Larry G. Quade, Ph.D.
Director of Primary Training
Larry holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Kansas, and the AMI Primary Diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver. In over 40 years of experience in teaching and administration, he has served as a tenured Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas; guided Primary and Adolescent communities at The Post Oak School, an AMI-recognized school in Bellaire, Texas; and worked as a Primary teacher, Head of School, and Pedagogy Advisor at The Barbara Gordon Montessori School in Colleyville, Texas (now Waypoint Montessori). Larry has collaborated in AMI teacher training courses with the Montessori Training Institute of St. Louis (Kansas City site), where he was Program Coordinator of the Lab School, and MINT, where he has lectured in Primary Teacher Training Courses and has presented the Foundation Course for the Academic Year Elementary Teacher Training Course. He served on the Working Party for the Third International Assembly of AMI’s Educateurs sans Frontières (Teachers without Borders), and subsequently trained parent educators and staff at Bachman Lake Community School in the application of Montessori principles in an Early Head Start home visiting/center-based program for recent immigrant families with children from pregnancy to age 5. In addition to his work at MINT, Larry has previously served as the AMI Director of Primary Training at Houston Montessori Institute. He is a member of the Board of Directors of AMI in Amsterdam, where he holds the Pedagogy position.
Uma Ramani, M.A.
Director of Primary Training
Uma has over 30 years of experience in Montessori education. She holds the AMI Primary Diploma from the XLIV Indian Montessori Training Course, and the AMI Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of New England. She holds a Masters in Sociology from Annamalai University in India and a Masters in Textiles from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Before coming to the US, she worked with schools in Bangalore, India and was active in the local Montessori community. She has worked as a Primary guide in New York City and in Wilton, Connecticut. In addition to her work with MINT, Uma is currently Primary Coach at Annie Fisher Montessori, a public Montessori school in Hartford, Connecticut, and serves as a consultant to Elm City Montessori School, a public charter school in New Haven, Connecticut. An AMI Examiner, she works with the Montessori Training Center of New England to offer workshops and training and regularly participates in national and international conferences. She also continues to work actively with the Montessori community in India.
Jennifer Shields, M.Ed.
Director of Primary Training
Jennifer has been involved with Montessori for the past 26 years. She holds both the AMI Primary and Assistants to Infancy diplomas. Jennifer earned a B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and an M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. During the academic year she trains Primary teachers at Loyola University Maryland's Washington Montessori Institute. Before becoming an AMI teacher trainer Jennifer worked as a teacher, assistant, and administrator. She is an examiner and consultant for AMI and presents at workshops and conferences locally and worldwide. Jennifer loves observing in classrooms, coaching teachers and teacher trainees, and spreading the insights made by Dr. Montessori, and she has a special interest in encouraging the growth of Montessori programs in the public schools. She also delights in her three young-adult children, and in her wonderful husband. She likes to hike (especially with her German shepherd), read novels and newspapers, and cook vegetarian meals.
Director of Assistants to Infancy Training
Sara holds a Bachelor's degree in business studies from De Montfort University in England, the AMI Assistants to Infancy diploma from the Montessori Institute in Denver, the AMI Primary diploma from the Australian Montessori Teachers Education Foundation in Sydney, Australia, and an M.Ed. from Loyola College in Maryland. She has worked extensively in a variety of Montessori settings including all-day Montessori for toddlers, Primary, and Montessori in the home. She has enjoyed working in Nido and Infant Communities as well as conducting Parent-Infant classes. Originally from England, Sara now lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and three children.
Kim Altmeyer, M.Ed.
Auxiliary Primary Trainer
Kim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington, the AMI Primary Diploma from the Sydney Montessori Teacher’s College in Sydney, Australia, and a Master’s in Education with focus on Montessori from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. She has 14 years of experience as a Course Assistant for AMI Primary teacher training courses, including at the AMI Montessori Training Center of St. Louis and the International Training Center of Montessori Education of China in Hangzhou, China, and in a laboratory school setting in the Kansas City Public School District, where she created eight Primary environments in a public school setting. She has been a Primary guide in AMI Montessori schools in Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas, most recently at The Barbara Gordon Montessori School in Colleyville, Texas (now Waypoint Montessori). She currently serves as Auxiliary Primary Trainer at the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT), a AMI teacher training center in Dallas, Texas, while completing her work in the AMI Training of Trainers Program.
Primary Course Assistant
Kathleen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University, and the AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of North Texas. She received her AMI training and certification under the guidance of Larry Quade. She has been a primary guide in an AMS school in North Richland Hills, Texas and most recently served as a substitute primary guide at several AMI schools in the Dallas area. Kathleen has a background in Cost Accounting, having spent most of her work life in the corporate world. Her decades long interest in Montessori education and the reading of Maria Montessori’s books helped to bring about her career change as she fulfills a life-long dream of serving in the Montessori community.
Mary Caroline Parker, J.D., M.Ed.
Mary Caroline holds the AMI Primary Diploma from Centro de Estudios de Educación in Mexico City, a B.A. from Smith College, a J.D. from American University, and an M.Ed. in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College. She is a former head of school at East Dallas Community School and The Barbara Gordon Montessori School (now Waypoint Montessori). Mary Caroline is a former member of the Board of Directors of AMI, where she served in the Humanitarian and Child Advocacy position, and is currently a member of AMI's Educateurs sans Frontières working group. Mary Caroline serves on the board of Lumin Education, which operates three Montessori programs in low income Dallas neighborhoods, including two public charter schools and a Montessori-based Early Head Start Center.
Susan Hamilton, M.Ed.
Director of Outreach and Community Relations
Susan holds a M.Ed. in Integrative Learning from Endicott College and a B.B.S. in Social Work from Hardin Simmons University. She has over 15 years of experience as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies nationwide for strategic planning, leadership development, and organizational change, and 8 years of experience with Lumin Education in Dallas, where she served as the Director of Family and Community Partnerships and Program Director of Lumin Bachman Lake Community School, and as School Director of Lumin Wesley-Rankin Community School.
Virginia Brooks, M.Ed.
Director of Operations and Special Projects
Virginia holds a Master’s in Education with focus on Montessori from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is AMI-trained at all three levels, having earned the Assistants to Infancy Diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado, the Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Virginia has been an Elementary guide in AMI Montessori schools in South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia and Texas.
Special Projects Assistant
Emily Fjare received her AMI elementary diploma from MINT. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Creighton University, in Omaha Nebraska. Emily was a lower elementary guide at Lumin Education in Dallas, Texas. She is currently pursuing her Master's in education with Montessori Specialization from Southern Methodist University.
Melissa Crenshaw began her Montessori career 20 years ago assisting at an AMI Montessori school while attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She graduated with a BFA in 2002 and immediately pursued the AMI Assistants to Infancy Training with Dr. Montanaro at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Melissa has experience as a nanny, a homeschool teacher, and a toddler guide. In addition to her work as MINT’s Admissions Coordinator, she currently guides a toddler classroom at Alcuin School and serves as the course assistant for MINT’s Assistants Course for Assistants to Infancy.
Maricela (“Mary”) Valdez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Services from the University of North Texas at Dallas. Before coming to MINT, she was an administrative assistant and events coordinator at Brookhaven College. Mary believes that education is key to a prosperous future. She is new to the Montessori community and is fascinated to carry what she is learning into her household, which she believes will help her become a better mother to her two children. Mary has a passion for helping other and regularly volunteers in her free time.