The Stars

The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say,
"The children are now working as if I did not exist."

Maria Montessori

Our Lead & Assistant Guides

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Gabrielle Harp, Toddler Lead Guide

I have lived in the Catskills my whole life. My mom raised us on a hobby farm with 3 acres and plenty of land to run around on. That's where my love of being outside started. Animals are also a big passion of mine. Some of my hobbies include spinning, knitting, weaving, and rug hooking. I have spent my entire life working with children. I have a BA in education, I have taught children in gymnastics, I have given swim lessons (I'm a WSI and a lifeguard), taught children to read, and worked in countless classrooms, including just recently as a cooking teacher at Manhattan Country Day School in Roxbury.

I am currently taking my AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma Training, to become a fully trained AMI Montessori Guide. I live with my husband in Andes with two dogs and two cats. I have found my dream job in guiding all of our little ones! 

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Jess Gilman, Primary Lead Guide

I spent the first few years of my life on a farm in the Delaware Valley, where I developed a deep love of nature and animals. I then moved to lower Westchester, to begin school and have lived there ever since, working and raising two children. I found Montessori by accident when taking a job as an assistant at a local preschool. I was amazed at how independent and capable the children in the class were and fell in love with the philosophy. I received my Montessori Diploma training a few years later and enjoyed the next six years as a lead guideI have a background in art from SUNY Purchase, with a focus on drawing and photography. I've also studied gardening, permaculture, and native planting, and enjoy incorporating these skills into the daily life of the children in the class. I am passionate about sustainability and creating classrooms that focus on reducing waste, composting, caring about the environment, and each other. I also continue to learn American Sign Language, which I include in the curriculum. In my free time I love to travel in my camper van with my kids and dogs, volunteer at the library, read a ton, and of course, gardens. I am so happy to be part of building this beautiful school and returning to the country to support outdoor learning!

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Katherine Henry, Elementary Lead Guide

I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Southern Methodist University. It was there I met my now-husband, Taylor, who is the Middle School Math/Science Guide here.

 

After college I taught high school math for 5 years. Through a distant connection I was introduced to the Montessori Method. I took my AMI Primary (3-6) Diploma Training and taught at the Primary level for two years. Between those years I began working on my AMI Elementary (6-12) Diploma, which I completed in Summer 2022. During my training, I moved up with my Primary children into an Elementary classroom, which I have been running for a school year.

 

In my spare time I enjoy reading and spending time with our little girl, Charlotte (CJ), who was born in September of 2021. 

 

I am so excited to have joined the Bovina Montessori community!

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Samantha Falco, Toddler Assistant Guide

I was born in Long Island, but early on in life my family moved to the beautiful Catskill Mountains. I was raised on a back road in Andes, leaving me with a passion for being outdoors at all waking moments. I have always been better at hands on learning, so when I was given the opportunity to work at a Montessori school, I jumped for it. I have a love for helping kids learn, as I have been in many different areas of work with children. In my free time I love to go camping, fishing, hiking, and kayaking.

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Kirsten Malloy, Primary Assistant Guide

I grew up on the coast of Southern Maine in a small town called York. After graduating high school, I attended Syracuse University, where I received my B.A. in Cultural Anthropology & International Relations. Later on, I earned my M.A. from New York University's Gallatin School, devising my own individualized program in Human Rights Education & Film.  Soon thereafter, I obtained my yoga teaching certificate from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center located in Paradise Island, Bahamas. After some years of traveling, teaching, and making documentary films, I met my lifelong partner, Alexandre, and together we opened the Match Book Art Gallery in New York City, where we collaborated on several community based art projects. After the birth of our first child, we settled down in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. And after child number three, I went back to school to obtain a Waldorf Teaching Certificate at Antioch University in Keene, N.H..  Since then, I have worked in a variety of educational settings, including: Waldorf, Integrated-Montessori, Unschooling, Homeschooling, and Public schools, in addition to hosting an annual summer camp on our lakefront property in South Kortright, NY. I am excited to join and build with Jess the Primary Program at Bovina Montessori!

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Blythe Czaja, Elementary Assistant Guide

I grew up just down the road from the school on a small dairy farm in Bloomville. My love of agriculture - especially animals and horticulture - extended from my childhood on the farm. I grew up working closely with my father helping him take care of the animals, tending to the crops, and my personal favorite: making maple syrup. I acquired my BA in Agricultural Education with a concentration in Animal Science from SUNY Cobleskill where I graduated in 2010. I worked for 6 years at an outdoor education center in the Adirondacks. While working with outdoor education, I also managed another business called the 1812 Homestead & Farm Museum where children learned the lifestyle of living in the early 1800’s. While I am not enlightening the youth, you can find me wandering through the mountains with my two cattle dogs, Raelyn & Finley. I also enjoy getting my hands dirty in the garden, kayaking in the sunshine or exploring new trails with my mountain bike.

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Ryan Tucker,
Middle School Humanities Guide / 
Curriculum Developer

I grew up in Texas and attended university in Tennessee where I received my BA in Philosophy and English. After I graduated, I served in the Peace Corps for two years in Azerbaijan where I taught English as a Foreign Language and worked in community development. When I returned to the states, I started working in education. I taught with an educational non-profit in Washington DC and then a prep school outside Houston. It was in Houston that I was first exposed to Montessori education for adolescents. I took the AMI Adolescent Orientation in 2011 and started working for the Post Oak School in Houston. I was then hired to help create the upper school at Hershey Montessori outside of Cleveland, Ohio. My wife, two daughters, and I are so happy to join the community in Delaware County. We all enjoy the great outdoors and look forward to taking advantage of all the wonderful nature near our home.

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Taylor Henry
Middle School Math/Science Guide

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Dallas. I studied Civil Engineering at Southern Methodist University, where I met my lovely and talented wife, Katie.

 

After undergrad, I earned my Master’s of Science in Applied Sciences and completed a thesis on the topic of student curiosity. I got into the classroom through a residency program and a Master’s of Education. For the five years before Bovina Montessori, I taught 15-18 year-olds in English Language Arts and an interdisciplinary, applied philosophy course (Theory of Knowledge) in an International Baccalaureate program.

 

In my time away from teaching, I enjoy baking sourdough bread, playing music, reading difficult books, and dancing and babbling with our little girl, Charlotte (CJ).

 

It is a true joy to return to my love of math and science and join the Bovina Montessori community!

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Alejandra Castaneda
Spanish Guide

I’m an artist, born and raised in Mexico, the 4th of 10 children. You could say we where raised Montessori style, because there’s no other way you can raise so many children at the same time and without a TV! 

 

I studied fine Arts back in Mexico and later on finished an art certification at The Art Students League Of New York. My artwork is pretty diverse, from kid friendly illustrations, to prints, mix media, paintings, an more.  

I’ve worked in childcare for many years, assisting families, babysitting, coordinating summer camps, working at a children’s museum, etc.. 

I live in Stamford NY, with my husband and son Franco and am excited to join the Bovina Montessori community and teach Montessori Spanish as well as Art in Spanish, in several classrooms as well as in after school programs!

Available Positions for School Year 2022-2023

Martial Arts Coach/Trainer for Afterschool Programming