“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.”
Maria Montessori

Elementary Faculty

Head Teachers

Jemma Helliker

Jemma Helliker

Upper Elementary Head Teacher, Elementary Department Coordinator
Jemma taught in public and charter schools for five years before the birth of her daughter. She knew teaching was her passion, but the traditional teaching model was not meeting the needs of the children in her classes. She discovered Montessori as a new mother and has not looked back. Jemma believes, "Learning in a Montessori environment is joyful and inspiring because the philosophy begins and ends with the natural development of our children. In this environment, it is a joy to guide the children to new learning and experiences." Jemma enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping and canoeing with her family. When indoors, she loves to knit, write, draw and read. She tries to practice yoga daily and swim whenever she can.

Kristen Moore

Kristen Moore

Lower Elementary Head Teacher

After assisting with Gladwyne Montessori’s Young Explorers Camp during college, Kristen fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and decided to pursue education as a career. At Bucknell University, she studied Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Spanish, having then attained her Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate and gaining experience working in both the Primary and Elementary departments at Gladwyne Montessori. This summer, Kristen completed her elementary Montessori credential from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, practicing yoga and relaxing at the beach.

Sonja Shivpuri

Sonja Shivpuri

Lower Elementary Head Teacher

Sonja moved to Pennsylvania from Connecticut in September of 2017. Her children have been in Montessori schools since they were 2 years old and she wanted them to continue their Montessori elementary education here in Pennsylvania. Sonja and her husband found Gladwyne Montessori through the AMS website and have been thrilled with both the community and the school since they arrived. In her free time, Sonja enjoys reading, watching movies, cooking and baking, spending time with friends, and traveling.


Teaching Assistants

Avery Green

Avery Green

Lower Elementary Teaching Assistant

As an alumni of Gladwyne Montessori, Avery has very fond memories of her time here. When it was time for her son to go into nursery school, she toured the school and was completely blown away with what she saw. Being on the other side of the table as a parent, she knew that this environment would be a perfect fit for her son to learn and grow. In her free time, Avery loves entertaining and spending time with friends and family. She also enjoy cooking and working out; spinning, yoga and walks outside with her black Goldendoodle, Ruby.

Andrew Siegele

Andrew Siegele

Upper Elementary Teaching Assistant

Andrew has always loved to learn and help others learn, too. When he and his wife first visited Gladwyne Montessori School, they saw this same passion for learning and helping others learn permeating the school; it felt like home. They have enjoyed seeing their children, Marley and Xavier, develop, create, socialize and get excited about school and the learning process. Andrew has been teaching yoga for almost a decade, and teaching science for several years. No matter the subject, he believes all learning follows a similar process: within loving structure and collaboratively created boundaries, freedom and independence allow us to find our unique voice, self-expression, creative power, and joy in process. In his free time, Andrew enjoys hiking, camping, dancing, singing, biking, playing sports, reading, and writing. He also enjoys simply being: getting absorbed in nature while taking in the sights and sounds, practicing yoga and meditation, being with his wife, kids, family and friends. It is a joy to be and to do. What a life to explore!

Dan Stearne

Dan Stearne

Lower Elementary Teaching Assistant
Dan joined Gladwyne Montessori in 1995 and worked as an assistant to Maggie Dougherty until 1998. After student teaching in the fall of 1999, Dan transitioned to long term substituting in the Upper Elementary classroom until June of 2000. After several years working in the Camden School District, Dan returned to Gladwyne Montessori in 2004. Because of his love for working in this environment with the students and families as well as colleagues, Dan has been here ever since. In his spare time, Dan loves to spend time outdoors with his family at the beach. He likes surfing, playing various sports including softball and basketball. He is a Philadelphia sports enthusiast and Eagles season ticket holder. He also enjoys photography.