HIGHLY TRAINED. ALWAYS ENGAGED. CONSTANTLY INSPIRING.

Each member of our experienced Faculty is trained by one of the nation’s American Montessori Society-accredited training centers, holds a Bachelor’s degree, and often has further educational training or a Master’s degree. Classroom teachers have at least one Assistant, many of whom also have a Bachelor’s degree or are completing their Montessori internship. All teachers are committed to enhancing their professional development through workshops, classes, and special events.

Mary Broeckling, Toddler Teacher, graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a teaching certification in art for Kindergarten through 12th grade from Columbia College. She received her AMS Infant/Toddler Credential from the Seton Montessori Institute in Illinois. Prior to joining MSD, Mary was a lead Toddler teacher at Chiaravalle Montessori School in Evanston, Illinois. She started her Montessori career in 2005 at Columbia Montessori School in Columbia, Missouri. Mary joined MSD in 2014. Email Mary at mbroeckling@msd-co.org.
Siobhan Sullivan, Toddler Teacher, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. Siobhan first joined MSD in 2000. She has served as a field consultant and teacher trainer for the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR), where she was trained in both Infant/Toddler and Primary education levels. She has also served as a supervising teacher, field consultant, and course instructor for MECR. Email Siobhan at ssullivan@msd-co.org.
Lara Tyler, Toddler Team Leader and Teacher, joined MSD in 2007 at the start of our Toddler Program. She attended Florida State University and is completing her Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in English. Lara is trained in Infant/Toddler from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. Email Lara at ltyler@msd-co.org.
Mary Bareis-Golumb, Primary Teacher, has over 20 years of experience as a Montessori teacher. Mary received her training from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Illinois. Prior to teaching in Colorado, Mary taught in Montessori schools in South Dakota as well as in Chicago. Mary has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and is committed to environmental education in the classroom. Mary has served as both a supervising teacher and field consultant for the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. She joined MSD in 2005. Email Mary at mbareis-golumb@msd-co.org.
Kelly Elio, All Day Primary Teacher, joined MSD in 2010. Kelly completed her Primary Montessori training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and her internship at MSD. Kelly grew up in Colorado and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Metropolitan State College in Denver. Email Kelly at kelio@msd-co.org.
Erin Gaskin, Primary Teacher, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Florida State University. She completed her AMS Early Childhood teacher training at CMTE/NC and has worked with children in Africa and Europe, as well as in the US. Erin joined the MSD Faculty in 2011. Email Erin at egaskin@msd-co.org.
Christina Graham, All Day Primary Teacher, holds a a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters of Science from Colorado State University in Interior Design with an emphasis on Museum Exhibit Design. She has her AMI Primary Montessori Credential from Montessori Casa International. Christina has worked at the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum in addition to her Montessori teaching experience. Email Christina at cgraham@msd-co.org.
Rachel Northrop, Primary Team Leader and Teacher, received her Bachelor of  degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She completed her Montessori Primary teacher training at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs, in Minnesota as well. Rachel has been a supervising teacher for the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR). Rachel joined MSD in 2001. Email Rachel at rnorthrop@msd-co.org.
Melissa Patkos, All Day Primary Teacher, received her AMS Primary Montessori Credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR). Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Metropolitan State University of Denver and is Colorado State certified for Kindergarten through 5th grade. Prior to joining MSD in 2012, Melissa worked with both Primary and Kindergarten-aged children. Email Melissa at mpatkos@msd-co.org.
Tori Virlee, All Day Primary Teacher, joined MSD in 2015. She grew-up in Colorado but spent recent years living in Albania where she taught and worked as an Academic Director at the International Montessori School of Albania. Before moving abroad, Tori worked at Monarch Montessori in Denver, and at Jarrow Montessori and Mountain View Montessori, both in Boulder. Tori is a Montessori certified Primary teacher and has a BA in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences from Metropolitan State University. Tori previously worked with two members of the MSD Primary Team, Erin Gaskin and Christina Graham. Email Tori at tvirlee@msd-co.org.
