ABOUT OUR TEACHING STAFF
School staff and administrative personnel are professional educators. Upper and lower elementary teachers are trained and experienced in the Montessori method. Below you have the opportunity to meet and become familiar with our teachers and administrator.
Tara J. Smith, MEd, PhD
Certified Montessori Educator
Head of School & Upper Elementary Head Teacher
Tara is both the Head of School as well as the upper elementary teacher where she teaches grades 4 through 6. Her rich educational and professional research background provides an excellent resource for her teaching. Tara holds a PhD in Behavioral Science, as well as a B.A. in both Psychology and Music from the University of Rhode Island, and a Masters of Education, with a focus in Educational Measurement, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her teaching experience spans both elementary and college level courses, while much of her research work focused on a variety of educational topics.
Tara holds a credential in early childhood education through the American Montessori Society. She received her early childhood training through the highly regarded program at the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center (NEMTEC). This program provided rigorous training in core curriculum subjects of mathematics and language as well as Montessori philosophy and child development. She has completed her coursework in upper elementary education at the reputable Seacoast Center Montessori Program and will be beginning her work in lower elementary education the summer of 2015. The upper elementary program provided extensive training in arithmetic, geometry, grammar, sentence analysis, science, history, and classroom management.
While completing her doctoral degree, Tara focused on research methodology, statistical analysis, attitudinal theories, and reading acquisition. Her dissertation, titled The Effects of Teacher Attitudes on Response to Professional Development in Literacy, addressed differences in how teachers approach, learn and utilize information provided in professional development workshops.
With nearly two decades of research experience, Tara brings both a love of research and her extensive professional experience in research design to the classroom. Her research experience includes working on both educational and psychological projects through Yale affiliated Haskins Laboratories, The Education Alliance at Brown University, Psychiatry Research at Brown University and at the Psychology Department at the University of Rhode Island. At Haskins laboratories, she worked on multiple research projects in early language acquisition, including the professional development in literacy on which she based her dissertation. At The Education Alliance at Brown University, she worked in program evaluation in education, working on federal, state and university funded grants. At Psychiatry Research she worked on several affective disorder projects. At the University of Rhode Island, she worked on a variety of research projects. Throughout this experience, she gained significant knowledge in design, data collection, data analysis, and reporting.
Tara’s teaching experience includes undergraduate and graduate level labs in statistics and research design, as well as an undergraduate course in developmental psychology. While completing her early childhood training, she worked as a teacher’s assistant at South County Montessori School. She then worked at Quest Montessori at the Children’s House level.
Tara enjoys learning herself, and continually seeks professional workshops through the American Montessori Society. Her lifetime love of learning propels her to want to share the exciting information with children and she gains great happiness when she observes children’s thrill of discovery. She believes that both language and mathematics are vital communication tools that are used in daily life at one level or another, and that success in both is possible with focused practice. She also believes that the tools of language and mathematics come to life through history and science. All of these core disciplines, however, arise from a foundation in what she calls the additional 3 R’s - Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience.
Carrie Carter, BA
Carrie has been teaching and working with children for her entire career. She is a passionate advocate of the Montessori curriculum and the way it complements the way students naturally learn. Her teaching experience includes a wide range of settings including several Montessori schools, public elementary and middle schools, the Connecticut Audubon Society, and a homeschool farm program. Her training thus far has been through the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC) in Lexington, Massachusetts. In addition, Carrie holds a B.A. from the University of Connecticut where she studied philosophy with a concentration in ethics. After college, she immersed herself in the study of gardening, design, entrepreneurship, and naturalism, and she holds certifications as a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist. In the classroom, Carrie believes that the challenges of education are the greatest opportunities for growth. She helps children understand the science behind their own brains and bodies so they can become empowered learners. Carrie describes her teaching style as patient, compassionate, and fun. In her free time, Carrie loves experimenting in the garden and kitchen, learning foreign languages, backpacking, and singing in harmony with others.
Secondary 1 Lead Teacher TBD
Lead Teacher, Secondary I Program
We are currently interviewing for this position.
Mary Hammerstein, MAT, eRYT500
English Language Arts
In 2000 Mary began her career as an English Language Arts educator in an American public school and has since taught in private schools as well as an international school in Bangkok, Thailand. She is an experienced International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) Teacher, college essay reviewer, yearbook adviser, Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project, and committee member of accreditation teams for the Northeastern Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Mary started out as a special needs and English Language tutor and has extensive experience working with students of all abilities. She has taught a variety of classes including Theater Arts, Reading, Journalism, Print Media Design and Theory of Knowledge in addition to grade level and Honors classes. She holds a BA in English Literature, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), English Language Arts 7-12 certificates in both Connecticut and Rhode Island and is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (eRYT 1000) and workshop leader (YACEP) with over 1,000 hours of teaching and learning experience in yoga and related wellness fields. When she is not teaching students or yoga she can be found on, near or in the ocean or the woods. She is excited to share her extensive and diverse knowledge with the students and families at Montessori Pathways. Her website is www.maryogi.com. Montessori Pathways is very excited for Mary to share her knowledge with the community!
Maureen Fahey, BA
Advanced Mathematics & Physics
Maureen is a Coventry resident who graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in mathematics and earned her teaching credentials from the University of Rhode Island. Immediately after graduating she worked in data processing specializing in data bases and statistical software. After having children, she started her second career teaching mathematics at Rocky Hill School, teaching everything from Algebra 1 to AP Calculus. She retired in 2018 after teaching for 21 years . Maureen then began looking for a part time position that would allow her teach small classes and provide students individualized curriculum. She joined our school in January of 2019. In addition to teaching she plays duplicate bridge, dances at least once a week and travels with her husband. We are very proud to have Maureen as part of our community!
Maria Lambert, BA
Lower Elementary Teaching Assistant & Aftercare
Please check back for Maria's Bio!
Upper & Lower Elementary
Please check back for Debbie's Bio!
Aparicio Zunum Cux
Advances Spanish Language
Check back for Aparicio's Bio!
Rebekah Cook, BFA
Creative Fine Arts
Elementary & Secondary Programs
Art has always played a major role in Rebekah's life. She knew as a child that art was a calling. Many different avenues of opportunity opened to her as she continued to grow as an artist. She advanced her art education through study at The Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, PA, Rowan University of Glassboro, NJ and The University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI, from which earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts. Rebekah has explored a variety of mediums, including: three-dimensional design, photography, illustration, printmaking, pottery, and painting in oils, acrylics and watercolor. She enjoys creating work that captures the essence of a place, time, or personality. Rebekah provides her students both at her studio, and at Montessori Pathways, the opportunity to express their own creativity in a variety of mediums. She feels that it is a great blessing for her each and every day that she is able to explore, create, express and teach art. "My hopes are to pass along the same joy and passion to others." We here at Montessori Pathways consider it a great blessing to have Rebekah work within our community!
Music Education Teacher TBD
Education and Performance
Elementary & Secondary Programs
We are currently interviewing for this position.