Caroline was born and raised in Savannah, where she graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy and then from Armstrong State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. While she was in college, she tutored and babysat for a family, and she then earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Endorsement from Armstrong State University as well. Caroline is certified in the Orton Gillingham Reading Approach at the Associate Level, and she is embarking upon her Early Childhood Montessori training with the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta.
Caroline enjoys going to the beach, shopping, and organizing. She has a dog named Winnie (Beagle) and loves to spend time with her friends and family. Caroline spends most of her days tutoring and learning new ways to keep her students excited about reading, and she herself is excited to join the team at CEMCS!
Melissa is a Montessori mom and teacher, and she will be teaching Primary (Pre-K and Kindergarten) this year. Melissa began her teaching journey in 2008 and has taught in public school, private school and in schools abroad. She has a Fine Arts degree from SCAD as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching from Armstrong State University. Melissa has completed a certificate program in Montessori Primary Education with the North American Montessori Center and is currently enrolled in a MACTE-accredited Primary Teacher Education program with the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta. She is certified by the State of Georgia to teach Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Mathematics and Gifted Education. Melissa is very much looking forward to teaching at CEMCS for her 6th year.
Both of Melissa’s children attend CEMCS – her son, Archer, is in the 5th Grade and her daughter, Matilda, is in the 1st Grade. Melissa will serve as the CEMCS Drama Club Advisor again this year. When she isn’t working, she spends her time being a dance mom, cooking, gardening, watercolor painting, and appreciating live theater.
Jaelyn was raised in Decatur, GA, and then graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Sciences. While in college, she worked at an after-school program and as a substitute teacher, and that is where she found her passion for education. Jaelyn is intrigued by the ways in which the Montessori Philosophy and Method address the needs of the whole child, and she will be completing her formal training in Montessori Early Childhood Education with the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta.
Jaelyn loves spending her free time with her friends and family. She also enjoys watching TV shows, listening to music and traveling.
Amy was born in North Carolina and moved to Savannah as a young child. She graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has always loved working with children and, ever since high school, has babysat and worked in summer camps. Amy taught in the Savannah-Chatham County School System for several years before leaving to stay at home with her children (and in fact, both of Amy’s siblings are teachers as well!). Amy is currently receiving her Elementary Montessori training from the Montessori Teacher Education Institute.
Amy and her two adored children live in Rincon, GA. She loves spending time with her family, two dogs, and friends. She also loves to read, travel and kayak when possible.
Kaela is from the Georgia coast and pursued her undergraduate degree in Atlanta, earning a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at Georgia State University. She taught elementary grades in Fulton County Schools for 6 years and is very excited about taking her experience and applying it to Montessori Education. Kaela is receiving her formal training through the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta, and spent 4 weeks this summer as a student in their Elementary I Teacher preparation program.
Kaela is a lifelong learner and is thrilled to be welcomed into the CEMCS Family! She recently moved back to coastal GA, where her family lives, and enjoys the hobbies of quality family time, crafting, creating, and spending time outdoors. Kaela and her 9-year-old daughter, Zoe (who will also be joining us at CEMCS this year), have a dachshund who loves exploring with them!
Janine was born in Ohio and grew up in Savannah. She graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and earned a Master of Education in Counseling in 2006. One of her greatest passions is teaching, and this year is her 21st. She has worked for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and for Richmond County School System in a variety of grade levels throughout the years. Janine has completed her Gifted Education certification and Montessori Certification through the North American Montessori Center, and she is currently gaining additional MACTE-accredited training with the Montessori Teacher Education Institute. This will be her 6th year here at CEMCS!
Janine loves spending most of her time with family and friends. She has a soon-to-be-14-year-old daughter whom she adores. She enjoys traveling, reading, shopping, going to the beach, and most of all having fun with her daughter. She also enjoys working with children and is looking forward to a prosperous school year.
Ashton was born and raised in Savannah and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education. While in college, Ashton’s combined field and job experience included teaching in Kindergarten, First and Fourth Grades. She also worked as a nanny for five years, entrusted with the care of three children, aged 2, 6 and 8. Ashton has had a passion for working with children for a long time, ever since volunteering at her younger brother’s daycare! She considers some of her greatest strengths as an educator to be her patience and her ability to create a positive and respectful learning environment so that each child is able to learn and prosper at his/her own pace. Ashton is beyond excited to continue in her fourth year teaching at CEMCS and has successfully completed Montessori training through The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Ashton enjoys spending her free time with her family, significant other and friends. Ashton welcomed a new baby boy to her family in December 2022, and she loves the beach, swimming, kayaking, and drawing. Her goal as a teacher is to instill a love of learning in her students by helping all children discover their interests in a positive learning environment.
