The whole team at the school is a gift. Thank you so much for what you do.

CFMS Parent

Faculty and Staff

NIEVA ARMSTRONG

Nieva is the Lower Elementary Teacher, and joined the CFMS staff in September 2006. She came from prior Montessori teacher positions in the Northwest Territories in Canada and her native Philippines. Nieva received her AMI Elementary diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute in 1998. She completed 18 credits toward a Master of Arts from De La Salle University in Manila and is currently working on a Masters of Education through the University of Phoenix. Nieva holds a B.A. in Language Arts and is trained in the 6-9 level of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.


RYAN BALL

Ryan is the Coordinator of the Elementary Extended Care program. He is native to the Washington D.C metropolitan area. Ryan is a two-time alumni of the Americorps State program contributing over 3200 hours of volunteering in Northwest and Southeast D.C public schools from 2009-2011. Ryan attended Howard University from 2006-2009 pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering, but switched to Early Childhood Education in 2010 after discovering his passion for youth development.


SARA BERGE

Sara is one of the Teachers in the All Day Primary classroom. She received her AMI Primary Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute, and M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland in 2016. Prior to coming to Montessori through private childcare work, Sara received her B.A. in German Studies from Scripps College in 2013.


MICHAEL BREHL

Michael is the Director of Business Operations, and handles all of the bookkeeping at CFMS. He came to the school originally as a parent. Michael received his BFA in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his MFA in 1988 from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is a talented metal smith who works in silver, copper and gold using traditional silversmithing techniques. Outside of school Michael teaches a number of metal work classes, primarily at The Art League in Alexandria.


VICTORIA EBELL

Tory is an Elementary Catechist. Trained as a catechist by Catherine Maresca, one of the founders of CFMS, and Jill Hall, Tory helped open Level I, II and III atria at the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes in downtown Washington DC. She earned a BA in philosophy at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs and worked in London and Cambridge, England. Tory retired in 2009 after 25 years as a caseworker for three members of Congress. She and her husband have raised four children and live in Cheverly, MD.


CHA'DALENA HART

Cha’dalena is the Afternoon Administrative Assistant and a Support Assistant in the All Day Primary during lunch, recess, and nap. In her position, she also occasionally subs in Elementary Extended Care. She is a native Washingtonian. In addition to working in the DCPS school system as an after school teacher, Cha’dalena has worked in several Montessori schools as an assistant. She attended Shepherd University majoring in mass communications, until she discovered her love of working with children. She plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development, with the goal of completing Montessori teacher training, using her passion to give back to her community.


ANNA HIGGINS

Anna is the full-time Assistant in the All Day Primary. She is an alumna of CFMS and joined the staff in 2014. Anna completed the AMI Assistants training at the Washington Montessori Institute. She is a volunteer at the Riverdale Heights Fire Station. She currently attends Prince George's Community College where she is working toward her Associates Degree in Psychology. She loves working with children and aspires to be a guidance counselor.


MARIAM KASSIM

Mariam is the Assistant in the Lower Elementary classroom. Currently, she is pursuing an education in English, Psychology, and Theatre Arts at Howard University with the hopes of becoming an administrator for a non-traditional school. She is also working on becoming a licensed doula and initiating an afterschool program for young female artists in the DC area.


ANNE KRUK

Anne Kruk is one of the Teachers in the All Day Primary classroom. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2010 with a B.A. in Music, and a minor in History. She joined the Mercy Volunteer Corps and spent two years doing parish outreach and social justice work in Baltimore. In 2015, she received her AMI Primary Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute, and her M.Ed. from Loyola University. She is also trained in Level I of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.


SARAH MAGNO

Sarah is the Full Time Substitute/Floater at CFMS; in her position, she gets to interact with the children in every classroom, as well as in the atriums and Elementary Extended Care. Sarah is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in Drama with a Minor in American Sign Language. Sarah grew up in Washington DC and is an alumna of CFMS. Sarah previously worked as the CFMS EEC Coordinator and as the Program Director and Summer Camp Coordinator for Little Friends For Peace.


