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FACULTY & STAFF

 

Becky Alukonis, Beginners Division Leader

Beginner Teachers

Elyse Kalins, Beginners 1 Lead Teacher​

Erin Conway, Beginners 1 Assistant Teacher​

Laura Spicer, Beginners 1 Assistant Teacher​

Anny Espiritu, Beginners 2 Lead Teacher

Sophia Rose, Beginners 2 Assistant Teacher

Mikail Jaikaran, Beginners 2 Assistant Teacher

Abby Zimage, Beginners 3 Lead Teacher

Sister Lauretta Maynard, Beginners 3 Assistant Teacher

Ray Niemi, Beginners 3 Assistant Teacher

Andrée Hernandez, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Austin Matte, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Jenny ​Joya, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Support and After School Teachers

Kaylee Brooks, Support Teacher

Paula Carroll, Support and After School Teacher

Hannah Chasse, Support and After School Teacher

Sarina Wilson, Support and After School Teacher

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Becky Alukonis, Beginners Division Leader

Becky earned her BA in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and her M. Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Becky has been a Lead Teacher in Montessori toddler classrooms since 2003 and completed her Montessori infant-toddler training through The Montessori Institute of Denver. She joined Wellan in 2012. Becky lives in Waltham with her husband, Ken, daughter, Madeline, and dog, Bella. She loves to teach the Beginner students new and novel songs and finger-plays. Becky appreciates the vibrant and joyful nature of the Wellan community!

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Elyse Kalins, Beginners 1 Lead Teacher

Before joining Wellan Montessori School, Elyse worked for four years at Jarrow Montessori in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature from Marlboro College in Vermont. She obtained her AMS infant/toddler accreditation from Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.

 

Elyse believes in the Montessori method because it encourages the natural excitement that learning brings to all children. When she’s not working with the little ones, she likes to do all kinds of crafts, from sewing to paper-making.

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Erin Conway, Beginners 1 Assistant Teacher

Erin grew up and currently resides in central Massachusetts. She is actively working towards her Master's degree in Community Arts and Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Erin previously earned her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Care from Bridgewater State University. Throughout both academic experiences, Erin has been assembling and implementing practices and lessons on mindfulness with toddler and primary aged students. She gained teaching experience as the Assistant Pre-Primary Teacher and Extended Day Facilitator at Concord Montessori School, and Infant Teacher at the Children's Center at Groton.

 

In her spare time, Erin enjoys painting, drawing, cooking, and visiting family in Maine. Erin is extremely grateful and excited to work with the Beginners and get to know the Wellan community at large!

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Laura Spicer, Beginners 1 Assistant Teacher​

Laura is looking forward to starting her journey at Wellan this year in Beginners 1. Her passion for working with children started at a young age and has only grown from there. Laura graduated from Franklin Pierce University with a B.A. in Educational Studies, along with a History and English minor.

 

Outside of the classroom setting, Laura enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.

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Anny Espiritu, Beginners 2 Lead Teacher

Anny was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Cambridge, MA. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies from Framingham State University. In 2017 Wellan Montessori School introduced her to the Montessori experience. She is excited to continue to learn and grow through the Cambridge Montessori Institute, where she is currently pursuing her Infant/Toddler certification. Outside of the classroom Anny enjoys biking, watching football, and spending time with friends and family.

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Sophia Rose, Beginners 2 Assistant Teacher

Sophia was born and raised in New York, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. In 2017, she worked at a Montessori summer program in New Jersey, and more recently she spent her time teaching preschool at a privately owned daycare in the Seaport district.

 

She enjoys watching movies, spending time with friends, hiking, traveling, and taking trips to NY to visit her family. Sophia is excited to see all that Wellan has to offer and is looking forward to an amazing rest of the year!

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Mikail Jaikaran, Beginners 2 Assistant Teacher

Mikail grew up in Cambridge, MA. He has spent time living, studying, working, and enjoying the cuisine of a few different places since then, namely Boston, Logroño, Seville, and Sydney. He graduated from Boston University in 2011 with a BA in Hispanic language and literature. In his time there, he completed coursework and a year-long internship with a local preschool in order to earn his Early Childhood teaching certificate. In the past, he has taught: ESL in Spain, the importance of the mitzvah to little ones at the JCC, and differing art classes to inner-city children at CMCB’s SummerARTS program. He has been with Wellan Montessori since 2014.

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Abby Zimage, Beginners 3 Lead Teacher

Abby holds a Bachelors Degree from Westfield State University. She is currently enrolled in an Infant/Toddler Montessori Training Program through Northeast Montessori Institute. Prior to joining Wellan, she worked in the non-profit sector. Abby joined the Wellan Montessori community almost 5 years ago and continues to be amazed at the wonderful community that has grown here. In her spare time, she likes to do anything outdoors!

