Jeff Allen, M.A. - Head of Upper School, Secondary Montessori Guide, History and Humanities - This will be Jeff's 7th year at NewGate and his 22nd year in education. In addition to his Montessori experience, Jeff has taught English, history, math, and maritime studies in both private and public schools. He holds a B.A. in History and English from Tufts University and his M.A. in Teaching from Simmons College. Jeff studied secondary Montessori teacher education at the North American Montessori Teachers' Association Montessori Orientation for Adolescent Studies at Hiram College. He is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor. His interests include sailing, bicycling, woodworking, and spending time with his family.
New Gate Montessori School Faculty & Staff
Cheryl Allen, M.A. - AMS, Lower Elementary Montessori Guide - This will be Cheryl's 7th year at NewGate and her 22nd year of teaching experience. As a child, Cheryl attended a Montessori school from age 2 through the 3rd grade. She earned her BA in History from Georgetown University and her Masters in Teaching from Simmons College in Boston. Cheryl is an AMS certified Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori teacher, holds IMC certification in advanced elementary Montessori education. Cheryl loves to create things, especially baking, sewing, and crafts. She also loves spending time with her family.
Maria Alvarez, M.A., Ph.D. - Secondary Spanish and Humanities Maria feels truly fortunate to be joining the NewGate faculty this year. She brings with her 25 years of teaching experience at varied levels - from the Montessori primary to the university classroom. She holds a B.A. in French Language and Literature with a concentration in the History of the Ancient Near East and a Master of Education with a concentration in ESL and Ethics, both from Stetson University. She also holds a Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education with a concentration in Anthropology from The University of Iowa, Iowa City. Maria's Montessori experience began in Asheville,NC when her daughter was a toddler. She received experiential training for two years from AMI primary teacher, Ganam Nathan, who emigrated from Sri Lanka; then worked another five years as a primary teacher. She moved on to teach Spanish in an innovative pilot program, “Foreign Languages in the Elementary Schools” [FLES] in BuncombeCounty, NC. She also actively worked teaching English to speakers of other languages. When she began teaching Spanish at the university level her daughter entered the International Baccalaureate program [I.B.] and Maria became an active and enthusiastic member of the I.B. community. During her tenure at Stetson University, Maria helped prepare many I.B. seniors for their final oral and written exams in Spanish before returning to the Montessori classroom,where she has been teaching in adolescent programs the last five years. Maria is particularly excited to be part of Newgate School because she believes Montessori and the International Baccalaureate blend harmoniously in a symbiotic relationship, one she promotes as the best education for all students if we hope to live in prosperous and peaceful world.
Kristi Antczak, B.S. - AMS - Toddler Montessori Guide - Kristi has been with the school for four years, and taught early childhood education for four years before beginning her Montessori journey. She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the State College of Florida and is AMS certified in Infant-Toddler Education.
Eva Bogard, Ph.D. - Adjunct Faculty, German, Information Technology, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Curriculum Consultant - Eva Bogard has a Master's Degree and doctorate from the University of South Florida in Tampa, in Second Language Acquisition and Instructional Technology (SLAIT). She also earned a B.A. in German and French from the State University of New York in Oswego. She has been teaching for over twenty years, including both public and private schools; ranging from Montessori primary programs through university courses at USF and the University of Tampa. She is an IB Administrator and Diploma Program Coordinator and secondary language instructor. Currently she teaches German and Information Technology in the International Baccalaureate program at the high school level in Sarasota. Eva also teaches Dual Enrollment classes for South College of Florida.
Jennifer (Jennie) Caskey, B.S. - Upper Elementary Montessori Student Teacher - This will be Jennie's 3rd year at NewGate. She teaches with Jackie Wehner in the Upper Elementary program. Jennie earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts at New College of Florida, with a concentration in Comparative Psychology. Her undergraduate research focused on captive dolphin vocal behavior, and led to the discovery of some new data about Mote Aquarium's own spotted dolphin. She has worked with over 60 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles as a behavioral training intern at the Palm Beach Zoo, Mote Aquarium, and The Miami Seaquarium. She is an avid environmentalist, doodler, and ukulele player. She is finishing up her IMC 6 to 12 Elementary Montessori Education certification program through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Maria Silguero Chaffin, M.S. - Primary Montessori Guide - This is Maria Eva's 2nd year at NewGate. She has over 15 years of teaching experience. A native of Venezuela, fluent in both English and Spanish and with educational experience in both Latin and North America, Maria Eva brings unique, valuable and diverse experience to education. She holds a Master of Science in Exceptional Students Education from Nova Southeastern University, a Masters Degree in Business Education from Universidad Jose Maria Vargas, a Bachelors Degree in Special Education from Universidad Jose Maria Vargas as well has Montessori Teacher Certification in early childhood, and other educational certifications. Maria Eva has a passion for sharing language and working with special needs children.
