Our Faculty

“The greatest sign of a teacher is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
Maria Montessori

Administration

Head of School

Meg Pfingst

From the first time Meg entered a Montessori classroom in 1983, her belief and confidence in the Montessori Method of education flourished.

After receiving a B.S. in Early Childhood education from Chestnut Hill College, Meg continued at Chestnut Hill to receive her American Montessori Society credentials. Meg has continued to build on her professional development by attending Annual New Jersey Montessori Administrators Council NJMAC conferences, as well as Independent School Management training.

Meg began her Montessori career teaching for many years as a Primary level teacher at Deer Path Montessori School and continued there as Director of Education. She also served as a Teacher Training Consultant for Princeton Montessori’s Center for Teacher Education.

Meg first became involved with Acorn Montessori School as a parent when her oldest son began as a student in 2002. She quickly got involved as a parent volunteer and classroom parent. She began teaching in Acorn’s Toddler program prior to becoming Acorn’s Director of Development, and then Director of Admissions. Meg is passionate and deeply committed to building upon what makes Acorn unique and special: our families, our teachers, our alumni and our community.

Meg is happy she can call Hunterdon County home where she continues to enjoy raising her two boys. In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, snow skiing, and getting her toes in the sand at the Jersey Shore.

Director of Finance

Anne Palaszewski

Anne first came to Acorn as a parent when she enrolled her daughter in Acorn’s Toddler House. Her daughter, joined by her son a few years later, continued through Acorn’s Primary and Elementary Programs. Although her children have moved on, Anne continues to be in awe of Acorn's Montessori classrooms, the authentic love of the teachers for their students, and the joy of learning that Acorn has fostered in so many children.

In her free time, Anne enjoys travelling and exploring new places, music, biking and spending time with her family.

Administrative Assistant

Michele Gray

Michele joined Acorn Montessori School after gaining experience in the corporate world and then taking time off to raise her three children. What she likes most about Acorn is contributing to an atmosphere that is caring and heartwarming, that always works for the benefit of children. When not at Acorn Michele enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and cooking.
Director of Admissions

Elizabeth Garrett

After observing a Montessori classroom, Elizabeth Garrett knew that she had to become a Montessori teacher. She loves being a guide for the children as they make discoveries about themselves and the world. Her goal is for her students to love learning, and to feel confident in their ability to face challenges. What she finds truly special about Acorn Montessori, aside from the outstanding educational value offered, is the sense of community that the school fosters. She is also completely committed to facilitating her students’ learning in a loving and positive way.

Elizabeth’s varied interests include the arts, particularly ballet, and she also enjoys reading, skiing and baking.

Faculty

Junior Toddler Level - Toddler House: (18 - 36 months)
Head Toddler Teacher

Erin Garrett

Erin’s love of working with young children reflects in the nurturing and creative atmosphere of her classroom. She feels a certain privilege to be involved in the start of a child’s journey into learning. Her pleasant nature and kind personality allows her to provide gentle guidance to the youngest children. She marvels at the enthusiasm and energy that toddlers express.

Because she was a Montessori child herself, her fond memories, along with her belief in the Montessori method, led her to enroll her own child at Acorn at the age of two, continuing into the Upper Elementary program.

Erin’s interests include reading, spending time with family and friends, and vacationing at the Jersey shore.

Kacey Meckeler

Toddler Assistant Teacher

Isabella daCosta

Teaching Assistant

Primary Level: (Ages 3 - Kindergarten)
Black Oak Head Teacher

Heather Sharo

After graduating from college, Heather was introduced to Montessori through a friend. When she went to observe the Montessori classroom, she saw children independently engaged with beautiful hands on materials in a peaceful environment. Heather knew she had found the perfect fit. Acorn's glorious campus, friendly collaborative staff and high Montessori standards are what brought Heather to teach in Toddler House. Her favorite Dr. Montessori quote is, “He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence.” (Absorbent Mind)

Besides teaching, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, cooking or baking, long walks, yoga and reading.

Black Oak Assistant Teacher

Tricia Telmosse

Tricia Telmosse was destined to be a teacher, as both of her parents were teachers. She always envisioned herself working with young children, and finds the close knit community of parents and staff at Acorn a very special working experience. She is amazed by the incredible learning that takes place within a Montessori classroom, and how well the children retain the information. What she wants most for her students is for them to be at peace and also have fun; to learn respect, and keep the love of learning strong.

When at home, Tricia likes to spend time with her husband and her sons. She also enjoys traveling, skiing and reading a good book.

Carsyn Kubinak

Black Oak Assistant Teacher

Chinquapin Oak Head Teacher & STEAM Teacher

Nancy Martinson

Ms. Martinson was introduced to the world of Montessori when her daughter started at Acorn. As her family grew, her next two children also enrolled at Acorn. Nancy and her husband were Montessori parents for a total of 7 years and throughout those years she attended Acorn Parent Education Workshops, volunteered in their classrooms, and adopted the Montessori philosophy in her home. Finding her passion to be a Montessori teacher, she began working as a substitute teacher which lead her to the decision to obtain her Montessori teaching certification

Ms. Martinson believes the Montessori method of teaching giver the teacher the flexibility to meet the needs of each individual child academically, as well as socially and emotionally.

