Meet Our Amazing Team

 
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Maria Costadini

Administrative director

Maria was born in Chicago, but raised in Southern California.  She has an Associates of Science degree in Radiologic Technology from Cypress College, and a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's degree in Theology from Life Christian University.  Maria has been with MSF for seven years. She started out as Office Administrator, moved to Finance Director, Interim Director and is now the Administrative Director.  Maria was the administrator and co-pastor of a church in SoCal for 16 years.  She also has owned and operated two Greek restaurants with her husband. Fun facts: Maria’s a hard core classic rock and roll gal.  “Rock on.” And can make a greek feast thats out of this world!


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Rachel Costadini

Administrative Support, Event Coordinator, & Elementary PE Coordinator

Rachel Costadini hails from sunny Oceanside, California.  She graduated from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, with a degree in Theology and Graphic Design.  Rachel has worked at MSF for four years now. She is the Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator, and also teaches the Boot Camp enrichment class to the Kindergarten and Elementary students.  Fun Facts: On holidays, she travels all over to spend time with family and friends.  Rachel took a swim in the Amazon River in Brazil, and she volcano boarded down a 3,000 ft volcano in Nicaragua, which  was gnarly.


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Eri Nakanishi

Lead Teacher - Toddler


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Patty Verastegui

Toddler Assistant/ Spanish Instruction

Patty has been at MSF for seven years. She has her Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) and has completed 16 early childhood certifications. She enjoy working as an assistant teacher at Montessori, because it is a very established school. Children are able to learn not only great education but also values for life. Kids have the liberty to choose, and are mentored to their potential. Learning is fun at Montessori. Fun Facts: Patty is from Peru. She likes to shop, go to movies, out to dinner with family and friends, travel, read, go to concerts, and cook.  Patty’s favorite place to travel to is Europe, Italy and Austria. She has four children and a grandchild. Family is very important to Patty. Why Montessori?  “I like to see the Montessori method, where the children are free to do the work in the classroom environment. The children have liberty of enjoying the environment that we have created for them.”


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Bunmi Anifowoshe

Lead Primary Teacher & Aftercare Coordinator

Ms. Bunmi is from Nigeria and has been with MSF for 12 years. She has an Association Montessori International (AMI) Certification as well as a BSC in Microbiology.  Fun Facts: She loves cooking, spending time with her husband & two daughters. She is passionate about treasuring relationships. Why Montessori? “Montessori is not a trend, it is a philosophy and it works. The method is consistent and the materials are beautiful; the materials are the same in any Montessori classroom around the world.”


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Kristina Gray-Counts

Primary Assistant

Kristina is originally from San Francisco, CA and has a BA degree from MTSU. She has been at MSF for 17 years, three years as a parent and 13 years as a primary assistant. Both of Kristina’s children attended MSF, Patrick age 19 and Elizabeth who is 15.  Fun Facts: Kristina is loves animals; she loves to do volunteer work and is passionate about children’s issues. Why Montessori? “I am a big advocate of childhood. I love the fact that we teach children how to be a community.  We teach them how to respect others, our environment and themselves. As a Montessori parent I saw how it helped my children have a strong work ethic that comes from within.  It helped them to be compassionate towards others and our world.”


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Kelly Kimbrough

Lead Primary Teacher


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Cheryl Hall

primary assistant

Cheryl has her BS in Business Management; she was born and raised in Alabama. Prior to working as an assistant at MSF, Cheryl was a parent, a board member, volunteer and a substitute.  Her son Nathan went through 7th grade at MSF. Fun Facts: Cheryl loves life and loves to laugh, she has an infectious (contagious) laugh.  If money were no object, she would travel the world, but keeping it low key so she can see how people live in other cultures. “I’m not a fan of touristy things.” Why Montessori? “Everybody should do Montessori. My son Nathan had a negative experience in Kindergarten at a school which was classical in training. It didn’t work for him; he shut down. Montessori gave him the confidence to learn again; he thrived in the Montessori environment within a few days of being here.”


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Colleen Walker

Lead Primary Teacher


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Eny Moore

Primary assistant & spanish Teacher

Eny is from Puerto Rico, she has been at MSF for 8 years. Fun Facts: She has three children, two dogs and two birds. Her passion is spending time with her family and researching and gaining information on natural health solutions.  Her favorite place to vacation is Kiawah Island in South Carolina; which is an annual family tradition. Why Montessori? “My mother Noemi worked at MSF teaching Spanish.  When my mother passed, I picked up the baton and have been teaching Spanish at MSF ever since.”  


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Ramona (Smeltzer) Jones

Lead ElEMENTARY Teacher

Ramona is from upstate NY, near Albany. She moved to Franklin the summer of 2010 to work at MSF. Ramona has her Elementary Montessori certification; she is a TN state licensed teacher and has her Masters in Literacy and Special Education.  She wanted to become a Montessori teacher to help children learn. She struggled in school herself, so she got a Masters in Special Education. Fun Facts: In her spare time she love to hike & explore state parks. She also enjoy reading thrillers or personal narratives are her favorite.  Why Montessori? “Montessori looks at every child as an individual and looks at what each child’s needs are.  Montessori is a way to reach every child.”


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Jennifer Baillargeon

elementary Assistant

Jennifer grew up in Portland, Oregon. This is her fourth year at MSF. Jennifer is a TN state licensed teacher K-5th. Fun Facts: She enjoys hiking, cycling, traveling, doing yoga and spending time with her husband and daughter. If money were no object, the first thing she would do is hire a chef! Why Montessori?  “I fell in love with the Montessori philosophy because it is the development of the individual child.  I saw the materials and love the concrete, simple materials. I wanted that for my daughter. Being a teacher, I never fully bought into the traditional educational methods.  I saw that Montessori was a philosophy for the education of children.”


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Shaun Petty

Elementary Assistant

Born in Henderson, NV, has live in Franklin since she was 12 years old. Shaun has been at MSF for 18 years.  Fun Facts: She enjoys gardening, cooking, getting together with family and friends, spending time with her nephews, and loves to play games. If I were rich I would build MSF an awesome school. Why Montessori? “Independence of the children to be who they are and work at their own pace. I believe in the Montessori method.  I see so much growth in the children. I love working with the staff and the parents at MSF. It feels like a second family.”


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Jan Shepard

Administrative Support

My passion for learning and delight in supporting others' learning has been a driving force in my life. That strong focus resulted in my TN teaching certification (K thru 12), my 25+ year career training adults (Vanderbilt University, Ernst & Young, etc.), and, fortunately, led me to join the MSF team over 9 years ago. I'm grateful to be part of the dedicated Montessori team at MSF who share my commitment to nourishing the unique learning aptitudes and abilities of each child.  As an adoring grandmother and native Tennessean who loves nature, exploring the paths around Radnor Lake with my grandsons tops my free time list.


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Shannon Wright

Substitute

Aftercare & Summer Program support, Montessori School of Franklin - 1 year


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Maria Elekes

Substitute