- Young People's Community
- Children's House
- Program Enrichments
- Why Montessori?
- Parent Education
Parents consistently rate the faculty as the number one reason for sending their children to Litchfield Montessori School. Our nurturing, well-trained and experienced teachers honor each child’s individual potential and work to create an environment that inspires children to develop inner discipline, self-assurance and a love of learning.
A certified Montessori Teacher and Assistant Teacher lead each classroom, providing continuity throughout the three-year cycle. Our teachers are well known in the profession, and serve as trainers and models at educational seminars and for students from local colleges and universities. Their first love, however, is the children at LMS, whom they creatively and sensitively nurture and support.
YOUNG PEOPLE'S COMMUNITY
Young People's Community Directress
Judy holds an Child Development Associate in child development from Naugatuck Valley Community College. She worked in the Thomaston public school system for 15 years as a special education paraprofessional before coming to Litchfield Montessori School in 2007. She spent six years as the Aftercare Directress at LMS, which inspired her to pursue her Montessori training. Judy now has an Infant/Toddler teaching diploma from the North American Montessori Center and has served as the Directress of the Young People’s Community since 2014. Judy has four grown children, and her greatest joy is spending time with her seven grandchildren. She and her husband Chris enjoy ballroom dancing in their spare time, and exploring the beaches of Maine together.
Young People's Community Assistant
Rachel first became familiar with Montessori when she was looking for a preschool for her son Thomas over a decade ago. After enrolling him in the Young People’s Community (YPC) at LMS in 2005, and her daughter Marley two years later, Rachel attended several parent education meetings and positive discipline classes offered at the school. Wanting to put her new knowledge of Montessori to work, Rachel served as the Aftercare Coordinator for three years before becoming an assistant in YPC in 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Florida.
Children's House Co-Directress
Bonny joined the LMS faculty in 2015. Prior to teaching here, she was a Primary Guide for The Montessori School of the Berkshires in Lenox, Massachusetts for five years. Bonny graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana with a B.A. in Sociology, and received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training from the Washington Montessori Institute, the oldest AMI accredited training center in North America. Her four children are now grown, which allows her even more time to devote to her work and love of Montessori education. In her spare time, Bonny loves photographing nature, gardening, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and catching up on her children’s latest adventures.
Children's House Assistant & Spanish Specialist
Originally from Colombia, Gloria holds a bachelor's of science degree from La Salle University. She began her career as an educator teaching elementary and middle school science in Bogotá, Colombia. After moving to California, Gloria discovered Montessori education when looking for a pre-school for her children. After spending some years as a parent volunteer, Gloria completed her Elementary certification through the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Francisco. For five years, she served as both an assistant in the elementary class and Spanish specialist at Golden Oak Montessori in Hayward, California. When she moved to Connecticut two years ago, she began working with primary aged children at Brown-Tufts Montessori. Gloria joins the LMS staff in 2016 as an assistant in Children’s House and as our Spanish specialist.
Enrichment & Aftercare Coordinator
Amanda began working at LMS as a substitute, and joined us permanently a year later. Amanda earned her AMI Assistant’s Certification through the Montessori Training Center of New England in the fall of 2016. She now serves as the director of our Enrichment and Aftercare programs. She is an avid practitioner of yoga and a certified yoga instructor.
Lower Elementary Assistant
Monika has a bachelor's of science degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut. She spent ten years on the island of Nantucket as a teacher at the Nantucket Lighthouse School, and then received a master’s in education from Antioch University New England. She returned to the Litchfield area in 2010 and worked as an assistant teacher at the Millstream Farm Middle School in New Hartford before becoming an assistant teacher in Children's House. Monika is also an artist. She loves to hold art programs for all ages where the children are able to create beautiful and purposeful pieces of artwork. Lastly, she adores her dogs, Shanti and Bucky, and the daily walks they take together.
Grail is a senior faculty member, and an experienced parent and Montessori directress. She received her M.F.A. in printmaking from Hamilton College in 1981, and completed her elementary level Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) training in Bergamo, Italy in 1988. She has taught both lower and upper elementary levels at LMS, The Cobb School in Simsbury and The Montessori School in Wilton. Grail has many interests including reading, art, music, travel and gardening. She lives on a small farm in Litchfield with her husband, their three teenaged children (all of whom attended LMS) and a wide assortment of lively farm animals.
