Administration


Karen Paxton

Director / KMS Board of Directors, President

Karen Paxton is the  Director of Khalsa Montessori School. As the Director she is responsible for the Toddler, Primary, and Elementary programs at all three campuses. She manages the operations and staff in conjunction with one administrative staff member. She has been on the Board of Directors for over ten years.

She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College in 1977 and worked as a VISTA volunteer before moving to Arizona in 1979. She worked in the medical field and administered a multi-site primary care practice for eleven years. She has completed graduate courses in business and education. In 2002, Karen completed her AMS certification as a Montessori Middle School teacher at the Houston Montessori Center. She taught middle school students for five years at Khalsa Montessori School.

Karen has been a familiar face around Khalsa School since the early 1980s. She began as a young parent, PTO Board member, and finally a staff member, substituting at every campus in the Khalsa School system in the 1990s. Her three daughters have all graduated from Khalsa School. In addition to her role at Khalsa School, she enjoys gardening, cooking, yoga, and meditation. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher.

Keerat Giordano

Education Director & SPED Coordinator / KMS Board of Directors, Secretary

Keerat Giordano is the Education Director of the Khalsa Montessori School. She is the Secretary of the KMES and KMPS Board of Directors, having served as a member for the last 8 years. With the Khalsa Administrative team, she is responsible for the operation and management of the school. Due to her interest in the Montessori philosophy, she also oversees educational decisions with input from the teaching team.

Keerat joined Khalsa School in October 2000 assisting in the Lower Elementary classroom and working with students of all age groups ranging from primary to middle school. In the spring of 2001, Keerat joined Jaswant Kaur Khalsa as her Upper Elementary assistant and she subsequently assumed responsibility as Upper Elementary Lead Teacher. Since 2010, she has been part of the Administrative team. She served as the Assistant Director and then the Co-Director of the school.

Keerat has a Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India, and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Connecticut. Keerat completed her Montessori Assistant training through the Arizona Consortium of Montessori Charter Schools. She completed her lower and upper elementary Montessori training in 2004 through CMTE/NY.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, experiencing various cultures, learning German, and now seeing human development unfold, firsthand, through her daughter.

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.

Susan Duffield

 Finance Manager

Susan joined the Administration team in August 2010.  She has a strong customer service/Administration background. She spent over twelve years with Holiday Inn Worldwide as an Operations Manager. She spent several years in the retail industry – learning and performing all related functions. In 2006, her children enrolled in a charter school. Here began her journey into the world of education. Susan quickly became a member of the Office Administration serving as the Assessment Director and Administrative Assistant for a school serving over 500 students grades K-9. Susan is very familiar with the multi-faceted aspects of managing a charter school and providing an outstanding educational experience for students.

Susan moved to Phoenix in August 2009. She enjoys a life of learning; from Business Administration at the University of Utah, a Massage Therapist License from the Utah College of Massage Therapy, becoming a professional feng shui practitioner to learning how to help those around her organize their life. Susan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Together they enjoy exploring Arizona, swimming in the backyard, and hiking in the desert. She also enjoys reading and playing with paint.

Amanda Lavender

Administrative Assistant

Amanda first began working at Khalsa in the summer of 2017. After working in the front office as the Elementary school secretary for six months, they moved upstairs as the Administrative Assistant. They are primarily responsible for facilitating communications Khalsa and assisting in functions related to the charter. Amanda was born and raised in Phoenix and studied traditional and digital art at Glendale Community College. Amanda enjoys supportive roles within a community that serves a greater cause. They love cats, and in their spare time, they enjoy drawing, sewing, and playing electric bass.

Kira Froehlich

Elementary School Site Coordinator

Kira joined Khalsa in March of 2019. She enjoys experiencing other cultures through music, food, and art. She is passionate about all wildlife conservation but is particularly passionate about herpetofauna and invertebrates. In her spare time, she enjoys creating art and spending time with her dogs. On long weekends she can often be found camping or kayaking with her partner.

Dawn Scheurn

Toddler & Middle School Site Coordinator

Dawn first joined Khalsa in 2009 as the Elementary Secretary until 2014.  She returned for the 2019-20 school year as the Middle School/Toddler Secretary at the new 303 Palm Lane campus.  She is very excited to be part of the first year of Khalsa Middle School!  Dawn is originally from Colorado but has lived in Arizona for 50 years with the past 27 years in Cave Creek.  In her spare time, she loves to hike, travel, attend art festivals, movies, concerts and spend time with family which includes her 2 teenage granddaughters.  She is also making plans for a trip to Italy which is #1 on her bucket list!

Heather Kimbell

Primary School Site Coordinator

Heather joined Khalsa Primary School in April 2018 as the Primary Onsite Coordinator. Married for 28 years, she is the mother of 4 and grandmother of 1. Heather is pleased to be working with young children again in an administrative support capacity.

In her spare time, Heather enjoys being part of the Phoenix storytelling and theatrical communities. She recently took up square dancing and kayaking and hopes to add an artistic endeavor such as painting or pottery to her future.

Jayne Shaw

Special Education Director