Patricia de Leon, M.A. - IB Diploma Program Coordinator, Secondary Montessori Guide, Mathematics and Spanish -This will be Patty's 5th year at NewGate and and her 25th year in education. She came to us from Leon, Mexico where she served as the Director of the Comunidad de Adolescentes Montessori, a Montessori middle school affiliated with our sister school, Colegio Montessori Chiaravalle in Leon. She is a Montessori secondary educator (specializing in Mathematics and Science), and is an experienced IB Diploma Program Coordinator and instructor of Mathematics and Computer Science. She holds a Master's Degree in Education and Counseling from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, and a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Facultad de Ciencias Físico-Matemáticas at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. She also completed the North American Montessori Teachers' Association Montessori Orientation for Adolescent Studies.
Lydia Dumais, B.S. - Secondary Guide Science and Mathematics - This will be
Daniel Robinson (Robin) Howe, IIII M.A. - AMS, Associate Head of School - Robin Howe is a Montessori educator and an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Middle Years teacher and program administrator. This will be his 7th year at NewGate and his 11th year as a Montessori Guide. Robin attended Montessori from age 2 through the 8th grade at the Barrie School in Maryland. He earned his B.A. in Spanish and Religion at Dickinson College; and an M.A. in Bioethics from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Doctoral student in Education Leadership at Argosy University. Robin has taught Montessori at the early childhood and elementary levels. He holds AMS Montessori age 3 to 6 and 6 to 12 teacher certification, AMI Adolescent Montessori certification. He is a school consultant, school accreditation specialist, and teacher educator. Robin is an avid runner with a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states.
Rebecca Johnson, B.S. - Montessori Early Childhood Guide Rebecca has been a part of the New Gate School family forthe past 13 years. She received her B.S.from the University of South Florida in 2005 and her Montessori Early Childhoodcredential from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in 2005. Rebecca has aVPK endorsed Director Credential and is certified in Child Care CenterManagement. She has served as a teachertrainer for CGMS and has lectured at the International Conference of the MontessoriFoundation. Rebecca enjoys spending leisure time withfamily and friends.
Amy Kremer, B.A. - Secondary Guide, English - Amy earned her B.A. in Anthropology, Loyola University; and her M.A. in Experiential Education from Prescott College. This will be her 20th year of teaching, and her 16th year at NewGate. Amy is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor. Amy enjoys travel, hiking, and world music.
Dana Laag, B.S. – Lower Elementary Student Teacher – Thiswill be Dana's first year at New Gate, assisting in the classroom of CherylAllen, while pursuing her certificate in elementary Montessori education, ages6-12. After receiving her double B.S. in developmental psychology and studioart at Rider University of Lawrenceville, NJ, Dana relocated to west Floridawhere she worked for a year in the medical field, before she began teachinggardening, nutrition, astrology and math at a local private school. Beinginspired by the methodology of the Montessori approach, Dana is eager to bringher creativity to the classroom. Some of her interests include holistic health,nutrition, painting, music, botany, cycling, and anything outdoors.
Stephanie Marr, B.A. - AMS, Early Childhood Montessori Guide - Stephanie is a certified Early Childhood Montessori Guide and was trained at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, IL. Stephanie earned her B.A. in Elementary Education at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN with a focus on Special Education. This will be Stephanie's 2nd year at NewGate and her 8th year of teaching experience. In addition to Stephanie's Montessori experience, she has taught English abroad in South Korea and started a Transitional Kindergarten program at an elementary school in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is prepared, eager and passionate to educate children and share her talents and time with them. Stephanie is committed to bringing out the best in all her students while providing unique, authentic and hands-on learning opportunities both inside the classroom environment and in the outdoors. Stephanie strives to be creative, outgoing and most of all, patient. She enjoys spending time with her family, doing yoga, reading, running with her dog and everything about nature!
Don McCauley, B.A. - Art Teacher - This will be Don's 2nd year at NewGate. Don received his B.A. in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design. After college, he worked in the private art sector and also pursued his personal art. Los Angeles, New York City and Hong Kong are a few places where he has shown work. While working in the art industry had its own rewards, he felt drawn to the pursuit of knowledge and teaching. Don is a certified K-12 art teacher. When not teaching or creating art, he is enjoying time with his wife and two children. He loves reading and hopes to publish his own work in the future.
