Our mission is simple.
To provide children the tools to live happy and fulfilled lives.
At Harpeth Montessori, we believe a clear mission defines purpose, focus, drive, and satisfaction. Our values help guide our everyday actions so that we can achieve our mission. We believe that in order to build our thriving Montessori community, it is essential for these values to be upheld by our staff, students, and families.
Our Values & Guiding Principles
TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO THINK, NOT WHAT TO THINK
We are committed to helping set a foundation for children that enables them to make the right decisions for their lives. It's our belief that a thriving community is one where individuals are free to think for themselves, ask questions, gather facts, and make their own choices.
GROWTH MINDSET AND
LOVE OF LEARNING
There is no greater gift we can give children than an environment that promotes curiosity. The Montessori method is perfectly designed to tap into children's natural desire to understand how things work. The resulting growth mindset allows one to see possibility rather than limitation.
Being in nature everyday is essential for children's well-being. According to Dr. Montessori, "There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony, and beauty in nature." We offer outdoor educational experiences that allow children the freedom to move and explore nature.
Teamwork helps forge relationships and relationships create respect for one another. The Montessori environment organically provides leadership opportunities for children of all ages. Children learn how to ask questions, support one another, and solve problems without the help of an adult.
Character helps drive self-esteem, self-worth, and satisfaction. Character is developed one step at a time. Our programs help foster an environment where responsibility, honesty, hard work, and respect for others are held in the highest regard. "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed," said Admiral William McRaven.
Head of School
Originally from California, Maria has been a lifelong entrepreneur and leader. From owning and operating restaurants to pastoring Churches, Maria has decades of experience leading teams and organizations. Maria discovered her passion for Montessori Education ten years ago and is undergoing her Montessori Administrators Diploma from Montessori Live. She earned her B.A. and Masters in Theology from Life Christian University. Maria loves traveling with her husband and visiting her daughters and granddaughter. She is a strong and dynamic leader and is focused on fostering an incredible team culture for the staff and an inspiring and inviting environment for children and families.
Education Coordinator & Primary Guide
Originally from Nashville, Katie has a lifetime of experience in the Montessori Method. Katie attended a Montessori school from the age of 2 through high school. She earned her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from MTSU and her Montessori Diploma from American Montessori Society. Katie has over thirteen years’ experience as a Montessori Guide. Katie is a servant leader and brings an incredible attitude and mindset to the staff at Harpeth Montessori. When Katie is not in the classroom you can find her on a cruise with her husband, reading books, or cheering for the Titans and Predators.
Originally from Japan, Eri Nakanishi has over six years’ experience as a Montessori Guide. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Musashino University (Japan) and her Montessori Diploma from Association Montessori Internationale. Eri became interested in Montessori when her son was born and has been a passionate advocate of the method ever since. When Eri is not in the classroom or leading parent seminars on Montessori she is out on the open road. Eri loves to travel and has visited cities all over the world.
Originally from Northern Virginia, Emily has found her life’s calling in Montessori education. She earned her B.A. in Psychology & Child Studies from University of Tennessee, her Masters of Education in Montessori Education from Xavier University, and her Montessori Diploma from American Montessori Society. Emily has over six years’ experience as a Montessori Guide. Emily’s positive attitude and smile brings a wonderful energy to Harpeth Montessori. When she is not in the classroom you can find her working out, practicing yoga, or reading books.
Primary Assistant & Spanish Enrichment Guide
Originally from New Jersey, Jessica has a passion for working with children of all ages. Jessica, a native Spanish speaker also leads our language enrichment program at Harpeth. She earned her B.A. in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University. Jessica is interested in the intersection of education and whole-person flourishing. She is extremely thoughtful and introspective and enjoys hiking, reading, writing, and painting.
Originally from Nashville, Tina has been working with children since her adolescent years. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from University of Tennessee. Shortly after graduation Tina started working in a Montessori school and fell in love with Dr. Montessori’s approach to self-care and courtesy for young children. Tina is a huge fan of music and plays the piano and ukulele. She is also an avid reader and spends her weekends hiking, paddle boarding, and camping.
Admin Assistant & Event Coordinator
Originally from California, Rachel has fifteen years’ experience working with children in a variety of different environments, including six years' in Montessori classrooms and administration. She earned her B.A. in Theology with a minor in Graphic Design from Southeastern University. You will see Rachel every morning at drop off and again at pickup in the afternoon. The elementary students rave about Ms. Rachel’s Tuesday Boot Camp sessions. In addition to her work inside the school, Rachel also leads our efforts in parent outreach and community events. Rachel enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking and kayaking.
Originally from Peru, Stephanie has been immersed in Montessori education since 2011. She completed her Montessori certification in 2017 and graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2020 with a B.A in Sociology. She started out as an educational assistant for the Montessori School of Manhattan Beach followed by Primary Lead Teacher for eight rewarding years. She has extensive experience in teaching young minds as early as 3 years of age but her true passion is working with the lower elementary group. To instill the love of learning in all her students and help them realize their own unique potential is what she strives for as an educator.
Harpeth Montessori is an independent, privately owned school, founded in 2021 by a local Franklin family.