FACULTY AND STAFF

IMG_7370.jpg
Polly Christensen

Directress, Lead Catechist, and Elementary Composition Guide

Polly Christensen founded St. Francis Montessori with her husband, Joe, in 2009, with the support of many members of the Irving community.  After attending Our Lady of Corpus Christi for her undergraduate,  she received her Masters in English from the University of Dallas in 2007. In 2007, she completed her Association Montessori Internationale certification for ages 3-6. In 2010, she completed her certification for Level 1 in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. In 2013, she received her Level 2 certification and in 2015, her Level 3 certification.  

 

She continues to be the Directress, as well as a Catechist in the Level 2 Atrium and teaches composition to the SFM Elementary children ages 6-12 years old.   She also prays daily with the Elementary children.  

 

Polly and Joe have five children, with one on the way.   The oldest graduated at 12 years old from Saint Francis and they youngest will join as soon as he is old enough. 

 

She feels her life is abundantly blessed by the joy, love, and wonder that she sees daily by being with the children at St. Francis and in her own home.

Guides, Assistants,
and Administration
Kathleen.JPG
Kathleen Voormolen

Primary Casa Guide

Kathleen Voormolen is a primary guide at St. Francis Montessori, as well as a Catechist in a Level 2 Atrium at her parish. She came from South Africa with her husband and left her career in the food industry to follow her 2 children, Andrew and Claire, into the Montessori world. Kathleen realized in her work in an adolescent community how essential the foundation formed in the primary years is. She loves seeing the children’s wonder as they discover the beauty of this world and the love of the Good Shepherd.

IMG_7969.jpg
Carole Morris

Lower Elementary Guide

Carole Morris is a graduate of the University of Dallas with a BA in Elementary Education and holds a Texas Teacher’s certificate with specializations in English and Math. She attended Montessori training at Shelton in Dallas for the summers 2018-2019 in order to complete her Elementary Montessori training. Before having children, she worked as an elementary teacher for the Diocese of Dallas. She first encountered the Montessori Method almost 20 years ago when her oldest were very young. She was immediately attracted to the unique materials and the respect for the goodness of the child. All but two (out of 10) of her children have had the opportunity to learn in either a Montessori classroom or Atrium of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She spent 17 years homeschooling her children and has taught in several co-ops, primarily in the subjects of Math, Science, and Language Arts. Her four youngest children currently attend St. Francis and she is blessed to be part of this community.

Mike.JPG
Mike Gleason

Upper Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon!

Maggie.JPG
Maggie Schmitt

Primary Casa Assistant

Maggie Schmitt currently serves as the Primary Casa Assistant.  She has worked with children for years in various capacities, from childcare to theatre. Maggie came upon the desire to work with children through Montessori at SFM through Catechises of the Good Shepherd.  Her sister, Amelia, and mother, Megan, are both currently in Lower Elementary.

Teresa.JPG
Teresa Pratt

Lower Elementary Assistant

Teresa Pratt currently serves as the Assistant teacher for the Lower Elementary classrooms.  She has a Masters in Elementary Education and has accumulated 21 years of experience. She homeschooled her children through high school. She worked at Great Hearts for 2 years and was a 1st grade teacher at St Rita Catholic School in Fort Worth. Teresa came upon the desire to work with children through Montessori at SFM recognizing this method of learning as the best for all students. She also loves her Catholic faith and believes it is a fundamental part of educating a child. Teresa is the mother of Nick and Jessica and happily married to her loving husband, Michael.

Ellen (2).JPG
Ellen Mirus

Latin

Bio coming soon!

Marnie.JPG
Marnie Parmenter

Records

Bio coming soon!

Amanda.JPG
Amanda Hudson

Primary Casita Guide

Amanda Hudson is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and holds an MA in English from the University of Dallas. After working with young children for several years, she discovered Montessori and has never looked back. She completed her AMI primary diploma in 2018 and is currently training as a Level 1 catechist with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She never tires of entering into the children’s innate sense of wonder and their joy of discovery.

IMG_7976.jpg
Megan Schmitt

Lower Elementary Guide

Megan Schmitt is the Lower Elementary co-guide with Carole Morris. Megan received a bachelor’s degree from the Univeristy of Texas at Austin in Child Development and Family Studies. During her college career, Megan worked for the University’s child care program and did her student teaching at the University’s lab school. Following college, Megan worked for Early Childhood Intervention of Tarrant County, a job that was rewarding and educational. Upon having children, Megan stayed home and ran an in-home childcare as well as taught preschool for a local church. Megan and her husband, Steve, decided to homeschool their children in the Catholic faith. After 20 years of being a stay-at-home parent and educating her own children, the opportunity to pursue the dream of becoming a Montessorian was presented! This year will allow for the completion of that certification. Megan’s two youngest children also attend St. Francis Montessori.

Melissa.JPG
Melissa Yale

Upper Elementary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Angela.JPG
Angela Tellson

Primary Casita Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Grace.JPG
Grace Gleason

Lower Elementary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Berenice.JPG
Berenice San Juan

Spanish

Bio coming soon!

Elissa.JPG
Elissa Torretta

Financial Manager

Bio coming soon!

