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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

Co-Lead

Infant and Toddler Credential (in-progress), North East Montessori Institute, Warren, Maine
B.A., Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Katie has been caring for young children for over twenty years in day care centers and home settings, and has been implementing Dr. Montessori's method via personal research and practice for almost fifteen years. The method fit seamlessly with her focus on building a career based in peace and respect. In 2010 in an effort to expand her knowledge and reach, Katie trained with the Liddle Kidz Foundation to teach infant massage techniques to new parents. After two trips to Vietnam as a volunteer teaching infant massage to caregivers in orphanages, Katie discovered a love of working with underserved populations and returned to the United States ready to provide massage therapy to children in need. Katie relocated to Ashland, Oregon from the Boston area to complete her massage therapy education where she also trained to be a birth doula. Upon returning to Boston, Katie worked for several years providing nurturing touch and massage therapy for children in palliative and hospice care, as well as attending births as a doula. She is also a certified yoga teacher with practice teaching typically developing and differently abled children. 

After the birth of her own child, Xavi, in 2015, Katie was fortunate to be able to return to work as a nanny in Boston and Cambridge, bringing Xavi along. During that time, Katie served as a Montessori home consultant providing child care as well as environmental design and education for families interested in the Montessori method. In 2016, Katie made her Montessori education official and attended the Infant and Toddler Course through North East Montessori Institute. 

Eventually, busy city life became less appealing. In the fall of 2017 Katie and her family left Boston for Amherst. Katie is excited and inspired to be joining other Montessori professionals at AMS and to be implementing Dr. Montessori's practices as part of a team of experienced practitioners in a group care setting.  

Katie strives to create an environment where each child is a respected member of the community, and she believes that the path to cultivating peace is through empathy, kindness, and the utmost care for a developing sense of self-confidence and independence. She is passionate about supporting each child and family with regard to their individual needs in the classroom and beyond. 

In addition to her work with children, Katie enjoys volunteering, social justice work, and travel. When she's not researching conscious caregiving practices, she can be found weeding the garden, practicing yoga, or hanging out in the woods with her family and their two dogs. 

KirstenDudkiewiczCo-Lead

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.

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.

Classroom Assistant

Bunker Hill Community College

Since 2017, Harmony has served as the Toddler Aftercare Lead at Amherst Montessori in addition to assisting the Toddler I classroom during the school day.

Harmony was born and raised in the Pioneer Valley. She discovered her love for working with children through babysitting and nannying. When her nephew was born, she relocated to Boston to assist with his care, and made the decision to pursue childcare as her career. She enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College to achieve her Early Education and Care Certification, and began working at Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center's Pathways to Nature preschool.

Harmony is happy to be back in western Mass joining the Toddler team at Amherst Montessori School. In her free time, Harmony enjoys yoga, gardening, and spending time at home with her fiance and fluffy cat Gypsy.