MEET OUR SUNRISE MONTESSORI STAFF
Meet Our Staff
Ms. Mary Ellen
Owner/Director/Elementary Lead Teacher - North Campus
Mary Ellen is the proud owner of Sunrise Montessori, and she has been for 41 years! Mary Ellen began her teaching career in high school teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She earned her BA in Elementary and taught in the Washington and Mesa School Districts for 4 years. She took a leave of absence to have her first child and never went back to public school. She heard about Montessori in college, but did not hear anything positive about it. When she began looking for preschool for her oldest child, who would soon be 3, a close high school friend told her to go observe her son's Montessori school. After visiting every other type of preschool, she finally went to see the Montessori school recommended by her friend. As she sat observing the class, tears rolled down her cheeks. How she wished she could have taught the Montessori way to all the children she had taught while teaching in public school! She enrolled her daughter immediately! A year later, her daughter's Montessori teacher had to leave the school after having a baby, so, Mary Ellen opened her home and she began Sunrise Montessori in a spare bedroom. With the naivete of youth, she had no idea there were rules and regulations to operate a preschool and that she could not have one in her home. So with a school of 10 children and more than 20 on a waiting list, the school began looking for a property in which to continue the school. A church was found on 33rd Avenue and Larkspur where Sunrise Montessori stayed for 8 years. A new pastor came to the church and the school was asked to leave. A hunt was on for a new facility! A parent at the school drove by a big house for sale on her way to school every day. After looking at it, Mary Ellen realized with a few minor tweaks, it would make a perfect school! And so, 32 years ago, the school moved into the big grey house with the blue tile roof on 47th Avenue. Mary Ellen received her Montessori training in Oakland, CA in 1983 and has taught every level - toddler through sixth grade. She has been very grateful that all 4 of her children were able to continue their Montessori education through sixth grade. Mary Ellen believes that if Maria Montessori had been a man, her method of education would be in every school around the world. After teaching in public schools and watching her own children's lives be enriched by the Montessori education, she is convinced the Montessori Method of education is absolutely the very best way for children to learn and love learning. in 1995, to keep the Arizona State teaching certificate current, she and to get her Master's Degree. Because Montessori is out of mainstream education, she decided to pursue a Master's in counseling. This degree has been very beneficial in helping the families of Sunrise Montessori
Office Manager/Assistant Director - North & South Campus
Ms. Madison attended Sunrise Montessori from the ages of 3-12. After graduating from Sunrise Montessori, she went on to attend a Montessori middle school and a charter high school in the Phoenix area, graduating in 2016. After graduating high school, she went on to attend Northern Arizona University and graduated in May of 2021 with a Bachelor's of Social Work.
Ms. Madison has worked for Sunrise Montessori since 2016, in each classroom and in both campuses ' offices. She is excited to be managing both school offices. She will be at North on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays and South on Tuesdays & Thursdays.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with her dog Daisy, watching Disney movies, and taking or teaching dance classes.
Montessori - Certified Primary Teacher & Director - South Campus
Ms. Kayla has worked at Sunrise Montessori since 2016. She has worked at both campuses in both Toddler & Primary classes. This is her second year as a lead teacher! She has her Montessori training (AMS) through the Arizona Montessori Teacher Education Program. This is also her first year as the Director of our South Campus!
In her free time, she enjoys swimming, baking, and spending time with her family, friends & dog, Stark.
Montessori - Certified Primary Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Olive has worked at Sunrise Montessori School for over 30 years. She received her AMI Montessori certification and has been a lead teacher in our primary class at both campuses. She loves the Montessori method of education and is very passionate about teaching!
She says Montessori is her hobby!
Montessori-Certified Primary Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Corina is excited to begin her second year of teaching with us at Sunrise Montessori School. She received her Montessori training (AMS) through the Arizona Montessori Teacher Education program this summer. She is excited to be working with the primary students!
Lead Toddler Teacher - South Campus
Ms. Angelina worked at Sunrise Montessori School a few years ago, when she was in High School. She left to pressure working in the justice system, but has decided that working with kids is what she enjoys most! She is very passionate about her work and loves doing fun activities to help the children learn! We are so excited to have Ms. Angelina in the toddler class!
Lead Toddler Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Mia is excited to begin her first year leading with Sunrise Montessori School in the Toddler classroom. She really loves the Montessori method of teaching and she loves to learn more about it every day. She is great with the children and enjoys spending time with them. She plans to go to college to get her Early Childhood Education degree and also her Montessori training.
Elementary Phonics Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Tracie began her relationship with Montessori in 2002 when she enrolled her first daughter (Ms. Madison) in Sunrise Montessori School. The opportunity came for her to begin working here 16 years ago and she never looked back. She has worked as an assistant in every classroom. She feels blessed to be a part of this community!
Besides begin our elementary phonics teacher, Ms. Tracie also works as a hairdresser. She also enjoys crafting and painting!
Assistant Elementary Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Chelsie began working at Sunrise Montessori School at the South Campus in the primary class. She moved into the Elementary class last year and has loved assisting the elementary students with their work! She loves the children.
In her free time, she enjoys crafting and watching movies with family and friends.
Primary Assistant Teacher - South Campus
Ms. Mollie is excited to begin her first year as our Primary Assistant at the South Campus. She has been working with children for many years volunteering at her Church's youth program. She is excited to be working in outdoor environment.
Assistant Primary Teacher & Outdoor Environment Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Sherrie has been working with children for over 30 years! Before coming to Sunrise Montessori School, she owned and taught at a local dance studio. She is excited to continue her 5th year working in the Primary classroom. She enjoys learning something new every day and loves working with the children!
Assistant Toddler Teacher - North Campus
Ms. Sandy is excited to be back from retirement and working with the toddler at the North Campus. Ms. Sandy has worked at Sunrise for many years beginning in 2004 when her youngest son attended the school. Ms. Sandy has worked in toddler and primary and she has her primary Montessori Training. She is excited to be working with the toddlers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Ms. Betty Jo
Art Teacher - North & South Campus
Ms. Betty Jo has been working at Sunrise Montessori School for over 20 years! She received her Bachelor's in Art Education from Nazareth College of Rochester, NY. In 2001, Ms. Betty Jo began teaching Creative Art and Art History to our Elementary students. She then began teaching art to our kindergarten students as well. She currently teachers Art at multiple valley schools and she absolutely loves it! All of her children attended Sunrise Montessori School.
In her free time, she enjoys ballroom dancing, painting, and doing yoga.