ASM’s Team


Children's House

Susan Burns


1998-present. Sue is certified as a Montessori Infant Toddler and Early Childhood teacher. She taught in ASM’s Children’s House for 5 years before joining the administrative team as Director of Children's House. Fall 2016 marks Sue's return to the classroom as lead Kindergarten teacher. She has a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Human Development from Lesley University. Prior to coming to ASM, Sue taught at the Rockingham County Montessori School and was an owner of the Casa Dei Bambini Montessori School. Her interests include yoga, gardening and spending quality time with friends and family.

Sarah Creese


2019-present. Sarah graduated from the ASM Children's House in 2000. She holds a B.A. in English from Wheaton College (MA). Following college graduation, she returned to her roots and got her 3-6 Montessori certification from the Northeast Montessori Institute. She completed her internship at the Newburyport Montessori School and prior to returning to ASM, she worked at the Southern New Hampshire Montessori Academy. Sarah enjoys crocheting, drawing, and loves a good book.

Danielle Gaudet


2015-present. Danielle holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Endicott College and is currently working towards her masters in Education. Previously, Danielle was a head early childhood counselor at the Mass. Audubon Society, where she taught children about animals and nature. She is excited to bring her love of nature into the the classroom. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Kelley Meade

Nap Room Coordinator

2010-present. Kelley holds a B.A. in Business Administration/Management from Franklin Pierce College and an A.S. in Travel and Tourism from Bay State College. She volunteered at ASM from 2003 -2010 in the Children's House and has coached Destination Imagination teams for several years. Kelley teaches the Science Club. She teaches spinning classes and loves to cook, shop and spend time with her family and friends. Kelley is the mother of two children, one who currently attends ASM and an alumna.

Jennifer Miller


2019-present. Jennifer Miller will be joining Shannan Welsh in Children's House 2 this fall. Jennifer holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Northern Vermont University. Jennifer most recently taught Kindergarten at Barton Academy and Graded School.

Kellie Scarelli

Assistant Teacher

2018-present. Kellie holds a B.S. in Family and Community Studies from Merrimack College and an A.S. in Early Childhood Education from Northern Essex Community College. Over the past 5 years, Kellie has worked in the After School Care program, the Summer Program and taught dance enrichment classes at ASM. In her spare time she loves dancing, listening to music, doing yoga, and spending time with family and friends.

Alesa Smith


2019-present. Alesa holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and a diploma in Preschool Education from the North American Progressive Montessori Teacher Training Program. She most recently worked in Haverhill Public Schools as a Special Education Paraprofessional. Alesa previously taught at New England Montessori School in North Andover for 12 years.

Patricia Stokes


2002-present. Pat holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Lowell State College and an M.Ed. with an Early Childhood Focus from Endicott College. In the education field for over forty years, Pat received her Montessori 3-6 certification at the Northeast Montessori Institute. She also earned her Responsive Classroom I and II certification from Northeast Foundation for Children. Pat is a member of the First New Hampshire Regiment, a living history group and one of the founding members of the Windham Garden Club. During the summer she teaches Red Cross swimming. Pat is enjoying her new role of being a grandparent.

Kara Vitiello


2014-present. Kara holds an M.Ed with a concentration in Early Childhood Studies from American International College and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Lasell College. Kara attended the Northeast Montessori Institute Rising Stars Overview course. She has also completed the Sheltered English Instruction course through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Prior to joining ASM Kara taught Preschool at Beverly Hospital Child Development Center, then worked as a Teaching Assistant at Shore Country Day School in Beverly, MA and most recently was a Kindergarten Teacher at The Gateway School in Lawrence, MA. In her spare time Kara enjoys taking care of her two dogs, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Shannan Welsh


2014-present. Shannan has been a Montessori educator since 2005. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of New Hampshire. She also completed a minor in Spanish and spent a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. Shannan completed her Montessori early childhood certification at the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center. Prior to coming to ASM, she taught at Keystone Montessori in Chelmsford for eight years. Her hobbies include singing, crafting, reading, gardening, and yoga.

