SERIES PRESENTERS

Week 1: Intro to Montessori

Beth Black, Head of School

Your Child‘s Inner Genius  (All Ages)
Thursday, March 4  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Montessori Myths & Magic: Q&A Session with Panelists  (All Ages) 

Thursday, April 1 | 7–7:45 PM

Beth is a strong advocate for Montessori education through her own experiences as a child, as well as the values she has come to hold after many years working and teaching in a variety of educational settings. She believes “that real learning happens when connections are made not only in the brain, but in the heart. A child who feels safe, valued, and free to explore is able to learn and grow at a deep, spiritual level. He or she can find joy in striving, recognize mistakes as learning opportunities, and integrate abstract thinking with practical life lessons.”


Prior to joining Wellan Montessori School, Beth was the Director of Enrollment and Marketing at Lake Forest Country Day School, a Pre-K through Grade 8 independent school outside of Chicago. Before that, she was the Director of Development for Chiaravalle Montessori School, as well as a founding administrator of the Conserve School in Wisconsin. Beth has completed Montessori coursework, led a faculty committee in completing the self-study for AMS reaccreditation, presented a curriculum workshop at the national AMS conference, and even inspired an HBO producer to feature a clip of Upper Elementary students in a made-for-television poetry special!

 

Beth holds degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University (B.A. in Humanities/Spanish), the University of Wisconsin, Madison (M.A. in English Literature) and Northwestern University (M.S., Learning and Organizational Change).


Beth’s return to Massachusetts brings her back to her roots, as she grew up in Andover. In her spare time, Beth enjoys gardening, quilting, biking, and spending quality time with family and friends, including her husband, Keith, and her two grown children.

Week 2: Getting Organized, Finding Peace

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Esther Seungyeon Lee, Primary Teacher

How to Prepare a Home for Peace  (Early Childhood)

Tuesday, March 9  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Esther was born and raised in Korea, and attained her Bachelor of Arts in Korean Literature and Communication at Korea University Seoul. Esther spent the following ten years pursuing her love of advertising and broadcasting business in Korea as an art director. After moving to the United States, Esther discovered Montessori education as she researched different teaching methods during her time as a stay-at-home mom. After attending an open house at Walnut Park Montessori, her plans changed from pursuing a career as an art director in an advertising company to that of a Montessori primary teacher. Inspired and motivated by Maria Montessori’s vision, Esther graduated as an AMS certified primary teacher.


After completing her AMS Early Childhood Credential from NEMTEC (New England Montessori Teacher Education Center) in 2005 and two years as an assistant, Esther soon found a home within our school in 2006. She brings with her over 20 years of experience within the Boston Korean School and Montessori education as well as her rapport with both children and parents. Her patience and positive spirit contribute to a peaceful classroom environment where curiosity and exploration prevail.


Esther lives in Brookline with her husband DK and daughter Maria. Esther is an avid reader and loves to spend time walking and cooking for her friends and family.

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Mary Evelyn Lucier, Lower Elementary Teacher

A Place for Everything: How to Help Kids Get Organized  (Elementary)

Thursday, March 11  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Mary Evelyn double majored in Elementary Education and Environmental Studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. Her desire for becoming a Montessori teacher is very much influenced by being able to teach students the Montessori curriculum while also helping students explore and become excited about the natural world around them. She attained her AMS 6-12 Certification through the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative in Lexington, MA.

 

When Mary Evelyn is not in the classroom she enjoys taking part in outdoor activities, and especially loves spending time with her family! She grew up snowboarding all around New England and still loves getting on the slopes. She practices yoga regularly and enjoys supporting her body’s physical and mental growth.

Week 3: Building Independence

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Amanda Cusanno, Kindergarten Teacher

Independence by (Interior) Design  (Early Childhood)

Tuesday, March 16  l  7:00–7:45 PM

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.

Michael Silverstone, Lower Elementary Teacher

Freedom Within Limits: Growing Independence in the Elementary Years  (Elementary)

Thursday, March 18  l  7:00–7:45 PM 

Michael got 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.

Beth Schuch, Upper Elementary Teacher

Freedom Within Limits: Growing Independence in the Elementary Years  (Elementary)

Thursday, March 18  l  7:00–7:45 PM 

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.

Week 4: Social-Emotional Skills

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Priya Venkateswaran, Kindergarten Teacher

What Makes Your Heart Happy? Preschoolers and “Big Emotions”  (Early Childhood)

Tuesday, March 23  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Priya was born in India and moved to the US in 2006. She got her teaching certification for the pre-primary level in India, and taught in private schools before moving here. She stumbled upon the Montessori philosophy while exploring careers and fell in love when she realized how effective it is. Priya completed her training in 2010 and has been teaching in a Montessori classroom since 2009. She joined our school in 2015 and is now coordinating a training class for interns and non-Montessori-trained support staff. When she is not teaching or convincing others about the benefit of Montessori, she likes to spend time with her family and read books.

Kayla Stiffler, Lower Elementary Teacher

Testing the Waters: Navigating Friendships in Elementary  (Elementary)

Thursday, March 25  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Kayla was born and raised in Massachusetts. 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.

Week 5: Communication and Critical Thinking

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Kate Kane, Librarian

Making the Most of Story Time  (Early Childhood)

Tuesday, March 30  l  7:00–7:45 PM

Kate loves connecting children to literature and encouraging their innate love of reading. In addition to her librarian role at Wellan, Kate also works for the Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and consults with schools systems and practitioners to create high quality early learning environments. Kate spent years as an early educator, developing professional learning programs for teachers, and created a parent workshop series to address parents' most challenging issues with young children. Kate graduated from Colby College and has an MEd from Lesley University. She is looking forward to traveling post pandemic!

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

Montessori Myths & Magic: Q&A Session with Panelists  (All Ages)

Thursday, April 1 | 7–7:45 PM

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.

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Katie Hamill, Primary Division Leader

Montessori Myths & Magic: Q&A Session with Panelists  (All Ages) 

Thursday, April 1 | 7–7:45 PM

Katie holds a BA in Human Development from Lesley University. She completed her Montessori training for 3-6 year olds at the Northeast Montessori Institute. Prior to joining Wellan, she worked as an assistant in a Montessori Primary classroom in Maine. She hails from Cape Cod, but has also lived in Maine and Florida.

 

She loves working with children because every day is different! It is also wonderful to watch each child grow and mature over a three-year period. Katie has three children who attend Wellan, and they love their classrooms! Last year, she also welcomed a son. Katie feels very blessed to be a part of the school, and to watch her own children benefit from the education here as well.