Our Staff

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Our Staff 2017-04-27T10:49:43+00:00

Administration

NamePositionEmail Address
Chris SchoenherrHead of Schoolchrisschoenherr@choiceschools.com
Stacy ByrdAssistant Head of Schoolstacybyrd@choiceschools.com
Merry RipleyAdministrative Assistantmerryripley@choiceschools.com
Vanessa MitchellAdministrative Assistantvanessamitchell@choiceschools.com

Faculty

RoomNamePosition
Bonsai RoomMaya ChiariniPreschool Lead Teacher
Bonsai RoomSarah BowersPreschool Assistant Teacher (AM)
Bonsai RoomTheresa Ernst-MeyerPreschool Assistant Teacher (PM)
Magnolia RoomRose HessK-1 Lead Teacher
Magnolia RoomStephanie WoodsK-1 Assistant
Redbud RoomLaRhonda DenhamK-1 Lead Teacher
Redbud RoomCheryl AdamsK-1 Assistant
Bamboo RoomSherri RobertsK-1 Lead Teacher
Bamboo RoomNatasha LeeK-1 Assistant
Cedar RoomBrittany WeingartzK-1 Lead Teacher
Cedar RoomMichelle TerokowskieK-1 Assistant
Beech RoomKatie DeDeneK-1 Lead Teacher
Beech RoomJessica PowellK-1 Assistant
Oak RoomCaitlin AylsworthK-1 Lead Teacher
Oak RoomJennifer JohnsonK-1 Assistant
Sassafras RoomEmily Friedman2-3 Lead Teacher
Sassafras RoomSheng Cheng2-3 Assistant
Catalpa RoomNicole Delia2-3 Lead Teacher
Catalpa Room2-3 Assistant
Palm RoomBrandi Rochon2-3 Lead Teacher
Palm RoomBrittney McMillan2-3 Assistant
Chestnut RoomRichard Monaghan2-3 Lead Teacher
Chestnut RoomJohn Collier2-3 Assistant
Pine RoomBryan Coscia4-6 Lead Teacher
Pine RoomAlisha Parry4-6 Assistant
Willow RoomKiersten Tarr4-6 Lead Teacher
Willow RoomChara Campton4-6 Assistant
Gingko RoomDarin Howard4-6 Lead Teacher
Gingko RoomMegan Fitzgerald4-6 Assistant
Elm RoomApril Oman4-6 Lead Teacher
Elm RoomLisa Rathbun4-6 Assistant
Birch RoomNicholas Kaltz7-8 Lead Teacher
Maple RoomMeghan Vandenplas7-8 Lead Teacher
Maple RoomAlexandria (Alex) ByrdMiddle School Administrative Assistant
Title IKim GiesTitle 1 Reading Teacher
Title ILorie ArcandTitle 1 Math Teacher
Special EducationMarianne LaPointSpecial Education Teacher
Special EducationJillian KeithSpecial Education Teacher
Physical EducationKatie SimePhysical Education and Health Teacher
MusicShannan HibbardMusic Teacher

Front Office

Hello, my name is Chris and as the Head of School here at Four Corners Montessori Academy we pride ourselves as being an environment where families want to be. Before becoming Head of School, I was involved in Montessori education for 15 years as an elementary teacher, curriculum director, assistant principal, principal, teacher trainer and school consultant. I received a BA from Central Michigan University, a MAT from Saginaw Valley State University, and Montessori Elementary I and II credentials from the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center.

A photo of the head of school at FCMA

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!

A photo of an FCMA school leader

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.

A photo of an FCMA Administrative Assistant

Hello, my name is Vanessa Mitchell and I am an Administrative Assistant here at Four Corners Montessori Academy.  My degree is in Computer Information Systems. I have 18 years of school administration experience.  This will be my first endeavor working in a Montessori environment and I am excited to learn another method of human development to support our children of the future.  I believe that it takes all aspects of management of a school with the help of parents and the community to help develop the gifts of our children for them to be successful happy people. Outside of FCMA, I do enjoy cooking for my family and friends, decorating, reading and most of all, I do enjoy a good who done it suspenseful mystery book or movie.