Lower Elementary

Jenny Bellino


2018-present. Jenny holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Boston College and an M.A. in Elementary Education with a focus on Elementary Literacy from Walden University. She is a certified IB educator who also holds a Massachusetts teaching licensure. Most recently, she has taught second grade for three years at a technology and inquiry-focused school in Moss, Norway. Prior to starting her career in Education, she also worked for five years as an Account Executive at Boston-area advertising agencies. She is very excited to be moving back to the United States and joining the ASM team! In her spare time, Jenny enjoys travelling, painting and spending time with her family.

Jennifer Byam


2007-present. Jennifer holds a B.S. and an M.A. in Teaching in Early Childhood Education from Gordon College. She completed Lower Elementary training at the Seacoast Center for Education. Jennifer has been a teaching assistant in the Hamilton-Wenham School District. She enjoys reading, listening to music and walking in nature.

Lauren Mrachko


2016-present. Lauren holds a B.A. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education as well as in English Literature from Hofstra University. She was certified as a teacher by the state of New York in 2013, and is currently pursuing her Massachusetts licensure. Most recently, Lauren spent two years teaching first grade in Brooklyn, New York at Canarsie Ascend Lower School. She is very excited to be joining the ASM team as she continues to follow her passion of helping children learn and grow. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys reading, going for walks, and spending time with her family.

Sarah O'Brien


2004-present. Sarah holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. She has Montessori Certification for Lower Elementary. Prior to coming to ASM, Sarah taught for three years at the Kingsley Montessori School and eight years at Pincushion Hill Montessori School. Sarah enjoys being a mom (her daughter currently attends ASM) and spending time with family and friends as well as scrapbooking.

Upper Elementary

Becky Erwin


2015-present. Becky Erwin holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Goucher College. She received her Montessori Upper Elementary Certification from CMTE/NY in 2003. Becky has been teaching for twelve years, ten of which have been at Montessori Schools. Prior to joining ASM, Becky was an Upper Elementary teacher and Program Coordinator at Oak Meadow School in Littleton. She is currently pursuing her Montessori Lower Elementary Certification from NAMC. Becky has spent summers working at camp with students ages 3-12. When she is not teaching, Becky enjoys reading, painting and spending time with her family and two dogs.

Karen Holt


2018-present. Karen received her B.S. from Eastern University for Middle School English. She was a 6th grade English teacher for one year in Maryland and then moved to Massachusetts with her husband. Most recently, Karen worked as a teachers aide in Danvers. She believes it is important to recognize who your students are as individuals in order to teach them effectively. Karen is passionate about teaching students content as well as teaching them how to be compassionate, caring, respectful, and responsible persons.

Rani Tremblay


2019-present. Rani holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Business from DePaul University and an M.S. in Psychology and Counseling from Northeastern University. She received her Montessori AMS Elementary I-II (6-12) certification from Seacoast Center Montessori Program. Prior to teaching at ASM, Rani was an Upper Elementary teacher for thirteen years at Oak Meadow School in Littleton. She believes in engaging students in the love of learning, and challenging them to reach their individual potential - socially, emotionally, and academically. Rani is a mother of two Montessori educated children who are currently in college. In her off hours, Rani enjoys cooking, hiking, and traveling with her husband, as well as cheering on her children in track and rowing events.

Middle School

Meredith Badders

Humanities Teacher

2018-present. Meredith holds a B.A. in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her M.A in teaching, with a middle school teaching concentration, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Meredith brings her love for history, literature and world travel to the classroom, with a focus on creating a culture of understanding and appreciation for the diverse world around us. Meredith is committed to reaching the needs of adolescents through mutual respect, trusted communication, and the setting of clear expectations. By providing students with an opportunity to grow in their writing, reading and communication skills, Meredith hopes students will leave the program with self-awareness, confidence, and the ability to self-advocate. Meredith, her husband and their two black labs recently settled into Boston and look forward to traveling, hiking and camping throughout the area.

