Danna Karlavage, E5 Head Teacher

With 11 years experience in education, Danna joined the FMS teaching staff in 2008. She has a BS in Psychology and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She trained at the Columbia Teacher’s College with Lucy Calkins, founder of “The Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project.” Danna also has experience with special needs children. Danna’s favorite thing about the Montessori method is that “we honor the children by attending to their individual learning needs. The children that attend our school have a unique and important perspective of our world. The materials and the child-led lessons create independent thinkers and life-long learners.”


Joan Phillips, E5 Co-Teacher

In 2012, Joan became a member of the FMS teaching staff. She came to our school with 5 years experience in eduction. Joan holds a BA in English Literature (a Minor in Music) and a M.Ed in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction. She is also certified in Miniyogis (yoga instruction for children). According to Joan, “the Montessori education prepares and empowers individuals to fulfill their potential and become productive, compassionate and kind members of society. As an educator, we nurture and facilitate the achievement of these goals and attempt to inspire in our students a love of learning.”


Kerry Gross, E5 Support Teacher

Kerry joined the FMS teaching staff in 2011, bringing with her 11 years experience in education. She has a BA in Education with a partial TESL Endorsement (Teaching English as a Second Language). Kerry’s favorite thing about the Montessori philosophy is “how Montessori values each child’s intrinsic need to learn. I love that Montessori hands-on approach to teaching provides appropriate differential instruction for the individual child.”


Amy Nhaisi, E6 Head Teacher

After watching her own children thrive in the FMS environment, Amy joined the teaching staff in 2010. She holds a BA in English, a BA in Psychology and a MA in Social Work. She is Montessori certified for teaching Upper Elementary. She also has a Master Gardener Certification and enjoys trying out her hand in our gardens. Her favorite thing about Montessori is “the hands-on learning experience and the close relationship you build with the students over the three-year cycle. You really get to witness their growth!”


Sarah Newcomb, Co-Teacher

Sarah Newcomb is reunited with the Upper Elementary team after a brief hiatus in getting her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UNLV. She has gained valuable teaching experience in the public sector as well, while raising her two young daughters. In addition, Sarah holds a BS in Social Work from UNR. Having previously worked at FMS in the Upper Elementary program, Sarah brings a level of warmth and familiarity to her position. She is motivated by the Montessori method, and its emphasis on teaching to the individual student.

Vicki Saldahna, E6 Support Teacher

In 2013, Vicki joined the FMS teaching staff. She brought with her the love of Texas (especially Dallas) and two years experience in education. Vicki holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus in Elementary Education. Her favorite thing about the Montessori process is “to witness the moments when a child begins to understand their sense of self-worth and have the freedom to explore independently.” She continues: “I value how the Montessori method provides a positive environment for the whole child to develop and grow while inspiring creativity.”


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