A photo of an FCMA Administrative Assistant

Bonsai Room

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!

A photo of the pre-school lead teacher

Hello, my name is Sarah. I am excited to return as the assistant teacher in the Bonsai room this year. First as a parent and volunteer for several years at FCMA, I was moved by the kindness of the educators, staff and families in our school community. I joined as an assistant teacher last year and 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. I found that working with children and families was deeply rewarding. Last summer I attended the assistant training at the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center and then had the privilege of working alongside our very own Montessori master, Ms. Stacy Byrd [Congratulations to her on her well- deserved promotion!]. This year I am looking forward to a new adventure partnering with Ms. Maya and all the new and returning Bonsai families.

A photo of an assistant teacher in the Bonsai room

Magnolia Room

Welcome to Four Corners!  My name is Rose Hess and this is my 10th year as an educator.  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. Five 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 fourth year.  I earned my Pre-Primary Montessori Certification  three years ago and am blessed that my sons and I  get to be part of the amazing culture that we have here at Four Corners.

A photo of the lead of the Magnolia room

Hi there, my name is Stephanie, and I am so excited to be the assistant teacher in the Magnolia Room this year. I am currently a student at Wayne State University working on a BA in Elementary Education and Special Education. Prior to this year I had the pleasure of working in Kids Club and filling in as a teacher assistant when needed. I also work as a Medical Assistant on the weekends. I am so proud to be back at FCMA and to be apart of the Montessori family. Outside of school I love to craft, go camping, travel, and spend time with my family and new Aussie puppy.

A photo of the assistant teacher in the Magnolia room

Redbud Room

Hello! My name is LaRhonda Denham and I have been at FCMA since the day we opened our doors in 2009. It truly has become like a second home, watching my own daughter grow from a sweet little kindergartener into a still sweet, but mature and independent seventh-grader!
I was an assistant for almost 2 years in the Montessori classroom, experiencing both private and public settings prior to accepting a lead position in the Redbud Room at FCMA. I earned my BA from Madonna University in Family Studies and in 2010 my MAED in Elementary Education. I have also completed my Montessori training for ages 3-6 through NAMC, receiving my Montessori certification. Currently, I am finishing up my last course to obtain my ZS endorsement with Grand Valley State University.

During the past few years, I have had the privilege to help guide, instruct, nurture, and love 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, frequent the movies, seek out garage sales and love, love, love to read!

A photo of the lead of the Redbud room

My name is Cheryl Adams. This is my second year as an assistant at FCMA. 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.   I am really excited to be in the Redbud Room this year with Ms. Rhonda. It’s going to be a great year!!

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Redbud room

Bamboo Room

My name is Sherri Roberts, this is my fifth 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 two delightful cats, Farley and Chloe.

A photo of the lead of the Bamboo room

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.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Bamboo room

Cedar Room

Hi, my name is Brittany, and this is my second year at FCMA. I previously taught in pre-primary and upper elementary classrooms at a Montessori in Warren. 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. I am looking forward to another exciting school year! 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.

A photo of the lead of the Cedar room

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 one year old son.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Cedar room

Beech Room

Hi! My name is Katie DeDene and this is my first year at FCMA. 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 and my Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Marygrove College. This year I am so excited to be the lead teacher in the Beech Room. 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!

A photo of the lead of the Beech room

Hello, my name is Jessica Powell and this will be my 6th 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).

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Beech room

Sassafras Room

Hello, my name is Emily Friedman and this is my second year as a lower elementary teacher in the Sassafras room. I enjoy teaching in a Montessori School because of the emphasis Montessori places on developing community, independence and the joy of learning. I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Colorado, Denver. I taught pre-school for two years and elementary special education for five years in Colorado. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors, reading and playing with my four year old son.