Barbara Orlowitz

Math and STEM Teacher

2014-present. Barbara holds a B.S. in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boston University. She received her certification in Montessori Adolescent Studies from Washington Montessori Secondary Education Program. Barbara also attended the Montessori Seacoast Center for Education where she participated in a three week seminar for the elementary math program. Barbara is certified in the state of Massachusetts in mathematics to teach grades 5-8. She has been tutoring middle and secondary school math for the past twelve years and has taught at the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School. Barbara came to ASM after twelve years at Oak Meadow Montessori School where she taught math and science and expanded her role to include leadership positions such as Program Level Coordinator and Director of Secondary School Placement. During her tenure at Oak Meadow, Barbara was Chair of Math Curriculum Review and Vice-Chair of the AISNE/AMS accreditation committee. Barbara enjoys yoga, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family.

Richelle Records

Math, Science and STEM Teacher

2018-present. Richelle graduated from Stonehill College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Elementary Education, then moved on to get her M.Ed from UMass Boston. She has worked in the Boston area for the past six years, teaching middle school math and science at two different schools. Richelle is extremely passionate about the environment and working with students in the STEM field. She has a love of life-long learning and wants to share that with everyone. Her hobbies include traveling to new places, working on her hobby farm, gardening, reading, and all kinds of outdoor activities from hiking and kayaking to rock climbing and skydiving.

Integrated Arts

Susan Devine

Library Media Specialist

2001-present. Suzie earned an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and and M.A. and B.A. in French from Middlebury College. She holds current Massachusetts professional certifications in Library All Levels, Elementary, and Middle School teaching, and a Graduate Certificate in Media Literacy from Wheelock College. She first taught in the Holliston, MA French Immersion and regular elementary programs, where she also completed Montessori Children's House coursework. Along with participation in library and Montessori education organizations, her recent professional development focuses on literacy, STEM, and the meaningful integration of technology for instruction and learning. Her particular interests include: collaboration, guiding the inquiry process, Montessori Model United Nations, and education for peace. Suzie's favorite hobbies are skiing and choral singing.

Laura Erazo

Spanish Teacher

2014-present. Laura is completely bilingual and holds a B.A. in Spanish and Sociology. She started teaching in 1984; her specialty being beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of Spanish. She lived in Costa Rica for 8 years. Upon returning to United States, she headed two school exchange programs to Costa Rica with her students from North Andover High School. Her passions include reading, cooking and outdoor activities.

Caitlin Goffman

Health and Physical Education Teacher

2018-present. Caitlin holds a B.S. in Athletic Training and a M. S. in Exercise and Sports Science from Merrimack College. Additionally, Caitlin is a Certified Athletic Trainer, who has spent many years working with student-athletes of all ages. Most recently, Caitlin spent time in higher education, as an academic advisor, health science program coordinator and adjunct professor. Caitlin prides herself in her vast knowledge of exercise and sport science to provide a safe, healthy and physically active learning environment for all students. She is extremely passionate about student success inside and outside of the classroom. In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, playing and coaching a variety of sports as well as spending time with her family.

Jean Mattoon

Music Teacher

2015-present. Jean holds a Bachelors of Music in flute performance from the New England Conservatory and a current Massachusetts teaching license for music. She got her start as a music teacher over twenty years ago, directing handbell choirs for children and adults in Reading, Lexington and Norfolk. She went on to teach general/vocal music PK-8 at two Catholic schools, and band/instrumental music at The Waldorf School in Lexington. For the last nine years Jean has taught kindergarten and first grade general/vocal music at a public school in Georgetown, MA.

