Age 2 to Grade 9

Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Meet the Montessori school of westminster

Faculty & Staff

Shannon Albright

Upper Elementary Aide

Shannon Albright began working at MSW in January, 2021 after spending seven years working at Littlestown Area School District.  Mrs. Albright spent many years as a volunteer at the elementary level and in youth sports organizations.  Mrs. Albright enjoys spending time with her husband, two teenage children, and pets.  She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and gardening.

Melissa Bain

Middle School Aide

Melissa Bain is originally from Pensacola, Florida and has lived in many places including overseas locations in Japan and Panama. She spent many years as a firefighter and paramedic and her work now includes being a strength coach. Mrs. Bain has been the MSW Girl Scout troop leader since 2015.

Mrs. Bain is married and has three children and a grandson; daughter Christina is attending MSW for her ninth year.  Grandson Jayden is in MSW’s Primary program.   

Mrs. Bain enjoys strength training, backpacking, camping, section-hiking the Appalachian Trail, competing in strongman competitions, being outdoors, working on restoring her historic Pennsylvania farm, and spending time with her family.  

Jennifer Carroll


Jennifer Carroll is a native of Westminster.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 2012.  While attending St. Joe’s, she played on their lacrosse team.

Before starting her Montessori training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland, she worked at a local preschool for two years.  Mrs. Carroll is active in local sports and is currently coaching basketball at Manchester Valley High School.

Outside of MSW, Mrs. Carroll enjoys spending time with her two children, Kaleb and Maya, and husband Marcus. Mrs. Carroll enjoys being outside, hiking, and fishing.

Candice Davis

Beginnings Aide /

Asc senior staff

After graduating from high school, Candice Davis went to Howard County Community College for Early Childhood Education and started her family.  She was a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years.  She worked for Littlestown Area School District for four years, and currently works for an after-school program at Collaborating for Youth.  Mrs. Davis lives in Littlestown, Pennsylvania with her husband, Dean, and has four children and two grandchildren.  

Adel Davis

After-school care aide

Bio coming soon!

Karaline Diehl

Primary Aide /

Asc senior staff

Karaline Diehl was born in Latvia and came to America in 2010. She enjoys working with small children at MSW. Ms. Diehl is a Raven’s fan, likes spending time with her family, and loves the outdoors. She also loves spending time with her new chickens.

Linda Felker

Lower Elementary Guide

Linda Felker first came to Montessori as a parent and Primary aide at the Montessori School of Westminster. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Thomas Edison State College and went on to complete her Montessori training in Lower and Upper Elementary at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies. She has worked in a Montessori setting since 1998.

Mrs. Felker enjoys gardening, needle crafts, cooking, and volunteer activities. She lives in Littlestown, Pennsylvania.

Jacob Fine

Music Instruction

Jacob Fine is a graduate of McDaniel College with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a Master’s of Science in Teaching Instrumental Music.  Mr. Fine is busy pursuing many aspects of his music career, as a private instructor in drums, gigging drummer with The Leister Quartet, Sunday Night Big Band, and Treblebeck; student intern at Runnymeade Elementary School; and, a salesperson at Coffey Music.  In his free time, he enjoys journalism, hiking, running, learning new instruments, and spending time with his friends and family.  

Carly Gabriel

PRImary Aide/

ASC Senior Staff

Carly Gabriel recently moved to Thurmont, Maryland where she resides with her partner and their cat Gary.  Ms. Gabriel earned her child care certifications from Howard County Community College.

In her free time, Ms. Gabriel enjoys traveling, Broadway musicals, and tending to her tortoise and citrus plants.

Jen Seletzky

business officer

Bio coming soon!

Beth Guerin


Beth Guerin attended the Schuler School of Fine Arts and has been teaching fine art to children since 2008.

Ms. Guerin’s love of art extends back to her early childhood.  She has always had a love for animals, and she has developed an art career focused on pet portraits. 

In her free time, Ms. Guerin enjoys meditation, yoga, being outside, and spending time with her family.  Her sons, Hans and Ollie, attend MSW!

Rachel Hartenstein

Primary Aide

Rachel Hartenstein attended Swarthmore College and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religion with a concentration in Peace Studies.

Ms. Hartenstein is a candle maker.  She enjoys camping, good food, live music, and visiting historical sites and national parks. 

Ms. Hartenstein has a business as a meditation coach and energy healer.  Her twin sons, Isaac and Levi, along with their sister, Annabel, attend MSW!  


Amy Heikinnen-Brooks

chorus Instruction

Amy Heikkinen-Brooks is the Chorus Teacher at MSW. She is a licensed clinical social worker, with a specialty in children’s mental health and integrating the expressive arts with therapy. She has Bachelor and Masters’ degrees in Social Work from the University of Maryland system, as well as undergraduate training in creative education from The New School in New York City.

