|Stacy Byrd||Assistant Head of Schoolemail@example.com|
|Merry Ripley||Administrative Assistantfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Alex Byrd||Administrative Assistantemail@example.com|
|Bonsai Room||Maya Chiarini||Preschool Lead Teacher|
|Bonsai Room||Sarah Bowers||Preschool Assistant Teacher|
|Baobab Room||Monica Kozakiewicz||Preschool Lead Teacher|
|Baobab Room||Stephanie Woods||Preschool Assistant Teacher|
|Magnolia Room||Rose Hess||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Redbud Room||LaRhonda Denham||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Redbud Room||Lisa Cosey-Nolen||K-1 Assistant|
|Bamboo Room||Sherri Roberts||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Bamboo Room||Natasha Lee||K-1 Assistant
|Cedar Room||Brittany Weingartz||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Cedar Room||Michelle Terokowskie||K-1 Assistant|
|Beech Room||Katie DeDene||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Beech Room||Jessica Powell||K-1 Assistant|
|Oak Room||Cheryl Adams||K-1 Lead Teacher|
|Oak Room||Jennifer Johnson||K-1 Assistant|
|Sassafras Room||Sheri Folta||2-3 Lead Teacher|
|Sassafras Room||Amanda Jacobs||2-3 Assistant|
|Catalpa Room||Jessica Rouleau||2-3 Assistant|
|Palm Room||Brandi Rochon||2-3 Lead Teacher|
|Palm Room||Esther Jones||2-3 Assistant|
|Chestnut Room||Richard Monaghan||2-3 Lead Teacher|
|Chestnut Room||Daniel Stipanovich||2-3 Assistant|
|Pine Room||Bryan Coscia||4-6 Lead Teacher|
|Pine Room||Theresa Corbett||4-6 Assistant|
|Willow Room||4-6 Lead Teacher|
|Willow Room||Megan Fitzgerald||4-6 Assistant|
|Gingko Room||Darin Howard||4-6 Lead Teacher|
|Gingko Room||Katelyn Jones||4-6 Assistant|
|Jennifer Gwyn||Teacher Assistant Sub|
|Elm Room||April Oman||4-6 Lead Teacher|
|Elm Room||Lisa Rathbun||4-6 Assistant|
|Birch Room||Nicholas Kaltz||7-8 Lead Teacher|
|Sequoia Room||Nickelette Law||7-8 Lead Teacher|
|Maple Room||Meghan Vandenplas||7-8 Lead Teacher|
|Maple Room||John Collier||Middle School Administrative Assistant|
|Title I||Kim Gies||Title 1 Reading Teacher|
|Title I||Lorie Arcand||Title 1 Math Teacher|
|Special Education||Marianne LaPoint||Special Education Teacher|
|Physical Education||Katie Sime||Physical Education and Health Teacher|
|Art||Michael Chabot||Art Teacher|
|Music||Shannan Hibbard||Music Teacher|
Once I learned about Montessori, I knew I had found a method of education that was congruent with how I believed children should experience education. Now, as a Montessori school leader, I love teaching prospective parents about the Montessori philosophy. I am passionate about partnering with families to support children in becoming independent, life-long learners who are positive citizens of the world!
My name is Alexandria (Alex) Byrd and I have been with FCMA for going on 5 years now. I initially started in the school aged Kid’s Club and shortly made my way up to Social Media & School Yearbook Coordinator, Administrative Assistant for the middle school, and now the front office. Although my studies at University of Michigan, Dearborn were in Hispanic Studies I have found that I truly enjoy working with adolescents. As a former Montessori student myself, I understand firsthand how important the foundation laid in the prior levels help the students as they work to develop their organizational and cooperative skills. I feel that my past Montessori experiences will help me to support the students as they work to become self-sufficient individuals.
Hi, I’m Merry and I am the new Administrative Assistant in the office here at FCMA. I have previously worked here as a classroom assistant for 2 years, which gave me the opportunity to really get to know what Montessori education is all about. I fell in love. The community of this school captures people’s hearts and minds, and I feel privileged to work with the staff, children, and families.