Andrea West

Art Teacher

2013-present. Andrea holds a B.F.A. in painting and a B.A. in Art History from Boston University. She also earned an M.A. in Teaching in the field of Museum Education from The George Washington University. After spending many years developing education programs for notable museums, Andrea strove to combine her passion for art and working with children and became certified to teach visual arts. She most recently served as the art teacher for grades K-8 at Hill View Montessori Charter Public School, in Haverhill, for 6 years. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys singing, being outdoors and spending time with her family.

Veronica Wood

Spanish Teacher

Senora Veronica was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a degree in Child Psychology from the Catholic University of Quito and a Master’s in Business Administration from the IDE Business School. In Ecuador, Veronica worked for several years as a School Psychologist for grades one through six. In 2000, she moved to the United States where she began teaching Spanish and funded her own language program, More Than Spanish, which is currently used in several schools and children’s centers throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Veronica believes strongly that all children should have their first exposure to a second language as young as possible, and is dedicated to discovering new and innovative strategies that will engage and enrich young learners. Whether teaching or consulting, Veronica is an enthusiastic educator who continues to share both the joy of learning and an appreciation for language and culture with all her students and clients. She is a member of MaFLA (Massachusetts Foreign Language Association), and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).


Marybeth Caruso

Director of Children's House

2017-Present. Marybeth is an experienced Montessori administrator and teacher, having worked in Montessori schools for over 25 years. She holds a B.A. in Administration and Communications from Antioch College and an AMI Primary certificate (for ages 2.9 – 6 years) from the Ohio Montessori Training Institute. In addition, she holds Director II certification from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (MA EEC). Prior to joining ASM, Marybeth was Director of Children’s House and Director of Admissions at Keystone Montessori School in Chelmsford, MA. Marybeth was a Montessori student herself and both her children are Montessori school graduates. In her leisure time she enjoys traveling, going to museums and spending time outdoors with her family in Maine.

Joanna DeStefanis

Head of School

2013-Present. Joanna holds an M.Ed. in School Administration as well as principal licensure from Rivier University. She earned her B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Joanna has attended several conferences related to leadership, governance, Montessori education, learning and the brain, and marketing and branding. She has developed curriculum and taught in the private sector. Most recently, she held leadership positions at Oak Meadow Montessori School where she served as Assistant Head of School for four years and Director of Admission for six. Joanna enjoys being with her family, reading, cooking, gardening, photography and being in nature, whether on her bike, in her kayak or hiking. Her two children are Montessori graduates.

Michelle Finno

Director of Enrollment Management & Marketing

2015-present. Michelle holds a B.S. in Business Communications and an M.S. in Marketing Analytics from Bentley University. She spent over 16 years in the field of admission and prior to joining ASM, she was the Director of Communications and Programs for Undergraduate Admission at her alma mater. Michelle enjoys working with families to ensure that student, family and school goals and vision align. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys music, camping, cooking and maintaining physical fitness.

Janice Goldstein


2004-present. Janice holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. She has a private practice in North Andover. At ASM, Janice consults with staff and parents about the learning needs of children.

Susan Igoe

Special Services Tutor

2008-present. Susan holds a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology with a minor in Elementary Education from Merrimack College. She is a certified Wilson Instructor. Before coming to ASM, Susan taught in the Andover Public schools and the Tewksbury Public Schools. Her interests include gardening and skiing. She and her husband have four children and many pets.

Anna Kritselis

Information Technology

2008-present. Anna holds a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University and an M.S. in Information Systems from Northeastern University's College of Engineering. Anna has 20 years of experience in a variety of systems-related and management level positions in the private sector. She currently provides IT consulting services to Montessori schools, including Oak Meadow Montessori, Keystone, Pincushion Hill and Shrewsbury Montessori School.

Jeff Kulis


2016-present. Before coming to ASM, Jeff worked for American Alarm. Prior to that, he spent 13 years in the Emergency Response industry as an EMT and Supervisor. Jeff is an avid amateur photographer and spends his free time hiking with his wife and chocolate labrador, Indy.