She is a lifelong musician, singer, and self-identified Music Nerd, bringing all types of music into the MSW classroom and exploring different musical concepts and skills in the most fun, meaningful ways she can conjure.

Mrs. Heikkinen-Brooks and her wife live in Westminster with their young sons, and favorite family activities include roasting marshmallows over their front-yard fire pit, rocking out to their favorite songs in the car, and eating pineapple pizza.

Kayla Ruby

Primary Guide

Kayla Ruby is acquiring her certification in Montessori education from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies located on the Barrie School campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Julie Benavides

Spanish Language Instruction

Julie Benavides is a native speaker of the Spanish language.

Kim Lettie

Administrative Assistant

Kim Lettie graduated from South Carroll High School and attended Carroll Community College. Prior to joining MSW in 2000, Ms. Lettie worked at Carroll County General Hospital for 13 years. Ms. Lettie has worked in Lower Elementary, Middle School, Beginnings, and After School Care. Ms. Lettie enjoys spending time with her daughters, grandson Dylan, and her dog Chewie. 

Ms.  Lettie has earned certifications for CPR, AED, First Aid, Water Plant Operator, and has achieved Senior Staff status from MSDE’s Office of Child Care.  She also enjoys sewing and cooking.

Melissa Lippy

Upper Elementary aide

Melissa Lippy graduated from Juniata College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in French.  She received her Master’s degree from the University of Baltimore in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Ms. Lippy has volunteered extensively at MSW for eight years as a member of the school’s Parent Organization, as a library helper, in the classroom, and with MSW Girl Scout Troop #1698.  

In her free time, Ms. Lippy likes to hike, backpack, travel, read, learn, study nature, and camp with her husband and two children–Nola and Galen–who attend MSW!

Joy Lin

Primary Aide

Bio coming soon!

Allie Lindsey

Middle School Guide

Allie Lindsey is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She has also cultivated her interest in the sciences and has taken biology and chemistry courses at UMBC.

Ms. Lindsey completed the Montessori Secondary training program with the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  This is her third year at MSW.  She resides in Westminster with her partner Jacob (an MSW alumnus) and their daughter Violet, a student in MSW’s Primary program. 

In her free time, Ms. Lindsey enjoys reading, playing piano, and spending time with her family.

Gretchen Malcolm

Elementary Guide

Gretchen Malcolm began teaching Upper Elementary at MSW in 2001. She graduated in 1980 from Washington Adventist University with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, then married her college sweetheart, Stephen, in 1981.

She was introduced to the Montessori philosophy in 1985 and never looked back! She took the elementary (ages 6 to 12) training through the Association Montessori Internationale, then earned a Master’s degree in curriculum development from Cleveland State University.

She has two grown children: Levi, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a daughter, Mercedes, who lives Boston, Massachusetts. Mrs. Malcolm loves working with the children and families of MSW!

Betsy Merena

Beginnings Guide / Parent-Toddler Program Leader

Betsy Merena is excited to be back for another year at MSW.  Mrs. Merena came to the top of Mount Montessori in 2019 but began teaching in the Early Childhood Education field in 2013.  She is glad to have made the switch from mainstream to Montessori. 

Mrs. Merena received her teaching credential from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Roanoke College.  She lives in Westminster, just five minutes away from MSW, with her husband Paul and their daughter Colette,  an MSW student. 

As a family, the Merenas love to travel, especially to Disney, and to cook and bake together.  

Stefanie Misner

Environmental Educator / events coordinator

Stefanie Misner received her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a master’s in Environmental Education also from UNCW, and is a certified North Carolina Environmental Educator. With over 15 years of experience in aquariums and a local nature pre-school, she has worked with children of all ages, prefers to teach outside, and is passionate about molding the next generation of environmental stewards.  Additionally, Mrs. Misner has received certification from MSDE’s Office of Child Care.

Both her daughters, Penelope and Cordelia, are MSW students. In her rare free time, Mrs. Misner loves to scuba dive and travel.

Isabella Moore

After-School Care Aide

Isabella Moore is a high school student at Winter’s Mill High School in Westminster, Maryland who loves to read and color.  At Winter’s Mill, she participates in the Educators Rising club.  Ms. Moore plans on pursuing a teaching career after graduating from high school.

Maryna Neiko

Upper Elementary Guide

Maryna Neiko (Tkachuk) was raised in Western Ukraine. She pursued her dream to become a teacher at Podillya Technological University where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in teaching computer science and home economics.

Mrs. Neiko moved to the US in 2008. She earned her Associate of Applied Science Degree from Northern Virginia Community College in 2010. Mrs. Neiko learned about Montessori education while looking into schools for her son. She immediately fell in love with the philosophy and became a passionate supporter of Maria Montessori’s teachings.   

