Meet the Team – Kindergarten

Christen Ibarra
Christen IbarraDual-Language Montessori Lead
Christen joins Monarch in 2019 as our Dual-Language teacher. A Denver native, Ms. Christen holds a Bachelors degree in Spanish and a Lower Elementary Montessori Certificate. She has worked in various areas of public education from ages 4 to 21. Christen has only worked with the younger children in a public bi-lingual Montessori setting and was so impressed by what creative and independent thinkers these little ones are able to become. She sees that Montessori nourishes the whole child to become the best version of themselves, not just to follow directions. In her spare time you will find Christen riding the snowy slopes on her snowboard.
Sandra Martinez
Sandra MartinezMontessori Lead
Bio Coming Soon!
Noor Ashrafi
Noor AshrafiMontessori Lead
Joining Monarch in 2016 was a dream come true for Noor! She is thrilled to be surrounded by child-centered Montessori guides! During her 26 years as an educator, she served as a teacher, reading specialist, teacher trainer, academic dean, and college professor overseas. Noor’s Montessori journey began after touring several schools abroad. She was drawn to the family feel and the whole child approach to learning in Montessori. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her family, hiking and baking.

Meet the Team – Lower Elementary

Alesandra Rodriguez
Alesandra RodriguezMontessori Lead
Ms. Alesandra started her teaching career in 2011 in a toddler classroom and then substitute teaching at the elementary level and then a lower elementary teacher at a Montessori Charter School in Miami, FL. After two wonderful years, she relocated to Denver, CO and found a new home at Monarch Montessori in 2016. Her favorite part of teaching Montessori curriculum is being able to foster independence, provide individualized instruction and most importantly, being able to teach using hands-on activities. Alesandra’s classroom is setup to make Montessori education fun and engaging. When not at Monarch, she enjoys hiking the beautiful trails in the area with her dog, practicing yoga and traveling.
Gina Macias
Gina MaciasAssistant Teacher
Ms Gina is originally from Los Angeles, CA and moved to Denver in 2001. She graduated from Manuel High School in 2006 and attended the Community College of Denver as well as the University of Colorado Denver. She has two adorable children, Michael and Jorge.

Ellen Scholten
Ellen ScholtenMontessori Lead
Bio coming soon!
Michelle Johnson
Michelle JohnsonMontessori Assistant
Ms Michelle, a NOLA native, joins Monarch in 2019. She has worked in schools for many years and holds a Bachelors degree in Science. Michelle was drawn to Montessori because of the teaching style and family like atmosphere. In her free time she could be cooking or on the prowl for a great clothing sale and completes the look by creating different makeup applications.
Silvia Maldonado
Silvia MaldonadoMontessori Assistant
Ms. Siliva joined Monarch in 2018. Siliva, originally from Chihuahua Mexico, studied at Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua for a degree in Spanish Literature. She was drawn to Montessori by wanting to explore a different way of teaching. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her dogs.
Shanna Meyers
Shanna MeyersMontessori Lead
Shanna Myers, a Colorado native, began teaching lower elementary at Monarch Montessori in the fall of 2017, although she has been teaching public Montessori for 8 years. Shanna graduated from Colorado Christian University with a B.A. in Elementary Education, received her Lower Elementary Montessori Credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, and most recently received her dual masters degree in Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Education and Special Education. Shanna is drawn to Montessori because she loves students taking ownership of their own learning and being able to choose works that best align with their needs. When she is not teaching, she spends time with her husband, and toddler, Daniel. They love to be outdoors and to read books!
Erika Wayoro
Erika WayoroMontessori Assistant
Ms Erika joined Monarch in 2015 as part of the First Steps office staff. In 2018 her received her Bachelors degree from Metro State in Fine Art. Erika is currently pursuing a Montessori certification with North America Montessori Center. Additionally, she taught art and assisted students at DAVA (Downtown Aurora Visual Arts). And, previously worked in the Education Department at the Denver Art Museum for three years, teaching visitors about the collections and assisted with preparing new educational activities for families. In her free time, Erika loves spending time with her five children, viewing/creating art and reading.
Paul Bareis-Golumb
Paul Bareis-GolumbMontessori Lead
Mr. Paul joins Monarch Montessori in 2019 and holds a a BS in Elementary Ed./Special Ed. Mr. Paul started his teaching career on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico. After moving to Woodstock, Il, he discovered Montessori, which showed him how to make education experiential, hands-on, individualized and fun! During his 25 year teaching career, he’s written “The Pax Curriculum”, a social and emotional curriculum, developed various cultural curriculum and developed curriculum for immersion days and field trips. Paul feel at its heart, Montessori is about authentically meeting the social, emotional and academic needs of children. In addition, a Montessori classroom is like a children’s museum, only with intentional instruction, which he enjoys constructing. In his free time, he enjoys soccer. biking, photography, movies and dance.
Dorrie LiemanMontessori Assistant
Ms Dorrie, originally from New York City, went to UC Berkley and Bank Street College of Education. She was a literacy teacher in NYC and Denver before joining Monarch in 2019. She is drawn to Montessori because of the kids, creativity and choice. In Dorrie’s free time she likes to sing, dance, swim, cook, hike and bike as well as spend time and love up her kiddos, friends and family.

Meet the Team – Upper Elementary

Grace Ochs
Grace Ochs Montessori Lead
Grace Ochs was born in Ghana, West Africa and has called five different African countries, two European countries, and four US states home. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and is an alumna of the Americorps VISTA program.  Grace received her Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori certification training from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, and is working toward her Master of Education degree in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.  When she is not in the classroom, Grace enjoys cooking, traveling, hiking, and a good book!
Liz Walchie
Liz WalchieMontessori Lead
Liz completed her Montessori Teaching internship at Monarch in 2015 and grown as an amazing teacher. She is well versed in one-on-one tutoring working with various learners. Liz’s degree is in Applied Linguistics and holds a Montessori Elementary teaching certificate. The peace curriculum in Montessori has a special place in her heart. It is a priority to teach the next generation about loving others and self, then they will have this foundation when they are older. Liz’s hobbies include hiking in the mountains, traveling to beautiful places, and reading “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.
Leslie Snyder- Newquist
Leslie Snyder- Newquist Montessori Lead
Leslie Snyder- Newquist holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance for tuba from Metropolitan State University and a Montessori Certificate from the Montessori Center of the Rockies. Originally from South Dakota, Leslie started at Monarch Montessori as a substitute teacher. She began teaching full time in 2014 after falling in love with the students and the philosophy.  Before moving to Denver to pursue her education, Leslie worked as music director for NeSoDak youth camp.   Leslie enjoys her family, playing the tuba and spending time in the great outdoors.
Nikki Breaux
Nikki BreauxAssistant Teacher/Long Time Montessorian
Nikki has been teaching in Montessori classrooms since 2000, beginning as an assistant in a primary classroom. Nikki attended Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York (CMTE/NY) and led a 3-6 classroom for 6 years before moving into Lower Elementary and eventually into Upper Elementary. She is currently seeking a Special Education degree at Grand Canyon University. Nikki values on Montessori curriculum were summed up beautifully in a quote from one of her fourth graders. Her student wrote the following about Maria Montessori in his peacemaking journal, “The thing I admire most about Maria Montessori is that she knew that everybody could learn. She made materials for that to happen. She made a goal for that to happen. She helped children all around the world to learn. She taught teachers so that they could help children to learn. Here is a quote that shows that she reached her goal: ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'” Darrius, 4th Grade, Monarch Montessori of Denver. In her free time, Nikki enjoys live music, geocaching and watching skateboarding.