A photo of the lead of the Sassafras room

Hello! My name is Sheng Chang. I am honored to make this my third year working alongside the staff at Four Corners Montessori Academy. Prior to FCMA, I have taught third grade in Minnesota for several years before moving here to Michigan. I have also had the privilege of getting my Montessori experiences in the toddler, pre-primary, intermediate, and elementary classrooms before attaining my Montessori certification through the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center. During my free time, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and game shows, and spending time with my husband and pet hamster.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Sassafras room

Catalpa Room

Hello, my name is Nicole Delia and this is my first year here at FCMA. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Oakland University in Elementary Education. I am excited for this opportunity to work with wonderful students here at FCMA. I always wanted to become a teacher and I am excited to share my passion for learning with my students. When I am not teaching you will find me spending time with my husband and two boys. We enjoy biking, camping, swimming, gardening and being active outdoors. I’m truly enjoying giving my kids (home and school) the life experiences that help develop a sense of self and drive to reach their dreams.

Hello, my name is Laila Alnahas. This is my fourth year as a teacher assistant at Four Corners Montessori. It has been wonderful to see our students grow and bloom as learners throughout the years. I am looking forward for another rewarding year with the most motivating and supportive set of professionals here. I received Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Damascus, I also gained lower elementary Montessori teacher certification from MMTEC. I continue professional growth in Montessori by attending conferences and seminars. I was drawn to the genius philosophy, the beautiful materials, and the peaceful environment in the Montessori classroom. For me Montessori is a life style more than a method. I hope to introduce the real meaning of Montessori to the students, and to instill the love of research and learning in them. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, listening to music, going out with my friends, and traveling.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Catalpa room

Oak Room

My name is Caitlin Aylsworth and this will be my second year at FCMA. I’ve earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) and a Master of Arts in Reading from Eastern Michigan University.  My passion to teach began while working with an impoverished community in rural Dominican Republic. As an older child struggled to read word-by-word, a younger child watched in admiration. The children had an educational system that failed to meet many of their hopes and needs; yet the children had such ambitions for their future. It is from this experience that I realized and developed a lifetime commitment to education. My nine years of teaching have brought diverse experiences, including teaching Fourth, Fifth, Kindergarten, and First grades.  I have been drawn to the Montessori method for its holistic-approach to a child’s development, and I look forward to continuing my journey with the FCMA community.  When I am not teaching or preparing lessons, I enjoy traveling with my husband, yoga, cooking, biking, and spending time with my friends and family.

A photo of the lead of the Oak room

Hello, my name is Jennifer Johnson. I am excited to return to FCMA for my second 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.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Oak room

Palm Room

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 5 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, spending time up-north, and planning my wedding in Jamaica with my fiancé Tom.

A photo of the lead of the Palm room

Hello, my name is Brittney and I am excited to be the assistant teacher in the Palm Room this year. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education. I previously taught 8th grade English Language Arts in Southfield schools. Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I love learning and seeing children reach their full potential. I fell in love with the Montessori culture when I took the long- term substitute position in the Palm room at the end of last school year. I like how FCMA encourages students to be responsible citizens and role models. I am blessed to be able to join the palm room this year to help nourish the minds of our future leaders. I am looking forward to an awesome school year! In my free time I love spending time with my nine-year- old daughter Aalaya.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Palm room

Chestnut Room

A photo of the lead of the Chestnut room

Hello, my name is John Collier. This will be my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I’ll be an assistant teacher in the Chestnut classroom. 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. grade. Math and Science have always been my favorite subjects to learn. Outside of school I am an avid Detroit sports team fan and enjoy the great outdoors.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Chestnut room

Pine Room

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 family and my lovely wife, Leah. I also have two cats (Gem and Scout) that keep me very busy after school!

A photo of the lead of the Pine room

Hello, my name is Alisha Parry and I am the assistant teacher in the pine room. This will be my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy, but is my third year in a teaching career. I graduated from Oakland University in 2014 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. While at Oakland I also completed my mathematics major and language arts minor along with the endorsements. I have also been endorsed to teach integrated science. While at Oakland University I spent 4 years working in a daycare with children ranging from newborns through 12 year olds. My first year of teaching I taught 5th grade science with one 4/5 split class and my second year teaching I taught 6 th grade science, a 6-8 STEAM elective, and was an academic specialist who worked with K-8 students as well. One of my favorite parts of teaching is being able to learn about each individual student and incorporating their interests into lessons. When I’m not at work I spend my time taking walks around the neighborhood, exercising, playing my saxophone and listening to music, playing games with my friends, and I am currently pursuing an M.S. in IT software application development.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Pine room

