2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR



Kindergarten 1 – Gabby Dellorco

Gabby was born and raised in Savannah, where she graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy in 2014. She discovered her passion for working with children at a very young age. Gabby spent most of her middle and high school days babysitting and tutoring children. Gabby graduated from Georgia Southern University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. While in college, she worked in the afterschool program at St. Peter’s the Apostle Catholic School and joined the Coastal Empire Montessori staff in 2020. Gabby has begun her formal Montessori training and is working on earning her Montessori Primary Certification through the North American Montessori Center.

Gabby loves spending time with her nieces, friends, family, and her boyfriend Taylor. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and going to the beach. Gabby also has two fur babies – Gracie (a Shih-tzu) and Chadwick (a Holland Lop). She is excited for another year at CEMCS!

Kindergarten 2 – Melissa Friel

Melissa was born, raised and graduated high school in Massachusetts. She moved to Savannah to attend SCAD, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Armstrong State University, and her teaching journey began in 2008. In 2010, she worked at a Montessori Early Childhood Program and fell in love with the philosophy. In 2018, she started at Coastal Empire Montessori Charter School, and that same year, she earned her Montessori Primary Certification through the North American Montessori Center. This will be her fourth year with CEMCS.

Melissa married Thomas Christopher Friel, a proud Savannah High Alumni, in 2011. They have 2 children - a 8-year-old boy (Archer) and a 5-year-old girl (Matilda) – who both attend CEMCS. Her hobbies include raising chickens, reading, cooking, and watercolor painting.

Kindergarten 3 – Hannah Lewis

Hannah graduated from Towson University in Baltimore, MD, with a degree in Theatre. During that time, she discovered her love of teaching while using theatre skills and games as a way to inspire the children of inner-city Baltimore to read. She loved spending time with the 3rd graders involved in the program and knew that her life would take a turn toward education. This will be Hannah’s sixth year here at CEMCS, her fourth year teaching Kindergarten. She feels incredibly fortunate to have found such a wonderful family of educators here. She has completed her Montessori certification in Lower Elementary through the North American Montessori Center and has also completed the Georgia Teacher Preparation & Pedagogy Program (GaTAPP) with Oconee RESA for her certification.

Hannah was born in Easton, MD, but spent a lot of her time growing up near the beach in Ocean City. She loves going home to visit her family whenever she can. Hannah moved here to Savannah seven years ago and has fallen in love with coastal Georgia; it reminds her of home. In her spare time, you might find Hannah spending time with her fiancée, Matt, and their two wacky dogs, Bob and Peter. They love exploring the outdoors, seeing live music, visiting family, cooking, hanging out at the beach, and traveling. In fact, traveling is one of Hannah’s passions, and she has traveled to and lived in several different countries around the world including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, and Nicaragua. She plans on adding many more places to that list.

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Coordinator – Leslie Sheppard

Leslie was born and raised in Savannah, where she received her education in the public school system of Chatham County. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Ashford University and her Master of Social Work degree from Walden University. This is Leslie’s sixth year at CEMCS as the MTSS Coordinator, and she has over ten years of special education experience in helping autistic children transition into the inclusion setting. Leslie loves the quote “We believe all children can achieve.”

Leslie enjoys spending time with her family. She has two boys, and she and her husband, James, love doing activities and traveling together as a family whenever they can.