FACULTY & STAFF

 

Caitlin Bowring, Elementary/Middle School Division Leader, Curriculum Coordinator

Lower Elementary

Lisa Lappin Levine, Lower Elementary 1 Teacher

Michael Silverstone, Lower Elementary 1 Teacher

Kayla Stiffler, Lower Elementary 2 Teacher

Danielle Tatro, Lower Elementary 2 Teacher

Kayla Hindle, Lower Elementary 3 Teacher

Amanda Cusanno, Lower Elementary 3 Teacher

Laurie Gallagher, Lower Elementary 4 Teacher

Lindsay ​Kornfeind, Lower Elementary 4 Teacher

Upper Elementary

Wendy Smith, Upper Elementary 1 Teacher

Lauren Upton, Upper Elementary 1 Teacher

Brian Johnson, Upper Elementary 2 Teacher

Beth Schuch, Upper Elementary 2 Teacher

Ruth Clifford, Upper Elementary 3 Teacher

Vikki Zenlea, Upper Elementary 3 Teacher

After School and Support

Anne Bowers, Support and After School Teacher

Mileah Duntley, Support and After School Teacher

Rachel Friebe, Support Teacher

Marianne McGaffigan, Support Teacher/Student Aide

Laura Smitherman, Support Teacher (On Leave)

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Caitlin Bowring, Elementary/Middle School Division Leader, Curriculum Coordinator

Caitlin finds it hard to believe that she’s entering her thirteenth year at the school! It has been an amazing experience to be a part of the growth of the Elementary and Middle School programs from a tiny group of twelve students to a thriving group of over one hundred students today. She looks forward to continuing to support these amazing programs!

 

Caitlin holds a BA in Psychology and a MA in Elementary Education from Northeastern University. She earned her Montessori Elementary I certification at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New York.

 

Caitlin’s two children are students at Wellan, and she feels so lucky to be a part of this wonderful community as both a faculty member and parent! Outside of school, she loves to cook, read, and spend time with friends and family.

Lisa Lappin Levine, Lower Elementary 1 Teacher

Lisa fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and Wellan during her children’s years in the Primary and Lower Elementary programs. So inspired by the education her children received, she pursued her Lower Elementary Certification from METTC (Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative). Lisa also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Over the last several years, Lisa has held positions at Kingsley Montessori School, Tobin Montessori School, and Newton Public Schools.

 

When not at school, Lisa spends time with her two children, Gabe and Zach. She enjoys participating in outdoor adventure activities like hiking and river rafting, listening to live music, and doing all sorts of artistic projects!

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Michael Silverstone, Lower Elementary 1 Teacher

Michael received his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in English with a concentration in Writing; and earned his Master’s in English Education from New York University. He is a staff member of the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative in Lexington, MA where he helps teach and mentor new instructors during their summer session. He and his wife are the parents of a grown son, whose early school experiences were his first inspiration for working with elementary age students. Michael is the author of a number of non-fiction books for young people and is a writer or co-author of books and articles on education including Teaching to Empower (ASCD 2020) and In It Together (Corwin 2015). He is an enthusiastic daily journal writer, songwriter, baseball fan, and practitioner of Vinyasa style yoga.

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Kayla Stiffler, Lower Elementary 2 Teacher

Kayla is a Massachusetts girl, born and raised. She grew up in Methuen and moved to Boston after earning her BS in Elementary Education at Framingham State University. She later completed her graduate studies at the same university and earned her M.Ed in Literacy and Language. She trained in Montessori education with the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative and received her 6–9 credentials. Before working at Wellan, she worked in both public schools as well as Montessori schools in the Greater Boston area. When she is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two daughters.

Danielle Tatro, Lower Elementary 2 Teacher

Danielle is excited to be joining Wellan this year in Lower Elementary 2. She has lived in Lowell, Massachusetts for the last 16 years with her husband Gary, children Bella and Stephen, and dog Dashi. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Natural Science at Worcester State College, and her Master’s of Education in Reading and Language at UMass Lowell. Danielle is licensed in both Elementary 1–6 and as a reading specialist. She has spent many years teaching in a variety of schools and positions in education, including private, public, and special education. This summer she began her Elementary 6–9 training at the Montessori Teacher Training Collaborative, and is looking forward to putting her love of Montessori learning into practice in Lower Elementary. 

When she isn’t at school, Danielle enjoys sewing (particularly costumes for her children’s school plays), reading, writing, and taking walks with her family. Anytime spent outside is special, and she loves to garden, nature journal, and has recently picked up birdwatching!