Kylene was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She graduated from the University of South Florida, where she earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication and Science Disorders. She worked for four years in speech therapy for public elementary school students. During this time, Kylene earned her Master Degree in Early Childhood Education from Nova Southeastern University. She has taught for 20 years in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, being recognized as Teacher of the Year at Pasco Elementary. She earned her ESOL endorsement in 2008 and has completed her Montessori Certification with the North American Montessori Center.
Kylene and her family moved to Savannah in 2015. She and her husband, Brian, have two children - Kaden (15) and Kyla (8). In her spare time, Kylene enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities, reading, shopping, and learning yoga. Her favorite quotations from Maria Montessori are "Believe in the child” and "... the teacher's task is to first nourish and assist, to watch, encourage, guide, induce, rather than interfere, prescribe, or restrict." Kylene loves teaching Montessori and observing her students grow into confident and independent learners.
Kelly was raised in Central Florida and developed a passion for teaching at a young age. She's entering her 13th year of teaching! She earned her Elementary Education degree and Reading and ESOL endorsements at the University of Central Florida. In 2021, she completed her Master of Education degree in Evaluation, Assessment, Research & Learning from Georgia Southern University. Kelly spent her first five years teaching 9th-grade reading in Deltona, FL; during that time, she earned over 300 hours of in-service training and conducted several trainings for her peers. She has spent her last six years of teaching here at Coastal Empire Montessori Charter School, during which time she earned her Montessori certification. Kelly has enjoyed teaching Lower/Upper Elementary at CEMCS; her students have always valued her sense of humor, enthusiasm, and ability to make learning fun!
Kelly relocated to Savannah in 2015 with her three boys and loves living in one of her favorite cities in the US! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach, Nerf wars, reading (especially non-fiction), watching documentaries (learning!), and playing games – from chess to rock-paper-scissors! She's looking forward to another exciting year here at CEMCS and cannot wait to start working with her students and their families!
As Patty enters her 35th year in education, she still enjoys and embraces all that teaching has to offer. She began her career by earning a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood from Southern Illinois University. She moved south and had her first teaching experience in an inner-city Atlanta school; she then moved on to teach at-risk Pre-K special needs students in a private school setting. After moving to Savannah, Patty taught Primary Grades (1st – 3rd) in Chatham County, while adding a Gifted Endorsement to her certificate. She also taught and was the assistant director at a private school for children with neurological disorders, where she learned a variety of invaluable methods for differentiation and positive behavior management. She moved to Augusta, GA, for 7 years, which ended up being a highlight in her career. In 2007, Patty was named Teacher of the Year for her school and runner-up for Columbia County. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Education Curriculum and became a certified trainer for PBIS, Thinking Maps and Writer’s Workshop. She came to CEMCS from teaching 4th and 5th grades in Bryan County, where she was the recipient of two Donors Choose Grants for flexible seating and modality equipment for her inclusion class. She obtained her Montessori Certification from the North American Montessori Center in March of 2019 and a Masters of Special Education in 2020.
Even though she was born in Michigan and raised in Illinois, Patty considers Savannah her true home. She is very involved with animal rescue and taking care of all 8 of her fur babies! Patty embraces the challenge of teaching in all aspects of life. She feels she learns as much as she teaches. Every day is different and should be welcomed with enthusiasm, a belief that she hopes to instill in her students. As she begins her 6th year at CEMCS, Patty finds teaching her “family of students” to be the best part of her day.
Michelle was born and raised in New Jersey. She has a B.A. Degree in Sociology from The College of New Jersey. While she worked as a counselor in a residential facility for homeless teenagers in NYC, she discovered a passion for teaching. Michelle returned to school and earned a M.A. in Special Education from New Jersey City University. She has worked for the past 25+ years teaching and advocating for students with disabilities. During her career in NJ, Michelle was involved in the development and implementation of special programs, such as track, dance, and swimming. Michelle believes that all students can thrive when given the opportunity to explore their interests, question the world around them, and challenge themselves daily to do better and be better.
