Jacqueline Lerner graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Nursing and a focus in Pediatrics. While connecting with children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, she discovered Montessori and fell in love with this approach to education. She has been an assistant teacher at Montessori Day School for two years and is currently completing her Infant/Toddler Certification at the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She has two young children and enjoys incorporating the Montessori philosophy into her home. She spends most of her free time with her husband and children, and also enjoys knitting, reading and spending time in nature. Click here to learn more about our Toddler Program.
Melanie Vandermast holds a B.S. in Business, with a major in Marketing from Miami University of Ohio and an A.A.S. in Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology, a S.U.N.Y. school in New York City. She is certified by the American Montessori Society (AMS) for 3-6 year olds and received her Early Childhood 3-6 Credential from the North Carolina Center of Montessori Teacher Education (NC-CMTE) in June of 2002. Melanie began teaching in 1999 when she joined Montessori Day School as MDS founder Liz Mallett’s assistant teacher. Since completing her Montessori Credential she has been a teacher at Montessori Community School of Durham and returned to Montessori Day School as lead teacher in 2008 and director of the school since 2010. Melanie has been a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) since 2002. Click here to learn more about our Preschool Program.
Stephanie Stewart, a native North Carolinian, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in English and Spanish Minor. She is certified by the American Montessori Society (AMS) for 3-6 year olds and received her Early Childhood Credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education (NC-CMTE). She served for a year as a tutor in the AmeriCorps Program in Seattle and has taught locally at Spence’s Farm as the Garden & Livestock Manager as well as co-leading Learning Outside’s Adventurers outdoor, nature-based after school club for 5-8 year olds. She is an organic gardener with a deep commitment to sustainability and the outdoors and is also an accomplished musician. Stephanie has been a member of AMS since 2012 and lead teacher at MDS since 2013, after having been assistant teacher for two years. Click here to learn more about our Preschool Program.
Rebecca Denton-Strauss grew up in Asheville and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology Minor from UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as a M.A. in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. Certified by the American Montessori Society (AMS) for 6-9 year olds and 9-12 year olds, she received her Lower Elementary Credential and her Upper Elementary Credential from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education (NC-CMTE). Previously, Rebecca worked in international education at the college level. An educator at heart, she has always enjoyed exploring educational approaches and methodologies, especially those outside of traditional approaches. In her curious wanderings through the world of education, she discovered Montessori, which immediately resonated with her. The many experiences that have led Rebecca to MDS impact her personal approach to teaching. She believes that education in our earliest years has a lasting impact on the kind of world citizens we become. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, paddling, and almost anything else that gets her outside. She is an avid traveler and always welcomes an adventure: at home or abroad. Click here to learn more about our Elementary Program.