Hi there! My name is Stephanie Woods and this will be my third year at FCMA. Although my education background is in Elementary and Special Education, I quickly fell in love with Montessori, and the community at FCMA. I started out at FCMA in the Kids’ Club and filled in as substitute. This enabled me to see all age groups and the true beauty of Montessori. I then went on to work as an assistant in the Magnolia room, and I am now so excited to be the teacher assistant in the brand new Baobab pre-school room. I am so honored to be apart of such a wonderful school with such loving and dedicated people at every turn. While I am not at school I love traveling, camping, reading, and building memories with my fiancée and Aussie puppy.
Hello everyone! My name is Maya Chiarini and I am the new pre-school lead teacher. I am very happy to be back at FCMA and I am looking forward to providing our children with a very wonderfully enriched learning experience. Prior to teaching, I worked for financial firms in New York City for seven years. I have a bachelors degree in International Affairs that I acquired in an American University in Rome, Italy. I also have a background in Art and Art history. With my degree, I had the opportunity to also work for the World Food Program in Rome which ultimately guided me to pursue my passion for helping and teaching. I have my early childhood Montessori Certification and have been practicing my passion for nine years. I have lived in seven different countries to date; Colombia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Italy, Brazil and the USA. I also speak four fluent languages; Spanish, English, Japanese and Italian. My international background makes me unique and allows me to offer an enriched cultural learning environment. I have so much to share, so many things seen and I can’t wait to take our pre-schoolers on an amazing educational journey!
Hello, my name is Sarah. I am excited for my third year serving the Bonsai room as the assistant teacher. First as a parent and volunteer for several years at FCMA, I was moved by the kindness in our school community. Then when I joined as an assistant teacher, I was daily reminded of the warmth and dedication of our educators and rejuvenated by our work of building a strong community within our classroom. My Bachelor’s degree and career background is in social work. Working with children and families, I found, was deeply rewarding. I also saw how Montessori education was profoundly shaping my own two children and was moved to learn more. I received my assistant teacher training at the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2015. I am so ready for new adventures this year with Bonsai’s inspiring Lead Teacher, Ms. Maya. I look forward to guiding, supporting, and celebrating our youngest friends for another year.
Welcome to Four Corners! My name is Rose Hess and this is my 11th year as an educator. Last year, I was honored to be a MAPSA (Michigan Association of Public School Academies) Charter Teacher of the Year Nominee. Prior to joining the FCMA community, I taught Kindergarten, first, fourth, and sixth grade in traditional schools and never quite felt like I “fit in” in terms of what I allowed my students to do for themselves. During my Reading Specialist program in graduate school, I met Ms. Anne who introduced me to Montessori and Four Corners and it has been my home since the 2011-2012 school year. It turns out I was using some of the Montessori philosophy in my classrooms before I knew what Montessori actually was. Six years ago, I started as an assistant to the Oak Room but continue to put my early childhood degree to use as the lead of the Magnolia Room for the fifth year. I earned my Pre-Primary Montessori Certification five years ago and am blessed that my sons and I get to be part of the amazing culture that we have here at Four
Hello! My name is LaRhonda Denham and I have been at FCMA since the day we opened our doors in 2009. Four Corners has become like a second home, watching my own daughter grow from a sweet little kindergartener into a mature and independent eighth-grader!
I was an assistant for almost two years in the Montessori classroom, experiencing both private and public settings prior to accepting a lead position at FCMA. I earned my BA from Madonna University in Family Studies and in 2010 my Masters in Elementary Education. I have Montessori certification for ages 3-6 through the North American Montessori Center and I am currently completing my last course to obtain my ZS endorsement though Grand Valley State University.
During the past few years, I have had the privilege to help guide, nurture, and love on the children of FCMA. Each year we meet new students and embrace them as our own and the beauty is that they embrace us right back, making learning in the Montessori classroom fun and exciting everyday. Family is very important to me, it is my first priority. When I am not at school, I spend as much time with my husband and daughter as I can, watching scary movies, thrifting, creating, and I love, love, love to read!