Willow Room

Raised the only child of two high school English teachers, I entered college with the goal of doing something “completely different” with my professional life. I majored in creative writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and went on to explore a variety of jobs in my mid-to- late-twenties – including small press publishing, financial consulting, and high-end audio/visual design and sales – before finally realizing that my path led inevitably back to the world of education. After moving to Michigan, I went from being an aide in a Kindergarten classroom in Canton to teaching third grade for two years (first in Pontiac, then in Ypsilanti), and in my fourth year found that I was craving a less “traditional” learning environment. This is what led me to pursue a position at a Montessori school and what brought me to Four Corners, and I’m so lucky. My year as assistant in the Elm Room last year was so rewarding and really renewed my passion for teaching. I am so very thankful and excited to be welcomed into the Willow Room as lead teacher this year, and I can’t wait to start on this new adventure. Education is truly my deepest passion and I expect to be working in this exciting and challenging field for many years to come.

A photo of the lead of the Willow room

My name is Chara Campton and this is my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I graduated from Arizona University with my BA in Special Education and Elementary Education. Back in Arizona, I taught 2nd grade so I am very excited to make a change and work in Upper Elementary! I moved here with my husband Calahan, and two dogs Buddy and Cinna. When I am not at school I enjoy knitting, reading, and running! I can’t wait to see what this year brings and am grateful to spend it learning with the students at Four Corners!

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Willow room

Gingko Room

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.

A photo of the lead of the Gingko room

Hello! My name is Megan Fitzgerald and I am thrilled to be returning to the Ginkgo room this school year. This is my second year here at FCMA and I love being apart of this strong and amazing community. I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education and have always had a passion to work with kids. My experience in the classroom ranges from elementary to the high school level; each experience 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.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Gingko room

Elm Room

Hi! My name is April Oman and this is my 11th year as an educator. 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 am currently in my 5th year teaching at FCMA as the Lead Teacher in the 4-6 Elm Room classroom. 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 senior and freshman 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!

A photo of the lead of the Elm room

I am Lisa Rathbun. This is my third year as a classroom assistant at FCMA. I have a master’s degree in English education. In the past, I have taught English, history, and speech at the junior high and high school 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.

A photo of the assistant teacher of the Elm room

Birch Room

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.

A photo of the lead of the Birch room

Maple Room

My name is Meghan and I am married with three children (14, 8, and 6 months). 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!

A photo of the lead of the Maple room

My name is Alexandria (Alex) Byrd and I have been with FCMA for going on 4 years now.  I initially started in the school aged Kid’s Club and shortly made my way up to Social Media & School Yearbook Coordinator and finally the Administrative Assistant for the middle school.  This year will be my second year working with the middle school team.  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.

Title I

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.

A photo of the Title I Reading teacher

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.

A photo of the math specialist at FCMA

Special Education

My name is Marianne LaPoint and I feel so fortunate to be starting my 8th year here at FCMA!  I have been teaching students with special needs in grades 1st-8th for 16 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!

A photo of the special needs teacher

Physical Education & Music

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 fourth 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 with my growing family.

A photo of the physical education & health teacher

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!

A photo of the music teacher


Front Office

Picture of the head of school at FCMAHello, my name is Chris and as the Head of School here at Four Corners Montessori Academy we pride ourselves as being an environment where families want to be. Before becoming Head of School, I was involved in Montessori education for 15 years as an elementary teacher, curriculum director, assistant principal, principal, teacher trainer and school consultant. I received a BA from Central Michigan University, a MAT from Saginaw Valley State University, and Montessori Elementary I and II credentials from the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center.


Picture of a school leader at FCMAOnce 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!


Picture of an administrative assistant at FCMAHi, 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.


Picture of an administrative assistant at FCMAHello, my name is Vanessa Mitchell and I am an Administrative Assistant here at Four Corners Montessori Academy.  My degree is in Computer Information Systems. I have 18 years of school administration experience.  This will be my first endeavor working in a Montessori environment and I am excited to learn another method of human development to support our children of the future.  I believe that it takes all aspects of management of a school with the help of parents and the community to help develop the gifts of our children for them to be successful happy people. Outside of FCMA, I do enjoy cooking for my family and friends, decorating, reading and most of all, I do enjoy a good who done it suspenseful mystery book or movie.