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Kayla Hindle, Lower Elementary 3 Teacher

Kayla grew up in Norton, MA, and holds a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Bridgewater State University. After volunteering with the American Cancer Society for years, she had a great opportunity to work professionally as a staff partner with Relay For Life community fundraising events. She began missing life in the classroom and decided to return to teaching, gaining experience with K–5 in public school before starting at Wellan in 2018. She is training to become Montessori-certified and is excited to open LE3 this year!

 

Outside of school, Kayla enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as reading good books, watching movies and TV shows, painting, and most of all, baking and decorating cakes.

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Amanda Cusanno, Lower Elementary 3 Teacher

Amanda was born and raised in Connecticut, but after college decided that Boston was the place to be! She holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Psychology and Spanish from Roger Williams University, and a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Champlain College. She completed her Early Childhood (3-6) Montessori training at the Montessori Institute of New England. 

 

Outside of school, Amanda loves to be outside! Any time by the ocean is a good time! She loves exploring and finding new places, hiking, and swimming. 

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Laurie Gallagher, Lower Elementary 4 Teacher

Laurie grew up in Boston and attended Montessori School during her formative years. It was this Montessori experience that led her to be a lifelong learner and know that she wanted to be a teacher. She holds her BS in Early Childhood Education from DePaul University and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University. This is her fourth year at Wellan and her sixth year teaching. She previously taught first grade in Boston. Laurie is an animal lover and has three cats (Blue, Fritz, and Iris) and a fish (Ozzy). She is an avid hiker and is always up for a cooking challenge (to varying results). She loves the Wellan community and being able to teach with such a supportive and knowledgeable team!

Lindsay Kornfeind, Lower Elementary 4 Teacher

Lindsay grew up in Los Angeles, CA, and holds a B.A. in Child Advocacy Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Lesley University. Last year, Lindsay moved to Boston to be part of Shady Hill School’s Teacher Training Center program, where she taught as an apprentice in a first-grade classroom. Lindsay spent three years assistant teaching in first, third, and fourth grade classrooms during college in upstate New York. Lindsay has spent time in private and public school settings and is excited to shift gears and move to a Montessori setting. Lindsay is so excited to be joining the Wellan community this year.

 

Lindsay loves playing soccer and volleyball, going to the beach and being outside, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog, Reilly!

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Wendy Smith, Upper Elementary 1 Teacher

Wendy was born in the Adirondacks, then moved around New England a bit before settling and spending most of her formative years in Wellesley. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Denver she moved west to San Francisco for a few years where she began her primary Montessori training. She is certified in Lower Elementary from The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and Upper Elementary from the Seacoast Center. She also has a Master's in Curriculum & Instruction from Lesley University. This is Wendy's seventeenth year as a Montessori teacher.

 

When she is not teaching, Wendy spends time with her family. Her daughter Ivy is in 7th grade at Bigelow Middle School and her son Reed is in 5th grade at Underwood School. Her husband Jeff is a sculptor and film maker, and he has a studio in Boston's South End. They love to spend time in Maine and on Cape Cod with extended family when they are not at home in Newton Corner.

Lauren Upton, Upper Elementary 1 Teacher

Lauren is the product of, the parent of children who received, and a staunch advocate for a Montessori education. She received her B.A. in English literature and psychology from Smith College, and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. After a twenty-year career as a trial attorney, she realized that her true passion is for teaching. She has taught in Grades K–8 classrooms and everything from biology to AP Literature; most recently, she taught in a Lower Elementary classroom at Kingsley Montessori. She has extensive experience in curriculum development and differentiated learning, and she is very excited to join Wellan and the Upper Elementary team.

When not working on curriculum development for fun, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, Jeff, and her (almost grown-up) children, Alexandra and Connor. She is an avid theater-goer, photographer, and book-lover, and looks forward to sharing these passions with Upper Elementary.

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Brian Johnson, Upper Elementary 2 Teacher

Brian holds a BA in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University and a Masters in Elementary Education from Lesley University, where he also earned his Elementary (1-6) license. Brian’s passion for working with kids started while working at an elementary after-school program in Cambridge, MA. He also worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional for three years, and he recently finished his student teaching in a 5th grade classroom for Cambridge Public Schools. 

 

When he’s not at school, Brian enjoys running, reading, and watching the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Boston Red Sox!

