“The teacher, when she begins work in our schools, must have a kind of faith that the child will reveal himself through work.”

-Maria Montessori

Murray Janeen

Montessori Guide

B.F.A., Musical Theatre and Dance, Point Park University

Janeen joined the Amherst Montessori community in 2011 when her eldest son Connor started as a student in Children’s House. Her role at AMS has grown immensely from the start, in keeping with her interest in Montessori education and engagement with the school community. In 2014 she began substitute teaching, and in the fall of 2015 she was hired as a classroom assistant in the Young Toddler program. In the summer of 2016, Janeen began her Montessori certification at the Center for Montessori Education NY in order to step into the lead guide position in the Toddler program.

Janeen has always had a passion for teaching. She studied musical theatre and dance as an undergraduate, and has been teaching dance technique to children since she graduated from college in 2003. When she became a mother and began the process of seeking school options, Janeen was initially drawn to Montessori because she felt that it aligned with her parenting style, placing emphasis on each child’s unique ability to learn through hands-on experience. As she watched her own two children thrive in the Montessori environment, her interest continued to deepen and she pursued every opportunity to learn more.

As lead guide in the Toddler program, Janeen looks forward to facilitating exploration and fostering independence through daily routines in the Montessori environment. She aims to create a safe and joyful classroom space, and to offer guidance specific to each child’s individual developmental needs.

Janeen's personal interests include long-distance running, fitness, singing, and spending fun, silly, quality time with her two sons. She and her family reside in Holyoke with their dog, Goldie.

KirstenDudkiewiczClassroom Assistant

B.A., Psychology and Theatre, Marlboro College

Kirsten has worked with children since high school when she first trained as a YMCA counselor for Camp Nokomis on the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. Since then she has served several youth programs in New England such as the Boys and Girls club, Monadnock Family Service's youth program “Acting Out,” and most recently the Adolescent residential program at the Brattleboro Retreat. Her introduction to Montessori was first hand when she transferred to Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro for an extended three year middle school experience.

A native of Vermont, she enjoys picking apples (and baking pies of course!) taking long walks and nature swims, and campfires with friends.  She enjoys theatre, music, singing, and performs with the New England Youth Theatre Alumni Association. She also finds traveling to be very rewarding and the best learning experience. She is lucky to have visited several countries like Japan (where her Father, Step-mom and little brother live), Germany, England, and Saudi Arabia. She now lives in Hadley with her husband, Jim, and old cat, Harvey; a pooka.

Kathy HolmesClassroom Assistant

Kathy has worked in early childhood and special education for over 20 years. She spent nine years working for the South Hadley school system and worked at WeeFriends Preschool for five years. She joined us at AMS in 2008. She has received training in early childhood and special education through the University of Massachusetts as well as The Rising Stars Assistant Montessori Training. Kathy has her Lead Teacher Preschool certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.

Kathy enjoys spending time with her four children and three grandchildren, cooking, and baking.