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Early Childhood Faculty

Lori Karmazin, Early Childhood Level Director



“Perpetuating the legacy of Dr. Montessori can only be accomplished through thorough teacher training programs. My work at CGMS allows me to influence the growth of Montessori around the world in an influential and positive way.” Lori has 30 years experience as a 3-6 classroom guide, has been a Teacher Trainer with CGMS since inception, and is the owner of Great Extensions Montessori. Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received her Montessori 3-6 credential from CMTE/NY in 1990, and is DERS and MEFS certified. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lori enjoys landscaping, hiking, and visiting places of natural beauty.


Mary Colarullo, Early Childhood Practicum Coordinator



Mary has spent more than half of her life as a Montessorian. The philosophy has always rung true and she feels fortunate to have seen the fruition of the “three year cycle,” experienced the marvel of the Peaceful Classroom and the privilege to be loved unconditionally by the children in her care. Mary received her AMI 3-6 Credential in 1977 and spent 30 years in the classroom as a primary lead guide, mentoring interns through the years and serving as a guide and instructor for PHMA Teacher’s Training (AMS) in Palm Harbor, FL. After retiring five years ago, Mary joined CGMS. She has served our adult learners as a field consultant, taught at residential sessions, and as an online instructor. Mary has been the Early Childhood Practicum Coordinator for four years. Located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Mary enjoys nature walks, gardening (she took Master Gardener’s Training in 2000 from UC Berkley), reading, writing, watercolor-flowers. She is a people watcher-especially children.



Jana Morgan Herman


“I believe that working with teachers during their spiritual transformation is one of the blessings of my professional life and I take my part in their journeys seriously.” Jana serves CGMS as an Online Instructor, Residential Session Instructor, Field Consultant and Practicum Advisor. She holds a Master’s degree in Montessori Education from St. Catherine University, and received her Early Childhood Montessori Credential (MACTE/AMS, MTEC San Fransisco) in 1997. Jana is a Teacher Educator in US and Asia with five MACTE organizations. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board at Montessori Life Magazine, is a Moderator/Admin for Montessori Teachers Facebook (the largest online group of certified Montessori teachers in the world), and is the co-founder and VP of the Kentucky Montessori Alliance. She is also a university writing and literature instructor, and a national and regional presenter. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Jana enjoys camping, ocean watching, and hiking.



Monica Johnson


“I am honored to be in the presence of children every day. I believe in the goodness of all children and strive to free each one’s potential through respectful and engaging interactions in the prepared environment. I am committed to supporting adults who share the same values as well as those seeking education of such values. I believe that Montessori education is achievable in all settings where adults are willing to trust the process.” Monica serves as an Online Instructor, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. She spent 20 years in the Montessori environment as a Montessori guide and currently provides support to children and families in the Bester Elementary School catchment including in-school support and home visiting. Monica holds a Master’s Degree in Montessori Leadership from Sarasota University and received her AMS Primary Montessori Credential in 2002. Her experience includes grant based programs, mental health services, private school settings, non profit schools, inclusion programs, Public Montessori and Montessori Charter Schools. Located in Hagerstown, Maryland, Monica enjoys reading, volunteering at the local shelter, gardening, writing (children’s stories, poems), painting and making handmade paper for crafting.


Robin Little


“I feel that my career has come full circle. I was first blessed to serve the children that came into my life through the classroom. I am now privileged to share that experience and joy with teachers who will continue teaching the Montessori philosophy to next generation of children.” Robin has worked in the Montessori field as a guide, an administrator, and a substitute guide for over twenty years. She received her AMS Preprimary credential in 1990 and holds a B.S. in Business Administration. Robin currently serves as an Online Instructor, Residential Session Instructor, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Located in Lago Vista, Texas, Robin enjoys reading, cooking, and golf in her spare time.



Shelby Hiken


“As a member of the CGMS team, I am dedicated to sharing Dr. Montessori’s Philosophy and Curriculum to inspire you to visualize and contribute to the cosmic task of creating world peace through each individual child.” Shelby serves CGMS as an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor. She has been teaching children for 15 years and is the founding Member and Director of Primary Pedagogy at Nurturing Nest Montessori School in Columbia, MD. Shelby received her M.Ed. from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD and AMI Montessori Certification for 3 to 6 from Washington Montessori Institute. In addition to being a field consultant and as an instructor for teachers, she validates local Montessori Schools for MSM (Montessori Schools of Maryland). Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Shelby enjoys reading, knitting, Origami, going for hikes, yoga, and spinning.