Bonsai Room

Picture of the teacher of the Bonsai Room at FCMAHello 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!


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Bonsai Room at FCMAHello, my name is Sarah. I am excited to return as the assistant teacher in the Bonsai room this year. First as a parent and volunteer for several years at FCMA, I was moved by the kindness of the educators, staff and families in our school community. I joined as an assistant teacher last year and 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. I found that working with children and families was deeply rewarding. Last summer I attended the assistant training at the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center and then had the privilege of working alongside our very own Montessori master, Ms. Stacy Byrd [Congratulations to her on her well- deserved promotion!]. This year I am looking forward to a new adventure partnering with Ms. Maya and all the new and returning Bonsai families.


Magnolia Room

Picture of the teacher of the Magnolia Room at FCMAWelcome to Four Corners!  My name is Rose Hess and this is my 10th year as an educator.  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. Five 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 fourth year.  I earned my Pre-Primary Montessori Certification  three years ago and am blessed that my sons and I  get to be part of the amazing culture that we have here at Four Corners.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Magnolia Room at FCMAHi there, my name is Stephanie, and I am so excited to be the assistant teacher in the Magnolia Room this year. I am currently a student at Wayne State University working on a BA in Elementary Education and Special Education. Prior to this year I had the pleasure of working in Kids Club and filling in as a teacher assistant when needed. I also work as a Medical Assistant on the weekends. I am so proud to be back at FCMA and to be apart of the Montessori family. Outside of school I love to craft, go camping, travel, and spend time with my family and new Aussie puppy.


Redbud Room

Picture of the teacher of the Redbud Room at FCMAHello! My name is LaRhonda Denham and I have been at FCMA since the day we opened our doors in 2009. It truly has become like a second home, watching my own daughter grow from a sweet little kindergartener into a still sweet, but mature and independent seventh-grader!
I was an assistant for almost 2 years in the Montessori classroom, experiencing both private and public settings prior to accepting a lead position in the Redbud Room at FCMA. I earned my BA from Madonna University in Family Studies and in 2010 my MAED in Elementary Education. I have also completed my Montessori training for ages 3-6 through NAMC, receiving my Montessori certification. Currently, I am finishing up my last course to obtain my ZS endorsement with Grand Valley State University.
During the past few years, I have had the privilege to help guide, instruct, nurture, and love 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, frequent the movies, seek out garage sales and love, love, love to read!


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Redbud Room at FCMAMy name is Cheryl Adams. This is my second year as an assistant at FCMA. 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.   I am really excited to be in the Redbud Room this year with Ms. Rhonda. It’s going to be a great year!!


Bamboo Room

Picture of the teacher of the Bamboo Room at FCMAMy name is Sherri Roberts, this is my fifth 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 two delightful cats, Farley and Chloe.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Bamboo Room at FCMAHi, 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.


Cedar Room

Picture of the teacher of the Cedar Room at FCMAHi, my name is Brittany, and this is my second year at FCMA. I previously taught in pre-primary and upper elementary classrooms at a Montessori in Warren. 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. I am looking forward to another exciting school year! 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.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Cedar Room at FCMAHi, 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 one year old son.


 Beech Room

Picture of the teacher of the Beech Room at FCMAHi! My name is Katie DeDene and this is my first year at FCMA. 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 and my Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Marygrove College. This year I am so excited to be the lead teacher in the Beech Room. 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!


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Beech Room at FCMAHello, my name is Jessica Powell and this will be my 6th 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).