Shannon Lavelle

Director of Finance

2019-present. Shannon holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Certificate of Accountancy from Bentley University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Massachusetts. She has worked for over 20 years in the accounting field in both the public and private sector, with her most recent years spent at a non-profit college. In her spare time Shannon enjoys being with her family, skiing, gardening and reading.

Vicky Long

Nurse Manager

2019-present. Vicky has been a Registered Nurse since 2003 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has worked in various health care settings ranging from acute care to post operative treatment. For the last few years she has worked in the health office in an upper elementary school in Middleton Massachusetts. In her spare time she enjoys beach walks, family vacations, reading, and playing with the family's french bulldog.

Barbara Orlowitz

Director of Elementary and Middle School and Learning Support Services Coordinator

2014-present. Barbara holds a B.S. in Engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boston University. She received her certification in Montessori Adolescent Studies from Washington Montessori Secondary Education Program. Barbara also attended the Montessori Seacoast Center for Education where she participated in a three week seminar for the elementary math program. Barbara is certified in the state of Massachusetts in mathematics to teach grades 5-8. She has been tutoring middle and secondary school math for the past twelve years and has taught at the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School. Barbara came to ASM after twelve years at Oak Meadow Montessori School where she taught math and science and expanded her role to include leadership positions such as Program Level Coordinator and Director of Secondary School Placement. During her tenure at Oak Meadow, Barbara was Chair of Math Curriculum Review and Vice-Chair of the AISNE/AMS accreditation committee. Barbara enjoys yoga, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family.

Robyn Poirier

Administrative Assistant/Front Desk

2004-present. Robyn holds a Secretarial Certification from Katherine Gibbs School. For eighteen years, Robyn was the Executive Assistant to the Comptroller and Executive Vice President of ITT Communications enabling her to travel the world. Robyn enjoys traveling, skiing, movies and shopping.

Board of Directors

Kara Adams

Board Member since 2018

Kara serves as Senior Counsel at Locke Lord LLP, an international law firm located in Boston. She is a member of the firm’s Public Finance practice group, with extensive experience serving as counsel in connection with the issuance of taxable and tax-exempt securities by states, cities and towns, and other governmental entities. Kara received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire and holds a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. “My daughter has found a home away from home at ASM, and I am thrilled to be able to share this learning experience with her, and the entire ASM community, by serving on the Board. I look forward to continuing my support, and contributing to the current and future success of ASM.”

Brian Banigan

Board member since 2012

Brian is a director of global marketing programs at Pegasystems, a provider of customer engagement software. Prior to this role, he was a global marketing leader for cognitive computing and analytics solutions at IBM. Brian advised financial services organizations as a management consultant at IBM Global Services and served as an officer in the US Army. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Emory University. Brian is dedicated to serving North Shore Elder Services, the Jimmy Fund, and the Notre Dame Executive Business Council and enjoys being involved in his children's activities, which include Lego robotics and synchronized swimming. "Serving on the Board gives me an opportunity to contribute to this strong parent-involved community, which has played a vital role in the enrichment and education of our children. I look forward to helping advance the school’s mission and long-term goals.”

Esin Seref Dibirdi

Board member since 2018

Esin is an Engineering Services Manager at F5, a provider of Application Delivery Networking. She has over a decade of leadership experience serving as leader of QA, development, customer support and infrastructure services delivering software and cloud based services in global organizations. Esin holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.S. in Computer Science. “Being one of the outnumbered women in technology, I am passionate about STEM. In a world moving towards AI and automation, I cannot think of a better organization than ASM to give our children the foundation to help them gain the skills to separate them from the crowd. Being on the Board gives me the opportunity to serve our children and this great school.”

