Arts & Enrichment
Alyssa has a background in drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, ceramics, and photography. She is a working mixed media artist who has a passion for educating the youth about cultural and social awareness through visual art in her free time. She also enjoys participating in community service projects and mentoring youth among the Philadelphia area and surrounding communities. She began her teaching journey by serving as a teaching artist for local art centers for four years before transitioning into private school education. Alyssa found Gladwyne Montessori while searching for a smaller private school setting that was closer to her home. She was instantly intrigued by the warm welcoming school community and Montessori philosophy. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys traveling, community service, and working as a freelance artist.
While attending Villanova as an undergraduate majoring in education, Susan discovered the Montessori method of teaching. It coincided with her beliefs about educating children using an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child. Always loving work with young children, becoming a certified Montessori teacher was a natural choice. When she came to Gladwyne Montessori 38 years ago, she fell in love with the concept of our extended day program, La Casa. Over the years, having been afforded the opportunity to develop and shape this program in line with Montessori principles, she applies its values to the area of enrichment activities: one of her greatest joys! Free time is enjoyed through antiquing, reading, hiking and cooking.
Emily completed her Montessori training ten years ago and has been in and out of the classroom since, raising her three children. Emily was a Montessori child herself in her primary years, and attended one year of Montessori elementary in the school her mother opened in British Columbia, Canada. Since graduating from college, Emily has had many life-enriching experiences, including living in a rural village in Zambia for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, studying the relationship between wilderness and spirituality in graduate school, and working with Philadelphia’s homeless population at Project HOME. Her mission has always been to help people, and she found her way back to her Montessori roots after picking up a copy of Maria Montessori’s book, “The Secret of Childhood.” It was love-at-first read, and she hasn’t questioned her path since! Emily loves spending time with her three children, Wyatt, Addy and Knox, and her husband, Kurt. They are all nature enthusiasts and spend as much time as they can in the fresh air. She enjoys reading books, relaxing in hammocks, visiting friends, and creating art.
Donna was first introduced to Gladwyne Montessori as a parent. All four of her children attended the school over the span of 14 years. Donna began working at Gladwyne Montessori in 2008 and has served in the Primary, Toddler, and La Casa programs. In addition to these years of experience, Donna completed an assistant training program in the summer of 2018 at the Princeton Montessori Training Center. When Donna is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach in Margate, New Jersey for the summer, traveling, cooking, reading, and sports.
Grasiely first heard about Gladwyne Montessori from her cousin who attended the school from the time she was a toddler. After attending a few of the events held at the school it became apparent to her that the school provided a healthy learning environment for children to thrive. In her home town of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, Grasiely had the pleasure of working as an assistant teacher with the church she belonged to. She taught toddlers and volunteered there for almost ten years. She learned a valuable lesson from that experience—she loved working with children! After graduating from Drexel University, fortunately Ann Schwarz, a former teacher, and Kim Auch, a current teacher, reached out to Grasiely in regards to a potential job opening. Grasiely welcomes challenges, and was excited to accept the invitation to join the Gladwyne Montessori team. Grasiely likes to spend her free time with her husband, her parents, and her brother. She enjoys cooking and baking as well as riding her bike, hiking, and pilates.
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 enjoys cooking, working out, spinning, practicing yoga, and walking outside with her black Goldendoodle, Ruby.
Paola began her path studying Psychology back in Brazil and found her passion in education through the Montessori philosophy when her oldest child was little. Her first contact with Gladwyne Montessori was through a friend who was working at the school at the time and told her to join the Parent-Toddler Program with her son. By the end of that year, Paola was sure that was exactly where her son should go and so they begun their new journey which was transformative for him and her. She began substituting at the school before joining the faculty officially. Paola likes to spend her free time with her family and friends. She loves to watch movies, read books, and travel to new places.
