Faculty & Staff IMS classrooms are taught by a dedicated team of Lead Teachers and Assistant Teachers. Our Lead Teachers are Montessori Certified, or are in their training process, either through the American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori International (AMI). Their Montessori experiences provide the secure foundation on which the school’s curriculum is based. 

Nido | Maple Room

Tammy Brooks

Tammy is the Lead guide in the Maple Room. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Childcare Administration, and is currently working towards her Montessori Certification.  She has worked for four years in head start and a group family daycare that used the Reggio Emilia approach for one and a half years. When not teaching, Tammy enjoys hiking NY State trails, reading, watching television, and going to country music concerts.

Sarah Short

Sarah is an Assistant guide in the Maple Room. She has been a teacher for 7 years with infants to 3 years of age and has her CDA. Sarah is a mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family, going to the parks, falls, and kayaking.

Nido | Hickory Room

Faten Houssa

Faten is an Assistant guide in the Hickory Room. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, a Certificate in writing Professional Email and Memos, and is currently working towards her CDA. Faten has 10 years of experience as a child care provider and tutor. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, extended family, students, and friends.

Toddler | Oak Room

Yoko Roy

Yoko is the Lead Guide in the Oak Room. Yoko was previously the lead teacher of the toddler Hickory Room. 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.

Emily Haygood

Emily is an Assistant Guide in the Oak Room, and she loves working with children, seeing them grow and learning new skills throughout the year.

Racquel Martorell

Racquel is an Assistant Guide in the Oak Room. She is a hard, dedicated worker who loves a fast past, adaptive environment. She is also excited and ready to learn at all times! Fully committed to the job and focused 100% of the time. She loves to work with a team and is on time at all times.

Toddler | Willow Room

Heather Peluso

Heather is the lead guide in the Willow Room. Heather, a native of Buffalo NY, came to Ithaca after graduating from SUNY Cortland with a B.A. in History.  Heather has been caring for children in centers, home based care and preschool for 19 years.  Heather received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential in 2006 and is now a fully certified Montessori Infant and Toddler teacher.  She lives with her husband Josh, two daughters, Sydnie and Reese, and a goofy Golden Retriever Codder.

Anna Olson

Anna is and Assistant Guide in the Willow Room. She was born in Syracuse and graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, earning a BS in Human Development & Family Science with a concentration in Queer Studies. Anna’s career in childhood education began at SU’s Bernice M. Wright Child Development Lab School. She worked there for 4 years, teaching toddlers and preschool-aged children. During college, Anna founded the SU chapter of Camp Kesem, which provides a free week-long summer camp to children whose guardians are affected by cancer. Anna moved to Ithaca in August 2020 with her partner. In her spare time, Anna likes to cook, go to the farmers market, and play with her cats, Max and Ruby.

Ellie Delorme-Novakowski

Ellie is an assistant guide in the Willow Room. She has a Bachelor’s of Fine Art with a concentration in Art Education. She has taught Art in public school for 4 years.  Aside from being an artist, she enjoys film analysis and spending time with her three Guinea pigs, Caramel, Gingerbread, and Oreo.

Primary & Kindergarten | Elm Room

Elsa Sinurat Semp 

Elsa is the lead Guide for the Elm Room, who has been living back and forth between Jakarta, Indonesia and Ithaca, NY since 2007. She holds both bachelor and professional degree in Psychology from University of Indonesia. She had worked in the field of industrial and organizational psychology, and pursued her master degree in Human Resources and Development from the same university as a sign of her interest in managing the development of human resources. As a psychologist, she also had experiences in assessing school ­age children. Her deep interest in children education later drove her to complete the Early Childhood Education at TC3. She believes that teaching opportunity at IMS will be a very important experience for her to enrich her exposure in children education that later could benefit her further endeavor for a higher level of education. In return, she expects to be able to give her contribution to this field.

Amy Rice 

Amy is an Assistant Guide in the Elm Room. Originally from San Luis Obispo, CA, she has lived in Lansing since 2011. Amy has been working with children in various capacities since 2011, has an AA in Creative Writing, and three cats named Kilo, Fiagro and Moose!

Andrew Ink

Andrew is the Summer Lead guide in Elm Room. Andrew is currently working towards his Bachelor’s in Mathematics with a minor in Education. Andrew has been with IMS for two years in our Summer Camp program.

