Our Programs

 
Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 26, 8:00 am

 

School closed.

No childcare available.

 

Escuela's teachers combine excellent training, strong academic qualifications and experience with warmth, openness, and a strong respect for children and their parents. Our lead teachers have their Montessori training through either the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the Association Montessori International (AMI).



Mr. Dahveed

Dahveed has a diverse and international portfolio of experience in arts education, curatorial and design work, and program development. In addition to his role as Arts & Language Educator for Escuela, Dahveed supports our Art & Sol, Art Camp and Art School programming.

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Mr. Seth

Junior Elementary East

Seth Stambaugh joined the Escuela community in the 2013-2014 school year, teaching with Ms. Savanah.  As a child he attended Montessori schools in Albuquerque and Corrales in both the primary and elementary programs.  Receiving his bachelor's degree in English from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, he continued on through the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, receiving his M.Ed in 2012 while working in public schools.  Continuing his education, he underwent Montessori Lower Elementary training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.

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Ms. Cristina

Elementary

Cristina Sessa has worked at Escuela since 1990.  She has a liberal arts degree in Early Childhood Development and is Lower El AMS certified.  Through the years she has been involved with Escuela's goal of excellence in teaching children; she strives to make sure that each child develops his own sense of discovery and love of learning.  Raised in the North Valley, Ms. Cristina is a native New Mexican.  Her hobbies include walking, biking, dancing, and spending time with her husband, dog, and family.

As of 2014, Ms. Cristina will be heading the CEI reading lab, giving personal academic support to all elementary children in their classrooms, and will also work in the Elementary Montessori Extended Day program from 3-5.  She is honored to be working with such talented staff and looks forward to working with your children!  “Cheers to a wonderful school year at Escuela!”

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Ms. Dana

Primary - Blue Room

Dana McCabe has been with Escuela since 1985 and is the school's Early Childhood Education coordinator. Ms. Dana holds a BA in Humanities as well as certification in both the Infant/Toddler (ages 0-3) and Primary (ages 3-6) levels from AMS. She brings her extensive Montessori experience into the classroom every day.  Her adult daughters attended Escuela as a toddlers, primary, and elementary students. She holds the belief that “the Montessori Method integrates a deep respect for each child's innate desire to learn through the unhurried calm of the prepared environment, the beauty of the Montessori materials, and a holistic approach to the child's development.”

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Ms. Diliana

Primary - Blue Room

Diliana Ovtcharova has been a part of the Escuela del Sol team since 2011.  She completed her primary training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in 2014 and continued on to pursue a Master's degree in Integrative Montessori Education.

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Ms. Elizabeth

Primary - Red Room

Ms. Elizabeth has been working at Escuela del Sol since 1986.  She has two grown children, both of whom attended Escuela del Sol starting in the Toddler Program and graduating from the Senior Elementary.  Ms. Elizabeth says her daughters have grown to be very creative, independent thinkers with a strong sense of community and responsibility which she attributes to being a part of the Escuela community.  Ms. Elizabeth also has two grandchildren.  The oldest is now attending a Montessori school and the other will attend when she is old enough.  “Montessori education has had a very positive influence on my family and I'm very thankful to Escuela for that.”

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Ms. Emily

Primary - White Room

Emily Schuyler has worked at Escuela Del Sol since 2003.  She holds a B.F.A. in Textile Design from the University of Kansas and received her AMI primary diploma in Perugia, Italy in 1999.  Ms. Emily is fluent in Spanish and has lived in Mexico and traveled extensively in Latin America.  She is the proud parent of two children.  Her daughter, Sofia, is an Escuela elementary student and her son, Sebastian, is an alumni of Escuela.  When she is not teaching, Emily enjoys making artwork in her Harwood studio, which she shares with her friend, co-teacher, and collaborator, Lisa Alessio.

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Ms. Gretchen

Primary - Red Room

Gretchen Vogelsberg has been teaching since January 1998 and joined Escuela in 2006.  She spent seven years working with Ms. Dana in the Blue Room before moving to the Red Room in 2013 to work with Ms. Elizabeth.  First gaining her AMS Infant-Toddler certification at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder (she, Elizabeth Marcilla, Ms. Monica, and Ms. Jill all first met that summer at MECR!), she later returned to her studies to earn Primary certification as well.  Just prior to Escuela, she worked two years in a traditional private school before returning to Montessori secure in the knowledge that this is where she truly belongs.  Gretchen has twin daughters (whom many of you know through their babysitting or their time spent volunteering and working at Escuela).  Rhian and Dylan attended Montessori schools in Maine and Albuquerque from ages three through fifth grade.  Gretchen also ‘moonlights’ in the office after school as a member of the administrative team.