Catechists and
Atrium Assistants
Andrea.jpg
Andrea Frank

Lead Catechist

Andrea Frank currently serves as a catechist for all three levels of atria at SFM, as well as directing our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at SFM.  She holds Bachelors & Masters degrees in Literature from the University of Dallas, is a certified CGS catechist for at all three levels, and is a Formation Leader through the National Association of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, offering courses for adults in the Level 1 and 2 atria.  Andrea is a wife and mother of eight children, ages 15 to baby, five of whom are currently students at SFM. Though she was first exposed to Montessori through a SOLT Montessori school in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, working at SFM in the earliest years, and watching her oldest child blossom there, more fully opened her eyes to the wisdom and wonder of this form of education. She studied Catechesis of the Good Shepherd alongside the growth of her children and St. Francis’s atria and is grateful for her rich experience of children’s spirituality in the atrium. She is deeply grateful for the gift of participating in the community of SFM’s faculty, staff, and families.

Nece.JPG
Nece Zipper

Lead Catechist

Nece Zipper serves as a Level 3 Catechist and is certified to guide all three levels of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She graduated from Baylor University with a BA in 1999. Over the years, she has started multiple parish atria as well as a home atrium. Currently, she is serving in a Level 2 atrium at St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington. Nece has four children, one of whom graduated from SFM in 2017 and is currently homeschooled as well as assisting in the SFM atria; her younger three are enrolled in SFM casas. She enjoys working with the older children as they complete the CGS formation and also loves the material making process and preparation of the environment.

Maria B.JPG
Maria Bascom

Lead Catechist

Maria Bascom serves as a Level I catechist. She received her BA in theology at UD. This is her fourth year as a guide for Level I, and she looks forward to becoming certified in Levels II and III. She first heard of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from her sister-in-law Andrea Frank and quickly came to appreciate its beauty and its balanced cultivation of a contemplative and active spirituality. She has six children (with a seventh on the way), four of whom attend Atrium at SFM, and is most grateful to be a part of this community.

Eileen.JPG
Eileen Steng

Lead Catechist

Bio coming soon!

Libby.JPG
Libby Upham

Atrium Assistant

Libby currently serves as the Assistant for Levels 2 and 3 Atria.  She has completed CGS training for Levels 1, 2 and half of Level 3.  Though she will miss guiding a Level 1 Atrium this year, she is excited to assist in Levels 2 and 3 with the children.   Libby came upon the desire to work with children through Montessori at SFM through her own children's experience in the primary Casa and Atria.  Each of her children, Grace, Joseph, Thomas, John, and Beth have been in the Montessori Casa or Atrium for the past 12 years, and her husband Dave currently serves on the Board for SFM.  We are all grateful for the beautiful work of SFM!

Brigid.JPG
Brigid Stauduhar

Atrium Assistant

Brigid Stauduhar currently serves as an Atrium assistant. Brigid came upon the desire to work with children at SFM through the beauty of the catechesis program experienced by her children. She has three children currently attending SFM in Upper Elementary, Lower Elementary, and Primary.

IMG_2250.jpg
Kristen Diguette

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Maria J.JPG
Maria Jones

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Tamara.jpg
Tamara Kuykendall

Lead Catechist

Tamara Kuykendall serves as a catechist for all three levels of the Atrium. She is a graduate of the University of Dallas with a BA in English and a Master of Theology degree. She is also certified to guide all three levels of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Her passion is child education, in particular the formation of children in the Catholic faith. She taught theology for 4 years on the high school and junior high level. She later discovered the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and promptly fell in love with it in the way it recognizes and fosters the unique religious gifts possessed by the young child. She is a mother of 5 children, the oldest three attended St. Francis Montessori and all who are of age currently attend the Atrium programs.

Laura S.JPG
Laura Sercer

Lead Catechist

Laura Sercer serves as a Catechist for Level 1, Co-guide for Level 2, and Atrium Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Dallas with a BA in English. While assisting in an elementary classroom, she began training to guide Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at SFM. Laura taught Level 1 first in Irving and then down in Austin.  Finally she returned to Irving and now teaches at St. Francis Montessori. She is happy to be back at the place where her journey began. She has been teaching at SFM for three years, and has a son and daughter who currently attend SFM.

Kelley.JPG
Kelley Chaplin

Lead Catechist

Kelley Chaplin serves as a catechist in the Level 1 Atrium.  After graduating from the University of Dallas, Kelley worked in the mortgage industry until the birth of her eldest child.  After seeing the beauty of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at work in her children, she pursued training and is now certified to guide Level 1 and Level 2 Atriums.  One of Kelley’s children has graduated from SFM, another is currently thriving in the elementary program, and her youngest hopes to follow his siblings there.

Laura L.JPG
Laura Landry

Lead Catechist

Laura Landry serves as a Level 2 Catechist. She graduated from the University of Dallas with a BA in Psychology. She worked several years at the Pines Catholic Camp, moved to Alaska to start up a new Catholic summer camp, and then spent 6 years in parish youth ministry (working primarily with 5th-8th grade students). During her time as a youth minister, she was introduced to and fell in love with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She has two young children and looks forward when they can experience the beauty of CGS also.

IMG_7570.jpg
Carolina Alvarez

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!

KellyDiaz.JPG
Kelly Diaz

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Lucy.JPG
Lucy Vaughan

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Nikki.JPG
Nikki Leafgreen

Atrium Assistant

Bio coming soon!