Paula Gibson-Smith has been teaching at Jefferson since 1990. Paula is passionate about reaching more children to share in the Montessori Method and her hope to become a teacher trainer will enable her to reach that goal. Paula was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the National Commission for the Observance of International Women’s Year 1975. She received a Bachelors degree in Child Development and Elementary Education from Eastern Washington University and an AMI teaching diploma for ages 6-12 from the Ohio Montessori Training Institute in 1988. Paula received a Masters degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University in 1989. She began teaching in a Montessori elementary classroom at Woodland Montessori School in Spokane, joining the small but growing Montessori program in the Spokane Public Schools in 1990. Paula deepened her understanding of Montessori by earning an AMI Primary teaching diploma (for ages 3-6) from the Montessori Institute Northwest. She has been instrumental in setting up learning opportunities such as parent education nights, community service, annual camp out, and a drumming circle at Jefferson Elementary. Her class received the Chase Youth Award for Community Service in 2002.
Gayle Waner is a native of Spokane, a graduate of Shadle Park High School and Whitworth college. She has five children who also attended Spokane Public Schools, two of those in Montessori classrooms. As a young adult she acquired a certificate to act as an Animal Health Technician. Later in life she was a business owner and clothing designer, leaving to pursue a career with children. This began her career as a Montessori teacher, first as a primary teacher and director and then as an elementary teacher. Her AMI certificate was obtained at Washington Montessori Institute which included a master’s degree from Loyola College of Maryland. Her undergraduate degree focused on education as well with an emphasis on reading instruction and special education.
Claudia Start has a BA in English/Education from Washington State University (1971); an Elementary Credential from Washington Montessori Institute (1986); and an MA in Curriculum, Education, and Administration from Gonzaga University (1992). Though certified to teach at the secondary level, she entered the education work world as a substitute teacher in a very small school district where she ultimately worked with every grade level and in every subject area. Through her experiences in the elementary classrooms, she discovered her true teaching heart.
A secondary teaching position, a library job, and two children later, she discovered Montessori while seeking a preschool experience for her sons. Initially, she knew little of the philosophy or principles underlying the Montessori approach; but the joy, independence, self-discipline, and advanced academics exhibited by the young children in the AMI primary school that her sons attended were genuinely impressive. She began to explore the possibilities for Montessori beyond the preschool years, coincidentally, just as Spokane Public Schools was on the verge of adopting its own Montessori elementary program. She has been teaching at Jefferson Elementary School in the Montessori Program of Spokane Public Schools since its inception in 1986.
Sharon Bowman has been teaching in an upper elementary Montessori classroom at Jefferson for 22 years. She completed her under graduate education in English literature at Macalester College and graduate studies in educational psychology and learning disabilities at the University of Minnesota. She received her elementary Montessori training at the Washington Montessori Institute in 1988-89, and finished a Master’s degree in education at Loyola College in Baltimore. In addition to her passion for teaching, Sharon enjoys running with her golden retriever, gardening, reading, and cooking. She and her husband Mark, a teacher at Mead High School and Gonzaga University, share interests in biking, traveling, classical music, Gonzaga basketball, and spending time with their three grown children, Sarah, Luke, and Colleen.
Linda Bradley studied art and psychology at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. After graduating, she taught children who had been diagnosed with emotional problems at a private school. She then earned a Master's degree in special education from Teachers' College at Columbia University where she first read about Maria Montessori. Following a year as a special education teacher in Binghamton, New York, she moved to Spokane. As her young children became Montessori preschoolers, Linda worked as a classroom assistant at Woodland Montessori. She also taught French at South Hill Montessori. When her children were four, nine and fourteen, she attended the Washington Montessori Institure in Washington, D.C. Just prior to graduating, in 1991, she was hired as the fourth teacher in the Spokane Public Schools' Montessori program. She teaches grades four through six.
Erin Schmidt is from Minnesota. Her teaching has taken her to different parts of the world, such as Crete and Taiwan, and now… Spokane! She has a BA in elementary education and psychology from Concordia College, and a M.Ed. in literacy from Gonzaga University. She recently graduated from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota where she trained under the great Phyllis Pottish-Lewis. Erin is grateful to be a part of such an extraordinary group of Montessori teachers. She teaches "upper el" (grades 4 - 6) at Jefferson. When not teaching, she is often found with her son, North, and husband, Nate, doing anything near water. She also reads, hikes, and camps as much as possible, and really likes baby animals.
This is Lynzie’s first year teaching Montessori in the lower elementary. Lynzie has been working at completing her Montessori training at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. She is graduating this summer, August 2010 and going on for her Masters in Education from Loyola University. Lynzie graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Special Education. She has taught for Spokane School District for 5 years. Lynzie loves to work out and run. She enjoys training and participating in half marathons. Lynize also loves baby dinosaurs.
Robin Knight earned her Montessori elementary diploma in 1976, a very long time ago! Since then she has taught in Massachusetts, the Virgin Islands and for several years directed a private school in Maryland. Robin started an elementary class at Jefferson in 1990 and moved that class to Balboa the following year where she has happily taught 6 to 9 year olds ever since. The most interesting experience at Balboa was in 1992, when the district could not find another Montessori teacher. Jeff, her husband, and Robin teamed up to “direct” a class of 35 students, grades 1 through 4. It was a great year, but they were glad to welcome Peg Troske the next year! Robin loves to read, garden, bike and walk the beach with her two dogs, Winnie and Kate.
“Listen, Listen, Listen to My Heart’s Song” played softly on a record player over 25 years ago as Colleen King was introduced to Dr. Montessori’s “Aid to Life.” She fell in love with the process as she watched her two daughters explore their world at Woodland Montessori, in Spokane, Washington. Through the generous support of her family, friends and the staff of Woodland, Colleen received her Montessori Diploma through the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in 1997, along with a master’s degree from Loyola College of Maryland. In September of 1997, joining Robin Knight, Peg Troske and Jean Hauge, Colleen became the fourth Montessori teacher at Balboa Elementary. She currently enjoys working with 9-12 year old students. Colleen received her B.A. in Applied Psychology from Eastern Washington University and taught Special Education in Oregon. Together with her husband, Greg, she ran the Peaceful Valley Community Center from 1990-97. Greg and Colleen currently live in Peaceful Valley, enjoying the pleasure of their family and friends dreaming of bicycle camping as time allows.
Carrie Ryan Walls' information will be here shortly. Thanks for your patience.
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