IMS classrooms are staffed by a dedicated team of Head Teachers and Classroom Teachers. Our Head Teachers are Montessori Certified, either through the American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Their Montessori experiences provide the secure foundation on which the school’s curriculum is based.
Grace Johnston is the Nido Level Coordinator on the Leadership Team, and Co-Leads the Nido classroom. Grace began her journey at Ithaca Montessori School in 2014. She has been a part of the Nido since it began in 2014, and was previously an assistant in the toddler program. She received a BA from Hampshire College, in Amherst, MA and attended Northeast Montessori Institute to earn her Infant-Toddler Montessori Certification. Grace has worked with children and families in community and school settings, to strengthen their connections to gardening, art and sensory play, and nature. Grace enjoys bringing art and nature into all facets of her life! Her current goals include creating a beautiful long term outdoor space for the Nido, and exploring new enrichment possibilities.
Shenoa Landon is the Co-Lead teacher in the Nido classroom. Shenoa is a native Ithacan who graduated from TC3 and Binghamton with a degree in fine arts and technical theatre. After college, Shenoa was introduced to Montessori and worked at IMS in the Elm Room and toddler afterschool. She moved to North Carolina where she earned her Montessori Infant/Toddler credential along with RIE training. She led an infant room at the Christian Montessori School of Lake Norman. She has returned to IMS to cover Isis’ leave until her next adventure begins in February , 2016 in Germany! When Shenoa is not working with babies, she enjoys gardening, traveling, spending time with friends and family and blogging about football. Go, Giants! PS She is also Olive’s sister!
Isis Traumann-Davis has been a part of the IMS Nido since its first flight. She has over a decade of experience with early childhood; first as a nanny, now as a teacher, and most recently as a mother. Her daughter was born in October 2015, and her knowledge of Montessori and RIE philosophy gained in the Nido has informed her motherhood, as motherhood has in turn informed her views on education. She has been fascinated by the complexity of child development since she was a child herself and she strives always to see the world around us with the same mindful delight as her charges. Outside the classroom, Isis loves writing, Pilates, creating art in collage and textile media, and spending time in the wilds of Ithaca with her family. She holds her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Simmons College in Boston, and her Master’s in Teaching from SUNY University at Binghamton. Isis is delighted to continue learning and growing with IMS, and to continue loving and nurturing the babies in the Nido!
Yoko Roy is the lead teacher in the Hickory Room and the Toddler Level Coordinator on the Leadership Team. Yoko began her journey at Ithaca Montessori School in 2004! Yoko was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. There she studied journalism at Bunka Gakuin college and was an editor of a women’s magazine for fifteen years. Yoko moved to the U.S. in 1999 and started at IMS as an Assistant Teacher in the Primary Program. After one year, she found her passion working with Toddlers and is now a lead teacher in our Toddler Program. She received her certification from the Montessori Infant / Toddler training at the Princeton Center for Montessori Teacher Education in 2008. She lives in Trumansburg with her two daughters, Naomi and Emma.
Macie Brasselmann Macie began her journey at Ithaca Montessori School in 2014. Prior to joining IMS, Macie spent 11 years working with children in a variety of settings as a play therapist, one to one child aide, caseworker, and independent living skills teacher for children in foster care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Ithaca College and completed her senior seminar in Montessori Philosophy and Education.
Michael Amadeo is a Hickory Room teacher and Toddler After school Team Leader. He has been working with children on and off for nine years, and at IMS for two years. He moved to Ithaca to attend Ithaca College where he graduated with a BS in Sociology in 2010. Michael is hoping to apply his knowledge of social patterns to effective and nurturing childcare. Michael is a longtime musician, enjoys reading, and being in nature.
Sarah Heavens-Soda comes to us from London, England. She has worked with children for over 9 years and has gained her associates degree while working in England. She also has worked in Germany teaching English for a year. She moved with her wife Danielle to America in September 2014. She has worked in many of the classrooms as a substitute teacher. She had the pleasure of working in the Willow room last year and is taking all that she learnt to her new room and family Oak. In Sarah’s spare time she enjoys exploring Ithaca and what America has in store for her. She plays guitar and enjoys hiking around the many waterfalls Ithaca holds. This is Sarah’s first Montessori school, but she has fallen in love with the teaching ways and cannot wait to carry on her teaching career learning more and more about the Montessori way of life.
