Aquinas & Old Town Montessori Schools
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OUR TEACHERS


Celeste Baucom, Montessori Director and Upper Elementary Teacher
Education:
B.S. in Biochemistry, Virginia Tech
Elementary Montessori Certification, Washington Montessori Institute
M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, Loyola College in Baltimore

Celeste Baucom has been teaching in the Upper Elementary classroom at Aquinas Montessori for 22 years. Seven of those years were spent under the mentorship of our founder, the late Kathleen Futrell, whose curriculum and philosophy remain a foundation of the current classroom. Mrs. Baucom has expanded the curriculum in the areas of science and mathematics and maintains Mrs. Futrell's strong directives in the curriculum's language and history subjects. She received her undergraduate education in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. In 1993-1994, she received her elementary Montessori training at the Washington Montessori Institute and finished a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Loyola College in Baltimore. Prior to her Montessori epiphany, Celeste had enjoyed her work as a research chemist in the neurosciences at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. This year marks her first year as Montessori Director at Aquinas in partnership with the School Director, David Futrell. In addition to her passion for teaching, Celeste enjoys walks with her chocolate lab, reading, yoga, raising Monarch Butterflies, and time with her husband and two grown daughters (both Aquinas alumnae).


Inga Sieminski, Lower Elementary Teacher
Education:
B.A. in Music and Drama, Berlin, Germany
M.A. Education/Arts Administration, American University, Washington, DC
M.Ed. Loyola University, Maryland
AMI Training at both Primary and Elementary levels

Inga Sieminski began her Montessori journey in 1985 when she enrolled her 3-year-old son at Aquinas and volunteered in the school's library. Throughout her career she has circled back to Aquinas for required observations and practice teaching. Inga's earlier work at a children's center and agricultural cooperative in Peru inspired her to establish a land-based Primary Montessori program on her family farm in Maryland. Later on, her research in contemporary pedagogies that validate Montessori's approach of educating the whole child led to a Master's degree in Education and Arts Administration. During that time, she collaborated with academic and arts institutions in Prague on creating and implementing an interactive marketing plan for the North American premiere of a Czech drama. As Arts Integration Coordinator for the DC pubic schools, Inga was part of the pioneering work to implement programs that address students' multiple learning styles. After receiving her AMI elementary diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute, she worked with both children and adults at Montessori schools in the DC metropolitan area. During the summer months, Inga enjoys writing her book about the blend of Montessori music with the integrated Orff Schulwerk approach to movement, music, speech, and drama.


Geneva Walker, Lower Elementary Teacher
Education:
B.S. in Human Development/Early Childhood Education, Minor in Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado
M.Ed. in Education, Loyola University
AMI Elementary Montessori Certificate, Washington Montessori institute

Geneva Walker has enjoyed teaching in the lower elementary at Aquinas since 2007. Her experience in the education field spans 20 years and she enjoys learning and growing with the children each day! After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado, Geneva worked in schools in Columbia, South Carolina with adults and children designing curriculum and workshops around diversity awareness and cultural sensitivity. Later, after working with children and teens for many years as a preschool teacher, tutor, consultant and trainer, she was inspired to pursue a Masters in Education with a Certificate from Loyola University and an AMI Certificate in Elementary Montessori instruction from the Washington Montessori Institute in 2006. Having been invited to work at Aquinas by the late Mrs. Kathleen Futrell, and having had the remarkable opportunity to work closely with her has been one of the highlights of her career. When not in the classroom, Ms. Walker enjoys learning more about the amazing diversity of our world through service to the community, travel, anything and everything outdoors, and being with friends and family.


Sheri Brennig, Primary AMI Counselor and Primary Teacher
Education:
B.A. in History, Indiana University
M.Ed. in Elementary Montessori Instruction from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University in Maryland

Sheri Brennig has been a Montessori Primary Teacher since 2000.
Dr. Montessori's theory of Education appealed to her as an alternative to the practices in a traditional classroom. Previously, she worked with preschool to university aged and professional students. With that varied experience, Mrs. Brennig learned her preference of guiding students in the Montessori classroom of 3-6 year olds. In this setting, an innate respect and appreciation of each student is integral to the curriculum. She completed her Montessori training at the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University in Maryland. She then completed her Master's Degree in Education from Loyola University. Prior to moving to Virginia, she worked at Montessori schools in Colorado and Maryland. Mrs. Brennig also holds a B.A. in history from Indiana University. Mrs. Brennig's daughters attend and have graduated from Aquinas.


Hedy Lane, Primary Teacher
Education:
B.A. in Graphic Arts, University of Texas in Arlington
M.Ed. in Early Childhood Development, University of Hartford in Connecticut
AMI Primary Montessori Certification

Hedy Lane is also a graduate of Aquinas Montessori School. She remembers being a member of Aquinas founder, Mrs. Kathleen H. Futrell's, class and has always been active alumna, keeping in close touch with the school. It was a natural progression for her to join the staff as a Primary Teacher, which she did in 2012. Previously, Ms. Lane has worked with well-known Montessori Researcher, Angeline Lillard on at UVA on a “Montessori Outcomes” study. She has also worked as both an art teacher and a substitute in Montessori toddler, primary and elementary classrooms. Ms. Lane earned a B.A. in Graphic Arts from the University of Texas in Arlington. She then continued her education at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where she pursued a graduate degree in Early Childhood Development along with her AMI Primary Certification. Ms. Lane continues her work as an artist and designer; and she offers an Art Camp to students during the summer at Aquinas.


Jan Heyrana, Primary Teacher
Education:
B.A. in Psychology, Marymount University
M.Ed. in Primary Montessori Education, Loyola University Maryland
AMI Primary Montessori Certification, Washington Montessori Institute

Jan Heyrana received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Marymount University. During her senior year, she completed an internship as a student-teacher for children with autism at the elementary level. Upon graduation, she worked in a Primary Montessori classroom and became fascinated with Dr. Maria Montessori's method of education. She went on to pursue her AMI Primary Montessori certification at Washington Montessori Institute and earned a Master's Degree in Education from Loyola University Maryland. Miss Heyrana loves spending time with her family and her dog. She enjoys sewing, riding her bicycle, running, kayaking, traveling, and cheering on the Washington Nationals.



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