Michelle and her family relocated to GA in 2021. She and her husband, Darryl, have three boys – Isaiah, Zayden and Justin. She enjoys reading, walking, exercising, attending church, and spending time with family and friends.
Terri was born and raised here in Savannah. She has always loved children and decided to become a teacher early on, earning her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Armstrong State University. While teaching over the course of the last 26 years, she has gone on to also earn a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Argosy University and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Cambridge College. Terri joined the CEMCS staff in 2021.
Terri is the oldest of 4 children and is affectionately known as “Aunt Bunny” to 13 nieces and nephews (including 3 grandnieces and 1 grandnephew)! She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, music, and outdoor concerts.
Jana was born and raised in the Wichita, Kansas, area. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Wichita State University. After an adventure living in Quebec for two years, she and her family moved to the Savannah area in 2014. She joined the CEMCS family in 2016 and has worked as a classroom Teaching Assistant, substitute teacher and Specialized Instruction Teaching Assistant throughout that time. This year is her first year as a Lead Teacher in Specialized Instruction and she will work with our Lower Elementary students.
Jana, her husband, daughter, and two cats live in the Pooler area. She is an avid reader and loves to travel and hike in the mountains.
This is Bethany’s sixth year teaching at CEMCS. She graduated summa cum laude from Armstrong State University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. Following graduation, she also earned a certification in Early Childhood Education. Bethany firmly believes that studying Art, and the artistic process itself, can teach children important life skills such as problem solving, decision making, empathy, collaboration, and of course, self-expression. She also believes that every child is an artist and is determined to find some aspect of Art – whether it’s a certain medium, style, technique, or subject matter – that excites every student who enters her classroom. As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Bethany and her husband have two young sons. Her hobbies include reading, biking and of course making art! She will be on maternity leave during the first semester this year, but she is very much looking forward to creating fun memories and amazing artwork with her students upon her return!
Stephanie is a social scientist and educator who has had careers in both law enforcement and education. She possesses the following degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French from Bucknell University, a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Suffolk University, and a Master of Education in Middle Grades Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University. Additionally, she was a part of the innovative CharterLeader Program, a residency-based Educational Specialist Degree program at Kennesaw State University, designed to develop charter leaders and strengthen the charter school sector in Georgia. Stephanie is certified to teach Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Education, Special Education, and Gifted Education, as well as being certified in Performance-Based Educational Leadership. Before becoming an educator and teaching middle-grades Mathematics for the SCCPSS for several years, Stephanie served as Deputy Director of the Office of Research and Evaluation at the Boston Police Department, where she did crime, intelligence and statistical analysis. Public-school educated herself, she is a strong believer in the value of public schooling and the idea that all families should have access to positive educational alternatives for their children.
Stephanie’s association with CEMCS began when she enrolled her boys, Sam and Ben, when the school opened back in 2008. She has been here ever since – as a parent, a CEMCO Board Trustee and Officer, then as Director of Operations. She is now serving in her 12th year as the school’s Executive Director. She has always believed in the power of the mission and vision of the CEMCO Founding Board and remains sincerely committed to the school’s success. Being a part of the growth of so many students over the years – including her own children – continually deepens her conviction that CEM’s commitment to holistic education serves children and families faithfully.
Stephanie ongoingly participates in professional development, mostly focused on public Montessori and leadership training. In addition, she serves on various local and statewide committees and leadership groups and engages in educational reform initiatives designed to increase equity. She is involved with the Montessori for Social Justice movement and is proud to collaborate with her charter-school colleagues here in Savannah in order to advocate for local children, families, teachers, and staff. Stephanie also teaches the Gifted Resource class here at CEMCS because she misses teaching and loves working directly with students!
Stephanie is a transplanted Yankee who has lived in many areas of the United States, as well as in France. She continues to pursue finding the right work-home life balance by enjoying family time in Savannah, Atlanta & Asheville, going to the gym, teaching herself Spanish (her 3rd language), watching sports and documentaries, and traveling anywhere that’s interesting to explore. She is most proud of the way her sons continue to grow into outstanding men, and she sees the lasting, positive impacts of their Montessori education in so many facets of their lives. She is honored to partner with all CEMCS families to “Educate the Whole Child for the World.”