Primary & Kindergarten | Pine Room

Eamonn Moneypenny-Hall

Eamonn is excited to be the Lead Guide in the Pine Room. He will be a co-lead teacher for the classroom. Eamonn is currently attending the Center for Montessori Guided Studies to obtain his Montessori Certification in Early Childhood. Eamonn holds a B.A. in Theater and Dance from nearby Wells College. He hopes to help students nurture a love for learning through active engagement. Previously Eamonn was teaching third grade math and reading in Seattle Washington, but is excited to be back and working within his home community. 

Shahista Anwar

Shahista is an Assistant Guide in the Pine Room. She was born in Pakistan. She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. She was 3 years old when her father moved to NY for his job. After a few years he sponsored them and they all came here. She was 11 years old when she came to NY. She is very friendly and can easily adapt to any type of environment.

Caroline Silva

Caroline is an Assistant Guide in the Pine Room. She has an Educational background in Early Childhood Development. Experience at The William George Agency for Children’s Service’s working with at-risk youth. Caroline holds an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. She is an aspiring Pediatric Nurse, currently enrolled at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Leah Slattery

Leah is an Assistant guide in the Pine Room.

Primary & Kindergarten | Walnut Room

Tara Conklin

Tara is the lead teacher for the Walnut Room. She holds a bachelors of science in Community Health from Lock Haven University. She is currently pursuing her Montessori Certification in Early Childhood. She relocated from State College Pennsylvania to the Ithaca New York area in the summer of 2019 with her husband. Before moving to NY, she worked as a Cognitive Therapist for five years. While in the area she discovered Montessori and became passionate about the philosophy and wanted to pursue a career working with children. Tara has been a part of the IMS community for over a year, she started out in the toddler program and recently transitioned to the primary/kindergarten program. Tara adores her family and is a huge animal lover; they have three cats, Ninja, Samurai and Bowie. In her free time she enjoys hiking with her husband, painting, visiting with family, and spending time at Cayuga Lake.

Kailee (Kay) Malpasso

Kay is an Assistant guide in the Walnut Room and has been with IMS for a year now. She was raised in Ithaca, graduating from Ithaca High School and is currently working towards her CDA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling to new places.

Gianna Colosi

Gianna is an Assistant guide in the Walnut Room. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Child Psychology and hopes to pursue her associates in Child Development within the next few months. She has babysat for children her whole life. She enjoys spending time with her family, her fiancé Micah, step-daughter Sierra, daughter Gabriella, soon to be born, son Milo, and enjoys painting.

Briana Dorley

Briana is is and Assistant Guide in the Walnut Room. She is a Brooklyn-born writer who loves all things spooky. She’s a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in English and Textual Studies with a dual focus on Creative Writing and Film and Screen Studies. Briana loves nature and aims to give back to the local Upstate NY community with humor, education, and compassion.


Coming soon…

Administrative Team

Pamela Weatherby

Program Director and Head of School

Pam attended the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, NY in 2001 to complete her Primary Montessori Certification. She has over 10 years of teaching experience at the Primary level at IMS. She has been in a Director’s role at IMS for over 8 years and the Head of School for almost 5 years. Pam’s education background is in Human Services with a specialization in Early Childhood Education. Pam is happily married to her husband Casey of 20 years. They have 3 children, Morgan, Maelin, and Hayden, whom have all attended IMS. Pam enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, camping, outdoor activities, and working in her garden..

Walaa Maharem-Horan

Operations Director

Walaa has a degree in Psychology, with a concentration in special education, from McMaster’s University. She is the founding director of Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, a non-profit here in Ithaca. She is a board member of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative, and a translator (Arabic) for the Ithaca City School district. Walaa has extensive experience as an operational manager, including budget and fundraising experience, for several small-to-medium size companies in Ithaca. Walaa is passionate about IMS and the work to help Ithaca Montessori School grow.

Donna Wheeler

Education Director

Donna grew up locally and graduated from Cayuga Community College with an Early Childhood Education Degree. She managed her own home daycare when her four children were young and then started her career at Ithaca Montessori as a Primary assistant. After receiving Montessori training Donna continued as a Primary lead teacher for 15 years. After leaving to explore teaching Infants at Bright Horizons she returned to Ithaca Montessori to lead the Nido classroom for 2 years before stepping into the Education Director role. Donna is an avid gardener and loves to spend time with her growing number of grandchildren.

Melanie Teeter

Administrative Assistant

Melanie was born and raised in Newfield NY. She comes to IMS with numerous of years experience as an Administrative Assistant. She is a proud fur-­mom to her Miniature Dachshund Charlie, as well as, a very proud Aunt to many nieces and nephews. In her personal time, you can always find her at one of her siblings’ homes hanging out with all the kids. She loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and cooking!