JODI-BETH McCAIN

Jodi-Beth is the Director of Religious Education, and an Elementary Catechist. She began working as a catechist in the Primary classroom in Sept. 2006, and trained in all three levels of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Jodi-Beth began her journey as an educator while working with the Mennonite Central Committee in Bolivia over 15 years ago. Jodi-beth earned a B.A. in Religion from Duke University and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa. Jodi-Beth is fluent in Spanish and has begun work to develop bi-lingual materials for the 3-6 atrium.

KRISTI MEDLEY

Kristi is the Director of Education. She began her work at CFMS in 1998 as an assistant in a Primary classroom and intern at the Center for Children and Theology. In 2001 she received her primary Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diploma and Masters of Education degree from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College of Maryland and became a Primary teacher at CFMS in September of 2001. In 2011, Kristi helped to establish the All Day Montessori program with Lindy Rivera. Kristi received her B.A. in German and Journalism from the University of Alabama, and studied at the Universität Hamburg in Germany. Kristi is trained in Level I of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.


RACHEL NILES

Rachel is the Administrative Assistant at CFMS. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.F.A. in Film Production from Florida State University. She has spent most of her professional life working in the film industry—first as an urban development volunteer for an educational film company in Harare, Zimbabwe and then as a post-production producer for commercials and music videos in Santa Monica, CA. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two sons.


LINDY RIVERA

Lindy is the Teacher in the Traditional Primary class. She joined the staff in 2005. After completing her BS in Psychology from Towson University in 2004, Lindy went on to finish her Primary Montessori Training at Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) at Loyola College of Maryland. During that training Lindy came to CFMS as an observer and student teacher. Upon receipt of her AMI diploma Lindy became a Primary teacher at CFMS. Lindy helped establish the All Day Primary with Kristi Medley. She trained in Level I of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.

WENDY SHENK-EVANS

Wendy became Director of CFMS in 2005. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Duke University in 1992 and her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 1997. She was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1997 and pastored churches in North Carolina and Washington, DC. She was trained in Level I of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in 2004.

Wendy is active in the DC Montessori Coalition and also serves as a member of the national Montessori Public Policy Initiative Council, a collaborative effort of Montessori organizations advocating for Montessori programs at the state and national level.

NICOLE SPENCER

Nicole is the Assistant in the Traditional Primary class. She discovered her passion for Montessori after the birth of her daughter. Prior to that, she worked in tech startups, marketing, public policy, and international development. She is cofounder, along with her husband, of the Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC, where children ages 6 to 14 become entrepreneurs for a day. Nicole did her AMI assistant training at the Washington Montessori Institute, has a BA from Georgetown University, and an MA from the University of Chicago.


SARAH VEKEMAN

Sarah is the Upper Elementary Teacher at CFMS. She received her AMI Elementary diploma from Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University, Maryland in 2010, and taught for two years in the United States Virgin Islands before joining the CFMS team. In addition to her Montessori training, Sarah holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College and is trained through Level III in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

ENA WARD

Ena is the Elementary Extended Care Assistant. Ena was formerly the assistant in the Traditional Primary classroom and occasionally substitutes in the classroom. Over her career, she has a wealth of experience working with both typically developing children, as well as children with physical challenges or developmental delays, from ages Pre-K-12 in both Private and Public school settings. She has always had a passion for teaching. Ena loves knowing she can provide guidance and contribute to a child’s growth and well-being.

OONA WAXENFELTER

Oona is the Catechist in the Primary Atrium. She began her work at CFMS in 2006 as an assistant in the classroom. In 2007, she completed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training to work with 3-6 year old children, and in 2012 she completed the training to work with 6-9 year olds. In 2013, she began the training to work with 9-12 year olds. Oona holds a B.A. in Human Services from The George Washington University, with a minor in Psychology and a minor in Religion.