My name is Sherri Roberts, this is my sixth year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I am the lead teacher in the Bamboo Room (K-1). I have had the pleasure of working with Natasha for all of those five years! I have a Bachelor’s from EMU in Elementary Education, and I have a 6-9 (Lower Elementary) Montessori Certificate from the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center in Rochester. I also have a Master’s in Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from U of M-Dearborn and have completed the NAMC online course for the 3-6 Montessori program. I have spent many years teaching in the classroom as well as leading a small private Montessori school. When I am not working I like to stay active. I enjoy hiking, visiting state and national parks, doing yoga and running. When I don’t want to be active I love to read and go to the movies. I have a mischievous cat named Farley.
Hi, my name is Natasha, and I am the teacher’s assistant in the Bamboo Room. I am a 2005 graduate of Central Michigan University with a Major in Child Development and minors in Reading and Mathematics. Before coming to FCMA I taught first grade for 5 years in Virginia. This will be my 5th year working at Four Corners, in the Bamboo room, with Sherri! Outside of school I enjoy reading, spending time with my fun and sassy 6 year old daughter (Riley) and helping others tell their stories with Origami Owl Living Lockets.
Hi, my name is Brittany. This is my third year at FCMA and my fifth year in Montessori. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and my Montessori certification from the North American Montessori Center. I am beyond grateful to be a part of the FCMA family and such a dedicated group of teachers. Our school community is a beautiful thing to be a part of. I fell in love with Montessori because it allows students to reach their full potential and encourages them to grow as members of a community. I am so grateful to be a part of your child’s journey. I hope to guide and encourage them to be lifelong learners. I am looking forward to seeing where this year’s adventure takes us!
Hi, my name is Michelle. I am proud to have been part of the FCMA family since year one. I received my BS in Elementary Education from Oakland University, and I also have my Montessori Certification from the North American Montessori Center. Over the years, I have assisted in lower elementary and pre-primary classrooms. This year I am excited for the opportunity to learn with the children of the Cedar Room. I am so fortunate to work with such an amazing school community. You won’t find a more dedicated group of teachers anywhere, and when we put our talents together, we can do great things! I also love the family support. We couldn’t accomplish what we do without their help. I became a teacher in hopes that I would be able to inspire my students to ask questions and explore for answers. I want to guide my students in their learning so they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. When I’m not in school, I enjoy spending time with my husband and playing with our two year old son.
Hi! My name is Katie DeDene and I am so excited to be back at FCMA for my second year! Previously, I taught First Grade for 7 years at another of our Choice Schools. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, my Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Marygrove College and my Montessori certification from the North American Montessori Center. I found myself drawn to the Montessori philosophy because of its appreciation of the connection between people and nature. When I am not working I like to sing, read, and spend time with my family. I know this year will be an adventure and I cannot wait to spend it with our amazing staff and family community.
Hello, my name is Jessica Powell and this will be my 7th year working at FCMA. While initially I majored in Communications at Oakland University, I discovered my love for working with children while employed at the Upward Bound Synergy program. Soon after I began working at a Montessori school, which served low income families, and shortly after that I realized that my true purpose in life was to work with children. 13 years later I still believe that to be true and have grown to appreciate the Montessori philosophy even more. I truly believe that children are natural learners and I look forward to working with Ms. Katie in the Beech room to promote independence and foster each of our student’s natural curiosity. In my spare time I enjoy watching The Walking Dead, I LOVE scary movies, shopping with my identical twin sister (Jennifer) and making people look glamorous (I am a freelance makeup artist).
Hi, I’m Sheri. I am very excited about joining the FCMA family this year. I earned my bachelors degree from Hope College in Elementary and Fine Arts education. Several years later I received my masters degree in Educational Studies from Oakland University. For the past 16 years I have taught in the heart of Detroit. I am excited for this new adventure! When I am not teaching, I enjoy family, woodworking, and spending time outside.