Ashlee Wormley-Williams is originally from Virginia, and has travelled back and forth for about 10 years now. She began working with children at a young age and has cared for many cousins, nieces and nephews. Ashlee has worked at the Downtown drop in center, and also IC3. I have have 10 years experience .When she is not working with children, Ashlee enjoys walking , traveling, and spending time with her family . She is looking forward to return to school and earn a degree in special education.
Beth Pallace is the Lead teacher in the Willow Room. A native of the Ithaca area, Beth came to Ithaca Montessori in August of 2012 with a diverse resume of experiences working with youth and families in Tompkins County. Not only is connected to Ithaca families through her work with young children in the area, she is a business owner too! You will find her at the Ithaca Farmers Market on the weekends playing along the shore with her two small children, or serving up fresh pastries, empanadas and steamed momos. Beyond these accomplishments, Beth holds a bachelors degree in Anthropology.
Jill Bodner is a teacher in the Willow Room. Jill came to Ithaca to study Spanish at Cornell, and then stayed to get her Master’s in Childhood Education at Ithaca College. Now she can’t imagine leaving this special town and community! She loved spending a year as a toddler afterschool teacher and is excited to now be starting her third year at IMS full-time with toddlers as a classroom teacher. She loves getting to know the children’s strengths, interests, and senses of humor.
Khaliha Clemons is a Co-Lead teacher of the Elm Room and the Child Guidance Specialist at IMS. first came to IMS in the winter of 2007 for a college internship, and found the principles of Montessori education in line with her own teaching philosophy. She graduated from Keuka College with her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood & Special Education. She spent 5 years working in our summer camp program, and two years as an assistant teacher in the Pine Room before attending the Princeton Center for Montessori Teacher Education for Primary level certification.
Pam Weatherby is a Co-Lead teacher of the Elm Room and Primary Level Coordinator on the Leadership Team. Pam began her journey at Ithaca Montessori School in 1999. She attended the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, NY in 2001 to complete her Primary Montessori certification. She worked as a primary teacher for 10 years prior to transitioning into an administration position at IMS. Pam worked as the Program Director at IMS for 6 years. She has decided after 16 years at IMS to follow her heart and return to the classroom where she can fulfill her love of working with young children in the Montessori environment. Pam’s background is in Human Services with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. She is also a student at Elmira College where she continues to further her education. Pam is happily married to her husband, Casey of 13 years. They have 3 children, Morgan, Maelin, and Hayden, whom have all attended IMS. Pam enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, cooking, camping and working in her gardens.
Heather Frost is the Outdoor Science Lab teacher and Elm Room classroom teacher. After graduating from Wells College with a Psychology Degree, Heather started working for SpringBrook. She participated in their self-determination program and focused on creating home-based programs for children with special needs. In Ithaca, Heather has enjoyed being a Gardens 4 Humanity educator, a nanny, and a volunteer with the Cool School Food Program. In her free time, you will almost always find Heather engaged in an outdoor activity. She especially loves hiking, growing vegetables, sledding, and learning the names of all the wildflowers that she encounters.
Rebecca Dlubac is a classroom teacher in the Elm room and teaches art in the Primary After School Program. Rebecca is an art educator originally from New England where she worked with English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools. In 2014 Rebecca moved to Ithaca for her husband to pursue a career in the wine industry and fell in love with the Ithaca community. Rebecca holds a B.A. in art history from William Smith College, and a M.A.T in art education from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Rebecca is excited to share her love of art and education with the IMS community!
Dipali Bhanushali is a Co-Lead teacher and Mentor in the Walnut Room, and has been teaching in the Primary Program at IMS since 2006. Prior to moving to the U.S., Dipali lived and worked as a Montessori teacher in India. She received her AMI Primary Montessori teacher certification in 2006. In India, she also completed a Masters degree in Psychotherapy and Counseling. Dipali lives with her husband Sanjay, and their daughter, Riva, in Ithaca. She enjoys painting, reading and cooking in her spare time. Dipali believes that the child has an enormous potential to learn and that parents are the partners in their development.