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Ms. Inga

Senior Elementary

Inga Tomlinson found Montessori education in Seattle, Washington years ago.  This lead her to pursue her AMI Elementary certification at the Washington Montessori Institute in Columbia, Maryland as well as her Master’s in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore.  She made the move to Albuquerque and started her Escuela adventure in 2004.  Ms. Inga’s commitment to Montessori has evolved through rich experiences in many roles at Escuela.  She has guided children at the both the Junior and Senior Elementary levels, is the Elementary Program Coordinator, and enjoys facilitating faculty collaboration for growth in our program. Ms. Inga spent two years in administration, while her daughter was very young, developing programs such as parent education and working heavily in admissions. Recently, she led the school-wide effort to become the first school in New Mexico to be awarded accreditation by the American Montessori Society.  She is also the faculty liaison to Escuela’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Inga and her husband have two lovely Montessori children.  Connor graduated from Escuela in 2009 and Helene started in the Toddler Program in 2012.

“Montessori education is an effort that reaches far beyond education. On a large scale, it is a movement towards world peace.  There is no other way I could imagine spending my time.  I am blessed to be a part of the Escuela family and this worthy endeavor of raising deeply empathetic and innovative children.”

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Ms. Jill

Junior Elementary West

Jill McCallum has been a part of the Escuela community since 1998.  She began her journey as a Primary intern, later to become a Primary directress for five years.  In 2013 she began working with Ms. Molly in Junior Elementary West.  Ms. Jill received her B.S. in Fine Arts and her M.S. in psychology at the University of Kansas.  She received her A.M.S. Primary Montessori credentials in Colorado.  Her children, Maggie and Max, are in the elementary program here at Escuela. 

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Ms. Jolie

Toddler South

Jolie Tafoya has a long history with Escuela del Sol. One might say she grew up here, attending Escuela, from age 2 through Primary, while her mother was a teacher here. As a teen, Jolie worked in a variety of assistant positions until she moved to California. Jolie received her Infant/Toddler training at the San Francisco Bay Area Montessori Teacher Training Program, graduating in 2003. While in California she taught at Valley Montessori School in Livermore, working with infants and toddlers for eight years and with primary and middle school students for three years. After having a son in 2011, Jolie took a break from teaching to pursue a pharmacy technology degree. When she and her son moved back to Albuquerque, it was only natural to come home and back to the work she loves and does so well; it is a wonderful privilege to have Jolie return to the school as a trained Montessori Guide!

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Ms. Juli

Elementary - Garden Guide

Ms. Juli has been at Escuela del Sol, wearing different hats, since 2000. That year she attended the National Center for Montessori Education in White Rock, NM and she worked as an assistant teacher with Ms. Dana from 2000-2003. For the seven years prior to this, Ms. Juli worked primarily as a pre-school teacher; she also has experience with infants and toddlers and for two years worked as a assistant teacher in our Toddler Extended Day program. 

Starting in 2009, Ms. Juli became Escuela’s Garden Guide. In this role she creates and involves children in our Outdoor Classroom--for nature walks, lessons in practical life and care-giving, relaxation and celebration. The orchard, herb garden, habitat, vegetable boxes, landscapes, and chicken coop also provide materials and inspiration for scientific experiments and research, cooking, music, and art projects.  Ms. Juli majored in Soil Science at New Mexico State University and continued her studies at the Land Institute (Kansas) and the Permaculture Drylands Institute.  She is a trained Master Composter and is Escuela’s Resource Recovery Ranger (cheerleader for waste separation and recycling). Ms. Juli received a Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant in 2014 to fund the installation of a large-scale rainwater harvesting project to supplement irrigation of our vegetable boxes. 

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Ms. Lisa P.

Primary - Yellow Room

After graduating from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Environmental Conservation, Lisa Pearl began teaching environmental education and service learning in the summer months and skiing at Taos Ski Valley in the winter months.  Her passion for nature, adventure, and experiential learning led her to Montessori education.  Lisa came to Escuela in 2002 after finishing her AMI Montessori training for ages 3 - 6 at the Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD) in La Jolla, California.  Since that time Lisa has taught and supported Escuela students from Primary through Senior Elementary.  She is thrilled to be back in the Yellow Room as the lead teacher, where she began her Journey at Escuela over a decade ago.