My name is Mandy Jacobs and I am thrilled to be a part of the community here at FCMA! I first had a Montessori classroom experience during my senior year studying at Michigan State University for Elementary Education. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and curiosity of the students, along with the rich curriculum. Last summer, I started my certification process at MMTEC and loved learning more about the dense and many-layered world of Montessori. Of course, my education journey ever-continues and I look forward to new adventures to come here at FCMA! When out of the classroom, I love growing food in my garden, camping, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
My name is Jessica Rouleau. I began working with children as soon as I graduated high school. I started part time in a day care and then finally found my home in Montessori. In 2009, I began working with Primary children for about a year. Then I moved to the Elementary class where I have been for the past 7 and a half years as an assistant. I worked with both lower and upper elementary. Being able to watch children have such a joy for learning is such a wonderful experience. I received my Associate’s Degree from Macomb Community College and I am Orff Music trained. I love the way music brings people together.
In my free time, I enjoy being with my husband and our dog. I love going to live concerts, great restaurants, and spending time with my family and best friend.
My name is Cheryl Adams. This is my third year at FCMA. I was an assistant for two years and I am very excited to begin my third year as the lead teacher in the Oak Room. I earned my bachelors degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University and I also hold a masters degree in reading from Eastern Michigan University. Before coming to Four Corners I was at home with my kids but prior to that I taught in a multi-aged elementary classroom for a little over 5 years. Currently, I live in Royal Oak with my husband, our three boys and our dog Eddie.
Hello, my name is Jennifer Johnson. I am excited to return to FCMA for my third year. I am the teacher assistant in the Oak Room. I attended Antioch College and the University of South Florida but recently returned to school to study Elementary Education. I earned an Associate of Liberal Arts Degree from Oakland Community College. I look forward to another great year serving the students and families at FCMA while I continue my education. I have two children Max and Marley who are students at FCMA. I enjoy yoga, camping and spending time with my family.
Hi, I’m Brandi, the lead teacher in the Palm room. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Oakland University in Elementary Education and am working toward my Montessori certification from the North American Montessori Center. After being placed at FCMA for a college course 6 years ago, I immediately felt that this school was harmonious to my educational beliefs. It was then that I knew the Montessori philosophy was something extraordinary. I am blessed to be a part of the Four Corners community and to share my love of learning with the children. In my free time I enjoy snuggling my two large dogs- Tank and Diesel, practicing yoga, and spending time with my husband, family, and friends.
Hello, my name is Daniel Stipanovich, and this will be my inaugural year here at Four Corners Montessori Academy. Although I will be an assistant teacher in the Chestnut room, I am ecstatic to be immersed into the whole of the Four Corners community. Prior to my time here at FCMA, I graduated from Albion College with a Bachelors of Arts in the fields of Political Science and History. After a few years toiling in the private sector, I gradually began to realize I lacked a certain fulfillment that one should earn from their work. As if flipping a switch, it was so blatantly obvious that teaching, helping, and growing was the only remedy prescribed. To me personally, the Montessori philosophy of child-centered education is a profound methodology that best allows is as educators to help guide children into becoming independent learners, free and critical thinkers, as well as thoughtful adults. I truly look forward to helping foster a safe, cohesive and nourishing community for our students and staff to prosper in mind and spirit.
My name is Bryan Coscia, and I am a 4th -6th grade teacher in the Pine room. This is my sixth year at FCMA. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Madonna University, and a Montessori Upper Elementary certification from the North American Montessori Center. I love the strong community at FCMA. We have the best students, parents, teachers, and administrators! I enjoy spending time outside of school with my wife and son. I also have two cats (Gem and Scout) that keep me very busy after school!
My name is Theresa Corbett. This will be my first year at FCMA as an assistant teacher. I have a BA in Elementary Education from Wayne State University. I am currently working on a School Counseling Masters at the same university. Previously I was a teacher in a traditional classroom in kindergarten and third grade. I am very excited to start this new journey at FCMA!
Hello! My name is Megan Fitzgerald and I am thrilled to be returning for my third year here at FCMA. I love being a part of this strong and amazing community and I am excited to start a new adventure with the Willow Room. I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education. I have always had a passion to work with kids with each experience being as rewarding as the last. Outside of school, I enjoy the great outdoors, am a huge sports fan, and love spending time with family and friends.
