Meet the Teachers
Director & Elementary Teacher (Sequoia Classroom)
The school director, Fiona Quinlan, has been a Montessori teacher here in the Valley since 1997. She has previously worked as a Lead Toddler teacher, and Elementary Teacher and was the Director at her previous school, Sunrise Montessori, for five years. Fiona received her BA in Psychology from ASU in 2004. She graduated with her AMI Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2015. She is a life-long Montessorian, who is very passionate about the Montessori philosophy and has been with Montessori in the Park since 2014.
Tara Mott, elementary co-teacher, has work in the field of education since 1997. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in regular and special education from Norther Arizona University. She also holds primary and elementary diplomas from the Association of Montessori International (AMI), as well as a Master’s degree in Montessori education from Loyola College in Maryland. She continues to attend Montessori workshops and conferences. In her spare time Tara enjoys hiking, camping, reading and spending time with her family.
Elementary co-teacher, Jodi Qualters, holds a BS in Education with a dual major in Elementary and Special Education from Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA. She has taught since 1996 in both the public and private sector in classrooms from Kindergarten through 4th grade in all subjects. She has completed graduate level course work in education. She received her Lower Elementary Diploma from The North American Montessori Center (NAMC) in 2008 and continues to attend Montessori workshops. Jodi has been with Montessori in the Park since 2007. She was drawn to the nature of the Montessori curriculum as it allows children to progress at their own pace in a non-competitive environment.
Primary teacher, Polly Franklin has taught Montessori Education since 1997. With a BA in Journalism/Public Relations, Polly left the corporate world after 20 years to pursue her dream of teaching. As a Montessori student herself, Polly’s love of the Montessori Philosophy ran deep. She returned to school and earned her AMS Montessori Credential from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (CMTE/NY) and has been in the classroom ever since. She is a certified Kindermusic instructor and recently completed certification for Level 1 of the Orff Schulwerk Music Course. She enjoys working with the Phoenix Youth Symphony as the music librarian, is married with five children, two of which enjoyed a Montessori education.
Primary Assistant, Renee Pezzelle first learned about Montessori when she was a high school student. As a Senior, she participated in a work study program at Villa Montessori in Phoenix, Arizona. Following high school, she was hired as the Infant/Toddler Assistant. While attending college to earn her Associates Degree in Commercial Photography, Renee worked in the Outdoor Environment and led the Preschool After School Program. The teaching experience with Montessori made her decision to have her three young boys go through Montessori as well. All three are MIP Alumni. Renee has received her Montessori Teaching Assistant Training in 2013 and again in 2016. She started with Montessori in the Park in 2013 as the Outdoor Environment Specialist, and transitioned to the Primary Assistant in 2016.
Primary teacher, Jaime Williams has a BA in Psychology and holds a 3-6 Montessori (AMS) credential from South Mountain Community College. Her interest in Montessori education began when she took a position as an assistant teacher in the toddler room at a Montessori school, where her son started school in the preschool class. She had attended Crane School of Music in New York for four years pursuing her BA in Music Education before she enrolled in the AMS Montessori Certification Program. While in the certification program at South Mountain, she continued to work at the same Montessori school, going from the toddler assistant to the outdoor environment teacher and lastly as the primary lead assistant teacher. Jaime has been a lead primary teacher at Montessori in the Park for 5 years and enjoys teaching in such a caring and enriching environment.
Primary co-teacher, Kim Doll, is a married mother with one son, who was born and raised in the West Valley. She holds her 3-6 Montessori (AMS) credential from South Mountain Community College, which she received in April 2013. Kim was a dental assistant for 15 years before leaving the dental field to have her son. When her son was in first grade, Kim accepted a job as a Kindergarten assistant at Trinity Lutheran Church and School, where she found her passion for working with young children. In August of 2009 Kim joined the Montessori in the Park team as a Primary assistant, completing her Montessori Assistant Training in October of that year.
Outdoor Environment Specialist
Our outdoor Environment Specialist, Pam Hogan, has worked in a Montessori school for over 30 years as a lead teacher in Primary and Toddler classrooms. As a traditional preschool teacher, she felt that there was something missing; when she discovered Montessori and took the training in 1979 in Portland, Oregon a whole new world opened up. Guiding rather than instructing the young child toward self-direction, independence, and love of learning was a new concept and she embraced it wholeheartedly. Over the years she has watched as children embrace the prepared environment and become eager learners and competent members of the classroom community. The 2016-2017 school year is Pam’s first year with Montessori in the Park.