Anne Hewetson, Elementary Level Teacher, joined MSD in 1999 right out of college as a Lower Elementary classroom assistant. Since then, Anne has worked as an intern and co-teacher in Lower Elementary. Anne has a BA in French from the University of Puget Sound and her Lower Elementary Montessori certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR). Anne has served several terms as the Faculty Representative on the MSD Board of Trustees and has led the Mentos program, our comprehensive teacher orientation program. She is certified in Responsive Classroom, All Kinds of Minds, 6+1 Traits of Writing, Orton Gillingham + Morphology, and DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills). Anne is completely her Upper Elementary training at MECR. As the Elementary Level Leader, Anne will support MSD students and teachers from both Lower and Upper Elementary in curriculum integration and delivery, program enhancements, and student experience. She will work closely with both the Middle School Level Leader and Primary Team Leader to ensure smooth student transitions between programs. Email Anne at ahewetson@msd-co.org.
Annie Beyer, Lower Elementary Teacher, holds her AMS Lower Elementary Credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR). Annie grew up in California and moved to Colorado to attend college in Boulder, CO. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Colorado and is Colorado State Certified for Kindergarten through 5th grade. Annie first joined MSD during the 2012 school year to support the Upper Elementary program. Email Annie at abeyer@msd-co.org.
Elishama Goldfarb, Upper Elementary Teacher, holds duel Montessori teaching credentials in both Upper and Lower Elementary from the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Leandro, CA. He has a BA from the University of California in Santa Cruz in Community Studies and Education and a MA in Education from UC Davis. Elishama has worked in both Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori classrooms in California and most recently has been the Ecoliteracy Content Specialist in the STEM Department at the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As part of his job at SFUSD, he developed and implemented a vision for environmental literacy and sustainability education from grades preK–12. grades. His passions are Math, Science, outdoor education and Language Arts. He has a unique ability to connect students to content, to differentiate instruction, and to use materials to deepen understanding of abstract concepts. Elishama joined MSD in 2015. Email Elishama at egoldfarb@msd-co.org.
Min Kim, Lower Elementary Teacher, is a graduate of the University of Colorado (Boulder) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. She is Lower Elementary certified from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and is fluent in English, Chinese, and Korean. Min has spent time working in Korea and Taiwan for an international education committee. Min joined MSD in 2007. Email Min at mkim@msd-co.org.
Ashley Lapham, Lower Elementary Teacher, joined MSD in 2015. Ashley grew-up in Michigan and attended Western Michigan University where she received both a BA and BS in Interpersonal Communication and Asian Studies. Ashley has a teaching credential from San Francisco State University and her Montessori Lower Elementary teaching certification from the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Leandro, California. Ashley has over 11 years of teaching experience including working at Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco, Bergamo Montessori School in Sacramento, and most recently at the Healdsburg School in Healdsburg, CA. Email Ashley at alapham@msd-co.org.
Annie Springer, Upper Elementary Teacher, double majored at Tulane University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English (creative writing) and Theatre (performance). She recently completed her Master’s in Educational Psychology from University of Colorado, Denver. She completed the Friends School Teacher Preparation Program in 2010, earning her Colorado State Teaching License in Elementary Education. Annie also holds an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, British Columbia. Annie joined MSD in 2011. Email Annie at aspringer@msd-co.org.
Jennifer Straus, Upper Elementary Co-Team Leader and Teacher, joined MSD in 2003. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany. She also holds an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, British Columbia. Her experience prior to MSD includes her work as an environmental science education officer for schools in Jamaica, West Indies. Email Jennifer at jstraus@msd-co.org.
Karen Weary, Lower Elementary Teacher, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science/Elementary Education as well as a Masters in Education with a Montessori emphasis from St. Catherine University in Minnesota. She completed her Montessori training in Boulder, Colorado at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. Karen joined MSD in 2012. Email Karen at kweary@msd-co.org.