Julie Dederer


“I strongly believe that the work I do affects the lives of others and, thus, influences future generations.” Julie has worked with CGMS since 2012. She serves as an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor. Julie has been a Montessori Directress in Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms. She was a Professor at the Columbus Montessori Infant/Toddler Teacher Education Program and Primary Teacher Education Program. Julie also served as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Ohio Dominican University. Julie received her AMS Primary Certification in 1996 from the Northeast Montessori Institute. She graduated from the State University of NY at Fredonia, NY, with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Master of Science in Elementary Education. Julie spends her winters in Florida and her summers in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. She enjoys the beautiful beaches and flora and fauna of the North and South. Julie enjoys reading, cooking, singing, and traveling in her spare time.


Mary Glenn

“Montessori is a way of life and I am so thankful it has impacted my life.” Mary taught Early Childhood Montessori in Washington and Alaska (15 years) and Lower Elementary (6-9 year olds) for ten years. She is currently a Coach for all teachers in a Public Montessori School in Tacoma, Washington. Mary graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Education and an AMS Early Childhood Credential, later receiving her Montessori Lower Elementary certification. She holds a Master in Education with a Montessori emphasis. Mary currently serves as an Online Instructor, a Residential Session Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Located in Tacoma, Washington, Mary enjoys traveling, outside activities, and family time.


Jamie Sellhorn

Jamie has been a guide in Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood classrooms. In 2006, she founded Montessori Garden Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana and currently serves on the school’s Board of Directors. Jamie holds AMS Montessori credentials at the Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood Level. She is currently an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Jamie did undergraduate work at Duke University in Family and Child Psychology and her graduate work at Indiana University in business and technology. She taught in several Waldorf Programs and did Waldorf Teacher Training at Arcturus in Chicago. Jamie has experience working with children with Autism and other special needs, having taught for several years at a Montessori School for children with Autism. In 2012, she completed an Orton-Gillingham certification through the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana.


Mel Megee

“From the first moment I stepped into a Montessori classroom I felt Montessori was the way children learn best. The classrooms were quite enriching, the materials, beautiful. The children had access to the best education based on child development. This type of education had been what my professors had been lecturing on for years.” Mel began working with children in 1979. She taught young children in a traditional setting during the day, and attended night school in the evening for many years. After working as a part-time assistant in a Montessori classroom, she earned her AMS Early Childhood Credential in 2003. Mel has been with CGMS since 2013 and serves as an Online Instructor, a Residential Instructor, Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor.


Rubi Medina

“I am dedicated to inspiring teachers to their full potential so that the next generation of children can also find their potential. Enjoy the journey and captivate the moments as you will look back and know this is not only a profession it’s a vocation.” Rubi received her Primary Montessori Certification from the American Montessori Society. She holds a Bachelors of General Studies from the University of Texas and Master of Science in Sociology from Pan American. Rubi has led Early Childhood environments and mentored teachers during their certification. In addition to her Montessori career, Rubi has taught as an Adjunct Sociology Instructor for Austin Community College teaching Sociology face-to-face classes and also teaching on-line classes for South Texas College in McAllen, Texas. Rubi is an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor with CGMS.


Cindy Williams

“I believe that my work as a Primary Guide is one of the greatest careers a person can have. It is so fulfilling and so important to our young children.” Cindy serves as an Online Instructor, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. She taught Lower Elementary for Indianapolis Public Schools for seven years. Cindy was offered an opportunity to transfer to Kindergarten and has loved it ever since. She has been in kindergarten for 17 years and four years ago was able to add preschool students to the classrooms. She currently has a full time classroom. Cindy received her Early Childhood Montessori credential from CGMS in 2012, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and a Master’s of Education from Walden University.


