5237 Ashton Road Sarasota FL 34233
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New Gate Montessori School Faculty & Staff

Jeff AllenJeff Allen, M.A. - Head of Upper School, Secondary Montessori Guide, History and Humanities - This is Jeff's 8th year at NewGate and his 23rd 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.
Cheryl AllenCheryl Allen, M.A. - AMS, IMC, Lower Elementary Montessori Guide - This is Cheryl's 8th year at NewGate and her 23rd 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 and is a Montessori teacher trainer for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Cheryl loves to create things, especially baking, sewing, and crafts. She has a son who graduated from NewGate and is now at the University of Florida and a daughter in the secondary program and loves spending time with her family.
Maria AlvarezMaria 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 Buncombe County, 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 AntczakKristi Antczak, B.S. - AMS, Toddler Montessori Guide - Kristi has been a part of the NewGate community for 8 years and is in her 6th year teaching at NewGate. She 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. Kristi is AMS certified in Infant-Toddler Education and is a teacher trainer with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Kristi enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid Crossfitter.

Eva BogardEva Bogard, Ph.D. - Adjunct Faculty, German, Information Technology, IB 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.
Jennie CaskeyJennie Caskey, B.S. - Upper Elementary Montessori Guide - This is Jennie's 4th 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. After working as a behavioral trainer with over 60 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, the switch to small humans seemed natural! She is an avid environmentalist, doodler, and ukulele player. She is finishing up her IMC 6 to 12 Elementary Montessori Education certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Maria Silguero ChaffinMaria Silguero Chaffin, M.S. - Primary Montessori Guide - This is Maria Eva's 3rd 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 Master's Degree in Business Education from Universidad Jose Maria Vargas, a Bachelor's 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 LeonPatricia de Leon, M.A. - IB Diploma Program Coordinator, Secondary Montessori Guide, Mathematics and Spanish -This is Patty's 6th 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 DumaisLydia Dumais, B.S. - Secondary Guide Science and Mathematics - This is Lydia's 4th year at NewGate. She graduated from New College of Florida, with a double major in Biology and History. She presented academic papers at the Florida Historians Conference and New Scholars. Part of her undergraduate research included working with wild sea turtles in Costa Rica as part of international conservation efforts. Lydia is completing her M.S. in Biology. As a life-long learner and having earned the IB Diploma in high school, she brings enthusiasm, hands-on learning, enthusiasm, and a spirit of keen intellectual inquiry to the secondary program. She is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor.
Stanley GillStanley Gill - Bus Driver - Stanley was born in the Australian Outback on his family's Wild West Show. When he first started in his career he was a bronco rider, bull rider and a rodeo clown. Later he came to America and traveled for many years with the Ringling Brothers Circus as a trapeze artist. His flying act, The Flying Waynes, was the first flying act to perform at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. His travels have taken him throughout many places of the world including, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and every state except Alaska in the United States. Stanley has had more than enough fun and he is happy to be the bus driver at NewGate.
Rikki Hettig-Rolfe Meaux, B.A. Lower Elementary - Rikki is in her second year of being a part of NewGate and her fifth year of teaching experience. She attended the University of South Florida and holds a Florida Teaching Certificate. She is currently studying with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies to earn her Elementary Montessori Guide certification. Rikki has grown up as a part of the Sailor Circus and continues to coach there, work with their camps, as well as performing professionally with Circus Sarasota, the Wallendas, SMF, and more. She specializes in aerial silks. Rikki also loves spending time with her husband, family, and cats.

