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Staff Bios – EII

Laura Alexander
I followed my children into Montessori. When I toured and saw the brilliance of the materials, I was hooked. That is where my journey began. I have sought to continue learning and growing in all things Montessori.
BS, University of CO, Boulder

Nikki Conyers
I was a Montessori student myself in my early childhood years and have many fond memories of loving school and learning. As a college student, I took a job as an assistant in an Elementary I classroom which led me to seek my Elementary credentials after graduating with my BA in Psychology and Communication.
Master's Degree in Education, St. Catherine University

Suzanne Diekman
I was led to Montessori during my elementary teacher training, and also in trying to find a school that matched my values for my daughters. I love the core values of Montessori as well as the hands-on approach, respect of the child, peace curriculum, and fostering of responsibility and independence. I started my Montessori career as an assistant in the primary classroom and sought my certification in elementary I, this led me further on to elementary II where I currently teach. The most important learning experiences for me are how to honor the child, trust the child, and teach the whole child. This begins with an inner transformation of the adult first! One of my favorite quotes from Maria Montessori is the following: “The first essential is that the teacher should go through an inner, spiritual preparation – cultivate certain aptitudes in the moral order. This is the most
difficult part of her training, without which all the rest is of no avail… She must study how to purify her heart and render it burning with charity towards the child. She must “put on humility.” And above all, learn how to serve. She must learn how to appreciate and gather in all those tiny and delicate manifestations of the opening life in the child’s soul. Ability to do this can only be attained through a genuine effort towards self-perfection,” (Standing, 1957, p 298).
BS in Education, Grand Canyon University

Betsy Lockhart
Betsy followed her son into Montessori when he was a toddler. Seeing how the school nurtured his independence and self-confidence opened her eyes to what a difference Montessori could make in the formation of a child. Having spent a decade working as a Geophysical Engineer, she was fascinated by the precision, beauty, and order of the classrooms (something she was unable to replicate at home!). After the birth of her daughter, she began exploring Montessori teacher training, and shortly thereafter enrolled in the very first cohort of Elementary students at MECR.

Betsy worked as a lower elementary assistant for a year and then moved to Montessori School of Evergreen, where she taught upper elementary for a decade. After a short time in the classroom, she was invited to teach earth science for the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland (the parent training program when MECR-Elementary began). When the E-II program started at MECR, she taught E-II Science as well as Curriculum Design/Material Making at the E-I level. After a short time, she became a Field Consultant and then the Elementary Coordinator. At various times she has taught E I-II Classroom Leadership, E-II Language, Geometry II, and Math II. Her current obsession is linking contemporary research on the neuroscience of learning to the Montessori Method.

"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his
imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core." Maria Montessori
BS Geophysical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Dakota Prosch
Dakota started teaching in 2000 with Teach for America in the Chicago Public Schools. After 8 years, she learned of Montessori and got her training at Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. After 5 years at Near North Montessori, she returned to the public schools of Chicago and enjoyed the satisfaction of high fidelity Montessori in the public sector. She has worked for 5 years at a Dual Language Montessori School in Denver, and teaches in Spanish as well. She is a trained SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) leader and has facilitated conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward social justice. She completed the Montessori Coaches Training with NCMPS in 2020 and loves talking with teachers about Montessori practices in their classrooms.
Masters in Education, National-Louis University

Diana Visser
Montessori Education has always been a passion of mine. I am a third-generation Montessorian; my mother and grandmother were both Montessori primary teachers and I attended Montessori Primary, so I have very deep roots in the philosophy and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori. After I completed my M.A. in Elementary Education, I taught Kindergarten for 12 years in traditional school. When my daughter was Kindergarten age, we registered her for Montessori school and I thought, "This is what I know! I need to get back to thriving in a Montessori environment!" Soon after, I completed my Montessori Elementary I-II credential from The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder. I joined the faculty at MECR in 2018 teaching History. During the school year, you can find me teaching Upper Elementary at DCS Montessori Charter in Castle Pines, Colorado. I embrace every opportunity to stay connected to the greater Montessori community and advance the work we are doing with children in the world.
M.A. Elementary Education, University of Phoenix

Janel Wade
Freedom within limits defines a key component of the Montessori realm for me. I came from a public education background but I was fascinated and drawn by the choice given to children both in academics and in how they learned to behave within their environment. I started as an assistant working in ‘aftercare’ while in my last year of high school. By that time, I was hooked and just couldn’t leave this wonderful philosophy which was designed to nurture the whole child. In Montessori philosophy, I found the nurturing, guidance and choice that I myself needed as I grew to adulthood. After earning my degree, I taught both lower and upper elementary classes before eventually fostering and adopting my son. I have recently specialized in forming inclusive support strategies for unique learners in the Montessori classroom. I now enjoy sharing my passion for Montessori with adults who are new to this ‘freedom within limits’ philosophy.
Masters of Arts in Teaching, Metropolitan State University