Eric Farnkoff

Board member since 2013

Eric Farnkoff is a Partner within the assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) located in Boston. Eric received a B.S. in Business Administration from Babson College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Massachusetts. "Joining the Board was a great opportunity for me to leverage the knowledge and experiences I have had as a CPA with PwC for the benefit of a great institution – ASM! It also provides me an opportunity to support and give back to ASM to show my appreciation for the fantastic education of my children."

Ken Feyl

Board member since 2015

Ken, a licensed architect, has over 30 years of commercial architectural experience. Ken received a B.S. in Design & MARCH, Architecture from Clemson University. In 2009, Ken was awarded the Gilbane Construction Company’s Excellence Award for demonstrating the core values of: Integrity, Tough-mindedness, Teamwork, Dedication to Excellence, Loyalty and Discipline. His architectural experience ranges from the renovation of existing office buildings to creating master plan proposals for site developments from New England to the Gulf Coast. “Our son has thrived both socially and academically at ASM since coming to the school for Kindergarten in 2009 and will soon be graduating Middle School in June 2018! As a parent I have loved supporting and giving back to the school that my son is getting this great Montessori education in, from serving as President of the PACE (the parent organization), to serving on the Building and Grounds Committee, to now serving on the Board of Directors. ASM has been the right fit for our son and our family.”

Monalisa Shroff

Board member since 2018

Monalisa has over 20 years of experience in strategy, financial planning & analysis, forecasting & budgeting, business analytics and operations management. Monalisa recently started her own finance consulting business and is currently providing CFO consulting services to a start-up in the health and nutrition space. Monalisa received her B.S. in Finance & International Business from the University of Bridgeport, CT and her M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, NY. “I can honestly say enrolling our son into ASM has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Watching our son thrive here under the care of such amazing teachers has been truly rewarding. I am so grateful to have found the ASM community and have tried to contribute in ways I can (volunteering in the classroom, mentoring new families, etc.). I am hoping my corporate experience in finance and operations will allow me to add value to the Board and contribute to the school's growth and development”.

Archana Vitale

Board member since 2017

Archana recently rejoined the workforce as a business development consultant at Clarion Healthcare, a healthcare and biotech management consulting firm. Archana brings a unique blend of deep scientific understanding and a broad perspective on the commercial and business side of the biopharmaceutical industry to support and implement business development solutions for the firm. Archana received her PhD from the Brain, Behavior and Cognition program at Boston University, where she did her research in collaboration with the Translational Neuroscience Lab at McLean Hospital to develop a strong foundation in neuroscience. Her graduate work was supported by various teaching and research fellowships. "With both my children thriving in this environment, ASM has very quickly grown to become such an integral part of our lives! Serving on the board and supporting strategic planning and governance efforts has been so fulfilling and I am extremely excited about continuing to contribute to this amazing and nurturing community."

Danhua Zheng

Board member since 2018

Danhua has a B.S. in Computer and Information Science from UMASS Dartmouth and has over 20 years of experience in the financial database software industry. Currently, she is the principal for Chinese School Andover and has been very active in the local community, promoting cross-cultural exchange programs and Chinese arts and culture appreciation. Danhua served as treasurer of PACE (ASM’s Parent Association) for many years and has been a dedicated volunteer since her family arrived at ASM. “I love ASM and its community. I enjoy seeing my children grow up, learning so much and having fun. Joining the board will give me a chance to give back to the school and be part of the strategic plan to make the school even better for future children to learn and grow.”

John Zhuang

Board member since 2013

John has worked in the ECE industry for 15 years, with experiences in wireless communication infrastructure, electrical traffic management, semiconductor, Internet, software development, and mobile devices. John manages a small team of engineers and technician focusing on leading edge product & test development. He earned an ECE master degree from UMass Amherst and a BSEE degree from Beijing Institute of Technology. "I joined the Board to contribute and support ASM's long term goals, especially to promote learning/teaching in innovation, technology and engineering. I believe, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." -by Lao Tzu (Laozi) (600 BCE) and Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)."

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