Faculty & Staff

At SAMS, the faculty are nurturing, caring and professional. The lead teachers hold Bachelors degrees, Montessori Teacher credentials, CPR and First Certifications, and participate in professional development to further their education and teaching experience.

Michele King

Michele King
Head of School
michele@samontessori.com
View Profile

"SAMS is a magical place. A place where children are free to learn and grow in a loving, supportive environment."

- Michele King

Michele King

Michele King

Title: Head of School

Pronouns: She/Her

Contact Information:

michele@samontessori.com

Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Prescott College
  • American Montessori Society (AMS) Early Childhood Teaching Credential, Montessori Teacher Education Center San Francisco Bay Area

Professional Development:

  • The Exploration through Couragous Conversation Academy, Couragous Conversation
  • Introduction to Anti-Bias Education, Trillium Montessori
  • Positive Discipline, American Montessori Society
  • How To Have Difficult Conversations with Parents, American Montessori Society
  • What are your school’s “New Year” Resolutions, The Montessori Foundation
  • CPR/First Aid Certified, American Red Cross

At SAMS since: 1997

What do you love most about SAMS?

SAMS is truly a magical place. It is a place where children learn not only academically but social and emotionally. SAMS is a little bubble of joy and happiness.

What are your hobbies?

When I am not at SAMS, you can find me trail running or hiking outside. I also enjoy the Barre method, Tabata, and spending time with my family and friends.

What's your favorite children’s book?

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater. This book has been my favorite since I was a child. It highlights the value of being true to oneself and not conforming to please others.

Amy Goldman

Amy GoldmanKindergarten/Lead Teacher
amy@samontessori.com
View Profile

Amy Goldman

Amy Goldman

Title: Kindergarten Teacher

Pronouns: She/Her

Contact Information:

amy@samontessori.com

Degrees:

  • Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Credential, Maria Montessori School of the Golden Gate, Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Management / Minor in Anthropology, Ithaca College

Professional Development:

  • The Exploration through Couragous Conversation Academy, Couragous Conversation
  • How To Have Difficult Conversations with Parents, American Montessori Society
  • Emergent Reader Workshop, American Montessori Society
  • CPR/First Aid Certified, American Red Cross

At SAMS since: 2005-2010 and 2019-Present

What do you love most about SAMS?

SAMS is such a special school. I have sweet memories of the time that my daughter, Morgan, spent at SAMS. I also have many wonderful memories of my own from my years teaching at SAMS. I enjoy the children, the families, the teachers, the beautiful setting, and the Montessori philosophy that is infused into everything at the school.

What are your hobbies?

In my personal time, I enjoy playing guitar, live music, art and DIY projects, gardening, building/designing, swimming, cooking/baking, and spending time with my animals.

What's your favorite children’s book?

Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. I love most of the books by Dr. Seuss, but this is my all time favorite. It appeals to adults and children alike, and has a great message.

Heidi Newell

Heidi Newell Lead/Afternoon Program Teacher
Heidi@samontessori.com
View Profile

Heidi Newell

Title: Head Teacher/Afternoon Program Teacher

Pronouns: She/Her

Contact Information:

Email : Heidi@samontessori.com

Degrees:

  • American Montessori Internationale (AMI) Early Childhood Teaching Credential, Montessori Northwest
  • Masters Degree in Industrial Design
  • Bachelor of Arts Women's Studies, Smith College

Professional Development:

  • Unlocking LIteracy, the Science of Reading, Montessori Northwest
  • Year abroad at Oxford University
  • Sabbatical at Mont Blanc Montessori
  • CPR/First Aid Certified, American Red Cross

At SAMS since: 2023

What do you love most about SAMS?

SAMS is a beautiful, healthy, comprehensive learning environment for children to develop into their most authentic selves.

What are your hobbies?

I like mountain sports, wanderlusting and cooking

What's your favourite children’s book?

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Sherie Shughart

Sherie ShughartBusiness Manager
sherie@samontessori.com
View Profile

sherie

Sherie Shughart

Title: Business Manager

Pronouns: she/her

Contact Information:

sherie@samontessori.com

At SAMS since: 1988

What do you love most about SAMS?

I love that SAMS is a special part of my life, not just a job. Working in a beautiful, clean, lively, orderly and welcoming environment is something I greatly appreciate. The best part is the camaraderie of the staff and the joyfulness of the children.

What are your hobbies?

Many of the things I enjoy away from SAMS are outdoors. Whether it be playing tennis, pickleball or swimming I love being outside. As a child my grandmother would hit tennis balls with me, I didn’t realize then that I would love tennis as much as I do now and it has gone full circle as I share tennis with my grandchildren.

What's your favorite children’s book?

My favorite children’s book as a child was The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Now as a grandmother one of my favorites is Bella’s Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde. Such a sweet story about love, adventure, and growth.

Maitland Ianiri

Maitland Ianiri Garden Teacher
Maitland@samontessori.com
View Profile

Maitland Ianiri

Maitland Ianiri

Title: Garden Teacher

Pronouns: He/Him

Contact Information:

Email: maitland@samontessori.com

Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of New Hampshire
  • Early Childhood Education- 12 units., Theoria Technical College.

Professional Development:

  • The Exploration through Couragous Conversation Academy, Couragous Conversation
  • National Association of Interpretation Certification, National Association of Interpretation.
  • CPR/First Aid Certification, American Red Cross

At SAMS since: 2021

What do you love most about SAMS?

I love getting to work in our beautiful outdoor garden space and having the opportunity to share that with the children. It is such a magical environment where I get to see their excitement, wonder, and joy for the world. I am so grateful to be a part of this very special community where I get to watch the children grow.

What are your hobbies?

Much of my time outside of the classroom includes hiking, dancing, traveling, music, snowboarding, and cooking.

What's your favourite children’s book?

One of my favourite children’s books is I am Peace by Susan Verde. I love the message, illustrations and seeing how children respond to hearing the story.

Rita Valerie

Rita ValerieTeacher's Assistant
Rita@samontessori.com
View Profile

Rita Valerie

Rita Chenbod

Title: Teacher's Assistant

Pronouns: She/her

Contact Information:

Email : Rita@samontessori.com

Degrees:

  • Early Childhood Education-12 units, Santa Rosa Junior College

Professional Development:

  • The Exploration through Couragous Conversation Academy, Couragous Conversation

At SAMS since: 2021

What do you love most about SAMS?

What I love most about SAMS is its recognizable passion and purpose shown through the drive of inspiration and discovery within our children.

What are your hobbies?

My favorite hobbies include spending time with my kitten, hiking, painting/drawing as well as exploring different art mediums, and making my own holistic skin and hair care.

What's your favorite children's book?

My favorite children's book would be Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman and Dr. Suess. It was definitely my go-to read as a child.