Hello, my name is Darin Howard and I am the lead teacher in the Gingko Room. This is my first year teaching within a Montessori classroom; however, my three years experience teaching within a traditional school should lend some insight into this upcoming school year. I’m very thankful to be a part of such a wonderful school community and I cannot wait to begin the new school year! My favorite subjects to learn about and share in are science and math! In my spare time I enjoy fishing, golfing, strumming my guitar, and soccer.
Hi, my name is Katie, and this is my first year at FCMA. I previously taught Social Studies and was an Academic Advisor for five years at a charter school in the Lansing area. I have a Master’s of Teaching and Curriculum from Michigan State University along with a Bachelor’s in History. Outside of school I enjoy camping, hiking, reading and spending time with my husband and our son. I am excited for the upcoming school year at FCMA!
Hi! My name is April Oman and this is my 12th year as an educator and my 6th year as the Lead teacher in the Elm Room. Prior to joining FCMA I taught 5th grade for 4 years, a 4th/5th split for a year and had a long-term subbing position teaching 6th/8th grade Language Arts. I received my Bachelor’s at Oakland University and during my first year teaching at FCMA, I obtained my Montessori training and certification through the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). I love the strong community maintained at FCMA and the nurturing environment of each classroom. I currently have a freshman in College and sophomore in High School so life gets busy at times as my husband and I are cheering them on at their events. In my free time I love to read, go camping, play games and hang with family and friends. I am looking forward to another fabulous year!
I’m Lisa Rathbun, and this is my fourth year at FCMA! I have a master’s degree in English education and, in the past, have taught English, history, and speech at both the high school and junior high level. I’ve taught as a college adjunct as well; my favorite college class to teach is children’s literature. I’m involved in community theater and love playing the piano, reading, geocaching, and traveling. I’m excited to share my passion for learning with my students this year along with the rest of the wonderful, dedicated staff at FCMA.
Hi, my name is Nicholas Kaltz and I teach in the Birch room. I graduated in 2007 from Oakland University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management. After two years in the business field, I realized my true passion and calling was to educate the youth of today. In May 2013, I received my Masters of Arts in Elementary Education. I began working in the FCMA Middle School in 2012. Teaching is such a rewarding profession and I truly believe teaching Middle School is my calling. Every day I awake, I look forward to the opportunity and challenge to help our students develop the skills they need to be successful inside the classroom, but more importantly, in the ever-changing world we live. Outside of the classroom I love to be around my family and friends. In addition, I am very active in all types of sports throughout the year. From football and skiing in the fall and winter to golf, softball, and soccer in the warmer months, I truly believe being active keeps people healthy both mentally and physically.
My name is Meghan and I am married with three children (15, 9, and 1). I am proud to say that I have been with Four Corners Montessori Academy since the beginning. During the first year, I worked as a volunteer helping students with reading. During the second year I served as a classroom assistant while completing my student teaching requirements. I am now about to begin my sixth year as a lead teacher for FCMA’s 7th and 8th grade middle school students. In 2009, after almost two decades of a career in internet and engineering business development, I decided to become a student myself and complete my Master’s in Elementary Education. I then completed my Montessori Certification and continue to extend my Montessori training at the middle school level through workshops and mentorship programs. I love working at FCMA because I am able to follow a specialized Montessori curriculum that is built around the academic, social, and emotional needs of adolescent children. It is a privilege to follow this curriculum and I have seen how it benefits our students and prepares them for high school, college, and beyond. When our FCMA 8th graders graduate, they leave as leaders, as academically prepared students, and as role models for their communities. A wise educator once told me that you cannot instill a passion for learning in students unless they feel your own passion for both learning and teaching. I wholeheartedly believe this and it is why teaching is so fulfilling to me. Each year I look forward to new challenges and watching how students learn and mature within a small, safe, and challenging middle school academic and social community. I look forward to working alongside your child and learning together!
Hello, my name is John Collier. This will be my second year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I’ll be an assistant teacher in the Middle School classrooms. I graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in Special Education and a minor in Elementary Education. Prior to that I worked in the sales field, but always felt a calling to teach kids. I’m excited to be joining the Four Corners staff and look forward to helping educate the children here.