Jamie Widler, Lower Elementary Team Leader and Teacher, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Elementary Education from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She completed her Lower Elementary training at Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. Jamie has significant experience with differentiated instruction and teaching all kinds of learners, including gifted and talented students. Jamie joined MSD in 2011. Email Jamie at jwidler@msd-co.org.
Travis Snyder, Middle School Level Leader and Math Teacher, coordinates curriculum integration and delivery, program enhancements, and student experience. Travis and his family relocated to Denver in 2015 from North Carolina, where Travis taught Montessori middle and high school students at Washington Montessori Public Charter School. Travis has a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Science. He also holds a MA in Maritime Studies, MFA in Wood Design from East Carolina University and is working on his MEd in Montessori Education from Xavier University. He is completing his Montessori Secondary training at the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program. Email Travis at tsnyder@msd-co.org.
Jake Noble, Middle School Math Teacher, started at MSD mid-year (2014-15) as a substitute teacher for math and advisor of the Game Theory Club. Jake is now the full time Middle School Math Teacher at MSD. Jake grew-up in Philadelphia and has a BS from Northeastern University in Boston in Math and Physics. He worked as a data specialist at the Bedford Research Foundation before moving to Denver where he most recently worked as an instructor for ACT/SAT preparation and math and physics tutor. Email Jake at jnoble@msd-co.org.
Kevin Nugent, Middle School Science Teacher, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from Colorado State University, Denver, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. Passionate about channeling student's enthusiasm, Kevin instructed children from diverse backgrounds and ages in experiential ecological science over five years at Nature Ranger Camp at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. A graduate of the Stanley British Primary Teacher Preparation Program, he most recently taught 7th and 8th grade physical and life science at Stanley British Primary School. He was a Professional Development Instructor at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, under a state funded grant, teaching Elementary school teachers strategies to integrate movement and health into the classroom to increase children's learning and retention. He advocates for the effective use of technology in the classroom to prepare middle school students for success in high school and beyond. Kevin is a member of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), has been a Big Brother Program Mentor for 20 years, was an invited competitor in the US Olympic Trials for road cycling, and competed in the World Mountain Bike Championships. He joined MSD in 2013. Email Kevin at knugent@msd-co.org.
Carrie Ross, Middle School History Teacher, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Social Sciences from Colorado State University. She has experience teaching Middle School, and has nearly completed her 6-12 Colorado State Teaching certificate. Carrie is an enthusiastic and accomplished equestrian. She joined MSD in 1996 and spent several years as the Assistant Business Office Manager. Email Carrie atcross@msd-co.org.
Cindy Souser, joined MSD in 2014 as the Middle School Counselor and Team Leader. Cindy has a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Colorado and Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University of Denver. She is certified in Addiction Counseling (CAC 11) from the Colorado School of Family Therapy as well. Cindy has 32 years of classroom experience teaching middle and high school literature/english, health education, and history. She has worked at Graland Country Day and most recently at Denver Academy. Cindy works with Knippenberg, Patterson and Associates as well, specializing in group, individual, family and home-based counseling. She also leads their socialization groups for ages six through eighteen years. Email Cindy at csouser@msd-co.org.
Sonny Zwierkowski, Middle School Language Arts Teacher, as well as Upper Elementary and Middle School Spanish Teacher, joined MSD in 2001. He completed his Elementary Montessori teacher training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR), as well as served as a supervising teacher for MECR. Sonny taught in the Lower Elementary program for twelve years prior to teaching Spanish. Sonny received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English (with an emphasis in writing), from Metropolitan State College, and a Master’s degree from University of Colorado, in Applied Linguistics. He has a passion for all things Asian and is proficient in Spanish and Japanese. Email Sonny at szwierkowski@msd-co.org.
Chris Bangs, Physical Education Teacher, joined MSD in 2007. He graduated from Union College in New York with the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Chris is also a Certified Massage Therapist and an avid outdoor enthusiast. Chris attended a Montessori school when he was young. Email Chris at cbangs@msd-co.org.
