Marcella Horton, classroom aide
Ms. Freer first encountered Montessori education as a primary student in Wisconsin. The experience had a lasting impression on her and she ended up completing a Master’s degree in Education from Loyola University of Maryland as well as an AMI Certification in the spring of 2012. Before moving to the area,Ms. Freer received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture. Outside the classroom, Ms. Freer enjoys spending her time exploring the outdoors, gardening, cooking and visiting with her family!
Ms. Kaufman has been teaching Primary Montessori for fifteen years (ten years at Watkins). She trained at the Association Montessori Internationale-affiliated Montessori Institute Northwest in Oregon and received her Master of Education degree from Loyola University in Maryland, in conjunction with her AMI diploma. She began her teaching career in a private school in Portland, but was thrilled to discover, after moving to Washington, that the DC Public Schools offered Montessori in some of its schools. Ms. Kaufman served on Chancellor Rhee’s Teachers Cabinet during the 2009-2010 SY.
Ms. Kaufman had always wanted to be a teacher and when she stumbled upon Montessori, she knew that she had found an educational philosophy and method that made sense and really spoke to her. One of her favorite aspects of classroom life is watching her students’ excitement over learning from the Montessori materials and from each other. She recognizes how essential it is to give children the freedom to discover and develop at their own pace and to experience success and independence in a loving, supportive environment.
Ms. Kaufman appreciates the support and dedication of the families in the Watkins Montessori Program. She is proud of the authenticity of the Montessori program and enjoys working with her teammates. But most of all she loves working with her students and watching them grow and develop over the years.
Outside of school, Ms. Kaufman likes to snuggle with her cat, Lacey, while reading or doing a crossword puzzle. She also enjoys listening to music and knitting.
Yadira Adams, classroom aide
Ms. Lee has been teaching for 5 years (3 years at Watkins). She attended the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) Primary Training Program at Loyola University (an AMI accredited training program). Ms. Lee is known as the “techie” of the Montessori teaching team.
Why did she choose Montessori? Ms. Lee says, “I always knew I wanted to go into teaching but was unsure of the age group, subject matter, etc. During my undergrad studies, my closest mentor/professor highly suggested I look into Montessori as she was a huge fan of Maria Montessori and had integrated Montessori Education into her doctorate studies. After her strong recommendation, I studied up on who and what Montessori Education involved and fell in love with the philosophy and practices. Shortly after, I applied and was accepted into the WMI training program after graduating from university.” Ms. Lee shares, “my favorite part of what I do as a Montessori directress is to see the inner spirit and needs of a child being displayed at any given moment. When we take a step back and allow the child to discover for him/herself, we are empowering the child, letting the inner workings being fully displayed for everyone to plainly see. And this is done without prodding, questioning, or being “put on the spot”…just simply letting the natural environment in the classroom and materials call out to the child to discover, explore, and thus learn.”
Having the music gene in her family, Ms. Lee grew up playing the piano, flute, guitar, sang in choirs, and enjoys every genre of music from classical to country. She also enjoys participating in and watching all sporting events from volleyball to golf! She enjoys photography and currently learning how to work magic in Photoshop. Ms. Lee also loves to bake, yum!
Shayla Powell, classroom aide