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“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

Spanish Specialist

B.A., Spanish and Anthropology, Smith College

MA Teaching License, Visual Art, PreK-12

Alex moved to Northampton in 2008 to begin her studies at Smith College. She studied a variety of subjects including anthropology, art, horticulture, Spanish, and Portuguese. After graduating, she worked as a bilingual special education paraprofessional providing ESL services to students with language-based learning disabilities, and later taught visual art in Springfield at a charter school. She joined Amherst Montessori School in 2017.

Alex loves working with all types of learners. She values teaching students about other cultures, environmental conservation, and art as a tool for learning. She loves to make up new games, songs, dances, and to actively engage students in the world in which they live. Alex believes that the Montessori method fosters a respectful and peaceful learning environment based on human interactions and individual experiences. She feels passionately that the Montessori classroom is designed with care and intention to help students succeed.

In her free time, you can find Alex painting, drawing, taking photos, hiking, and making crafts. Some of her favorite moments are spent trail riding her horse through Amherst. She volunteers annually at the Equine Affaire in West Springfield, and at the Women’s Film Festival in Brattleboro, VT. Alex is an avid traveller and has seen four of the seven continents. Her goal is to visit every continent and US state.

Marilyn MartinezSpanish Specialist

M.Ed., Bilingual, ESL and Multicultural Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

B.A., Business Administration, University of Puerto Rico

Marilyn has been teaching in Amherst since 1999. She began her career in the public schools, teaching English Language Learners and Spanish at the elementary level before joining the Casa de Niños team in 2013. She loves working with children each day and applying her knowledge and experience in a bilingual Montessori environment.

Marilyn also serves as a Spanish Specialist for the Elementary program at Amherst Montessori School.

Marilyn lives in Amherst with her husband Hector and daughter Gabriela. She is an avid baker and cook, and also loves to craft.

Art Specialist

B.F.A., Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts 

May EmeryAfter raising her children, May went back to college to study art.  In 1996 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her return to school, May worked in a variety of school age settings and knew she would return to teaching art.  Since graduating, she has continued her studio practice and has been teaching art in the Pioneer Valley with students of all ages and abilities. Her pathway to Montessori was led by an interest in fostering meaningful learning through independent inquiry.

Michelle Risch

Physical Education

B.S., Sociology, James Madison University

Children's House Lead Teacher Certification, New England Montessori Teacher Education Center (NEMTEC) 
E.M.T., Chabot College

Michelle has worked in education since 1992. She worked as a Children's House Assistant at Cedar Creek Montessori in Berkeley, CA for six years before joining us at Amherst Montessori School. She began her career at AMS as a Toddler Assistant in 2005. After two years in the Toddler room Michelle went for training as a Montessori Guide for the Primary ages (3-6 years). She was the Montessori Guide in Children's House 2 from 2009-2015.

In the summer of 2015, Michelle completed Montessori training to serve as a Learning Support Guide throughout the school. In that capacity she worked in all classrooms providing one-on-one support and extra help as needed for indivivdual students. In the 2016-17 school year, Michelle began working with the Elementary team and in 2017-18, she became a fulltime Elementary teacher. She works alongide Krystal English in our Elementary program teaching children in grades 1 through 6. She also serves as Physical Education specialist for both Kindergarten and Elementary students.

In conjunction with being a Montessori Teacher, Michelle serves as a high school field hockey coach. In her spare time Michelle enjoys spending time with her community of family, friends, and dogs. She also loves being outdoors hiking, camping, and exploring. Michelle has a love for architecture and construction and enjoys bringing that love into her classroom.