Katherine was born and raised in the Savannah area, where she attended Armstrong Atlantic State University. While studying Art History and Techniques there, she found a passion for teaching art, which quickly turned into a passion for the art of teaching. Katherine graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and taught Kindergarten at CEMCS for 5 years. During that time, she earned her MACTE-accredited Certification in the Early Childhood Program with Montessori Live. Since becoming the Director of Academics, Katherine has earned her Montessori Live School Leadership Certification and has completed Lower Elementary Montessori training with the North American Montessori Center. She is now pursuing an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from Georgia Southern University.
Katherine’s husband Matt is active duty in the Air National Guard and their twin boys attend CEMCS. They maintain a mini-homestead, where you can find cats, dogs, ducks, and quail! In her spare time, Katherine enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening, rock-hounding, geocaching, and swimming. Her two favorite quotes from Maria Montessori are, "Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create" and "Play is the work of a child.”
Sheri has spent most of her career in higher education with brief stints in the financial services industry. She has two degrees from Savannah State University – a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems. She also has a Master of Arts from Liberty University. Most recently, Sheri took part in the University System of Georgia’s Executive Leadership Institute conducted by Leaders’ Lyceum in Atlanta. Prior to joining the team at CEMCS, Sheri served as Executive Director for SSU Foundation and as Executive Director for University Advancement and Philanthropic Operations. She has served in various other roles over her 20-year career in education: Accountant, Accounts Payable Supervisor, Financial Systems Analyst, Business Compliance Coordinator, and Director of Advancement Services, to name a few. Sheri is a strong believer in the power of education and she is invested in serving the mission of organizations shaping the minds and impacting the lives of the next generation.
Sheri was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, and is a proud graduate of SCCPSS. She is also a proud wife and mother of two beautiful daughters. Sheri is a lover of family, people, and purpose and is a positive and faith-filled person who seeks to add value to those around her and any organizations she joins. She enjoys writing, reading, learning new things, and traveling with loved ones. In every area of her life, she seeks to serve others, laugh often, and to be as productive, purposeful, and impactful as possible.
Wanda was born and raised in Savannah and attended Valdosta State University. She has over 15 years of experience in Education Management, including Facilities and Operational management, and has spent most of her career overseeing the operational needs of educational institutions. Wanda has even designed and built educational facilities from the ground up. In the early days of her career, she taught Middle School Math and Science, along with coaching softball, basketball and soccer.
Wanda lives in Thunderbolt with her wife, Mary, and their 5 fur pups (all rescues and under 20 pounds). She is the proud mom of Joshua, US Navy Chief Petty Officer stationed in Washington, and daughter, Kala, special education teacher in Belgium. The loves of her life are her two grandchildren, Emerie and JJ. She is a member of the Bonaventure Historical Society and likes to spend her spare time working in her yard/gardens (or "digging in the dirt" as she calls it). Wanda and Mary are also avid shell collectors and love to shell hunt all over the eastern seaboard.
Jenn was born and raised in Melbourne, FL. After high school graduation, she married and lived all over the US for the next 15 years. In 2010, she relocated to beautiful Savannah and joined the school staff as the Administrative Assistant. Jenn went back to school to further her education; she graduated with a Health Care Assistant Certification with endorsements as both Certified Nursing Assistant and Patient Care Technician from Savannah Technical College. This will be Jenn's 13th year at CEMCS!
Jenn has 3 great children, aged 27, 23 and 18. She enjoys spending her free time with them and their various activities and families. This will be Jenn’s first year as an “empty nester,” as her youngest will be attending GA Southern University. Se enjoys reading, relaxing and doing home improvement projects. Jenn is always looking for more ways to grow both personally and professionally and is excited to see where life takes her next!
Twilia was born and raised in Ridgeway, SC. She worked as a paraprofessional at the elementary school where her mother worked and then joined the US Army. This is where she met her husband, William, who continued his path with the US Air Force, eventually bringing them to Savannah. Twilia gained years of administrative experience working as an accountant at a car dealership, and she transitioned that over to CEMCS in 2013. Twilia's education includes studying Criminal Justice at Midlands Technical College in SC and Central Texas College in VA, and now she enjoys spending most of her free time with family, including her young grandchildren. Twilia loves the challenge of making the Main Office at CEMCS run smoothly!