has had the opportunity to work in both private and public sectors of education, and for three years she worked at a public magnet school. She had the opportunity to teach photojournalism in the journalism program in two local schools. After three years in public school, she realized that her philosophy for education differs dramatically and wanted to work in a Montessori setting again. Luckily, she found her way to CMS! During her free time she enjoys being outside taking pictures, swimming and playing guitar.
Ms. Laura was born and raised in Tampa as a third generation Floridian and is proud to be the great granddaughter of cigar rollers. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Florida with a degree in Secondary Education - Biology. Miss Laura’s ten years of experience includes teaching children from primary through high school, in both traditional and Montessori environments. More than half of her career has been spent with students with exceptionalities which has allowed her to utilize her Kagan and Brain Gym training. Miss Laura holds a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate. You can find Miss Laura gardening, working out, or cooking when she is not enjoying time at CMS. She is the proud mother to three beautiful daughters who are thriving CMS students. With the support of her wonderful husband, Laura is honored to feel as though she has never worked a day in her life because she is doing what she loves!