Caitlin Conklin, Music and Drama teacher, attended the University of Denver and has a Bachelor of Music in Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. She also has a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from DU. In addition, Caitlin attended Goldsmiths College at the University of London for a semester, studying music and theater and also served as principal oboist in their symphony orchestra. She has taught woodwinds for Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Winds, Jazz I and II and Music Theory to high school and middle school students and Orff to elementary students. Caitlin is actively involved many local theaters here in Denver including Inspire Creative, Miners Alley Playhouse, Spark Theatre, Germinal Stage and the LIDA Project. She was the music assistant and on the play conference selection committee at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in Waterford, CT. Caitlin joined MSD in 2014. Email Caitlin at cconklin@msd-co.org.
Joy Giles, Specials Team Leader, Art Teacher, and Faculty Representative on the MSD Board of Trustees, joined MSD in 2004. Joy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute. She is an accomplished artist who has shown her work from Kansas to Japan. Joy has taught children from ranging in age from three through 21. Email Joy at jgiles@msd-co.org.
Sam Mason, Librarian, joined MSD in 2014. Sam has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English with a concentration in Film Studies from Lawrence University. He has a Masters of Library Science with a specialization in School Library Media from the University of Maryland and has his School Librarian Colorado Teaching License for Kindergarten through 12th grade. Sam was the Library Media Specialist at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in D.C, a Montessori-based school. He also worked as the Lower School Librarian at Capital City Charter School in DC, an expeditionary and Responsive Classroom based school. Most recently, Sam worked at South High School here in Denver as the Head Librarian where he was commended for the increase in circulation due to his own creative efforts. Email Sam at smason@msd-co.org.
Magdalena Ortega Neri, Primary and Lower Elementary Spanish Teacher, has a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology, with a Minor in German from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Magdalena joined MSD in 2007. Prior to MSD, she worked as an English and German Teacher at the Técnologico de Monterrey and the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas in her hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico. Magdalena has experience in a public dual language Montessori program, as well as with Spanish curriculum design. She is passionate about curriculum integration – believing that language should be taught in a meaningful context with a cultural understanding. Email Magdalena at mortega-neri@msd-co.org.
Sonny Zwierkowski, Upper Elementary and Middle School Spanish Teacher (as well as Middle School Language Arts Teacher), joined MSD in 2001. He completed his Elementary Montessori teacher training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR), as well as served as a supervising teacher for MECR. Sonny taught in the Lower Elementary program for twelve years prior to teaching Spanish. Sonny received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English (with an emphasis in writing), from Metropolitan State College, and a Master’s degree from University of Colorado, in Applied Linguistics. He has a passion for all things Asian and is proficient in Spanish and Japanese. Email Sonny at szwierkowski@msd-co.org.
Kirsten Braley has worked at MSD for six years as the Literacy Specialist, but she has been in private practice for over ten years. She received her BA in Sociology and Psychology from Creighton University in 1995. Several years later, she discovered the joy of teaching reading to children. She has received specialized post-graduate training in several systematic, multi-sensory reading intervention programs. In addition to her private practice, at MSD she teaches small groups of Kindergarten and First Year students who need additional and targeted support with certain reading skills. Email Kirsten at kbraley@msd-co.org.
Sara Knickerbocker works at MSD as the Director of Learning Support. She has a BA in English from Metropolitan State University and has completed all but her dissertation for her doctoral degree in School Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Her previous experience includes working as a teacher, tutor, and educational consultant. Sara has also completed internship hours in various settings including an educational nonprofit, Cherry Creek School District, and a private practice assisting with psychoeducational testing. At MSD, she works with teachers and families to support students academically at both ends of the learning spectrum as well as on social-emotional, developmental, or behavioral challenges. Email Sara at sknickerbocker@msd-co.org.
Carole Baran, Director of Parent Programs and Events, has a Marketing degree from the University of Colorado (Boulder). She has experience as a Special Events Coordinator and has logged lots of volunteer hours with other non-profits in the Denver area. She joined MSD in 2007. Email Carole at cbaran@msd-co.org.