Robin HoweDaniel Robinson (Robin) Howe, III Ed.D. - AMS, Co-Head of School - Robin Howe is a Montessori educator and an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Middle Years teacher and program administrator. This is his 7th year at NewGate. 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; an M.A. in Bioethics from the University of South Florida; and his Doctoral Degree in Education Leadership from 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.
Tucker Lenora Humphrey, Secondary Art Guide - Tucker Lenora Humphrey has been an artist since childhood. She grew up in North Manatee County and graduated from Ringling College of Art + Design in 2009 with a concentration in metal sculpture. She worked as a studio artist and traveled all over the country. She returned 3 years and 8,000 miles later to focus on multiple local Mural and Public Sculpture projects, including collaborating with the Sarasota Chalk festival. That led to working with Ringling College at the Englewood Art Center and building up the under-served Youth program. Meanwhile, she married and started a family with fellow Ringling alum and working artist, Mark Humphrey. They share a studio near downtown called the Tiny Factory Studio. Tucker happily joins the NewGate family as a parent and a teacher. "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." —Picasso
Rebecca JohnsonRebecca Johnson, B.S. - Primary Montessori Guide Rebecca has been a part of the NewGate School family for the past 13 years. She received her B.S.from the University of South Florida in 2004 and her Montessori Early Childhood credential from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in 2005. Rebecca has a VPK endorsed Director Credential and is certified in Child Care Center Management. She has served as a teacher trainer for CGMS and has lectured at the International Conference of the Montessori Foundation. Rebecca enjoys spending leisure time with family and friends.
Alina KipchumbaAlina Kipchumba, Ph.D., Secondary Science and Mathematics - Secondary and College Science instructor. Alina has been a college and high school science instructor for over 18 years. She has taught a wide variety of science classes such as introduction to biology, ecology, environmental science, conservation biology, marine science, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition. Prior to teaching, she worked as a conservation biologist in Kenya. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nairobi (Kenya) and a doctoral degree in biological science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor. Alina is an avid reader. She enjoys reading biographies, scientific journals, and current affairs; watches scientific documentaries  sports (especially soccer and tennis); loves gardening, walking at the beach, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Amy KremerAmy Kremer, B.A. - Secondary Guide, English - Amy earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Loyola University and her M.A. in Experiential Education from Prescott College. This is her 20th year of teaching, and her 16th year at NewGate. Amy is also an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Instructor. She has spent many years coordinating the secondary programs immersion and experiential learning programs, and enjoys a well-deserved reputation as the teacher who truly taught our alumni the keen writing skills they have found so useful in university and their professional lives. She has a passion for literature, poetry, the theatre, and cinema, which she passes on to her students. Amy enjoys reading, travel, hiking, and world music.
Stephanie MarrStephanie Marr Sands, B.A. - AMS, Art and 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 is Stephanie's 3rd year at NewGate and her 9th 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!
Lorna McGrathLorna 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 PawloskiRachael 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 is 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
Caitlin Roper, Primary Montessori Guide, IMC - This is Caitlin's 4th year at NewGate co-teaching in the Cassatt primary classroom. She is so excited to have successfully completed her teacher training and is certified by the International Montessori Council. Caitlin has a passion for life and children, which is evident to anyone who has ever met her. Her main 'hobby' is spreading Light through random acts of kindness. The other hobbies are too numerous to blurb, but whatever it is, she's probably tried it.
Christine Schaefer, B.A. - AMS, Primary Montessori Guide - Christine Schaefer received her Montessori Early Childhood Accreditation from the American Montessori Society while teaching at NewGate from 2003 to 2006. She has a BA with distinction in Human Development from Eckerd College, an associates in Applied Science/Graphic Arts from Mohawk Valley Community College in New York and a Professional Education Certificate (ages 3 through 3rd grade) from the state of Florida. Throughout the years, Chris has had the opportunity to work in several private and public school settings. She truly believes that the Montessori Method of Education is by far the best way to develop independent thinking in the child, socially, emotionally, and academically. Chris returned to NewGate last year where she feels she is truly free to “follow the child” and is very happy to be here. She lives on a small farm with her husband, 3 cows, half a dozen chickens, one pig, two dogs, a stray cat and other assorted animal visitors. Her daughter, son-in-law and three grandsons also have their home on the same property. When Chris is not working with children, she enjoys knitting, crocheting, sewing, clay sculpture, cooking and traveling.
Tim SeldinTim 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.
Carlos Silva, M.M.E. – Lower & Upper Elementary Music - Carlos Silva, a native of Lima, Peru, grew up in Miami and studied in Tallahassee. This is his first year teaching at NewGate. He has directed a rock band at the Tallahassee homeless shelter, taught middle school Orchestra and Guitar in Sarasota and Melbourne, and is currently teaching individual and group lessons at Music Compound in Sarasota. He has published and recorded musical works for Class Guitar Resources, Inc. and has worked with Method Teacher, Inc. to develop online high school and middle school guitar courses currently implemented by Florida Virtual School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Certificate in World Music, a Bachelor of Music Education, and a Master of Music Education from Florida State University. Carlos also holds an Orff Schulwerk Level 1 Certification. He enjoys running, volleyball, cooking, logic puzzles, meditating, and playing hide and seek with his dog Cleo.

Lauren SpeedLauren Speed, AMS - Administrative Assistant - Lauren has her AMS Infant/Toddler Teaching Certificate from the South Florida Montessori Education Center in West Palm Beach, FL. This is her 19th year at NewGate. She began her Montessori career in 1992 at Counterpane School in Fayetteville, GA, where her children attended. A move back to Florida brought the family to NewGate, where she spent 16 years with the toddlers. Both of her children graduated from NewGate; her son in 2005 and her daughter in 2007. They have subsequently graduated from college; her son from New College of Florida and her daughter from Florida State University. This will be her 3rd year working with the administration, and she loves it! Lauren is looking forward to another great year at NewGate. In her spare time, she enjoys watching YouTube videos, jogging, listening to music and watching movies.
David VillaniDavid Villani, Physical Education - This is Dave's 12th 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.
Jacki WehnerJackilyn Wehner, B.A. - Upper Elementary Montessori Guide - Jackilyn (Jacki) Wehner co-teaches with Jennie Caskey in Upper Elementary. This is Jacki's 6th 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 completed her studies to become certified as a 6-12 Elementary Montessori teacher. Before joining us, she taught Kindergarten and Elementary classes in traditional public schools for five years. She is passionate about teaching the Montessori way and grateful to be a part of the NewGate community. She enjoys reading, painting, and outdoor activities.
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