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Primary Teachers

Rainbow Primary Program (Ages 3-6)

  Co-Head Teacher

Emily Sandefur joins the Mi Casita team after teaching over a decade in Montessori Elementary and Early Childhood classrooms in Kentucky, Wyoming, North Carolina and Montana. She completed her American Montessori Society Early Childhood training and received her Elementary I Credential from Providence Montessori Teacher Education Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Emily has a Bachelor of Art degree in Spanish Literature from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Additionally, Emily instructs at the Montessori Education Center in Boulder, Colorado during the summer.

e-mail: emily@middlecreekmontessori.org

  Co-Head Teacher

Ashley Smith is an experienced Montessori teacher as well as a leader of wilderness backcountry trips. Ashley attended Prescott College in Arizona and Ohio University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Recreation. She completed her Montessori Early Childhood training at the American Montessori Society Columbus Montessori Training Center in Ohio, and developed vegetable gardens at the school as part of her practicum experience. She has taught at the Montessori Toddler and Early Childhood levels. Ashley and her family moved to Bozeman in 2010 from Wilson, Wyoming. Her five-year-old daughter, Rhuie, and two-year-old son, Oliver, also attend Middle Creek Montessori. Ashley and her husband, Andy, enjoy spending their free time playing in the mountains with their children and two dogs.

e-mail: ashley@middlecreekmontessori.org 
  Assistant Teacher 

Claire Cielinski
received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in 2005, and at that point the outdoors and beauty brought her to Bozeman. Most recently she attended Bryan University for a Health and Fitness Training and Education degree. She has been a versatile and talented substitute teacher at Midddle Creek Montessori for the past year. She has also been working with the YMCA and Bozeman Deaconess Hospital to launch and run a family-centered childhood obesity prevention program, Eat, Live, Play! Claire had been a family nanny for many years and had worked as an assistant at another Montessori school in Bozeman. Claire enjoys spending time with her significant other Josh, hiking, spending time at the river, snowboarding, spending time with family, and anything that leads to exploring and an adventure.


Sunshine Primary Program (Ages 3-6)

 Co-Head Teacher
Jessie Foch graduated from Montana State University in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Photography. She is owner of Jessica Oliver Photography which she began in 1998.  In the summer of 2011 she completed her Montessori Early Childhood Training from the Caspari Montessori Institute.  She has been at Middle Creek Montessori since 2007.  She is an avid outdoors woman who loves hiking, photography, camping, fly-fishing, and spending time with her fiance Henri and their two dogs Sady and Coco.

email: jessie@middlecreekmontessori.org
 Co-Head Teacher
Vicki Rich graduated with an Elementary teaching degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 2006. After spending 10 years and raising three children in New Zealand, Vicki returned to the United States in 2008. She has been working in a Montessori Primary environment for six years and received her Montessori Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from the Caspari Montessori Institute in 2011. In addition to guiding young children through the ins and outs of the Montessori classroom, Vicki has a fondness for movement, music, nature, growth and loving-kindness.

Assistant Teacher

Lauren Erickson-Viereck
studied at Montana State University and Metropolitan State College of Denver, receiving her B.A. in English Literature. She loves the Middle Creek learning environment and plans to complete her Montessori training in the coming years. Her passion centers around encouraging the growth of relationships, nurturing creativity, and inspiring exploration. Lauren grew up all over the US, giving her a deep appreciation for Montana. She is happiest when following the philosophy "Go outside; stay there" with her rescue mutt Zoe.



Mi Casita Primary Program - Spanish Emphasis (Ages 3-6)

  Head Teacher
Mikal Begnoche received a bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Montana State University in 2002. In 2005 she received a Montessori teacher certificate from the Caspari Montessori Institute. Mikal has seven years of experience teaching in primary classrooms, five of which have been at Middle Creek as Head Teacher of the Sunshine classroom. Over the years, Mikal has furthered her education with multiple parenting courses and national conferences, but her greatest teachers have been the children. Outside of the classroom, Mikal enjoys playing outdoors with her husband, Armand, one-year old daughter, Violet, and two Labrador retrievers.

email: mikal@middlecreekmontessori.org

 
Teacher 
Jeannine Porzio has her Montessori 3-6 year old certification from the Pan American Montessori Society and has over
14 years of experience caring for and teaching young children in Oregon and in Montessori Schools here in Bozeman.Her life has been dedicated to the education and caring of children and she draws upon a multitude of resources gathered through the years to create the best possible learning experiences for our two-year-olds.

Jeannine's six grown children keep her life beyond school lively and busy.

  Assistant Teacher
Paula Zabala, a native of Columbia, graduated from Florida International University in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Business Administration minor. She has been a Professional Tennis Player for many years and began teaching tennis to children of all ages in New York City.
Paula is currently completing the Montessori Early Childhood Certificate through Age of Montessori. Paula loves children and is excited to share her Spanish language and culture with them. Her personal Interests include traveling and meeting people from different cultures, yoga, horseback riding, and tennis. She has recently moved to Bozeman and is enjoying exploring the outdoors and the beautiful mountains and valleys of Montana.