“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

-Maria Montessori

Lead Guide

B.A., Early Childhood Education, Hampshire College

Eva is a western Mass native. She attended Hampshire College, where she studied nature-based early childhood education and worked as a Teaching Assistant in the infant and preschool classrooms at the Hampshire College Early Learning Center. Eva has also worked for seven seasons as a summer camp counselor, and she spent a semester abroad in Denmark studying the forest kindergarten concept.

Eva has a range of experience with children of all ages, but her passion lies with the youngest learners. She is amazed at the ways in which babies make meaning of the world, and is honored to witness their growth and development. In her free time, you can find Eva hiking, backpacking, cooking, baking, and drinking tea. Her favorite children’s book is Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney.

Eva is thrilled to join the Amherst Montessori community as Lead Guide in the Infant classroom, and to collaborate with Linda (and Kristie, remotely) in the Infant program during Kristie’s maternity leave.

Kristie LaFlammeMontessori Guide

(Maternity Leave, Fall 2017)

B.A., Psychology, Westfield State College

Infant/Toddler Lead Teacher Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York (CMTE/NY)

In the fall of 2015, Amherst Montessori School created the Infant program in response to a need both within the AMS community and outside of it. Families were growing and the school was ready to grow as well. With seven years behind her as an assistant in the Toddler program, and a genuine passion and gift for infant care, Kristie was the natural choice for lead guide. She began her Montessori certification at the Center for Montessori Education NY, and ultimately launched the Infant program at Amherst Montessori School.

Kristie loves to watch her students begin to move freely about the classroom and grow at their own pace. She appreciates Montessori’s emphasis on nurturing each child’s independence within a safe, peaceful, and prepared space. She considers it a great privilege to be present for developmental milestones, and deeply values her relationships with the families of each of her students. Kristie aims to create a culture of openness and communication with all families, and a classroom environment full of joy and exploration, reading and song.

Kristie lives in Hadley with her partner Peter and their children Cameron, Colin and Julianne. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting the beach in Maine, and skiing in the winter.

Linda (Miao) LuClassroom Assistant

B.S., Analytical Chemistry, Liaoning University of Petroleum and Chemical Technology

Linda became a part of the AMS community in 2008 when her eldest son Hao Hao began as a student in the Toddler program. She started substitute teaching in 2014, and in 2015 she joined the Infant team in its first year. She is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, and in addition to her daily responsibilities of infant care and maintaining the Montessori classroom environment, she enjoys helping welcome families of diverse backgrounds to Amherst Montessori School.

Linda studied Analytical Chemistry as an undergraduate, and also holds certificates in American Culture & Language and Advanced Information Systems.  She loves reading and Chinese cooking, and on the weekends you can often find her at her sons’ swim meets.

rachel-marianiClassroom Assistant

Rachel joined Amherst Montessori School in 2011 as a substitute teacher and was then hired as an assistant in Children's House in 2012. Since then, she has worked in every classroom except Elementary, but has found her favorite age group to be Infants and Toddlers.

Since our Infant program began in 2015, Rachel has led the Infant Summer Discovery program and has assisted in both Toddler and Infant classrooms. Rachel also leads our Infant After Care program and assists in the afternoon in both the Toddler and Infant classrooms.

When Rachel isn't working with children at Amherst Montessori, she enjoys reading, baking, traveling, playing board games, and watching foreign cinema. She also loves spending time with her family, friends, and pets.