Ginny Bishop, Director of Advancement, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and History from Mundelein College, as well as a Master of Science degree in Corporate Communications from Northwestern University. Ginny, a published author, previously worked as the Development Director at a Montessori school, as well as served as a consultant to many independent schools. She has vast experience with marketing, public relations, and curriculum development. Ginny joined MSD in the summer of 2012. Email Ginny at gbishop@msd-co.org.
Julie Bragdon, Assistant Head of School, has dual Primary Montessori certifications from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) and Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities with a minor in Art History from the University of Colorado (Boulder), and a Master of Education degree with an emphasis on Montessori Education from Xavier University. She has served as a field consultant, supervising teacher, and course instructor at MECR, and is a current member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, currently serving as Treasurer. She has presented numerous times at the AMS and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conferences and served as an accreditation consultant for both organizations. Julie joined MSD in 1993 as a Primary Intern and was a lead teacher in the All Day Primary Program from 1997-2005. She then worked as the Director of Primary Education, before becoming the Assistant Head of School in 2009. Email Julie at jbragdon@msd-co.org.
Lydia Desmarais, Business Office Assistant, joined MSD in 2002. Lydia attended Plymouth State College in New Hampshire and served in the United States Army. Prior to working at MSD, Lydia worked for a children’s publishing company. Email Lydia at ldesmarais@msd-co.org.
Stephanie Pax Flanigan, Head of School, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Juris Doctorate degree from Case Western University School of Law.  Stephanie came first to MSD as a parent and then, served on the Board of Trustees including two years as Chair. She joined the staff in 1997 and was hired as Head of School in 2000. Prior to this, Stephanie worked for 15 years as a trial lawyer in Boston, Washington, DC and Denver. Stephanie is President of the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS) and is the former chair of the ACIS Accreditation Committee. She is a frequent presenter at the American Montessori Society (AMS) Annual Conference, the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference, and the annual ACIS Trustee/Heads of School Conference. Stephanie also serves on the Head’s Council of Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, Ohio, of which she is an alumnae. Stephanie has a lifelong interest in theater and has been a member of the Board of Directors of Curious Theater Company, a small regional theater group in Denver, and the Board of Trustees of Colorado Ballet, where she served as Secretary. Email Stephanie at sflanigan@msd-co.org.
Tara Gehrke, Director of Admission, joined MSD in 2005. Tara graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Tara is an experienced Fourth Grade teacher as well as an experienced Administrative Assistant. She also works collaboratively with the other ACIS Admission Directors throughout the school year and looks forward to placing MSD graduates in high schools of their choice. Email Tara at tgehrke@msd-co.org.
Dagmar Haberkorn, Controller, joined MSD in 2013. Dagmar graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Accounting.  Dagmar has over 20 years working  and volunteering in nonprofits including the Colorado Ballet. Email Dagmar at dhaberkorn@msd-co.org.
Kindra Headrick, Director of Communications, holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Arapahoe Community College. Prior to joining MSD, she worked as a nanny for six years. Aside from Communications, Kindra also coordinates MSD’s After School Enrichment Program. She joined MSD in 2003. Email Kindra at kheadrick@msd-co.org.
Ann Poundstone, Business Manager, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from William Woods College. Ann has worked at MSD since 1989, during which time she filled a variety of roles. Ann is recognized nationally for her work as a Business Manager and was presented with the Will J. Hancock Award from the National Association of Business Managers in 2008, for her excellent work. Email Ann at apoundstone@msd-co.org.
Ashley Randle, Receptionist, joined MSD in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English-Film Studies from Colorado College, Colorado Springs. Ashley has experience working for a nonprofit, as she previously worked at Rocky Mountain PBS. Email Ashley at arandle@msd-co.org.
Kara Zwierkowski, Assistant Director of Admission, joined MSD in 2007. Kara has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Psychology from Loyola University as well as a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor. Email Kara at kzwierkowski@msd-co.org.