Leanne Jorgensen, Head of School/Founder

Leanne founded Foothills Montessori in 1999; it was one of the first accredited Montessori schools in the Las Vegas Valley. She has a MA in education and is Montessori certified for primary. Leanne was assisted in the founding by her brother, Michael Catalano; she was also helped by countless other people and is proud of the school they created and how it continues to evolve, expand and improve over the years with the help of the staff, parents and community. In her spare time she enjoys cooking Italian food, reading, snorkeling, traveling and decorating. “I love that the children get to learn about the world and have their curiosity constantly fed and encouraged,” says Leanne. “The learning is rich and deep, not dry or boring! I fell in love with Montessori when my oldest child started kindergarten and have never been able to understand why children would be educated any other way! I knew it was not only what I wanted for my children, but what I wanted to do. When my third child could not attend a good Montessori school because we didn’t live by one, I started one in my home, which later grew into Foothills Montessori School. How fortunate I have been to be able to be a part of this wonderful school and method of education.”


Karen Kolb, Executive Director

Karen has been an administrator at FMS for 13 years and manages various school operations. She holds a BS in accounting and an MBA in management. Her hobbies include jazzercise and reading. Her favorite things about Montessori are the “hands-on learning/teaching and the participatory learning environment.”


Katie Weddell, Receptionist and Nurse

Katie has worked in the FMS front office for eight years and been an FMS parent for 12 years. She has 10 years of experience in hospital nursing. She has a BS in nursing and enjoys card games, puzzles and books. Her favorite thing about Montessori? “Everything! The loving, nurturing, home-like environment; individualized learning; accountability and responsibility.”

Amy Sandqvist, Co-Owner

Amy has been involved with FMS for 14 years; she was there from the very beginning and saw FMS transform into what it is today. She has 27 years of experience in education, and is Montessori certified for elementary (3-6 and 6-12). In her spare time, she enjoys working with ceramics. Her favorite things about Montessori include witnessing and experiencing light bulb moments; the freedom to explore, for both the students and their guides; and seeing such phenomenal results in the students and in her own children (one is an alumni and another a long-time student). Here is what Amy had to say about how she became involved with Foothills Montessori: “In searching for a ‘real’ Montessori school for Sebastian, I met and fell in love with Leanne’s vision, which was completely in line with my own. We wanted something that celebrated childhood, considered the whole child, and gave meaningful experiences to both the student and the community. When the opportunity to become a part of FMS arrived, Par and I felt compelled to take a leap of faith. I am so proud of all that FMS is and all that it has been for my family, my students and their families.


Kim Gallagher, Events and Human Resources

Kim has been at FMS for 10 years and has 10 years of experience. She enjoys cooking, reading and traveling. Kim says: “I love that my children left this school with a love of learning and a confidence that I believe no other school could have given them!”


Lora Milne, Receptionist

Lora has been at FMS for two years. She has two years of experience as a teacher and four years of experience as an administrative assistant. She enjoys reading, swimming, hiking and being with family. Her favorite thing about Montessori is “the respect that you find between student and teacher.”

Back to Top