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Ms. Molly

Junior Elementary West

Molly Nanabah Heavilin-Dobrian was born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in the northeast corner of Arizona on the Navajo Nation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College in Medical Anthropology in 2006. She then completed Wellesley’s post-baccalaureate Teacher Education Program in 2007. Ms. Molly started off in Montessori education as an assistant at the primary level in Natick, MA. She moved to Albuquerque in the spring of 2007 where she joined Escuela del Sol as a substitute before taking her Montessori training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, CO in 2007. She recently completed her Master’s in Elementary Education at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Molly is married and has two kids, Myles and Elise, both currently elementary students at Escuela. She has three dogs, a cat, and a beta fish and loves to garden, hike, and ride bikes with her family. 

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Ms. Monica

Toddler North

A native New Mexican, Monica Chavez first gained toddler certification in 1986 at the Pacific Coast Montessori Training Institution in San Francisco.  In 1999, she earned AMS Infant/Toddler credentials through MECR in Boulder, CO.  Monica has two children, both Montessori kids (16 years apart - wow!).  She has been with Escuela since 2005 and is looking forward to many more years!!!  Monica feels a strong connection with the Harwood Art Center as her great aunt and grandmother both attended in the late 1920’s when it was the Harwood Girls’ School.  She is a grandmother of two beautiful babies, Azalea and Cassiel.  In her spare time, Monica enjoys dancing with the Festival Ballet Company of Albuquerque and also teaches ballet to children at the Ballet Theater of the Southwest.

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Ms. Rita

Toddler North

Rita Francois has been teaching in the Toddler Program at Escuela since 1999.  She has an Early Childhood associate degree from NMSU, is married to a retired member of the U.S. Air Force, and has two grown children. Her daughter Jennifer is stationed at an Air Force base in Germany and her son, Jamaine, lives here in ABQ.  She is the proud grandmother of six grandchildren and feels blessed to call Escuela her family.

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Ms. Savanah

Junior Elementary East

Savanah Cooper has been a member of the Escuela team since 2009 and has been working in the Montessori environment since 2005. She received her bachelor's degree in Education from The University of New Mexico. She received her Lower Elementary certification from The Houston Montessori Center under Dr. Betsy Coe and her Upper Elementary training from The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado.

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Ms. Shardae

Primary - Yellow Room

Shardae LeDouix has been with Escuela since 2011 working with the Primary children. Shardae received her bachelor's degree in Family studies and Psychology from the University of New Mexico.

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Ms. Tanesia

Senior Elementary

Tanesia R. Hale-Jones has been working at Escuela since 2007.  She holds an AMS diploma for Elementary 6-12.  She is also a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans where she earned her B.A. in English Literature/Creative Writing and San Francisco State University where she earned a MFA in poetry. She is currently teaching in Senior Elementary and is a parent of a Montessori elementary student. A local of Albuquerque, she enjoys the outdoors and supporting the arts.

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Ms. Vashti

Vashti M. McCulley is the Director of Youth Arts and Education for Escuela del Sol and the Harwood Art Center. She is a visual and teaching artist with teaching and arts program development experience in schools, cultural institutions, and community centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and here in Albuquerque.  She designs curriculum and teaches in the Escuela del Sol Elementary Art Program, and directs the Art & Sol Afterschool Creativity Workshops, the Harwood Summer Art Programs and is a collaborator on the Harwood Art School and Creative Roots programming.  She works to create learning environments that foster creativity, literacy, self-esteem, imagination skills, and community.

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Music Program - Ms. Cathy

Escuela Music Program

Cathy Suding is the director and creative energy behind Escuela's Primary and Elementary music programs.  Ms. Cathy received her BM from Butler University and her MM from the University of Illinois. She came to the Escuela community in 2002 after 19 years teaching in International Schools in Belgium, Japan, Venezuela, and Poland.  Her first experience with Montessori education was in Tokyo, where she taught music classes to her daughters and their classmates in a primary Montessori setting at a school headed by Spanish nuns with Montessori-trained teachers from Ireland.  Like the international administration and faculty, the children were not only from the host country, Japan, but also from many other different countries.  "From all of my experiences in international schools, both as a teacher and a mother, I found that there is a common thread connecting the children and music of our world. It is my lucky fate to be part of the spinning of this thread as I join the children of Escuela in their musical development."

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1114 Seventh St. NW   Albuquerque, NM 87102   505.242.3033   email us
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