In my spare time I enjoy being with my family, playing Pickleball, following the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions (especially when they have it together) and I love to read. I really look forward to the rewarding experience of teaching at FCMA.
Kim is the Title 1 Reading Teacher at Four Corners Montessori Academy. She provides one-on- one and small group instruction in reading and writing. Kim received her BS in Education and MAT in Reading and Language Arts from Oakland University. Since working at FCMA, she has become a certified Reading Recovery Teacher. Kim is always excited to share her knowledge of teaching the reading process with the students, staff, and parents in the FCMA community. In her spare time, Kim enjoys running, biking, yoga, and reading. She is married, and has two daughters and a cat that loves to hunt for socks.
My name is Lorie Arcand, and I am delighted to be returning to FCMA this school year as a Math Specialist. At Oakland University I received a Bachelor’s in Education with endorsements in Mathematics and Science and at Saginaw Valley State University I earned a Master’s of Arts in Teaching. This is my 15th year of teaching. The choice to become a teacher has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I love being a teacher! Each year I have the honor to discover the unique characteristics of my students and to support their growth as individuals both academically and socially. Likewise each year I grow from having the experience of working with and building relationships with my students. In my free time I love to hang out with my husband, Rob, and our friends and family. I love to have new, novel experiences and to visit new places. Time flies by for me when I am reading, gardening, hiking, cooking or doing anything crafty.
My name is Marianne LaPoint and I feel so fortunate to be starting my 9th year here at FCMA! I have been teaching students with special needs in grades 1st-8th for 17 years. I enjoy working with children who learn at different rates. I believe that every student has something to offer and I want to help them reach their full potential. I like to collaborate with the classroom teachers to determine what strategies and modifications work best to help these students experience success! I am proud to be part of such warm and friendly environment! In my free time I enjoy traveling with my husband and 3 daughters, shopping together, watching their soccer games and attending their concerts!
Physical Education & Music & Art
Hi, my name is Katie, and I am the Physical Education and Health teacher. I had been teaching for five years before finding myself here at FCMA; prior to that I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and my master’s degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This is my sixth year at FCMA and every year our program has been growing and developing into something I am truly proud of. My hope for the students is that they will take an interest in something that we do and that they will choose to pursue that on their own time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In my own time I enjoy many forms of exercise, anything outdoors, especially when the seasons change. I also enjoy working with my hands: cooking, crafting, gardening, or a building project. Most of all I enjoy spending time with my growing family.
Hello, my name is Shannan and I am so excited to continue with the Four Corners’ music program for the fourth year. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree and am a Ph.D. candidate in music education at the University of Michigan. Prior to teaching at Four Corners, I taught K-8 general music for 10 years in public, charter and private schools in Detroit. My journey as a musician began while singing alongside my parents in church as a child and taking piano lessons starting at age six. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel to many corners of the world to perform and learn music and engage with the music education community. I also enjoy yoga, cooking, gardening, and the outdoors. I wear many hats, but my most fulfilling job is as mom to Sam and Violet Melkonian who are students at Four Corners. I am thrilled to be a part of this thriving community!
Hello, my name is Michael Chabot and I am the visual arts teacher at FCMA. This will be my fourth year teaching and second year teaching Montessori. I have a bachelor’s degree in Illustration and Art Education certification through the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. My passion for creativity started when my father took me to the Detroit River to do a painting of the Ambassador bridge. My fourth-grade teacher had changed my life by identifying my visual learning style and allowing me to submit a painting for a report that was due. I enjoyed painting so
much that I almost forgot it was a homework project! As a young student, I struggled in academic subjects and I understand how difficult learning can be sometimes. Because of the great teachers that have motivated me throughout my life and the art that has helped it all make sense, I have come to love learning, and desire the same for my students. It is my life’s passion to reach and touch the lives of all students no matter their circumstances, and encourage them that they can become successful at anything they put their heart and mind to.
I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful school and I can’t wait to see all that we accomplish this year.