Kathy Conlin, Education Director
Kathy Conlin has been involved with Montessori education for over 30 years and was instrumental in the design of Cool Springs Montessori.
She attended Trenton State College (now New Jersey University) and began her Montessori career as an Assistant at the Pennington Montessori School in New Jersey. After she obtained her Montessori Primary Diploma from the American Montessori Society in 1993, she stayed with Pennington as a Lead Guide for three more years and then relocated to Middle Tennessee where she helped establish the Montessori School of Columbia (MSC). She left MSC to serve as Education Director and Lead Guide in the inaugural class at the Montessori School of Franklin (MSF) in 2001. She served as Education Director, Lead Guide and mentor for both MSC and MSF, worked closely with the MSF parent Board of Directors, and managed several school expansions and relocations.
Ms. Kathy Lives in Spring Hill, TN. Her son, daughter, and their families all live in the Franklin area.
Megan Hardgrave, Primary Lead Guide
Megan Hardgrave joined CSM in January 2016. She has a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Belmont and a MACTE certification from Age of Montessori. She spent the first decade of her career teaching children visual and performance arts in private studios, then moved into arts administration for institutions such as Cheekwood and the Frist Center. After several years, she followed her heart back to the classroom, but she still works with several local theater groups as production designer, overseeing set, costumes, and overall design of the show, and teaching the technical or backstage side of theater.
In Ms. Megan’s classroom, she creates an environment that meets the needs of each individual in the classroom. She loves the holistic approach of Montessori education. “We strive to educate the whole child, to prepare the child for life beyond academics. As Montessori said, education should not be aimed at preparing the child for more school, but for life.” While not in the classroom or the theatre, she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking with her children, Chris (18), Analiese (15), and Sicily (13), and she has two mischievous cats, Bandit and Bella.
Photo coming soon.
Kathrin Weis, Primary Lead Guide
Kathrin Weis joined CSM in August 2018. She earned a BA in Creative Writing and German at ODU at Norfolk, VA, and her AMI certification at Greenville Montessori Institute in SC. Before coming to CSM, she supervised the children’s department of a Barnes & Noble, and wrote poetry and short stories. With her move to Bellevue, she plans to continue writing and hopes to draw and paint as well. She was enamored with Montessori education because it honors and respects the child. Ms. Kathrin hopes that all children in her classroom realize that they are loved and treasured.
Ms. Kathrin has a rescue kitten from VA, and during holidays and the summer, will be joined by the classroom rabbit, Nelson.
Deirdre McCambridge, Toddler Lead Guide
Deirdre McCambridge discovered the Montessori philosophy when her daughter began attending Wilmington Montessori Academy in 1997. Deirdre had been teaching for awhile and realized that this was the concept for which she had been looking. Already having her Bachelor’s Degree, she attained her Elementary 1 certificate from PCTE. She then earned a M.Ed. from Wilmington College. Deirdre has worked with children from ages 6 months – 12 years, but has found her place with toddlers. She received her Infant/Toddler Certificate and co-taught for three years in a Toddler classroom before coming to CSM. “Toddlers are discovering their world and it is joyful and exciting. I get to be in the forefront as the toddlers grow, learn and work to create themselves. It is the age of discovery and I am lucky enough to watch this occur each and every day.” Ms. Deirdre helps her children develop a “love of themselves because they are amazing.”
Ms. Deirdre lives in Franklin with her husband, Tommy. They have an adult daughter and 3 little dogs that barely make up one real dog! She is also an Infant/Toddler Trainer, and when she is not at CSM, she also enjoys woodworking, sewing, crocheting, and taking walks.
Photo coming soon.
Melissa Kempel, Primary Classroom Assistant
Melissa Kempel joined CSM in January 2018. She taught gymnastics for 10 years and is a certified Yoga instructor. As she explores the Montessori approach, she appreciates the space there is for each child and their own process and providing an opportunity for each to explore and experience their own lives. She loves being in nature, hiking, meditation, painting, and spending time connecting with loved ones.
Ms. Melissa lives in Bellevue with her husband, Vishu, and her dog Nico.
