Lower Elementary North Lead Teacher
Carie joined the Khalsa School in 1999 as a Lower Elementary assistant. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in Elementary
Education and traveling across the country, she decided to head west to Arizona. Her immediate family, along with a change of environment, brought her to Phoenix. Outside of gaining her degree in education, Carie worked for six years as an assistant teacher in a Christian Daycare in Pennsylvania. She also held part-time positions in childcare throughout her college years. After experiencing Montessori for the first time at Khalsa and gaining a passion for the Montessori method she made the choice to become trained as a Montessori Lead Teacher. Carie has been a Lower Elementary Lead Teacher since 2004.
In her free time, Carie enjoys playing Taiko (Japanese drumming) and has been a member of the Phoenix Taiko dojo since 2001. She also enjoys reading and spending time outdoors hiking and camping.
Lower Elementary North Assistant
Angie joined Khalsa Montessori for the 2022-23 school year. She loves working with the students and enjoying her time assisting Ms. Carie in Lower Elementary. Prior to joining Khalsa, Angie worked with children in Pre-K and Kindergarten for over 25 years. She believes children thrive in a Montessori classroom and enjoys seeing it each and every day.
Lower Elementary South Lead Teacher
Laurie joined Khalsa Montessori School in 2019 as an elementary extended care assistant then transitioned as a lower elementary assistant teacher. After falling in love with the Montessori philosophy and wanting to learn more, she decided to become a trained Montessori educator. She completed a year-long training through the Arizona Montessori Teacher Education Program in June 2022. Aside from her accreditation in Montessori, she also has a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education from New Mexico State University and tutored students at Sylvan Learning Center for 8 years. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, listening to music, and reading inspirational books.
Lower Elementary South Assistant
Wendy was born in Mexico, but has spent most of her life here in Phoenix. She discovered Montessori when researching what school would be best for her oldest son, who was three at the time.
Wendy loves to spend time with her family, dog and bearded dragon.
Lower Elementary East Lead Teacher
Teaching is my calling. I joined Khalsa Montessori as Lead Teacher in the summer of 2020.
While born and raised in Sweden, I have spent most of my adult life in the U.S. My husband and I have made a home with our three children in ten different states over the span of three decades.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and later a teaching certificate in Elementary Education at Eastern Michigan University. I entered the education field after many years as a stay-at-home mom. My teaching experience includes elementary, middle school, and adult education.
Very proud to be a teacher and life-long learner, I have obtained Arizona teacher certification and a Montessori teacher certification by American Montessori Society. The road here was long, but I feel as though I was meant to be a Montessori teacher.
Besides teaching, I love healthy cooking, hiking, and visiting my three adult children who are spread out across the country. My special interests are language learning (French and Spanish) and children’s literature.
Each new year is brimming with exciting possibilities. I look forward to guiding our students in creating a beautiful community and exceptional learning experiences every day.
Lower Elementary East Assistant
Kaylyn joined Khalsa in October of 2021 as an assistant to Ms. Helen. Kaylyn is actively developing her educational career, working diligently to become an elementary school teacher. 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.
Upper Elementary Lead Teacher
Miss Renee has been at Khalsa Montessori for five years, and this year (2023) marks her second year as a Lead Teacher. Renee is a graduate of Arizona State University with a B.A. in Elementary Education, with a certificate in Environmental Education. She is coming to the conclusion of her Montessori certification program with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. A few of her favorite aspects of Montessori is the freedom it affords young learners, the life-long skills they learn during their early years, and the many ways that students can be creative with their learning. She especially enjoys reading and telling the impressionistic stories that enhance lessons. In her free time, Renee enjoys reading, going on long walks, planning vacations (real and far-off), and sewing. The greatest compliment she has ever received was when someone told her she reminded them of Elaine Benes.
Upper Elementary Lead Intern
Hello Upper El Families! My name is Ayeleth and I am excited to start a fresh, new year with our new and returning students. In addition to working as a classroom assistant, I will be trainging and working closely with Ms. Renee as a Lead Teacher Intern.
I am a first-generation college graduate, with a B.A. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. I have always wanted to work with children and love what I do! I am the oldest of seven children and enjoy talking about my siblings.
I look forward to the new opportunities that this school year will bring!
Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher
In 2023 Jenni graduated from ASU with a BA in Elementary Education and found Khalsa Montessori from a friend. Jenni is Navajo and her family are from North East Arizona. She has two cats whom she loves, Gibbs and Starbuck. Jenni’s hobbies are camping, fishing, reading, hiking, drawing, and shopping.
Elementary Extended Care Coordinator
Kate recently moved to Phoenix from San Rafael, California. She will support in Elementary Extended Care. She has over twenty years of experience assisting in Montessori primary and elementary classrooms.
Kate has traveled all over the country and actually did seasonal work at five of our National Parks including Grand Canyon, Denali and Yosemite before settling in the bay area to raise her family. She enjoys drawing, food and film!
Physical Education Teacher & Extended Care Assistant
Mark Dugan started at Khalsa Montessori Elementary School in the fall of 2007 as a substitute and as the elementary physical education teacher. Mark has been the van driver on many field trips and school outings. He has worked as a sub at all age levels and as an Elementary Assistant Teacher. He is currently the Elementary P.E. Instructor, Outdoor Environment Instructor and Elementary Gardening Instructor. As of 2022 the garden and sustainability program has a renewed focus on community service with Mark as the special project leader.
Mark worked at the Gentle Strength Co-op for several years; he has also worked for Life’s A Garden Organic Landscaping Company and the Green Goddess Nursery.
Dawn has served Khalsa since 2006, in various roles. She’s worked as a Classroom Assistant, Substitute, After Care Assistant, and as a Lead Teacher in Primary South and Transitional Kindergarten classrooms. Dawn has 6 years’ experience as a tutor for Sylvan Learning Center and a B.A. from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. A sincere love and appreciation for teaching, many years’ worth of knowledge and experience teaching reading, and a desire to serve the Khalsa community, Dawn is happy to be back at Khalsa.
Founder of the preschool Spanish immersion program curriculum, “Funny Sunny Spanish”, Belen has had the privilege of teaching and entertaining young children in the San Francisco and Phoenix areas for many years. She is grateful to have discovered this opportunity to combine her experience, love of children, and her abilities to create and interactive Spanish immersion program for students. Belen is orginally from Argentina.
Ms. Carissa was born and raised in the Midwest and began performing with her sisters in a family band at a young age. A classically trained violinist, violist, and pianist, she is also a bluegrass fiddle champion and Celtic fiddler. She is a self-taught guitarist and ukulele player, learning to play whilst traveling on the road, performing music for people on street corners, bus stations, subways, and cafes.
Ms. Carissa is a certified Suzuki instructor, studying pedagogy with Mr. Edward Kreitman, a student of the sensei, Dr. Suzuki. Ms. Carissa is a freelance performer. She has performed with professional and community orchestras, various ensembles, special events, piano accompanist, singer, and director of both sacred and secular choirs, as well as teaching in K-12 public, private, and charter schools as a string director, choir director, and general music teacher.