Sassafras Room

Picture of the teacher of the Sassafras Room at FCMAHello, my name is Emily Friedman and this is my second year as a lower elementary teacher in the Sassafras room. I enjoy teaching in a Montessori School because of the emphasis Montessori places on developing community, independence and the joy of learning. I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Colorado, Denver. I taught pre-school for two years and elementary special education for five years in Colorado. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors, reading and playing with my four year old son.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Sassafras Room at FCMAHello! My name is Sheng Chang. I am honored to make this my third year working alongside the staff at Four Corners Montessori Academy. Prior to FCMA, I have taught third grade in Minnesota for several years before moving here to Michigan. I have also had the privileged of getting my Montessori experiences in the toddler, pre-primary, intermediate, and elementary classrooms before attaining my Montessori certification through the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center. During my free time, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and game shows, and spending time with my husband and pet hamster.

Catalpa Room

Picture of the teacher of the Catalpa Room at FCMAHello, my name is Nicole Delia and this is my first year here at FCMA. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Oakland University in Elementary Education. I am excited for this opportunity to work with wonderful students here at FCMA. I always wanted to become a teacher and I am excited to share my passion for learning with my students. When I am not teaching you will find me spending time with my husband and two boys. We enjoy biking, camping, swimming, gardening and being active outdoors. I’m truly enjoying giving my kids (home and school) the life experiences that help develop a sense of self and drive to reach their dreams.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Catalpa Room at FCMAHello, my name is Laila Alnahas. This is my fourth year as a teacher assistant at Four Corners Montessori. It has been wonderful to see our students grow and bloom as learners throughout the years. I am looking forward for another rewarding year with the most motivating and supportive set of professionals here. I received Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Damascus, I also gained lower elementary Montessori teacher certification from MMTEC. I continue professional growth in Montessori by attending conferences and seminars. I was drawn to the genius philosophy, the beautiful materials, and the peaceful environment in the Montessori classroom. For me Montessori is a life style more than a method. I hope to introduce the real meaning of Montessori to the students, and to instill the love of research and learning in them. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, listening to music, going out with my friends, and traveling.


Oak Room

Picture of the teacher of the Oak Room at FCMAMy name is Caitlin Aylsworth and this will be my second year at FCMA. I’ve earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) and a Master of Arts in Reading from Eastern Michigan University.  My passion to teach began while working with an impoverished community in rural Dominican Republic. As an older child struggled to read word-by-word, a younger child watched in admiration. The children had an educational system that failed to meet many of their hopes and needs; yet the children had such ambitions for their future. It is from this experience that I realized and developed a lifetime commitment to education. My nine years of teaching have brought diverse experiences, including teaching Fourth, Fifth, Kindergarten, and First grades.  I have been drawn to the Montessori method for its holistic-approach to a child’s development, and I look forward to continuing my journey with the FCMA community.  When I am not teaching or preparing lessons, I enjoy traveling with my husband, yoga, cooking, biking, and spending time with my friends and family.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Oak Room at FCMAHello, my name is Jennifer Johnson. I am excited to return to FCMA for my second 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.


Palm Room

Picture of the teacher of the Palm Room at FCMAHi, 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 5 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, spending time up-north, and planning my wedding in Jamaica with my fiancé Tom.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Palm Room at FCMAHello, my name is Brittney and I am excited to be the assistant teacher in the Palm Room this year. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education. I previously taught 8th grade English Language Arts in Southfield schools. Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I love learning and seeing children reach their full potential. I fell in love with the Montessori culture when I took the long- term substitute position in the Palm room at the end of last school year. I like how FCMA encourages students to be responsible citizens and role models. I am blessed to be able to join the palm room this year to help nourish the minds of our future leaders. I am looking forward to an awesome school year! In my free time I love spending time with my nine-year- old daughter Aalaya.


Chestnut Room

Picture of the teacher of the Chestnut Room at FCMA
Picture of the assistant teacher of the Chestnut Room at FCMAHello, my name is John Collier. This will be my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I’ll be an assistant teacher in the Chestnut classroom. 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. grade. Math and Science have always been my favorite subjects to learn. Outside of school I am an avid Detroit sports team fan and enjoy the great outdoors.


Pine Room

Picture of the teacher of the Pine Room at FCMAMy 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 family and my lovely wife, Leah.  I also have two cats (Gem and Scout) that keep me very busy after school!


