Faculty

Teacher Excellence

The Montessori teacher functions as a guide, role model, demonstrator, record keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. Like the teacher’s students, the teacher is an active and curious learner. The Montessori teacher showcases a delight in continual inquiry and growth, with a respect for each child’s unique learning styles and interests. It is the Montessori teacher who prepares the active, developmentally appropriate learning environment furnished with specially designed materials where students explore, discover, and experience the joy of learning.

The Montessori teacher goes through a comprehensive course of study of approximately 1,200 hours of instruction to prepare them to be a highly skilled, highly qualified Montessori teacher. Teachers must demonstrate their ability to create Montessori materials for all subjects and participate in classroom observations and supervised teaching.

In the last year, student teachers complete a teaching practicum in which they intern as a teacher with a certified Montessori facility. A Montessori Lead Teacher (Directress) must have a Bachelor’s Degree, have State mandated teaching credentials, plus Montessori credentials.

Assistant Teachers must have their High School Diploma and additional training. Instructional Coordinators must have a Masters Degree, teaching experience, and Montessori certification.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to create a positive energy in a non-threatening environment, have the ability to relinquish control and instead empower children to build themselves day after day. Turtle River Montessori takes pride in our highly qualified Lead Teachers and Assistant Teachers with a broad range of backgrounds, and we are fortunate to have them as part of the Turtle River family.

JR. HIGH SCHOOL / POINCIANA

Brigit Capaldi

Integrated Studies

UPPER ELEMENTARY GRADES 4TH – 6TH

Sarah Dixon

Cypress Co-Teacher

Jazly Pizzuti

Cedar Co-Teacher

Brianna Vice

Cypress Co-Teacher

Morgan Alonzo

Cedar Co-Teacher

LOWER ELEMENTARY GRADES 1ST – 3RD

Christie Escoto

Banyan Co- Teacher

Lynne Avvenire

Mangrove Lead Teacher

Christina Johnson

Magnolia Lead Teacher

Sohni Usman

Banyan Co-Teacher

Joanna Thatcher

Mangrove Assistant Teacher

Mila Ilincic

Magnolia Assistant Teacher

Kathleen Barbosa

Banyan Assistant Teacher

PRIMARY 3 – 6 YRS

Alex Badalamenti

Maple Co-Teacher

Nicole Del Vecchio

Oak Co-Teacher

Monique Roy Whitcomb

Pine Teacher

Vicky Bouvier Gardini

Willow Co-Teacher

Adrianna Goodale

 Maple Co-Teacher

Griselda Serrano

Oak Co-Teacher

Mariana Saiz

Pine Teacher

Brianna MacLeod

Willow Co-Teacher

Maria Vergara-Flores

 Maple Assistant Teacher

Alana Hessinger

Willow Assistant Teacher

PRE-PRIMARY 18 MOS-3 YRS

Samantha Salerno

Blossoms Lead Teacher

Nicole Brady-Murray

Saplings Lead Teacher

Courtney Reed

Seedlings Lead Teacher

Ana- Nicole Valdes

Sprouts Lead Teacher

Joanna Bair

Blossoms Assistant Teacher

Melissa Arango

Saplings Assistant Teacher

Amie Miller

Seedlings Assistant Teacher

Amanda Steigerwald

Sprouts Assistant Teacher

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Media

Sarah Jane Avvenire

West Campus Media Specialist

Library

Sylvana Hernandez

Library East Campus

Reading

Sara Medina

Reading Specialist

Foreign Language

Veronica Fiz

Lower El. Spanish Teacher

Art and Spanish

Emily Vredevelt

Art 1st – 3rd

Spanish 4th – 8th 

Science/STEM

Emily Howard 

Science 4th – 8th

STEM 1st – 3rd

Music/Band

Jill Carbone

West Campus Music/Band Teacher