When Nancy is not teaching she enjoys reading, biking, and cooking.

Chinquapin Oak Teacher Assistant, & Art Teacher

Kait Roamer

It is the happiness of the children, and respect that they have learned that Kaitlin Baumann loves most about teaching at Acorn. Since 2007, she has been helping her students learn in creative ways, with plenty of fun, smiles and laughs along the way. She encourages children to find happiness even in little things, while fostering an independent spirit within each child.

Kaitlin’s fun-loving approach to life extends outside of the classroom, where she enjoys creating art (drawing, painting and photography), as well as running and hiking.

Red Oak Head Teacher & STEAM Teacher

Teresa Garrett

From the beautiful campus to the extraordinary classrooms to the wonderful children who fill them, Teresa Garrett loves everything about Acorn Montessori. She wanted to be a teacher from the time she was a little girl, when she would gather the younger children of the neighborhood and teach them numbers, letters and songs. She now has the opportunity to utilize the Montessori Method to connect her students to the educational material, while encouraging them to be inquisitive, to ask questions and get involved in their own learning. She feels the time she spends together with her students has a special meeting that she hopes they will always remember.

Teresa spends as much time as possible with her grandchildren, and also enjoys reading, music and gardening.

Associate Teacher & After Care Teacher

Jane Hendricks

As both an Acorn Montessori parent and a teacher since 1993, Jane Hendricks’s experience at Acorn has been a very personal one. She loved what the school did for her son when he entered at age 2-1/2, then came to work there and enrolled her daughter as well. She believes the Montessori method of education strengthens the feeling of community, and nurtures lasting friendships among the children. She loves the special bonus of seeing the students’ faces full of pride at their accomplishments, and hearing from the parents about the positive changes that they see from the children at home. While she highly values the idea of the students having fun in her class, she is committed to helping them gain a love of learning, while building the knowledge that they can make a difference in other people’s lives. Most importantly, she wants to see her students have the confidence that they can do anything they put their minds to!

In her role as Rainbow Club Supervisor, she projects her love of community service by helping our students develop a sense of community, and, understanding what role they have to play in making the world a better place. Children participating in our Rainbow Club program learn, even at a young age, that they have the power to brighten someone's day. They take to each community project with a selflessness that is refreshing to watch, and take great pleasure in knowing how much their work is appreciated in the community.

Now that her own children are growing up, Jane enjoys spending her free time growing house plants and gardening.

Primary Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator

Elizabeth Garrett

After observing a Montessori classroom, Elizabeth Garrett knew that she had to become a Montessori teacher. She loves being a guide for the children as they make discoveries about themselves and the world. Her goal is for her students to love learning, and to feel confident in their ability to face challenges. What she finds truly special about Acorn Montessori, aside from the outstanding educational value offered, is the sense of community that the school fosters. She is also completely committed to facilitating her students’ learning in a loving and positive way.

Elizabeth’s varied interests include the arts, particularly ballet, and she also enjoys reading, skiing and baking.

Elementary Level:
Head Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator

Wyatt Tolles

I was inspired to become a Montessori teacher when I first saw children working inside a classroom. It was inspirational watching how enthusiastically the children worked in an open and peaceful environment.

I feel one of the best qualities of a Montessori education is the child's freedom of choice in the classroom. This freedom empowers the child and encourages their enthusiasm for learning which is truly special.

I believe that Acorn Montessori is special because of the great community the children, families and staff share.

In my free time, I like to keep up with current research, read, and watch baseball. My special interests include hunting, fishing, and mathematics.

Assistant Teacher and Orton Gillingham Specialist

Ghislaine Mahoney

Acorn Montessori has a special place in Ghislaine Mahoney’s heart, not just because she is passionate about teaching there, but also because her own three children attended the school. The family-like community and long-lasting friendships she has made there, both as a parent and a teacher, are very important to her. What she has found especially rewarding about teaching is that when she’s with her students and they see something or understand something for the first time, she feels like she’s experiencing it for the first time too, because the child’s wonder and pride are contagious! She learns something new every day, and loves to see the deep-centered confidence growing in her students.

Ghislaine enjoys spending time with her family, and outdoor action sports like downhill skiing and scuba diving.

Danielle Watts

Assistant Teacher

Ellen Rebbeck

Assistant Teacher

Music:
Music Teacher

Jessica Sims

Jessica is so happy to join the Acorn community. Since having children of her own, she has been drawn to the Montessori method. She started teaching drama classes at a Montessori school after the birth of her second child. Music and theatre have always been an important part of Jessica’s life. Prior to teaching, she performed professionally on stages including Fulton Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Atlanta Theatre of the Stars, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and toured nationally in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma!

Jessica believes that a child’s self-expression through music and theatre can bring confidence and self awareness in a fun and engaging way.

Facilities

Rafael Dimas

Buildings & Grounds

Schedule a School Tour!

Experience the difference through a personalized tour of our campus and see the children at work in the classroom and outside in our extraordinary surroundings.