Angelina Oszust is a Co-Lead teacher in the Walnut Room in her internship year for AMI Certification for 3-6. She began her journey at Ithaca Montessori School in 2013. She holds her A.A.S in Early Childhood and a New York State Teaching Assistant certificate. She has been a part of two Montessori schools in the Albany area, Bought Montessori and Woodland Hill Montessori. Most recently, she worked at a childcare center in Vestal, NY with 3 year olds as well as before and after school. Angelina enjoys theater and camping in her spare time, she also led a Sunday School class before moving to the area.
Olive Landon is a Co-Lead teacher in the Pine Room and has worked as a teacher in our Primary Program since 2006. In addition to working towards a degree in Early Childhood Education at TC3, Olive received her Montessori certification from the Montessori Early Childhood training & certification program at Northeast Montessori Institute in 2013. She has led the Pine Room since 2012. Olive lives in Dryden and enjoys creating stories and songs with our students. She is also a big fan of Dr. Seuss!
Doa Abdel-Ghany is a Before School and Pine Room teacher. Doa grew up in Ithaca, and graduated from Binghamton with a degree in Applied Social Science. After Graduating she moved with her husband to Canada, Texas, Virginia, then returned to Ithaca again. Doa has a background in customer service, recruiting, and finally running a daycare for the past 4 years. Doa also volunteers with a number of local non-profit organizations. In her free time, she loves going on walks with her three children, and husband.
Caitlin Coleman received a Youth Social B.A. from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN. Originally from the Midwest, Cait moved to Ithaca, NY. She began working with infants and children as a nanny and has twelve years’ experience. Cait has also served as a youth intern working with infants, children, and teens in Kiel, WI. She brings experience in intercultural communication, having worked with international students at the post-secondary level in Omaha. Outside of IMS, Cait enjoys traveling, hiking, movies, swimming, and going on adventures with her husband.
Elizabeth Ferguson is a Pine Room and Primary After School teacher.
Primary Afterschool Program
Rebecca Haskell Dlubac
Infant/Toddler Afterschool Program
As the institute’s Executive Director, Amber Harris oversees the Ithaca Montessori School’s administration, strategic planning, fundraising, community outreach and operations. Harris is passionate about empowering the development and success of Ithaca Montessori School (IMS) students and staff while building community support for early childhood education.
Prior to joining IMS, she served as Program Director for the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) and Program Coordinator for the University of California, Davis’ Sustainable Ag Tech Center. In addition, she served as coordinator for the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Big Bang! Business competition which attracted over 70 teams to compete under her leadership.
Harris’ experience includes strategic management, multi-project oversight and management, coaching in business analysis, business plan creation and market strategy. Originally from Ithaca, N.Y., she earned her BBS in Signed Language Interpreting and her MBA in Policy and Planning at the University of New Mexico before returning back to Ithaca in November of 2016. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing poetry and watercolor painting.
Christy Lewis received her B.A. in English from Saint Bonaventure University in Olean, NY. She brings her love of children and education, combined with years of customer service and office experience to her role here at IMS. Christy has had experience working summer camp programs as well being an assistant coach to a children’s recreational track team in her high school years, in addition to her multiple years of administrative work.
Outside of IMS, Christy and her husband, Ethan, live in Freeville with their puppy! Christy enjoys going for hikes in Ithaca, as well as in the Adirondacks. She also enjoys running, fishing and mostly reading.
Human Resources Administrator
Tonima Mondal joined IMS in 2011 as a teacher in our Primary Program. Before coming to Ithaca, Tonima lived and worked as a Preschool teacher in the Children center of Davis Joint Unified School District in CA. She completed Early Childhood Education courses while in CA. Before joining IMS she worked at South Hill Tots Nursery School in Ithaca. Tonima is a graduate of Dhaka University (Bangladesh) with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and she also received an MBA in Human Resource Management from Bangladesh and completed her Master Certificate in Human Resources from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Tonima lives with her husband, Shankar, and their son, Ankur and daughter, Deeva. She enjoys singing music (especially Rabindranath Tagore’s music) and has great passion for working with children.