Lorna McGrath, M.A. - Director of Family Resources at The Montessori Foundation - Lorna served as Associate Head of School for 22 years. Even though she has stepped down as Associate Head to focus on other Foundation programs, Lorna continues to lead our family education program and will be a presence. Lorna has 39 years of experience in the field of education, teaching children from 18 months through 6 years old and from 12 through 18 years old in both public schools and independent Montessori schools. She received her Master's Degree in Education with a concentration in Family Counseling from the University of Georgia, and her Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Lorna has been an administrator at NewGate School since 1994. During her tenure at NewGate, she has played several important roles: Admissions Director, Compliance Officer, Educational Coordinator, and Interim Head of School. Lorna was also the Director of the former New Gate Center for Montessori Teacher Education. Lorna is a Montessori teacher educator, conference presenter, and school consultant. She has also spent many years as a certified instructor for the International Network for Children & Families, teaching classes in Redirecting Childrens Behavior, Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom, Common Ground for Parents and Teens, and Parenting Instructor Network Training.
Rachael Pawloski, M. Ed. - Adjunct Faculty, Secondary Social Studies - Rachael earned her M.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. She also earned her B.A. in History and completed her teaching certification in Secondary Education at the State University of New Paltz in New York. This will be Rachel's 2nd year at NewGate and her 13th year of teaching as a middle school instructor and her first year at New Gate. Rachael enjoys going on adventures with her family, beachcombing and swimming.
Caitlin Roper, Primary Guide - This will be Caitlin's 3rd year at NewGate and 2nd year co-teaching in the primary classroom. She is currently at work completing the IMC 3-6 primary teacher education program. She has a passion for life and children, which is evident to anyone who has ever met her. In her spare time, she is an avid CrossFitter and coach. Her other hobbies are too numerous to blurb, but whatever it is she's probably tried it.
Tim Seldin, M. Ed. - AMS, Head of School - Tim Seldin is the President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. He is a noted Montessori teacher trainer, school consultant, and keynote speaker at scores of Montessori conferences around the world, including the Montessori Foundation's annual international conference, which is held in Sarasota every November. Tim has 47 years of experience in Montessori education, beginning with 25 years as a Montessori teacher and Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was founded by his family in 1932, and which he attended from age 2 through high school graduation. As President of the Montessori Foundation, he served as Head of the New Gate School from 1993 through 1999, during the years when New Gate was the Lab School of the Montessori Foundation. Tim was, with Harvey Hallenberg, the co-founder and Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies. Tim earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University, and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. He is the author of several books about Montessori education. Tim served for many years as an officer on the Board of the American Montessori Society. He is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor.
Lauren Speed, AMS - Administrative Assistant - Lauren has her AMS Infant/Toddler Teaching Certificate from the South Florida/MEC, West Palm Beach, FL. This will be her 17th year at NewGate. She began her Montessori career at Counterpane School in Fayetteville, GA, where her children attended. A move back to Florida brought the family to NewGate, where her children graduated from high school, and she never left! Lauren is looking forward to her new position and another great year at NewGate. In her spare time, she enjoys watching YouTube videos, running, music and movies.
Sabrina Toglia, B.A. - Music and Second Languages - This will be Sabrina's 5th year at NewGate. Sabrina moved to Sarasota from Montreal. She has a degree in Political Science from Concordia University in Quebec. She also has a background in music performance and studied at both McGill University and in Siena, Italy. Sabrina performed solos in Italy, Japan and Canada. After living in Italy, she returned to Montreal to study international law and cross cultural ethnic studies. Ultimately she realized that her love for teaching was stronger than law, so she went on to become certified in teaching English as a second language. She is also a Montessori guide and taught in an English immersion primary Montessori program in Montreal. She speaks French, English, and Italian.
David Villani, Physical Education - This will be Dave's 11th year at NewGate. Dave served in the United States Marine Corps for 4 years. He has worked with Real Estate investments and property renovations for 20 years. He was also a purchasing agent for 18 years. Dave joined NewGate School in 2006 and works as the Elementary and Secondary PE instructor and after-care specialist. Dave enjoys all kinds of fitness activities: running, biking and weights. Dave has completed the Marine Corps Marathon.
Jackilyn Wehner, B.A. - Upper Elementary Montessori Guide - Jackilyn (Jacki) Wehner co-teaches with Jennie Caskey in Upper Elementary. This will be Jacki's 4th year at NewGate. She earned her BS in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida. She is also certified in Middle Grades Mathematics and ESOL education. Jacki is currently completing her studies to become certified as a 6-12 Elementary Montessori teacher. Before joining us, she taught Kindergarten and Elementary classes in Manatee County Public schools. In her words, describing NewGate, "This is why I became a teacher!"