Mrs. Neiko graduated from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in 2019 with Lower & Upper Elementary guide credentials.   She has also received recognition as Senior Staff from MSDE’s Office of Child Care.

In addition to seeking opportunities to grow and learn professionally, Mrs. Neiko enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys visiting new places, reading, knitting, and long walks in nature. Mrs. Neiko’s greatest joy are her sons and her husband. She dreams to visit Ukraine with her boys and to share her heritage with them.

Izabella Perez


Izabella Perez attends Littlestown High School and is on course to graduate in June 2023.  She has participated in training specific to the needs of child care employment.  Ms. Perez volunteered for two years at  CFYCD’s after-school program.

In her spare time, Ms. Perez enjoys reading and camping.  It is important to her to be patient and determined–qualities which will serve well when working with children at MSW.

Joyel Perez

Beginnings Aide /

ASC Aide

Joyel Perez gradated from South Western High School in 1993.  She worked until the birth of her second child and then became a stay-at-home mom. 

Upon her return to the work force, Mrs. Perez took a position in the kitchen at Littlestown Area School District so she could stay close to her daughter.  She continues to coordinate an after-school program. 

Her family includes her two daughters and her husband.  She enjoys reading and camping. 

Tres Quinn

Lower Elementary Guide

Tres Quinn graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Secondary Math Education. She completed Lower Elementary training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies. Ms. Quinn has worked at MSW since 2002.

Ms. Quinn’s children, Elizabeth and Nathan, are both proud MSW alum.

Ms. Quinn likes listening to books she downloads from the public library and going to Pittsburg to visit her family.  

Suzanne Radcliffe

Office of Admissions

Suzanne Radcliffe is an “alum mom” whose first year as an MSW parent was 1993.  A Carroll County native, she served on the Board of Trustees as secretary and member-at-large during the construction of the campus.

Mrs. Radcliffe paints in oils and watercolor.  She loves writing about  Montessori method and studying the teachings of her personal superhero–Maria Montessori.  She finds great joy in gardening, adding new flower and hosta varieties to her many gardens.  She recently added arrowhead hunting to her hobbies.  She enjoys farm life with her horse and goats.   

Mrs. Radcliffe obtained a summa cum laude Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from UMBC in 1995 and a juris doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1997.

Her son attended MSW for ten years, completing Middle School in 2003. Robert now works at T Rowe Price and lives in Carroll County with his lovely wife. 

Trish St. Michel

Director of Development

A native of North Carolina, Trish St. Michel earned a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and returned to UNC a few years later to earn a Master’s in City and Regional Planning. She worked in public relations and marketing communications for corporations and associations, primarily in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley, and for the past several years has supported a few small business clients on marketing projects.

Mrs. St. Michel lives outside of Mount Airy with her husband, Jay, daughters Hannah and Charlotte, an MSW alumna, and two dogs. When not working, Mrs. St. Michel enjoys hiking, baking, and exploring rails-to-trails with the family on their bikes.Trish

Dawn Strine

Primary Guide

Dawn Strine attended Carroll Community College where she earned her Associate of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She taught preschool for three years before joining the Montessori staff in 1994. After 21 years at MSW, Mrs. Strine joined the MSW faculty by undertaking her certification training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Additionally, Mrs. Strine has achieved Level 5 status from MSDE’s Office of Child Care. 

When not working, Mrs. Strine enjoys reading, finding a bargain, watching her granddaughter McKenna, an MSW student, and grandson Owen.  She also enjoys going to the beach as much as she can.

Kristin Thomas

Lower Elementary Aide

Kristin Thomas is a native of the Westminster area and attended Westminster High School where she played lacrosse. She graduated in 2019. 
Ms. Thomas is now an aide in MSW’s Lower Elementary program.  She looks forward to working at MSW for many years to come.

Karen Uhlig

Physical Education

Bio coming soon!

Lauren Welsh-Baer

head of school

Lauren Welsh-Baer graduated from St. Catherine University with a Master’s degree in Education and from Juniata College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Education. She earned her Montessori certification from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Mrs. Welsh-Baer was a student at MSW from Primary to third grade. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and pets.

Margaret Winters

Lower Elementary Intern

Margaret Winters is an MSW alumna.  Ms. Winters became a Montessori student as a toddler.  She attended MSW from fifth grade through ninth, and then went on to Friends Meeting School to complete her secondary education.  Ms. Winters attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland where she earned her B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in Public Relations.  

After conferring with MSW’s Head of School, Ms. Winters began the process of Montessori teacher training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies (IAMS) on the campus of the well-known Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Her focus is on Elementary-level education.

Ms. Winters quickly realized Montessori education is her calling.  She looks forward to sharing her new-found passion for the method with children in our community as she acquires her Montessori teaching credentials.


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