Holly | Upper Elementary
Holly Linneman teaches in the Upper Elementary classroom, as well as coordinating and teaching in the WSMS summer program. Holly is a Columbia native (go Kewpies). Holly has a BS degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has Montessori certification for the primary (MEPI) and upper elementary (NAMC) classrooms. Holly has a big family and most of them live close by, but in her household it’s just her one huge dog and two stubborn cats. Her favorite things to do include walking and hiking with her dog, reading and traveling.
Matt | Lower Elementary / Late hour Program Director
Matt Hawley teaches in the upper elementary. He got his BA in Outdoor Education from Sterling College in 2009. After 3 years teaching High School he transitioned to elementary and took a position teaching K-3rd. Matthew is currently pursuing a dual certification in lower and upper elementary Montessori education. In his free time he enjoys gardening, cooking, cycling, carpentry, and spending time with his wife Hope and daughter Hazel.
Jacqueline | Primary
Jacqueline Janssen grew up in a small farm town near Quincy, IL. She moved here to attend the University of Missouri, fell in love with Columbia, and never left. She has been working in the LGH as an Aide for a little over a year. Jacqueline received Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Sociology and a Multicultural Certificate from the University of Missouri in 2014 and is currently working on a graduate certificate in Behavior Analysis. When she is not working at WSMS, Jacqueline works as a Behavior Assistant providing therapy for children with Autism. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, professional photography, and spending time with friends and family.
Violet | Music
Violet Vonder Haar grew up in small town mid-Missouri learning to play guitar at a young age and writing songs since she could speak. In High School she had the opportunity to cadet teach elementary music and hasn’t stopped teaching since. She graduated in 2010 from Central Methodist University with a BA in K-12 Music Education (Vocal Emphasis). She has been teaching private voice, guitar, songwriting and beginner piano since 2005. She has taught general music at Lange Middle School, Stephens College Children’s School, Columbia Montessori School, Columbia Academy of Music and is so happy to be teaching at WSMS!
Aside from her teaching experience, Violet has been performing for Missouri audiences for over 15 years and has recorded and released 5 full length albums and 2 EPs. She currently performs with her folk-rock band, Violet and the Undercurrents, Zorya, and Overton Landing as well as solo performances in mid-Missouri and around the US.
Michelle | Lower Elementary
Michelle Mustain teaches in the Lower Elementary classroom at WSMS. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in 1992 from Central Missouri State in Warrensburg. Michelle received her primary Montessori training from MOMTEP in St. Louis in 1994 and worked at Children’s House of Columbia as a Primary Teacher from 1994-2007. In 2008 Michelle received her Lower Elementary certification from North American Montessori Center. Michelle is married to Mark Mustain and they have one child, Will who is currently 17 years old. Michelle and her family reside in Centralia, MO. Michelle enjoys reading, riding bikes, golf, and spending time with her family
Sra. Lina| Spanish
Sra. Lina Trigos Originally from Colombia, South America, Sra. Lina came to Columbia three years ago with her husband, Carlos, and six-year-old son, Sebastian. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philology and Languages, and a Master’s in Philosophy of Language and is currently a doctoral student of Literacy Education at Mizzou. In her home country she taught Kindergarten and third grade for five years, and Spanish composition for college students for seven years. Her love for teaching extends to both kids and adults, but she particularly loves Montessori education because of a belief that kids need to grow in an environment that values their different capacities in an integral way, that respects their independence, and promotes freedom. These are principles she applies in all settings for her work. It is a fundamental goal of education to make children and people feel part of a community, feel loved, and be happy. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, knowing other cultures, and spending time with family.
Kate Reeves teaches in the LGH (Little Green House). She received her primary certification through MEPI and this will be her eighth year working in a Montessori classroom. She is currently working on finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Kate is married to Zack Reeves, who is a nurse at the V.A. Hospital. They have one son, James, who attends WSMS. Kate enjoys swimming, reading, spending time with her family, listening to music, and enjoying the outdoors.
Dan | “Cooker Man”
Dan Bené has been cooking for children since 1979. He is famous spaghetti, pizza, and vegetable soup. Dan and his wife Ann are the parents of five and grandparents of three
Ben | Primary
Ben Wells is a graduate of Montessori himself. He has worked as an assistant in Montessori classrooms for several years and will be working toward Montessori certification during the 2014-15 school year.
Katie | Lower Elementary
Katie Wilch has been working with children her whole life, from baby sitting to chasing her five rambunctious nephews and fearless niece. She received a BS in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Stephens College. Katie’s love for WSMS began when she moved to the neighborhood as a college student many years ago and watched the campus grow. She and her husband, Morgan, enjoy doing anything outdoors; especially playing disc golf with their black lab, Duke.
Dayan | Aide in Primary classroom / Late hour Program Director
Dayan Crutcher is back for her second year in the LGH. After a long career in education, she has found the answer and it is Montessori! She began her teaching career in preschool teaching dance and working with teen Mothers in a women’s shelter. After graduating from Mizzou, Dayan was accepted to Teach For America, earned her Pre-K through Six Certification, and taught in Houston, Texas in inner city schools. She semi-retired from teaching for six years to stay home with her children Emma and Charlie, and returned to the work force with Project Construct, a teacher-training program in Constructivist Theory, and the authors of the Missouri public school preschool curriculum. After the birth of her third child, Nora, Dayan lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for seven years and taught second and fourth grades and earned her Special Education Certification. Dayan worked in Early Intervention and became the Director of a private preschool for children with Special Needs. An Unfinished Master’s Degree and a love of the Benton Stephens Neighborhood beckoned her back to Columbia in 2012. She completed her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013. Dayan has a passion for traveling and learning about other cultures, tries to dance every day, enjoys live music, art, museums, cooking, reading, knitting, sewing, camping, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.