Primary Staff

P1

Melissa Eckes, P1 Head/Primary Grade Level Head

In 2003, Melissa joined the FMS staff, with over 12 years experience in education, including several years teaching English to Japanese students in Japan.  She dedicated a couple of years helping to start a Montessori Charter school in Colorado, and in 2013, FMS was fortunate to have Melissa return to our school.  Melissa holds a BA in English, an MA in Education and is Montessori certified for primary aged children.  Melissa is also accredited to teach the Montessori method to perspective Montessori teachers. Melissa’s calm manner is matched by her eye for seeing the needs of the child and guiding them to the work and the lessons that best serves them. Her favorite thing about Montessori and teaching is “the level of respect given to the students and igniting the spark of interest in the world around them.”

Diana Marquina, P1 Co-Teacher/Spanish Immersion Teacher

Diana brings a precise and friendly flair to all of her lessons.  Having begun her teaching career with FMS in 2005, she has mastered the art of combining her Montessori training (American Montessori Society certified for Primary aged students) with the beauty of the Spanish language.  Children are empowered by Diana’s clarity and enthusiasm for using the Spanish language and are able to experience their Spanish lessons as naturally as the ones delivered in English.   Diana says, “I love children and to be able to work with them every day is the most amazing experience for me. I love the Montessori philosophy.”

Kini Tan, P1 Support Teacher

Kini has been part of our community for several years now. Her two sons go to school at FMS and she taught Hula to our primary school students after school. She joins us with a myriad of experiences. She has taught at the high school, middle school, and elementary school levels. In addition, she most recently taught preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten Music and Movement here in Las Vegas. Behind her experience is a Masters in Education from Azusa Paciifc University and certifications in Orff and Music Together. Kini loves that Montessori fosters a love for learning and teaches skills essential for our children’s futures: independence and a good work ethic. In her free time, Kini likes to spend time playing board games with her kids, planning events, and dancing hula. We are honored to have Ms. Kini join us as a staff member at FMS.

P2

Yesenia Quintero, P2 Head/Spanish Immersion Teacher

Yesenia’s (aka Jessie) natural warmth and quiet manner bring a peaceful and inviting feeling into the classroom, as she delivers clear lessons using the Spanish language.  Jessie joined the FMS teaching staff in 2006, after obtaining her AA degree in Liberal Arts and working in the field for five years.  Jesse holds an Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society. Her favorite features about the Montessori method are the “home-like environment, mixed-age group classes, hands-on learning, and the order and harmony of the classrooms.”

Sadie Schmidel, P2 Co-Teacher

Sadie Schmidel joined the Primary teaching staff in 2019. With a MS degree in Education and a BA in English including specific work experience in early childhood (toddler through 2nd grade), Sadie brings a wealth of experience to her position. Sadie’s enthusiasm for the Montessori process has long been established, as two of her children attended FMS for primary and lower el. She has seen firsthand the love of learning, the value of process, and the power of igniting curiosity in a young mind. She is looking forward to experiencing the Montessori method from inside the classroom and contributing her experience to the FMS team.

Ana Julia Burns, P2 Support/Dual Language Program Teacher
Ana (aka Julie) joined the FMS teaching staff in 2010. Julie is a certified Montessori preschool/kindergarten teacher accredited by the North American Montessori Center. Julie also holds a BS in nursing, Licensure of Nursing, and Nurse Doctorate from her native country of Costa Rica. Julie interacts easily with all her students in a natural and friendly way, giving them ample opportunities to practice their Spanish speaking skills. Julie’s eye for details is matched by her playful interaction with her students and reflected in her comment, “I love the Montessori curriculum and working with the children and my peers. I am especially excited about sharing the Spanish language and culture with my students.”

P3

Rosemary, P3 Head Teacher

Ms. Rosemary is excited to share her more than ten years of experience in Montessori education, which she feels has taught herself so much about herself and others. She describes herself as ambitious, calm, and speaks with passion about education and helping others. Her passion and purpose is to collaborate with other Montessori educators in order to enact quality education for children so that they can be successful in all areas of their learning. For this reason, she is looking forward to starting her new journey with the P3 classroom! She says, “ I invest myself fully in my career. I love seeing growth and progress in my students as I wholeheartedly believe in the Montessori philosophy.” Ms. Rosemary sincerely loves her career and she cannot wait to show you how passionate she is to serve her community of students and educators alike.

Alisa Peck, P3 Co-Teacher

Alisa joined the FMS teaching staff in 2004, having 9 years of education experience under her belt, and credits in Early Childhood Education.  Alisa obtained her Montessori certificate (for primary aged students) in 2014.  Alisa’s steady manner and quiet assuredness imparts a love of learning to her students and is instrumental in helping her students develop confidence in their own self-perceptions.  Alisa has seen the advantage of working with her students over a three-year cycle and “the chance to really get to know the students and discover what makes them tick.  I’ve seen my students blossom through the three-year cycle and I love to witness the tremendous growth in my students as they prepare to enter first grade.”

Claudia, P3 Support Teacher

Ms. Claudia joins our staff permanently after many years as a dependable substitute. She graduated from University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in theatre and a minor in film. She then decided to earn her AMS Montessori Certification for ages 6 to 12. In summer of 2023, she will graduate with a Master’s of Education in Montessori and earn her primary certification as well. Along with her formal education, Claudia has experience working with children and loves how they teach us all to enjoy the simple things. One of her favorite parts about being an educator is watching students grow each year. We are so grateful to have her join our community and look forward to her sharing her many talents with us.

P4

Maryam Khadivi, P4 Head Teacher

Having achieved the rigor of sitting for a BS degree in Chemistry, Maryam attended the London Teacher Training College and received her Montessori Certification (for primary aged students).  Maryam was a welcomed addition to the FMS teaching staff in 2012, bringing 12 years of experience in education to her position. Her quiet manner and deliberate style helps guide her students in an easy and clear way enabling them to grasp the deeper meanings of their lessons.   She loves “to see academic and social growth, and to build self-confidence and independence in children.”

Nancy Crow, P4 Co-Teacher

With three years Montessori teaching experience, Nancy joined the FMS teaching staff in 2011.  Nancy holds a BA in Communication Studies and an Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society.  She resonates with the Montessori precept of developing the “whole child” by incorporating her own experience of doing yoga to her daily routine of managing the students in her classroom.  Nancy’s favorite aspect about teaching the Montessori way is in  “watching a child develop the ability to listen deeply and concentrate on a presented concept.”  She is also very impressed with the Peace curriculum and the wonderful life skills the children learn at a formative age.

Ale, P4 Support Teacher

Ms. Ale has been part of our community for several years as a parent. Now she joins us as a staff member with a wealth of knowledge. Her Montessori journey began when she was in kindergarten and continued through sixth grade. Following high school graduation, she earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and a global leadership certificate. Since earning her degrees, she has had a diverse career in international business, entrepreneurship, and full-time parenting. An avid reader, she believes in the power of education and believes it propels us to be all we can be. She says, “I love teaching because I see great potential in every child, and it fills my heart with joy to have the opportunity to help them see and believe in their greatness.”

X