Photo coming soon.
Vanessa Huaracha, Primary Classroom Assistant
Vanessa Huaracha began her Montessori career in 2013, and joined the CSM family in 2017. She loves the Montessori education because it builds a child’s character and strengthens their independence. She is a native Spanish speaker and brings Spanish lessons to all of our classrooms.
Ms. Vanessa enjoys gardening, cooking, concerts, crafts and spending time with friends and family. She lives in East Nashville in a home she shares with two roommates, Maya and Madison, and two four-legged creatures, Milo and Pepe.
Photo coming soon.
Kate Earl, Toddler Classroom Assistant
Kate Earl joined the CSM family in August 2018. She was a music teacher at the International School of London and was an Intl Recording artist with Major and Indie Record Labels in L.A., N.Y. and London. She was introduced to the Montessori philosophy with her son, who attended a Montessori school. Her favorite Montessori quote is “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. “
Ms. Kate enjoys making music, traveling across the seven seas, spending time in nature and watching movies when it’s really cold or stormy. She lives in Franklin with her partner Taylor, son Hank and dog Sugar.
Photo coming soon.
Deborah Hueser, Operations Director
Deborah Hueser has been volunteering/helping out at CSM since we opened in 2011 – her youngest was one of the first students here. Officially, she started in August 2012 as the Operations Director. She has a BA in English from Lehigh University, as well as a BSN from Fairfield University. Ms. Debbie was an oncology BSN RN for over 10 years, and worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital on their hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. When her family moved to Nashville, she stayed home to be with her daughters and later landed here at CSM. Both of her girls attended Montessori schools, and are now thriving as students. She hopes all of our children realize what amazing tiny humans they are! She loves seeing them every day.
Ms. Debbie lives in Franklin with her husband, Steve, and two daughters. She also has two rescue dogs, Eli and Gettysburg.
Photo coming soon.
Lisa Gaines, Bookkeeper
Lisa Gaines joined CSM in July of 2011. She has a BA in Business/Accounting from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and has worked in accounting for over 30 years, and has more than 10 years of experience with Montessori schools. Both of her children attended primary Montessori programs, and she has been involved with Montessori schools as either an accountant, board member or assistant teacher ever since.
Ms Lisa and her husband, John, live in Franklin with their yellow lab, the Captain. They have two adult children– Reed and Ellen (married to Sam) and two grand dogs.
Madalynn Harrison, Aftercare Assistant
Alyza Zink, Aftercare Assistant
Rhonda Moyers, Homeschool Enrichment Lead Guide
Rhonda Moyers has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Lipscomb University and obtained her AMS Montessori Elementary Certification from Houston Montessori Center. She has over 22 years as a Montessori guide, and has been with CSM since August 2012. She feels the Montessori method of education embraces and respects the natural curiosity of the child. While traditional education constantly provides children with given answers, the Montessori approach encourages the child to continually ask questions. This naturally allows the child to explore and maintain their sense of curiosity.
Ms. Rhonda loves to explore the outdoors, read novels, and help coach her daughter’s jump rope team. She also loves woodworking, mechanics, and gardening. She lives in Franklin with her husband, Mike, and has three children, Jonathan (18), Cara (16), and Ashlyn (13). They have two guinea pigs, Mabel and Daisy, and Pumpkin, a new little kitten.
Jenny Bonham, Homeschool Enrichment Lead Guide
Katherine Kofink, Homeschool Enrichment Assistant
Katherine Kofink attended O’More College of Design where she received her Bachelor of Art degree in interior design. After working in the design field for a few years, she decided to pursue her love and interest in animals and spent the next eight years as a veternarian technican. Katherine continued her work with animals until she and her husband David decided to start a family. Soon after the birth of their first child, Katherine started reading and studying Maria Montessori’s philosophy and was intrigued with her study of, and approach to, children. Katherine and David have chosen Montessori for their two children and Katherine was given an opportunity to continue her love of Montessori philosophy as a classroom assistant. She is now enjoying her days at Cool Springs Montessori.