Anne Gray – Head of School
Ms. Gray serves as the Head of School for CMS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Murray State University, a master’s degree in Education from University of Louisville, Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Elementary Diploma from Loyola University of Maryland, and Kentucky teaching certificate for grades 7-12 from Eastern Kentucky University. Ms. Gray has worked for over 20 years as an educator including work as a Primary Assistant, Lower Elementary Assistant, Elementary Guide and Associate Professor of Psychology and Child Development at EKU. Serving children and families is her passion and she firmly believes Montessori education should be available to ALL children. Ms. Gray’s daughter is a CMS/ MMSK graduate. Mrs. Gray loves monarch butterflies, puzzling out math problems, and relaxing at the lake with her family.
Marla Ross - Business Director
Ms. Marla earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from University of Kentucky and became a CMS parent in 2000. She immediately saw her children flourish in the CMS environment, which led to her accepting a job working in the CMS office in 2007. Her skills with navigating business documents, student files, and financial paperwork are often eclipsed by her kindness with the children who come into the office for help with a loose tooth. Ms. Marla loves watching all of the beautiful Montessori work happening every day at CMS.
Katie Toffey – Development Director
Ms. Toffey holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Miami University. She spent several years as an employee of The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts where she learned key skills for working in all areas of the hospitality industry. All four of her children attended CMS and graduated from MMSK, and you can frequently find them around campus volunteering their talents. Ms. Toffey is an integral part of CMS/MMSK having worked for over 13 years on Development and Marketing for the school. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and enjoys relaxing with her family on the farm.
Connie Reid – Reading Specialist, Office Assistant
Ms. Reid has her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Kentucky. She is also a certified Ortan-Gillingham reading specialist. Ms. Reid serves as the CMS Office Manager and staff liaison for the school library, as well as providing Reading Specialist services at CMS. She taught for 7 years in Fayette County Public Schools. Ms. Reid’s children and nieces either currently attend CMS or recently graduated from MMSK, so she understands the parent role and student experiences at all different age levels.
Debby Thompson – CMS Education Director
Ms. Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from University of Kentucky, followed by her Primary certification from the Michigan Montessori Teacher Training Center and her Elementary certification from the Montessori International Training Center in Bergamo, Italy. Her 45 year Montessori professional career began at CMS as its first Elementary teacher! She continued her Montessori teaching in both Arizona and Colorado, actively serving as School Director, AMI-EAA board member, AMI conference presenter, and currently as an AMI Elementary Consultant. Ms. Thompson returned to her CMS roots in 2010 as Elementary Guide and Education Director. Ms. Thompson has a passion for serving children through education and being part of the CMS community continues to be a vibrant focus of her life’s work.
Toddler (18 months-3 years old)
Patty Webb – Toddler Guide
Ms. Patty earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Assistants to Infancy AMI degree from the Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. She worked at SUNY-Buffalo researching childhood obesity before joining CMS in 2005 as a lower elementary assistant and primary assistant. She is the Toddler Guide for the CMS Infant Community. Ms. Patty started the first toddler class at CMS in 2015 and has created an incredible learning environment for the youngest CMS students. Her daughter Madeline is a CMS/MMSK graduate. Ms. Patty is a certified bus driver and all the students love when she drives a big bus for an outing.
April Murray – Toddler Assistant
Ms. April is the CMS toddler room assistant where she brings over ten years of experience working with Early Childhood Education. She serves on the Saint Michael's School board where she attends church and is starting her first year as the chair of the board. Ms. April began her education career as a high school student teaching Water Safety lessons. She enjoys advocating for children's education in many environments and has a daughter at CMS in the Primary Classroom.
Blair White – Primary Guide
Ms. Blair earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Social Relations from Earlham College in Indiana and her Primary AMI degree at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis. She brings ten years of experience working in a Montessori environment as a Primary Guide at CMS. Following in her late mother's footsteps, who helped open a Montessori school, Ms. Blair rediscovered the beauty of the Montessori method as an adult. She loves to garden, play music, cook, and be creative both in and outside of the classroom.
Maggie Mock – Primary Assistant
Ms. Maggie started at CMS as a primary student and graduated from MMSK. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and greatly enjoyed volunteering at the school before she decided to become full-time staff in the Primary classroom. Ms. Maggie loves to work outside with the blackberries and helped the MMSK students harvest honey this summer.
Katherine Catania – Primary Guide
Ms. Katherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from College of Charleston, master’s degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University, AMI Primary Certification from the International Montessori Training Institute, and Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Reading Specialist Certification. Ms. Katherine taught first grade in public school before finding her passion in Montessori education where she serves as a Primary Guide at CMS. She loves dancing, singing, and computer video editing when she is not spending time with the animals on her farm.
Erin Schulte – Primary Assistant
Ms. Erin attended the University of Kentucky in Family Studies. For 8 years, she was the Activity Director of a Lexington Senior Nursing Facility. Ms. Erin loves working with the Primary students at CMS. In her free time, she can be found cheering on the Bengals and spending quality time with her family.
Lower Elementary (1-3 grades)
Jen Keefe – Lower Elementary Guide
Ms. Jen has her bachelor’s degree in English and French Literature from Transylvania University. She earned her AMI elementary certification with J. McKeever as her trainer. Ms. Jen’s prior work included being a classroom assistant at CMS and she attended Montessori school as a child from toddler through Lower Elementary. Ms. Jen is currently the Lower Elementary Guide at CMS and is known for her gardening talents in and out of the classroom.
