Karen Paxton

Director / KMS Board of Directors, President

As a young parent in the early 1980’s I began searching for the right school for my first child. Khalsa was lovingly recommended to me by a member of the Khalsa community.  I was intrigued and enrolled my child as a two year old. My main goal was that she love learning and school and she did.

Since that time, I have served in almost every role at Khalsa Montessori School.  I was asked to start the middle school program in 1999 and completed my Montessori Secondary I training with Houston Montessori Center.  I created the gardening program and subsequently joined administration as the Admissions Director, Primary School Director and Head of School for both the private and charter schools.

My bachelor’s degree was a double major in history and political science. I joined others in creating a primary care multi-specialty medical group in downtown Phoenix where I was the chief administrator. There were three locations. In the mid-1990’s, I sought a change of careers that led me to Khalsa Montessori School.

I believe in the transformative power of a Montessori education. I have seen my own children as well as my students who are all adults, benefit from its many facets. My commitment comes from my experience and observation of these qualities: independence of the child, the power of choice, nonviolent methods of problem-solving conflicts and a living community of learners.

I feel honored to lead this organization and continue to spread the light of the profound power of Montessori education for all children everywhere.

Rasha Alebrahim

Associate Director

Rasha has been a dedicated Montessori educator since 2009. She completed her training at the Montessori Centre International in London, UK, and subsequently piloted the first Montessori Center aimed at serving students with learning differences.

Rasha moved with her family to Arizona in 2011 where she taught at Villa Montessori for four year. She then became a teaching Head of School at St. Peter’s Montessori School in Litchfield Park, where, for three years, she mentored teachers, grew enrollment, and opened Infant and Toddler programs.

She earned her BS and MA in Psychology from the University of Damascus, Syria. She now lives in Phoenix with her husband and two children who are attending in the Khalsa Primary Program.

Satwant Singh Khalsa

Director Emeritus

Satwant Singh began his long tenure at Khalsa in 1973. In 1980 he became the school’s Director and oversaw Khalsa’s Elementary program transition from private school into a public charter school. Please read more about Satwant Singh and his rich history with Khalsa Montessori here.

Jill Woodhull

 Business Manager

Jill joined Khalsa in March of 2018 in the accounting department. In addition to her accounting role, Jill is the Outdoor Environment Teacher at the Primary campus.

Jill grew up in Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Fine Arts. She has been a parent of Khalsa children for the past 7 years. She enjoys travel, hiking, reading, and any activity that is with her family.

Jeremy Stepp

Special Education Director

Lavender Bailey

Administrative Assistant 

Lavender first joined Khalsa in July of 2017 as the Front Office Secretary. They then moved into the Administration Office, taking on the role of Adminstrave Assistant. After 4 years, they left Khalsa to explore the Pacific Northwest. In 2023, they returned to Khalsa in their former role. Lavender is excited to be back helping the school grow and creating a welcome environment for everyone!

Lavender enjoys creating ink-based art, crafting, reading, music, walking in nature, and playing with their cat Willow Bea.  

Kaylyn K.

Elementary School Site Coordinator

Kaylyn joined Khalsa in October of 2021 as an assistant to Ms. Helen. She then moved intot he Site Coordinator poition in the spring of 2024. She is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She started by working ambitiously with families in need of a private caretaker and is now in a Montessori environment. She understands the importance of assisting the children with problem-solving skills, and the development of their independence. Furthermore, she finds genuine gratification in observing their growth in their creativity and individuality. 

Kaylyn enjoys activities ranging from painting to occasional flights to North Carolina to visit her family. She finds most of her excitement by spending quality time with her cat, which at times can be more of a priority than a past-time activity. 

Erika Grady 

Toddler School Site Coordinator

Erika joined Khalsa in 2022 as the Toddler Site Coordinator.  She moved back to Arizona from Illinois a year ago and is happy to be back.  Erika attended ASU and lived in Arizona for 15 years before moving to Illinois after her daughter was born.  Erika is a Mom to a 5 year old daughter, Lennon, and two cats, Biscuit & Gravy, who keep her busy.  In her spare time, Erika enjoys spending time with her daughter and friends.

Alicia Rios 

Primary School Site Coordinator

Alicia joined the Khalsa Community in November 2023 as the Primary School Site Coordinator. She has enjoyed learning about and practicing Montessori methods at home since 2021. Alicia currently has three daughters enrolled at Khalsa. Raised in Illinois and Washington State, she met her husband in L.A. and now lives happily ever after in the West Valley. Alicia enjoys traveling with her family, architecture, museums, poetry, dance parties, and York Peppermint Patties.