Faculty & Staff


Administration

Jessica Thompson – Head of School  

Jessica Thompson is originally from Los Angeles, California. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Mount St. Mary’s College and her M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Jessica started her career in the non-profit sector in the late 1990′s. She spent 8 years with the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, the largest digital archive of videotaped testimonies with Holocaust Survivors and eye-witnesses ever assembled aimed at teaching tolerance. During her time there, she worked to establish the Foundation’s European Headquarters and Fund Development in Berlin, Germany, and then moved to educational development. Upon moving to Maui, she joined Friends of Moku’ula as their Program Coordinator and Grant Writer, working to restore one of Hawaii’s most sacred sites. Jessica joined Montessori Hale O Keiki as the Development Director in November 2009 and as a parent with the school since 2008. She lives in Kihei, Maui with her husband Jamie and young son Bodhi. Her favorite things do are going to Hana with her family, cooking, dancing Hula, and creating art. Her favorite quote is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Patty Herren – Admissions/Registrar

Patty Herren joined Montessori Hale O Keiki in May 2012 as Admissions Coordinator & Registrar.  She is a graduate of  Berkely Business College in NY and brings over 20 years of administration and business experience to the school. Patty has two children enrolled at MHOK and before joining our faculty, she was an active parent-volunteer in our school community. When she does have free time, Patty’s favorite activities are spending time with family & friends, cooking, entertaining, volunteering, swimming, scuba diving & Pilates. 

Lara Gauthier – Office Administrator & Development Associate

Lara Gauthier first came to Montessori Hale O Keiki in January of 2012 as the Primary Classroom’s Teaching Assistant. Following the 2011-2012 school year, Lara became MHOK’s Office Administrator and Development Associate. Lara has assisted with the Summer Explorers program curriculum, worked directly with the children as one of the Camp Counselors and was a former Extended Care teacher for the Primary aged classroom. A former resident of Massachusetts, Lara found her way to Maui after volunteering in Arequipa, Peru, where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to Peruvian children. Lara has a BA from Plymouth State University and has worked in various educational organizations throughout her career. A strong believer in the benefits of a Montessori education, Lara looks forward to being a part of MHOK as it grows and flourishes on the beautiful island of Maui.

Brad Sacho – Controller
Brad Sacho joined the school in late January, 2011, as Controller. He brings to our school over 40 years of accounting and business experience, much of it in the non-profit sector. Brad’s MBA is from Minnesota, and he holds a Certified Internal Auditor designation from the Institute of Internal Auditors, as well as a Canadian CPA credential. He has been involved in education for the past 29 years, and he currently is licensed in Hawaii under the operating name of Brad’s Students Group, mentoring accounting students in the practical application of the student’s University theoretical training and education.

Erica Nakamura – Asst. Controller

Lead Teachers

Katie Farley – Primary, ages 2.8 through 6 

Katie Farley joined Montessori Hale O Keiki in 2013. She grew up in Colorado and earned her BA in Communications at the University of Colorado and then later took her Montessori Primary training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to teaching, Katie spent 2 years as a soccer coach for the Primary age group. She has an eight year old son who has attended Montessori schools since he was three.

Roseann Laxson – Lower Elementary, ages 6 through 9

Roseann Laxon has 25 years experience as a Montessori teacher and has been with Montessori Hale O Keiki since 2003. She received her lower elementary training in Sunnyvale, California at San Francisco Bay Area Montessori Teacher Education Center. Roseann also holds a Montessori Primary Certification from Montessori Teachers College National Center for Montessori Education in Sacramento, California. Prior to teaching in Maui, Roseann taught 17 years at Russell Park Montessori, University of California, Davis.

Cindy Conesa – Upper School, ages 9 – 14

Cindy Conesa grew up in California, where she attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and earned a B.A. degree in philosophy. She began her teaching career in public schools, and moved to Montessori education in 1989. Cindy has six years public teaching experience and over eighteen years in Montessori education. She is Montessori certified (AMS) at the lower and upper elementary levels, has worked as a teacher trainer for the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, Washington, and consulted for a new Montessori charter school in Alaska. In 2004, Cindy and her husband took a sabbatical in Switzerland, where she taught at an international Montessori school for two years. Upon returning to the states in 2006, she completed her M.Ed. She lives upcountry with her husband and has two grown children, both of who attended Montessori schools. Cindy has been with Montessori Hale O Keiki since 2011.

Assistant Teachers

Fiona Cherrett- Primary

Michelle Lazuka- Primary

Michelle Lazuka has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Ohio University. She worked in Pediatrics at Northeast Medical Hospital in Concord, NC as a Child Life Specialist.  She also has worked as a lead preschool teacher, wish granter for Make- A- Wish, and she developed a children’s yoga program at Providence United Methodist in NC. Michelle is also a 200 hr. certified yoga instructor. She is currently working toward her Masters of Education and Montessori Credential at Chaminade University of Honolulu.

Jill Boege – Lower Elementary

Misty Pasco – Upper School

Misty Pasco was born and raised on the island of Maui. She graduated from St. Anthony High School and attended Hawaii Pacific University on a full athletic scholarship as a cheerleader and a member of the dance team. In 1997 Misty graduated with a B.A. in Human Services from HPU and began studying for her Masters in Human Resource Management. After one year, her interest turned to Early Education and she began working towards achieving her Masters Degree in Education and her Montessori Certificate at Chaminade University. During this time, Misty worked as a Montessori Primary Teacher’s Assistant for three years at Kawaiahao Church. Upon returning to Maui, Misty worked part-time at Montessori School of Maui in Haiku, working with the toddler and after-school programs.  She then became the “Kid’s Club” supervisor at Kea Lani Resort and stayed there for five years before she becoming a Manager for Camp Grande at the Grand Wailea Resort in Wailea. Four years later, in 2010 , Misty started working at Montessori Hale O Keiki as the Summer Camp primary teacher, which she has continued each summer. For the last two years, Misty has worked in several capacities, including Upper School assistant, Art & Technology teacher, and Licensed Primary Director.

Language

Roseann Laxson – Spanish Lower Elementary Level

Roseann Laxon has 25 years experience as a Montessori teacher and has been with Montessori Hale O Keiki since 2003. She received her lower elementary training in Sunnyvale, California at San Francisco Bay Area Montessori Teacher Education Center. Roseann also holds a Montessori Primary Certification from Montessori Teachers College National Center for Montessori Education in Sacramento, California. Prior to teaching in Maui, Roseann taught 17 years at Russell Park Montessori, University of California, Davis.

Physical Education

Diane Cornell – All Ages – (Primary Year 3 – Upper School)

 

Specialists/Extra Curricular 

Marti Kluth – Music 

Sue Wilson- Reading Specialist & Art Teacher

Larry Behnkin -Scuba/Snorkel Instructor & Naturalist 

Extended Care 

Sue Wilson- Primary & Elementary Aftercare teacher

Meghan Doran- Wednesday’s Primary Aftercare teacher

Meghan Doran- Wednesday’s Primary Teacher