Hannah Davis – Lower Elementary Assistant
Ms. Hannah earned a bachelor’s degree in Art and Theatre and a master’s degree in Art Education for K-12 at Georgetown College, and a master’s degree in Elementary Education for K-5 at the University of the Cumberlands. She provides before school care, afterschool art lessons, and is the Upper Elementary classroom assistant. Ms. Hannah loves helping with our building management and is often seen working with a tool belt around her waist. Her artwork is in the permanent art collection at Georgetown College with may even be seen on display in the college President’s office. We are lucky to have Ms. Hannah’s artwork and woodcraft adding natural beauty to our campus at CMS.
Upper Elementary (4-6 grades)
Amy Mayer – Upper Elementary Guide
Ms. Mayer earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Political Science at Miami University, completed post-baccalaureate work in History at the University of Cincinnati, a master's degree in Education from the University of Cincinnati, and her Association Montessori International 6-12 Diploma. She is a Conflict Resolution Specialist and Mediator with over 18 years of professional teaching experience in Ohio and Kentucky. As the CMS Upper Elementary Guide, Ms. Mayer enjoys directing a class play each year and she trains students in mediation and conflict resolution techniques. She has two children at CMS and her husband is a CMS graduate.
Vanessa Bell - Upper Elementary Classroom Assistant
Ms. Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in International and Global Studies from Miami of Ohio and the Miami University Dolibois European Center, and a master’s degree from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. She currently serves as the classroom assistant for the Upper Elementary. Ms. Bell has been a CMS Parent for 7 years and loves helping children learn with the land as her key teaching tool. Growing up on a farm taught her problem solving and patience while instilling confidence and independence. After working with non-profit, business, and faith-based organizations, Ms. Bell passionately believes our children are the most deserving focus for impacting the public benefit of tomorrow.
Middle School (7-8 grades)
Ashley Barbour – MMSK Guide and Development Coordinator
Ms. Barbour holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Government from Centre College, master’s degree from University of Kentucky in Social Studies Education, a Gifted Endorsement from Campbellsville University, and a NAMTA/AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies certification. She taught at Tates Creek High School for 15 years where she directed theatrical productions, coached speech team, and served as the facilitator for the Liberal Arts Academy. Ms. Barbour is the Humanities and Rhetoric Guide and Development Coordinator. She directs the annual MMSK play and supports our 6-8th grade students attending Kentucky Youth Assembly and 7-8th grade students participating in the annual Kentucky United Nations Assembly. Mrs. Barbour’s daughter recently graduated from MMSK and her son is in the Upper Elementary. She loves working with our MMSK baking micro-economy.
Erin Stevenson – MMSK Science/Math Guide and Education Coordinator
Dr. Stevenson holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Centre College, a master’s degree and PhD in Social Work from University of Kentucky, and a NAMTA/AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies certification. She works with our middle school program teaching science and math. Dr. Stevenson is passionate about environmental education and serves on the advisory boards for Bluegrass Greensource and Making a Difference Now, Inc. She worked for 12 years as a researcher in Behavioral Sciences and an Associate Professor at U.K. She also served as Director for the U.K. College of Education Evaluation Center. Dr. Stevenson has a daughter in the Upper Elementary program. She loves sunflowers, Great Danes, and a deep and thoughtful book group discussion.
Roy C. Gray III – Land Manager and MMSK Erdkinder Guide
Mr. Gray earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Economics from University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from U.K., and attended the Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University. His daughter is a CMS/ MMSK graduate who loves to come back and volunteer at the school when she is not traveling the world studying languages and art. Mr. Gray, affectionately known as Mr. Green Jeans at the CMS campus, provides the underpinnings of the environmental and Erdkinder education at MMSK.
Marlene Owens – Afterschool Program Director
Ms. Marlene has worked with our CMS families for over 28 years. She directs the afterschool program, assists with primary lunch and playground activities, and serves as a classroom substitute as needed. Ms. Marlene has a knack for organizing supplies, coordinating activities, and keeping the school running with grace and courtesy.
Paul Hickner – Physical Education and Music Guide
Mr. Hickner holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance at Indiana University. He has served as a professional trumpet player and private instrumental music instructor for 40 years. In addition, he has worked for over 19 years teaching P.E. and Music at C.M.S. He shares his building management talents with the school and can fix just about anything. When not working on musical endeavors or leading a round of capture the flag, Mr. Hickner can be found enjoying time on the golf course.
Sarah Hickner – Spanish Guide and MMSK Assistant
Ms. Hickner earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics with a minor in Russian from the University of Kentucky. She has studied Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French and Latin formally and dabbled in many other languages. Ms. Hickner serves as the Spanish Guide for CMS/ MMSK and as a classroom assistant for MMSK. Her passion for world languages, art and writing are evident in her work, lessons with the children, and in her delight in learning. Ms. Hickner is a graduate of CMS/MMSK.
Susan Smith-Sargent – Primary Afterschool Program Director
Ms. Susan earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Visual Art minor from the University of Vermont and has begun work on a master’s degree in visual art (painting and fiber). She has over 10 years of experience as a Montessori primary and toddler classroom assistant and is a former CMS parent. In her work as Director of the CMS Primary Afterschool Program, Ms. Susan draws on her understanding of Montessori philosophy to maintain a beautiful environment for our youngest afterschool students. Her background and training in visual art, early childhood music and movement, yoga and cooking are all incorporated into the primary afterschool program which makes it a place our primary students love to be