Teaching Staff

Young Child (2 Year Olds)

Roxanne McCarren
Roxanne McCarren
Classroom Director

I discovered Maria Montessori by reading her work, The Absorbent Mind, over thirty years ago, and I have been hooked and inspired ever since. I am certified as both an assistant and a Montessori directress in Early Childhood, and I completed my Montessori training at Seton Montessori Institute. This is my eighth year in the Young Child class, and I am amazed by these two year-olds every day.

I have been married for over 40 years and have a son and daughter who both attended Montessori through the sixth grade.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, reading, writing and escaping to just about any coast to collect sharks’ teeth and sea glass.


Amber Senn
Amber Senn
Classroom Assistant

I discovered Montessori when hired as an assistant at Montessori Learning Path over 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve had many other jobs in early education including a nanny to twin boys, a head teacher in a traditional two year-old classroom and a daycare provider.

I graduated from Rasmussen College with an Associates in Early Education and am excited to get back to Montessori!

I am married with two children and am thrilled to have my son attend Montessori Private Academy! I love to be outdoors spending time in our pool, hiking, boating and waterskiing. We recently just bought a new travel trailer and are so excited to make many new memories camping this year.

Early Childhood (3-6 Year Olds)

Julie Jamison
Julie Jamison
Classroom Director
Assistant: Jennifer Kingsbury

I have been teaching in the Montessori 3-6 classroom since 1984. I am a certified Montessori teacher and received my American Montessori Society credential from Seton Montessori Institute in 1983. I started at MPA, but I took a year off when I gave birth to my first child. I returned to teaching the following year at Montessori Learning Path and spent 22 years teaching there. I rejoined MPA in 2011, and I thoroughly enjoy my time here. I like the outdoors, gardening, travel and spending time with my husband, Jeff, my two married children, Josh and Meghan, and our four grandchildren.


Angelica Villafuerte-Prosser
Angelica Villafuerte-Prosser
Classroom Director
Assistant: Courtney Strobel

I have been with MPA since 2009 and hold a Bachelor’s in Education from Illinois State University. Every year, I am amazed to see how the children grow. They are able to do so much when we give them the tools they need. I have worked with children since I was 15 years old, from babysitting nieces and nephews, to teaching dance, and continue to do what I love today. My husband, Ryan, and I have one beautiful girl, Shonterria, and we love spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and whenever possible, traveling to our beautiful National Parks.


Jen Goggins
Jen Goggins
Classroom Director

I began teaching early childhood in 2009. After receiving my MA in Teaching in 2013, I discovered Montessori and fell in love with the philosophy. Since then, I have taught ages 3-9 in both traditional and Montessori public schools. I joined MPA in 2017 and am excited to return to the classroom this year!

I hold an American Montessori Society teaching certificate for Early Childhood and an Illinois educator license for Early Childhood, Elementary, and English as a Second Language.

I live on 10 acres with my husband, Dan, and our daughter, Riley, who will join the MPA family this year in Young Child. We grow many of our own vegetables, and I enjoy finding new ways to cook with them. I love being outside, especially while hiking and camping.

Joy Hyacinthe
Joy Hyacinthe
Classroom Director-In-Training

Bio coming soon!

Elementary I (1st-3rd Grade)

Shelly Todd
Shelly Stoddard
Classroom Director

My daughter is a Montessori child and my love of the Montessori method started when I first began volunteering in her Early Childhood classroom many years ago. Later, I became an assistant at a public Montessori school in South Carolina. I loved it so much I obtained my Early Childhood certification and worked in Early Childhood for 13 years.

I have been at MPA since 2016 and have been in the Elementary classroom since 2017. I received my AMS Elementary I Credential from Seton Montessori Institute in 2019, my AMS Early Childhood credential in 2011 from the Florence School District Montessori Teacher Education Program in Florence, South Carolina and in 2015, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in Psychology from Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina.

I married my husband, Rich in 2020 and we live in Rochelle with part of our blended family and our rescue dog, Jake. I enjoy reading, gardening, and crafting. My number one passion is teaching and I am looking forward to a fun and exciting year with your children!

