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Middle School Staff

Mandy Balanetsky

Lead Teacher - Middle School
B.S., Education, Elementary and Special Education, University of Delaware
M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Delaware

Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite thing about Montessori education is keeping my students for more than one year. I love that I get to know them on a more personal level and can incorporate their interests into their education. I also enjoy forming stronger relationships with their families. It is amazing to watch both their academic and social growth over multiple years!

Susie Barton

Extended Day Assistant (Grades 5 and up)

Rose Feehan

Instructional Technology Coach
B.S., Digital Media, Drexel University
M.S., Instructional Technology Specialist, Saint Joseph's University

Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite Montessori experience is very routine and happens in every classroom at WMS, but something I had never experienced in any other kind of school. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend Morning Meeting (or "Circle Time") in a toddler classroom on a regular basis. I shared in a time when the class comes together, everyone is greeted, and each individual has a moment to know that he or she is a valued member of the classroom. During circle time, everyone takes a break from lessons to come together as a community. The children and teachers listen to each other, share their lives and know that they are treasured.

Jill Hallissey

Jill Hallissey
Physical Education Teacher
B.S., Exercise Science &  K-12 Health/Physical Education Certification, Eastern University

Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite Montessori moments happen frequently throughout each day. What makes Montessori so special and unique is the opportunity for older students to help teach younger students in the same class. The wide variety of ages - especially as it relates to being in PE class - can sometimes be challenging in certain lessons. When I look around the gymnasium and catch a glimpse of a 6-year-old student helping to teach a 4-year-old student how to throw, catch, jump or skip, it truly is something special. Through a Montessori education, students really learn how to be positive leaders and understand the value in helping each other out.

Ben Loder

Extended Day Lead (Grades 5 and up), Coach: Soccer, Basketball, Running Club

Laurie Orsic

Laurie Orsic
Assistant Head of School
B.A.A.S., English - Theater, University of Delaware
AMS Certification:, Elementary I
M.A.T., Early Childhood Education, The College of New Jersey

Favorite Montessori Moment: Maria Montessori knew that children, from a very young age, love big numbers. They love telling you they have learned to count to 100, they wish they could have 1000 cookies and they love you "a million." My favorite Montessori math material is the Checkerboard because it satisfies the child's need to explore big numbers. Using the Montessori bead bars and the Checkerboard, the Lower Elementary students practice reading and multiplying numbers into the millions, ten millions and hundred millions.

Multi-digit multiplication is complicated, but much more comprehensible when a student moves step-by-step through the many lessons this hands-on material makes possible. Patterns emerge and sensible shortcuts reveal themselves. The paper and pencil process is easily taught because it mirrors the Checkerboard steps. And, most importantly, the student experiences the pure pleasure and satisfaction that comes from finding the solution to a really challenging multiplication problem. The Montessori Checkerboard lessons are magical.

Paula Sharpe

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Mathematics) Coach, Middle School Science
B.S., Early Childhood & Elementary Education, Wilmington University
AMS Certification:, Elementary I

Favorite Montessori Moment: One of the most special moments for me in the Montessori classroom is during a child's "Birth & Life" (birthday) celebration. Each child gets so excited to "walk around the sun" with his or her parents watching and sharing moments of their lives with their school community. I always ask each child from the classroom to share one wish he or she has for the birthday child. As we go around the circle I am always so proud of what each child has to say about the birthday child. When I first became a parent, one of the milestones I most looked forward to sharing with my own children was "walking around the sun." While my own children no longer attend Montessori school, each year we take those steps around the sun.

Lisa Surbrook

Art Teacher - Middle School
B.F.A., Interior Design, Moore College of Art and Design
M.A., Art Therapy, Hahnemann University

Rocio Viscarra

Spanish Teacher - Middle School
B.S., Psychology, University of Delaware