Where a love of learning grows.
860.388.3536

Faculty & Staff

Administrative Team

Marci MartindaleMarci Martindale

Head of School

Accreditations:  AMS, AMI, NMI, CMTE, MACTE, Nation Network of Montessori Advocacy

Marci Martindale founded CTMS over 20 years ago, out of her home, with the goal in mind to provide an alternative educationally based option for preschool age children. Marci’s dreams have come true with the expansion into our new facility and formation of an elementary program. After the birth of her first daughter she discovered the Montessori Method of teaching. She went back to school and became a certified teacher for the preschool and elementary aged students, holding Montessori Teaching certificates for 3-12 yr olds.  Marci continues to attend classes and trainings to expand her knowledge and help to support the staff and families at CTMS.  She is a certified facilitator of  Positive Discipline Workshops for teachers and parents.  She enjoys a good book, a cup of tea, cooking, dancing, shopping and spending time with family. 

Email: Marci
Phone: (860) 388-3536

Nicole AtwoodNicole Atwood

Administrative Assistant

Nicole worked in retail as an Assistant Manager for six years before becoming a full time Mom to her three children.  She joined the CTMS staff in 2008 as our art teacher and has continued to be involved at CTMS as a parent. In 2011 she became our full time Administrative Assistant. Though Nicole’s passion and education is in interior design, she has discovered a new love in the Montessori Method. Over the summer of 2012 Nicole is certified as a Montessori Teacher Assistant as well as a Teacher Trainer for Positive Discipline. She enjoys hiking, skiing, camping, boating, reading and spending time with her family.
Email: Nicole
Phone: (860) 388-3536

Judy Chappell

Bookkeeper

Judy Chappell resides in Westbrook, CT with her husband Bruce and beloved dogs Fiona and Butch.  As Marci’s mother she has been the bookkeeper for The Children’s Tree since it’s beginning.  Judy has a business degree with a focus on accounting.  When she retired she decided to pursue a more peaceful career and became a licensed medical massage therapist. She currently owns and operates A Therapeutic Touch in Westbrook. She enjoys boating, gardening and reading in her spare time.

 

 

Teaching Team: Toddler Community

Caila Martindale

Caila Martindale

Toddler Teacher

Caila has been part of CTMS since its conception.  She was a Montessori student here through 6th grade, and fell in love with the Montessori philosophy.  Caila continued to work and volunteer at CTMS through highschool and college.  After graduating college with a degree in animal sciences, she came back to CTMS inspiring our youngest students. Caila  is now pursuing an additional degree in early childhood education as well as her Montessori Certification through Xavier University.   During her free time, she plays with her chihuahua, Chewy, loves art, the beach, and dabbles in photography. Email: Caila

Yoonju Um

Yoonju Um

Toddler Teacher

As a South-Korean native, Yoonju got her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and the Master’s degree in Communication. After many years of working in Korea as a TV producer, an educational film producer, and an IT marketing account executive, she moved to the U.S. to settle down with her husband. While she was raising her two boys, she was highly attracted to child education, which drove her to become a certified Music Together teacher. As a CTMS mom, she was very impressed by the Montessori method and teachers, which lead her to work in our toddler program. During the summer of 2016, Yoonju began her Montessori Certification through Xavier University.  During her free time, she enjoys playing piano, reading books, singing, baking, and handcrafting with her boys.
Email: Yoonju

Teaching Team: The Children’s House 3-6 year olds

Pam GozziPam Gozzi

Primary Teacher

Accreditations:  NMI, CMTE

Pamela Gozzi started with The Children’s Tree in 2005 as an assistant teacher. Pam is a busy wife and mother of two children who lives in Westbrook, CT.  She owned her own dance studio for several years that specialized in preschool and elementary aged children, she also ran a decorating company with her sister.  After being introduced to the philosophy of Montessori learning she was thrilled to be able to work at the Children’s Tree. Pam has been training at CTMS each year and has completed the advanced assistant primary teacher training at the Center for Montessori Education. Email: Pam

BethanyBethany Kanfer

Primary Teacher, French Teacher

Bethany is a Waterford native. She studied French, Latin, and Education at Wheaton College, which is where she first began to fall in love with the Montessori philosophy. This interest was continued when she moved to Flagstaff, AZ after graduating, and worked as an Assistant in a small Montessori school.  When moving back to CT, Bethany worked as a nanny and Montessori Assistant.  She was inspired during the 2015 school year to obtain her Montessori Certification through Gordon College in Newton MA.  In her free time, she loves knitting, crocheting, cuddling with her cats, sewing, and baking. Email: Bethany