Betsy Rhodes
Betsy Rhodes
Classroom Director

I am so excited to be working full time at MPA again this year! I have been working with children for many years and have loved every minute of it. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in December of 2016 with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. After graduating, I worked as a substitute teacher in the St. Charles School District. Since 2016, I have spent my time at Montessori working in the aftercare program and in Elementary I.

I have always known that I wanted to work with children, but it wasn’t until my junior year in high school when I came back to MPA to visit one of my old teachers that I realized being a Montessori teacher was my dream. I am really looking forward to getting to know all the students and families this year.

Elementary II (4th-6th Grade)

Noah Elrod
Noah Elrod
Classroom Director

Bio coming soon!

Middle School (7th-9th Grade)

Cooper
Cooper Simon-Tobin
Classroom Director

I have been with MPA since 2003, when I started working in the after care program while also attending college. In 2008, I helped develop the middle school program and implemented it that fall with MPA’s first middle school class. I have been teaching the middle school program since and am most proud of adding a self-designed 9th grade curriculum to the program in 2013, completing Montessori’s vision for a three-year cycle.

Currently I live in Belvidere, where my father and his family have lived since the late 1800s. I have been married since 2007 to my wonderful husband, and I am having fun keeping up with my young daughter, Emerson, who attends MPA. My early experience at MPA impacted me. I was so excited by what I saw, that after 2 years of college, I changed my major to education because I knew I wanted to be a part of the school. I earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a middle school endorsement from Rockford University in 2008 and a Masters in Montessori education in 2012 from St. Catherine University.

In my spare time I love cooking, reading, and writing. In the future I would like to publish a book on early adolescence. (I have more than enough writing material!)

Math

Dave Custafson
Dave Gustafson
Math Teacher

Bio coming soon!

Science

Treslyn Doetch
Treslyn Doetch
Science Teacher

I grew up in Michigan and earned my B.S. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University in 2013, where I majored in Integrated Science as well as minored in Mathematics and Middle Level Education. My teaching experience includes a range of middle school math and science classes as well as a K-4 STEM program. I have also worked on projects including curating online educational resources and developing curriculum and am passionate about the student-centered mindset that is shared by Montessori and middle level education philosophy.

After living in a couple different parts of Illinois, my spouse Troy and I have now settled into our new home in Poplar Grove, where we can raise our one year old child, Clark, close to family. In our free time, I enjoy spending lots of time outside with Clark and our two dogs, Scout and Stella, and I love crafts, yoga, reading, and vegan baking. I am very excited to start my first full year at MPA and look forward to the fun and joy of doing science with a wide range of students.

 

Additional Staff

Front Desk & Admissions

Kyla Roach
Kyla Roach
Office Manager

I have worked at Montessori Private Academy since 2019, when I was hired as an assistant in multiple classrooms and an aftercare coordinator. In the summer of 2020, I took on the role I currently hold as Office Manager. It was a challenging year to start such a significant role at MPA, but I love this school and I’ve been so happy to contribute to its long-term success.

My daughter, Margaret, has been at MPA since 2019 and our family couldn’t be happier with her education and community of support we’ve found here at Montessori Private Academy.

Accounting & Finance

Jeanne Marler
Jeanne Marler
Business Manager

I discovered Montessori many years ago as a young mother with two children ages 0 and 3. Rockford had no Montessori school at that time, but I knew I had to have Montessori for my children. So, I began studying Montessori’s writings and applying her ideas to our home environment. This led me to a few like-minded friends, and together we either made or purchased the basic Montessori materials and started a small Montessori school.

As our children moved on to elementary school, I began supporting my husband as his dental assistant and bookkeeper in his dental practice. Then, twenty years ago, I was recruited by a friend, Mary Dunkel, who was then the school’s director, to become Montessori’s part-time finance manager. I jumped at the chance to become actively involved with Montessori once again.

It has been so wonderful being part of the stellar growth of MPA. My responsibilities with school business and financial matters have also kept up with the growth. I have learned many of my added responsibilities the “Montessori way”, with the support and friendship of a wonderful staff.
Each day, I experience pure joy watching our children grow in capability and confidence. I love greeting them throughout the day, and I think to myself, “Aren’t these the luckiest little children!”

School Nurse

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Maria Villafuerte
School Nurse

Bio coming soon!