Upper Elementary Directress
Kate Gnitzcavich has been a faculty member at Litchfield Montessori School for eight years, starting as the Upper Elementary Assistant and now serving as Elementary Co-Directress. Kate graduated from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York with a bachelor's degree in music education, and recently completed her elementary AMI training at the Montessori Training Center of New England in Hartford. Kate grew up in Northfield and has many fond memories of Litchfield Montessori School from her childhood, including Girl Scout meetings in the Great Hall and pickup soccer games on the field. In addition to teaching, Kate enjoys gardening, hiking, kayaking, playing the piano and sharing her love of music with her piano students.
Katherine holds a bachelor of arts degree in English and a bachelor of science in Education with a focus on early childhood from the University of Central Arkansas, and she spent the first part of her professional career teaching preschool and kindergarten. When looking for a preschool for her children, Katherine discovered Montessori education. Eventually she received her Lower Elementary certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, and served as a Lower Elementary directress at the Walnut Farm Montessori School in Arkansas. After moving to Connecticut, Katherine is joining the LMS faculty in 2016 as an Assistant Teacher and Floater. In addition to her Montessori training, Katherine has extensive experience working with special needs children, and will bring her experience to the classroom supporting the directresses and working one-on-one with children who need additional support.
Liliana Kleid was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She received a bachelor of arts degree in communications at the University of San Martin de Porres and continued studying the arts and animation at Lima's Anivisa Art Institute. Her professional career began in the field of animation, and she produced numerous animated television commercials in Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. While in Bolivia, she taught animation and art to children aged 6 thru 15. Liliana came to the United States with her American husband and began teaching Spanish and art to children in 2003. She has taught every grade at Litchfield Montessori School, from Young People's Community through sixth grade. She brings her passion for art to all the students at LMS combining lessons in art with her love of the Spanish language. Liliana has two daughters in college, and lives in Litchfield with her husband and two poodles.
Physical Education Coordinator
Debbie has been teaching physical education at LMS for over 20 years. She finds it incredibly rewarding to see students of all ages enjoy being active and physically fit. In her spare time, Debbie umpires girls’ and women’s lacrosse and field hockey games. She holds a national umpire rating in lacrosse (which qualifies her to officiate youth, high school and all levels of college games) and has a Level II umpire rating in field hockey. She has officiated in numerous NCAA tournament contests including the Division II and Division III Women’s Lacrosse Finals. Debbie also runs a small company that assigns officials for women’s sports at 70 colleges and universities throughout the east coast. She is an inducted member of the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 2013, Debbie received the Distinguished National Service Award from US Lacrosse, the sport's national governing body.
B.S., Speech & Language Pathology, University of Virginia
M.Ed, Speech & Language Pathology, Emory University
Outdoor Education & counseling
Ed is a Gestalt-Certified therapist who specializes in Wilderness Therapy. Ed has over thirty years of experience as a wilderness guide and was a pioneer in the development of the field of Wilderness Therapy. Ed directs the Outdoor Education program at LMS. In addition to leading expeditions, Ed has worked closely with the students to design and create our outdoor classrooms and trail systems. In his role as a therapist, Ed works one-on-one with children in need of extra support. In addition to his love of the outdoors, Ed is a talented musician who plays regularly with fellow musicians in and around Salisbury, CT.
Head of School
Cara received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut before earning her Ph.D. in anthropology in 2007. She continued to work at UConn as a postdoctoral fellow. When she wasn’t teaching, Cara worked on the evolution and appearance of modern Homo Sapiens and spent a significant portion of her time in Kenya conducting field research. In 2012, she began a new chapter in her career and took a job teaching middle school science at The Montessori School in Norwalk, where she also ran their Outdoor Expedition program. Cara came to Litchfield Montessori School as Head of School in 2015, and is proud to be a member of such a special community. In her spare time, Cara enjoys outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, canoeing and camping, and is an avid reader.
Assistant Head of School
Betsy has over 30 years of experience in education. She spent 26 years at Rumsey Hall where she taught third, fourth and fifth grades and was the assistant director of admissions for eight years. She graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania with a B.A. in sociology and received a master’s degree in early childhood and special education from the University of St. Joseph in Hartford. She has three sons ranging from high school to post-college age. When not at LMS, she enjoys time with her family, running and baking.
Donna studied accounting at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and previously worked for the controller at White Flower Farm. In addition to serving as LMS’s business manager, Donna has a small bookkeeping service and is a foster care provider for the state. In her free time, you may find her at the symphony, the New York City Ballet, a Broadway show or wearing a tie-dye at an outdoor music festival. She has two grown children and two precious grandchildren. She created and manages the “Snow Flakes in July” fundraiser for the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation in honor of her granddaughter, Zoe.