Meredith HugMeredith Hug

Primary Teacher

Meredith Hug is very excited about beginning her first year at Children’s Tree. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Gordon College in 2015 in Early Childhood Education and Psychology and this summer began training as a Montessori teacher at NEMTEC. She has experience working with children of all ages both in formal and informal setting; babysitting, as a camp counselor, nanny, student teaching and as a toddler teacher. Her favorite thing about teaching is watching her students change and grow in all aspects of their lives each week, month, and year. Seeing a child at the end of the year and knowing how far they have come and how hard they have worked is more of a reward than she could ever ask for. In Meredith’s free time she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with my friends and family. Email: MeredithH

ashleyAshley Dion

Primary Teacher

Accreditations:  AMS, NMI,  MACTE

Ashley will be returning to class after the winter break and is excited to rejoin our elementary group.  Ashley graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in 2008 with a BA in Child Development, majoring in Early Childhood. From 2005-2008 Ashley worked in NH teaching and assisting in classrooms from Pre-k to 3rd grade. In 2010 Ashley joined our teaching team and attended the Advanced Assistant Training at North East. She went on to received her Montessori Primary certification in 2012.  Ashley grew up in Chester, CT where she sat on the Board of Education. She graduated from Mercy High School, enjoys spending time with her husband James and daughter Audrey, hiking, dog sledding, tea, and curling up with a good book. Email: Ashley

Elementary Environment: 6-12 Years Old

Marci MartindaleMarci Martindale

Accreditations:  AMS, AMI, NMI, CMTE, MACTE, Nation Network of Montessori Advocacy

After the birth of her first daughter , Marci discovered the Montessori Method of teaching. She went back to school and became a certified teacher for the preschool and elementary aged students, holding Montessori Teaching certificates for 3-12 yr olds.  Marci continues to attend classes and trainings to expand her knowledge and help to support the staff and families at CTMS.  She is a certified facilitator of  Positive Discipline Workshops for teachers and parents.  She enjoys a good book, a cup of tea, cooking, dancing, shopping and spending time with family. 

Email: Marci
Phone: (860) 388-3536

Teaching Team: Enrichment

Jen-TaylorJen Taylor

Circus Arts and Yoga

Om-Fly is Jen Taylor’s unique and innovative approach to teaching dance, yoga and mind/body mindfulness to children & adults in a focused but relaxed manner.  As a dancer, yoga instructor, teacher and philosopher, Jen approaches teaching the art of body movement and mindful creativity from a rich diversity of traditions and perspectives. Trained in creative movement play, tumbling, trapeze and acrobatics, as well as African dance and improvisation, Jen helps children and adults discover their native inner bodily wisdom and youthful flexibility through interactive and imaginative exercises and games. More information on her can be found at omfly.orgEmail: Jen T

Jessica Nevins

Music

Jessica, enters her 20th year with Music Together. She has a long musical life that started by dancing in her father’s arms. Voice is her primary instrument. Jessica studied at Conservatorio Cherubini in Florence, Italy and at Boston Conservatory. She has sung around the world. Jessica has an eclectic performance background but feels most in tune sitting in a circle, making music with families that didn’t know they could. Music Together classes build on your child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement.  Music and movement activities engage every part of your child’s development; cognitive, social, emotional, motor, language. Jessica has generously created a parent discount code, CTMS, which you can use when signing up for family classes which will give you $20 off enrollment at musictogetherct.com

BrigittaBrigitta Jansen

Music

A native German speaker, Brigitta obtained her BS at University College London. Her lifelong love of music led her to additional studies in Music followed by work as a recording and performing artist. After moving to the US, she worked as a web designer and project manager in web application development and later digital marketing. Aside from Montessori, her passions include food, health and sustainable agriculture. She is currently completing her Masters in Human Nutrition.

Jennie Esty

Fiber Arts

Jennie has a BS in Chemical Engineering, an MS in Environmental Education, and several CT teaching certificates. She taught Middle School, High School and College classes for 9 years before having children.  Jennie currently teaches adult learners for the Norwich Department of Education.  Jennie is thrilled to have her children at CTMS and hopes to help other children have a wonderful experience, too. She enjoys gardening, cooking, sewing, needlework of many kinds, and going to the beach with the kids.

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