In 2000, while helping her parents with their restaurant as she tried to figure out her career path, Anna met a sweet lady at a party hosted at her parent's restaurant who introduced Anna to Montessori. From there, Anna reached out to Gladwyne Montessori where she began as a substitute. Substituting turned into working with La Casa and the toddler program. Anna likes to spend her free time with her daughters and husband. They love outdoor activities: swimming, biking, hiking, and kayaking. Her favorite activity is Sunday Funday which usually entails finding a new restaurant to dine in. In her alone "free time," Anna loves going to Pure Barre classes. "It's so much fun and such a great workout."
Before joining Gladwyne as an Assistant Teacher in the toddler department, Taahirah was a Lead Teacher for The Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia where she helped to foster lifelong learning, advancement of literacy, and a commitment to health through cooking classes. She taught a diverse group of pre-K through high school students in private, parochial, and public schools across Philadelphia (both regular and special education). As a certified health coach, she works with families and children on holistic health and food. Taahirah completed the Montessori Toddler Assistant Teacher Training at Princeton Center for Teacher Education and looks forward to growing and learning with the children and families of Gladwyne Montessori. In her free time she loves teaching health and wellness, cooking, exercising, spreading the love of all things plant-based, camping, caring for her cats and singing in the car with her sister.
With a background in Anthropology and professional training in Library Science, Sacha Page worked as an archivist and public librarian for many years. After taking some time from work to raise her children she began volunteering with WEPac, an organization that brings library services to Philadelphia public schools. That experience opened her eyes to the wonders of Elementary school librarianship. Sacha had the pleasure of working as a librarian at Friends Central where she continued to deepen her practice as a children’s librarian. She has always loved libraries as a safe space to explore, ask questions, discover something new or be immersed in the magical places that books can take a reader. Sacha is an avid traveler and loves trying new foods. She returns to Jamaica, her island home, at least once a year to see her family and spend time by the sea. Sacha lives in Wynnewood with her husband, children Alexandra and Eli, and her dog Jett. Sacha enjoys being outdoors, swimming, traveling, baking, and reading. She is an animal lover and weather watcher.
A metalsmith by trade, Aqil began his teaching career by working as a leathersmith's apprentice and instructor for novices to the craft. He then transitioned into a public school setting with the intention of empowering students through art & design instruction in a Makerspace class environment. During this time he developed a strong value for student agency in the creative process, which led him to discovering Gladwyne Montessori, whose guiding philosophy sparked a hope to uphold young learners' capacity to make meaningful things. Outside of school, Aqil enjoys tinkering with new machines, portrait and macro photography, eSports and playing his banjo.
Susie will always remember the first day she drove into the Gladwyne Montessori parking lot for her interview. She was immediately taken with the charm of the building, the green areas surrounding it, and the warm vibe she felt during her interview. Eleven years later, Susie continues to feel honored being part of this wonderful community. Susie teaches music to our toddlers through sixth graders. She studied piano and music theory and history during college, also loving to sing and listen to different styles and genres of music. Susie is proud to be a parent of a Gladwyne Montessori elementary student who has been happily enrolled at Gladwyne Montessori since she was 2! When she is not working, Susie enjoys reading, watching movies, exercising, spending time with friends and family, and going to coffee shops.
Paul joined the Gladwyne Montessori community in 1994 after having served as a Program Director at a YMCA. He played baseball collegiately and has stayed active in the sport by coaching at three different high schools during his career. He currently teaches baseball at numerous camps and clinics in the area. Paul enjoys spending his free time with his family.
Veronica was introduced to Montessori education in 1992 and began her training while working at a dual-language Montessori school. Veronica found Gladwyne Montessori while looking for the right Montessori elementary program for her daughter. She joined the faculty in 2006 as a Primary Teaching Assistant and started the Spanish program in 2008. Previously, she has worked in business, publishing, and clothing manufacturing. Veronica enjoys reading, running, gardening, hiking, and cooking in her spare time.
Jessica Rumbaugh originally planned on going into traditional education until she chose to complete her student teaching at a one room Montessori School in Ohio. Once she discovered Montessori, there was no going back. She received her Montessori Certification and Masters of Education at Chestnut Hill College while working at Philadelphia Montessori Charter School and has been working in Montessori ever since. Outside of the classroom, Jessica enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, swimming, yoga, flea markets and arts and crafts projects.