“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

Primary Faculty

Head Teachers

Kim Auch

Kim Auch

Primary Co-Teacher
Having been the oldest girl of twelve children, for Kim, it seemed like a natural career path to become a teacher. During her senior year at Villanova, Kim visited a Montessori school in Coconut Grove and fell in love with the philosophy as it was very similar to the way she was raised. A year after college, Kim was able to attend an American Montessori International training program at Raven Hill Academy in Philadelphia. She completed all of her four student teaching rotations at Gladwyne Montessori, working under Ann Schwarz, a notable past Gladwyne Montessori teacher, was hired the following year, and has been here ever since. In her free time, Kim likes to spin, hike, and do yoga. She is also fortunate to be very close to her eleven siblings and mother and joyfully spends a lot of time with her three grandchildren.

Aileen Best

Aileen Best

Primary Co-Teacher

Aileen lived in China for five years teaching English in international kindergarten schools, and there, she realized that teaching little children would be her lifelong career. It was on a bus to work where she discovered Dr. Maria Montessori as she read an autobiography about her. Aileen then moved to India to complete her Montessori Education training. When she moved to the U.S., Aileen worked in several Montessori schools in between having children. She is happy to now be at Gladwyne Montessori where she hopes to continue to grow as a Montessori teacher. Aileen previously lived in five countries and traveled extensively before moving to the United States; now that she is married with two children, she travels with her family in her free time. She also likes to watch movies, read books, and organize travel plans.

Emily Bittner

Emily Bittner

Primary Co-Teacher, La Casa Head Teacher

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.

Veronica Casali

Veronica Casali

Primary Head Teacher

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.

Eunice Chung

Eunice Chung

Primary Co-Teacher

Eunice has been a part of the Gladwyne Montessori community as a parent for ten years. Watching her three children learn and grow the Montessori way has deepened her commitment and respect for the Montessori philosophy. She decided to pursue Montessori training and plans to share her love for learning with students in her classroom. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing board games, and photography.

Rebecca Dewey

Rebecca Dewey

Primary Head Teacher, Primary Department Coordinator
Rebecca used to be a traditional teacher, but felt there had to be another way. When she began learning about the Montessori philosophy, she was excited and relieved. "Montessori makes so much sense! Montessori allows me to connect and understand each child through observation, interaction, purposeful activity, and joy. I believe the greatest aspect of Montessori is the ability to honor and celebrate each child for the gifts they bring and the peace they pass forward." When Rebecca isn't teaching, she loves hiking, spending time with family, playing with her dogs, and reading.

Susanna Mooney

Susanna Mooney

Primary Co-Teacher

With her AMS teaching credential from New England Montessori Teacher Education Center, Sue joined the Gladwyne Montessori Primary department as a lead teacher in 2005. After teaching in Montessori classrooms in the Philadelphia vicinity, she was thrilled to join the staff at Gladwyne Montessori because of its fine reputation and natural beauty. In college, Sue majored in Psychology, Religion, and Education; during her time in seminary, she majored in Church History. In her free time, she teaches at her church and also enjoys spending time with her husband and cat, walking around the city, yoga, and reading.

Jessica Rumbaugh

Jessica Rumbaugh

Primary Co-Teacher

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.

Matthew Sullivan

Matthew Sullivan

Primary Head Teacher
Matthew joined Gladwyne Montessori in 2015 after working as a Lead Teacher at Clementine Montessori in Philadelphia, where he also taught music and Spanish. From 1999-2011, Matthew worked in Denver teaching elementary bilingual education and at a dual-language Montessori school. Matthew enjoys myriad activities outside in the natural world, playing and listening to music, reading, cooking, carpentry, gardening, landscaping, playing and coaching sports, and traveling.

Teaching Assistants

Avery Green

Avery Green

Primary Teaching Assistant, La Casa 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 enjoys cooking, working out, spinning, practicing yoga, and walking outside with her black Goldendoodle, Ruby.

Taahirah Stith

Taahirah Stith

Primary Teaching Assistant, La Casa Assistant

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.

Kayla Wisniewski

Kayla Wisniewski

Primary Teaching Assistant

Kayla came to Gladwyne Montessori to fulfill her desire to encourage creativity and self development within children. She was encouraged to follow her dreams after traveling the world as an au pair. Her dreams were solidified when she began to learn the Montessori philosophy, explored the school, and met the community. Kayla enjoys to travel the world and explore new cultures, foods, cities and people. She loves to spend time with her family and friends while relaxing on the beach. Kayla is always eager to meet new people, so she loves to go on adventures and be out of her comfort zone. She also cherishes her meditation practice and staying physically fit with activities such as boxing, basketball, yoga, and circuit training.