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Sister Lauretta Maynard, Beginners 3 Assistant Teacher

Sr. Lauretta was born on the beautiful and tropical island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. She grew up in the capital city, Castries. While English is the official language, a French-based Creole is also spoken. St. Lucia enjoys a dual heritage which reflects both British and French influences. The island is approximately 2,600 miles from New York. Sr. Lauretta’s family remain in St. Lucia in large part, except for three older brothers who live in England, St. Croix, and North Carolina.


Sr. Lauretta received her teacher certification from Sir Arthur Lewis College in St. Lucia and at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. After moving to the United States, she earned her BA from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, and her Master’s in Education from Boston College. Following a teaching and administration career at schools in Trinidad and St. Lucia, she has worked in a Montessori environment for the past 13 years.


Her teaching career has given her the opportunity to serve students and administer to the needs of the whole child—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. According to her, “it is a humbling and rewarding experience.”


Both inside and outside of the classroom, Sr. Lauretta is free-spirited, adventurous, and fun-loving, with a great sense of humor. She loves the great outdoors, hiking, dancing, singing, music, and going to the movies.

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Ray Niemi, Beginners 3 Assistant Teacher

Coming Soon.

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Andrée Hernandez, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Pat (Andrée) attended college for Early Childhood education and is happy to say she is doing exactly what she set out to do. She has both Infant Toddler and Early Childhood Training in Montessori, and has worked with all three age groups throughout her 25 years in a Montessori school.

 

Although born in New York, she grew up in Maryland until high school, when she moved to Newton and attended Newton South High School as did her four grown children, before going on to Framingham State College.

 

Pat likes nothing more than being outside doing anything active and relaxing with a book at the end of the day. She spends as much time as possible with her four young grandchildren, happily awaiting the arrival of her fifth.

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Austin Matte, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Austin graduated from Stonehill College with a B.S. in Business Administration. He then joined the Peace Corps, and served communities in Nicaragua for over two years as a Small Business Development Advisor. Returning stateside, Austin pursued his interest in education research, working on research projects at the Education Development Center in Waltham. 

 

Still wanting to learn more about the way young children learn, Austin enrolled at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he attained master’s degree through the Mind, Brain, and Education program. At HGSE, Austin also worked on research projects in the Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning Laboratory, headed by Stephanie Jones. Wanting to see a whole-child, student-centered pedagogy in action, Austin then joined a Montessori school, and he has been a Montessorian ever since. He received his Primary credential from the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center. 

 

In his free time, Austin has trouble sitting still, and can be found playing music, riding one of his bikes, snowboarding, learning something new, or spending time with his wife. 

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Jenny ​Joya, Beginners Bridge Teacher

Jenny was born and raised in Colombia, where she worked as an administrator in a business administration school. She moved with her family to Boston in 2006, and started teaching Spanish as a personal tutor in several public schools as part of a before and after school program. At the same time, she ran her own Spanish group. In 2012 she started working in a Montessori school as a Spanish teacher and assistant, and it was there that she discovered an interest in the Montessori philosophy and method. In 2017 she completed her Early Childhood Montessori training.

 

Jenny enjoys arts and crafts, knitting, painting, gardening, hiking, dance, and music, and loves incorporating these hobbies into her classes. 

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Kaylee Brooks, Support Teacher

Coming Soon.

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Paula Carroll, Support and After School Teacher

Growing up in Newton Centre,  Paula attended Wellan from ages 3 to 10. In high school, she volunteered at two different preschools, which is when she first fell in love with Early Education. In college, Paula studied Behavioral Neuroscience, however found herself missing the classroom. After deciding to postpone her degree, Paula returned to Early Education. She is a strong believer in the Montessori philosophy and hopes to one day become Montessori Certified for multiple age groups. She also hopes to return to school to finish her degree in either Psychology or Education, and then acquire a Masters of Education.

To this day, she attributes her love of learning to Wellan and is ecstatic to return as a faculty member.

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Hannah Chasse, Support and After School Teacher

Hannah grew up along the North Shore in Salem, MA. She is currently working toward her Criminal Justice degree at Worcester State University. Hannah has been working with After School for the past 3 years and will now be working full time in our Auxiliary Program. She now resides in Central Massachusetts where she enjoys taking her dog, Dream, to the beach for a cool off swim. When Hannah gets some alone time, she really enjoys relaxing and painting canvases whenever she can. Her favorite thing to do with our Beginners are art projects.

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Sarina Wilson, Support and After School Teacher

Sarina is from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and she just recently graduated from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. While at college, she was a Psychology major with an Education and Public Health minor. She previously had the opportunity to work as an Assistant Teacher at a local Montessori School for a short amount of time, which helped develop her passion for learning more about Montessori philosophy and the benefits it provides for children of all ages. Sarina has also gained more experience in a wide variety of school settings with different age groups, so she is very excited to join the Wellan community and be able to make a difference in children’s lives.

When not assisting in the classroom, Sarina enjoys spending time with her friends or family, dancing, and traveling!