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Pine Room at FCMAHello, my name is Alisha Parry and I am the assistant teacher in the pine room. This will be my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy, but is my third year in a teaching career. I graduated from Oakland University in 2014 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. While at Oakland I also completed my mathematics major and language arts minor along with the endorsements. I have also been endorsed to teach integrated science. While at Oakland University I spent 4 years working in a daycare with children ranging from newborns through 12 year olds. My first year of teaching I taught 5th grade science with one 4/5 split class and my second year teaching I taught 6 th grade science, a 6-8 STEAM elective, and was an academic specialist who worked with K-8 students as well. One of my favorite parts of teaching is being able to learn about each individual student and incorporating their interests into lessons. When I’m not at work I spend my time taking walks around the neighborhood, exercising, playing my saxophone and listening to music, playing games with my friends, and I am currently pursuing an M.S. in IT software application development.


Willow Room

Picture of the teacher of the Willow Room at FCMARaised the only child of two high school English teachers, I entered college with the goal of doing something “completely different” with my professional life. I majored in creative writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and went on to explore a variety of jobs in my mid-to- late-twenties – including small press publishing, financial consulting, and high-end audio/visual design and sales – before finally realizing that my path led inevitably back to the world of education. After moving to Michigan, I went from being an aide in a Kindergarten classroom in Canton to teaching third grade for two years (first in Pontiac, then in Ypsilanti), and in my fourth year found that I was craving a less “traditional” learning environment. This is what led me to pursue a position at a Montessori school and what brought me to Four Corners, and I’m so lucky. My year as assistant in the Elm Room last year was so rewarding and really renewed my passion for teaching. I am so very thankful and excited to be welcomed into the Willow Room as lead teacher this year, and I can’t wait to start on this new adventure. Education is truly my deepest passion and I expect to be working in this exciting and challenging field for many years to come.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Willow Room at FCMAMy name is Chara Campton and this is my first year at Four Corners Montessori Academy. I graduated from Arizona University with my BA in Special Education and Elementary Education. Back in Arizona, I taught 2nd grade so I am very excited to make a change and work in Upper Elementary! I moved here with my husband Calahan, and two dogs Buddy and Cinna. When I am not at school I enjoy knitting, reading, and running! I can’t wait to see what this year brings and am grateful to spend it learning with the students at Four Corners!


Gingko Room

Picture of the teacher of the Gingko Room at FCMA

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.


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Gingko Room at FCMAHello! My name is Megan Fitzgerald and I am thrilled to be returning to the Ginkgo room this school year. This is my second year here at FCMA and I love being apart of this strong and amazing community. I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education and have always had a passion to work with kids. My experience in the classroom ranges from elementary to the high school level; each experience 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.


Elm Room

Picture of the teacher of the Elm Room at FCMAHi! My name is April Oman and this is my 11th year as an educator. 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 am currently in my 5th year teaching at FCMA as the Lead Teacher in the 4-6 Elm Room classroom. 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 senior and freshman 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!


Picture of the assistant teacher of the Elm Room at FCMAI am Lisa Rathbun.   This is my third year as a classroom assistant at FCMA.  I have a master’s degree in English education.  In the past, I have taught English, history, and speech at the junior high and high school 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.


Birch Room

Picture of the teacher of the Birch Room at FCMAHi, 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.


Maple Room

Picture of the teacher of the Maple Room at FCMAMy name is Meghan and I am married with three children (14, 8, and 6 months). 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!


My name is Alexandria (Alex) Byrd and I have been with FCMA for going on 4 years now.  I initially started in the school aged Kid’s Club and shortly made my way up to Social Media & School Yearbook Coordinator and finally the Administrative Assistant for the middle school.  This year will be my second year working with the middle school team.  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.


Title I

Picture of the Title I Reading teacher at FCMAKim 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.


Picture of the Math Specialist teacher at FCMAMy 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.


Special Education

Picture of the Special Needs teacher at FCMAMy name is Marianne LaPoint and I feel so fortunate to be starting my 8th year here at FCMA!  I have been teaching students with special needs in grades 1st-8th for 16 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

Picture of the Physical Education teacher at FCMAHi, 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 fourth 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 with my growing family.


Picture of the Music teacher at FCMAHello, 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!