“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”
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Prior to becoming Director of School, Shelley served as Interim Director of Amherst Montessori School for one year and Director of Finance & Operations for four years. In that capacity, she was a member of the senior leadership team and supervised staff, created and managed the school’s budget, oversaw compliance, human resources, staff and parent policies, assisted in fundraising, and provided support to the Board, the Head of School, parents, and teachers.
In 2016, Shelley completed her intensive, multiyear Montessori training for senior administrators through the Center for Montessori Education in New York. The CME|NY Administrator Course is a comprehensive program designed to assist current and aspiring heads of school in managing successful, exemplary Montessori schools, and in sustaining themselves as school leaders.
While watching her two sons thrive in the environment at AMS, Shelley witnessed the benefits of the Montessori method. She says, “During my tenure, I’ve watched countless children find joy in learning through the Montessori approach. I love observing in our classrooms, where I have the opportunity to see and feel the peaceful hum of our children completely engrossed in their work.”
Before coming to Amherst Montessori in 2010, Shelley worked in business administration for thirteen years. A native of western Massachusetts, Shelley enjoys camping, reading, cooking, and spending time with her friends, husband, and two boys, Noah and Brady (both alumni of AMS). Shelley graduated from Bay Path University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration.
Gretchen's impressive and varied career as Montessori teacher, administrator, and consultant spans decades. "I relish combining my dedication to the Montessori curriculum, my experience with children and parents, and my coaching and mentoring of teachers to serve in a thriving school community. My style is collaborative, communicative, and supportive and I am genuinely excited to be part of a school culture with these values."
Her work as a mentor and coach has sparked her interest in adult development and confirmed her respect for the lifelong process of learning that characterizes Montessorians. She enjoys the sense of inquiry that naturally leads guides to observe and reflect and to ask questions, such as How did that work? Was my lesson clear? Were my words kind? What else is needed?
She values the attention we pay to our own continued growth and how that translates so profoundly into the work we do in the classroom and our relationships with school families and colleagues.
Gretchen has had many years of experience in Montessori schools in NYC and MA. She has worked as a classroom teacher and administrator in both independent and public Montessori schools and brings a wealth of experience from these inter-connected worlds. Gretchen has served as a Children’s House and Lower Elementary Guide, Mentor, School Founder, Head of School, Teacher Trainer, and Consultant.
Gretchen earned her BA in Religion and Fine Arts at Boston University and her MA in Early Childhood Education through Goddard College, mentored by Montessori author Rosa Packard. She holds American Montessori Society credentials in Early Childhood and Montessori Administration and has completed her Elementary I coursework. She holds a MA teaching license in Early Childhood and grades K - 8. Gretchen is currently a student in the Yoga Teacher Training course at the Yoga Center Amherst.
She enjoys drumming, yoga and meditation, gardening, dancing, camping, hiking, kayaking and all things Indian, and she especially enjoys spending time with her spouse, Karen, and her grown children, Emilie and Stephen, both Montessori alums.
Kelly joined us in May 2015 as the school’s Business Associate and Registrar. She has a background in office administration and bookkeeping, and recently earned her Master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Fraud and Forensics.
Kelly served in the Air Force after high school, and has been actively involved in the PTO at her children’s elementary school.
Kelly lives in Belchertown with her husband and two children (ages 10 and 8).
Surya joined the AMS community in 2012 as a classroom assistant. She came to us with a background in Fashion Merchandising from New England Institute of Art. She enjoys spending time with her children, Anaias (Lower Elementary) and Quill (Young Toddler), as well as reading, traveling, listening to music, and learning new things.
Susanna and her husband Jon have two daughters who attend AMS: Aida, who is in Casa de Niños, and Carolina, who is in Young Toddler. Susanna enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and travelling domestically and internationally with her family.