Teresa Heaverin

“We are very lucky to have a Montessori school in our area that serves infants through high school, and, both as a parent and as a teacher, every day I get to see children grow and develop into amazing teens who are confident and capable.” Teresa serves as an Online Instructor, Residential Instructor, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. She completed her Early Childhood AMS credential in 2010, and also holds an Indiana state teaching license for grades K-3. She has been trained in Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (MACAR) from the Shelton School in Dallas, TX. She has experience teaching at the Lower Elementary level in addition to her years spent as a lead guide in Primary, both positions at a public charter Montessori school. Teresa serves as staff support Infant/Toddler, Primary, and Upper Elementary programs for two Montessori schools in her area. Teresa and her partner have a very active house with five Montessori children(and one on the way), four cats, two hamsters, a giant goldfish, and a dog. Teresa has a special kind of affection for coffee, and in her free time you can find her knitting, doing yoga, experimenting in the kitchen, or camping.


Sarah Moore

“I believe that the work I do is all about creating a more peaceful and sustainable world. This is accomplished through our work with children-they are our future. I have great faith in them.” Sarah has been teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools Montessori Magnet Option for 22 years. She is a Montessori Leadership Team member and leads Early Childhood Professional Development sessions for IPS. Sarah also mentors teachers who are new to Montessori. She received her Early Childhood from CGMS and now serves as an Online Instructor, Field Consultant, and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Sarah holds a BS in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University. Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sarah enjoys reading, Zumba, and knitting in her spare time.


Margaret Combs

Margaret has worked with CGMS since 2008 and serves as an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor. She is a directress at Alcuin Montessori School in Oak Park, Illinois, where she currently teaches and serve as the Lower School Coordinator. Margaret received her Early Childhood credential in 2001 and holds a BFA in Art from Southern Illinois University, a MA from Eastern Illinois University, and a MFA from the University of North Texas (MFA). Margaret and her family are passionate about animals and spend time volunteering at a local shelter. They also love to explore — from the backyard or the beach or any travel they take.


Khavitha Naraendirakumar

“Teaching was always my passion and is a great profession to educate others and to learn from others.” Khavitha received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in India. After moving to Seattle, she was inspired by the Montessori method and completed her Early Childhood Montessori Certification. Khavitha worked as a lead guide for the children at the Early Childhood level and then followed them to the Elementary level, completing the Montessori Elementary(6-12) training through CGMS. Khavitha currently serves as an Online Instructor, Field Consultant and Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Located in Washington, Khavitha enjoys cooking, sewing, traveling and spending time with her family.


Maha Turner

Maha was born in Cairo, Egypt. After receiving her diploma in Pre-Primary/ Primary education through The Montessori World Educational Institute in 1993, Maha worked at Somersfield Academy in Bermuda. In 2009, she completed her Masters in Early Childhood Education/ Montessori from Xavier University. In July 2011, she completed the Training of Trainers Course at Montessori Teacher College in Toronto. She serves as an Online Instructor, Residential Instructor, Field Consultant and Practicum Advisor with CGMS. Maha was in the process of pursuing her Ph.D. in 2016 when she decided that academia was not for her. Instead, Maha listened to her students at Somersfield Academy in Bermuda (average age 3-6 years old) – they inspired her to go and physically make a difference and help her fellow humans. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of refugee women and children by offering them access to Montessori education and by training adults to become certified teachers. She has helped open two new schools for refugee children this year alone in Amman, Jordan and Istanbul, Turkey as well as personally trained over 40 women as Montessori teachers.


Ling Xiang

Ling Xiang serves as an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor for CGMS. Ling says, “Joining the Montessori Education is both accidental and inevitable for me. My parents’ teaching backgrounds and my personal growth and education experience in China made me pay attention to different educational systems while having my own critical thinking on them. My experience living in London as well as my role as a mother made me decide to become a Montessori teacher, choosing to let my children grow joyfully and healthily in a Montessori environment. I have been working as a Montessori guide in a local Montessori school since I graduated from a one-year intense training program in London in 2006. Montessori education not only imparts knowledge and skills but also supports development. As Montessori teachers, we guide and motivate children’s love for learning and curiosity through the prepared environment, supporting and facilitating the children’s overall development academically, intellectually and physically. As Montessori teachers, we are also learning from children during the process of guiding, which in turn helping ourselves to have further intellectual development and maturity. During my years of teaching, I have had the privilege of assisting AMI to review and publish some of the major Montessori educational books in China. I hope the Montessori education system can be more widely understood, learned and applied in China. I feel happy and lucky to join in the CGMS Chinese Montessori Teaching Program.”