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Beth Schuch, Upper Elementary 2 Teacher

Beth is thrilled to be returning to Wellan in her second year as an Upper Elementary teacher. Beth completed her Upper Elementary Montessori training through the Seacoast Center and holds a Master’s in Education. She has 18 years of teaching experience and a background in differentiated instruction and curriculum design. Before joining the Wellan team, Beth was Curriculum Specialist/Coordinator and Upper Elementary Teacher at Kingsley Montessori School for 12 years. She has additional experience as a teacher at Stoneridge Montessori School in Beverly, MA and an Orton-Gillingham literacy tutor.

 

Beth’s two children also attend Wellan, and they feel so fortunate to be part of this wonderful community. Beth loves spending time with her family and also enjoys hiking, art, swimming, and yoga.

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Ruth Clifford, Upper Elementary 3 Teacher

Ruth graduated from Colby College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Neuroscience, and received her Master’s in Elementary Education from Lesley University. She completed her Montessori 6–9 certification through the Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New York in 2012, and taught in Lower Elementary at our school for five years. She then completed her 9–12 Montessori training through the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative in 2016 and taught in Upper Elementary for three years. She loves the Montessori approach to education and enjoys working as part of the administrative team and teaching in Elementary. She lives in Norwood, MA with her husband Nick, her daughter Annabel, and her dog Tycho.

Vikki Zenlea, Upper Elementary 3 Teacher

Vikki holds a B.S. in public health from UMass Amherst and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College. She began her teaching career in fourth grade at the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA. Later, while completing her Lower Elementary Montessori training from the Seacoast School of Education, she taught Lower Elementary at the Andover School of Montessori (ASM). Vikki also worked as a special services tutor and as an assistant director of enrollment management and marketing at ASM, as well as an admissions officer at Solomon and Schechter Day School in Newton, MA.

Teaching is Vikki’s passion, and she is thrilled to be returning to the classroom for her ninth year of teaching! She is also looking forward to receiving her Upper Elementary Montessori certification from METTC this summer.

Vikki enjoys Broadway musicals, singing, running, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Anne Bowers, Support and After School Teacher

Anne Bowers is originally from Asheville, NC. She is a recent graduate from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education with a license to teach PreK–5th grade from the state of Ohio. Throughout her college career, she has had the opportunity to work with kids of all ages in both public school and Montessori settings.

 

Outside of teaching, Anne has been a competitive swimmer since the age of 10 — including swimming collegiately for all four years. She is very excited to explore all that Boston has to offer!

Mileah Duntley, Support and After School Teacher

Mileah grew up in the coastal town of Marblehead, MA and currently resides in South Boston. This past December she received her M.A in Teaching Elementary Education from the University of South Florida. In addition, she received her B.S in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Development from the University of New Hampshire.

 

In her free time, Mileah loves spending time with her family and friends, including her family’s Australian Shepard, Apollo. Mileah is a huge animal lover and fosters her love through walking and boarding dogs in the Boston area. She also enjoys watching and rooting for Boston’s sports teams and indulging in Boston’s attractions. Some of her favorite activities to do in Boston are to eat dinner in the North End, explore the Museum of Science and Aquarium, shop on Newbury Street, and walk around the Seaport!

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Rachel Friebe, Support Teacher

Rachel was born in Minnesota and grew up in Sidney, Nebraska. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Communications and Psychology. She holds her Assistant Teacher Montessori Certification from the Montessori Center of Minnesota. She loves singing songs with her Beginner friends, challenging them to work and play independently, and watching them discover new skills and passions. 

 

In her free time Rachel enjoys biking, sailboat racing, jewelry making, hiking with her dog GusGus, snowboarding, and spending time with friends and family eating and exploring.

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Marianne McGaffigan, Support Teacher/Student Aide

Marianne holds a B.A. from Miami University, Oxford, OH; a Graduate Certificate from Harvard University; and a Dual M.Ed. from Lesley University. Prior to joining Wellan Montessori in March 2019, she was a reading specialist and English teacher at Milestones Day School in Waltham. Marianne was born in Boston and raised in the Boston and Chicago suburbs. When not at work Marianne can generally be found on the Cape and Islands with friends and family. She is passionate about animal welfare/rescue and has been quite involved with fundraising for the MSPCA and ARL/Boston. She's always interested in travel and new adventures, a great book, and live music.

Laura Smitherman, Support Teacher (On Leave)

Laura grew up in Milford, CT, and she graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Chemistry. She then earned her secondary teaching certification in New Jersey through Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program. Over the past few years, she has taught Chemistry in both public and private school settings. At the same time, Laura has always loved working with younger students. She spent three years at an elementary after-school program during college, and she is excited to now be supporting the elementary program at Wellan. Outside of school, Laura enjoys singing and making music, engaging in the visual arts, and serving in her local church community.