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Donna Smith | Primary

During student teaching I realized that the public school classroom could not successfully serve all students.  My 1st grade class had a child who couldn’t hold a pencil, color or write his name and other child who was working at a 3rd grade level.  The rest fell in between.  I watched my supervising teacher struggle to give the children what they needed and knew there had to be a better way.  I was introduced to Maria Montessori in a “filler” class before graduation.  Upon moving back home to Indy, I saw an ad for a Montessori assistant and met Judy Edwards.  The answer to my concerns became so clear: Montessori is the answer!  And the rest is history!

Every day is a new day!  Every day a child in my class is introduced to something new, grasps a new idea, practices a work as long as they need to, or masters a concept.  The joy of learning is written all over their little faces.  It’s such a precious moment!

What I love about Northside…Northside is home.  From the beautiful old building with the big windows and high ceilings to the large outdoor spaces, Northside is a comfortable and happy place – just like home should be!

A multiple fun fact about me;
-The children love to say that I’m a teacher, a mom, and a grandma!
I’ve been at Northside since 1986!
I’ve got 2 sons (who attended Northside) and I have 5 grandchildren!

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Julie McGill | elementary

This year I will begin my 30th school year as a Montessori Teacher at NMS. When I walked in the door, I had no real idea who Maria Montessori was, but I loved what I saw. I quickly learned through in-service training, conferences, and seminars, just how special this method of teaching is and how beautifully it works. Montessori kids are independent, social, kind, compassionate, and eager learners. I learn something new from them each day and that keeps me coming back. I also love the creativity allowed in maintaining “the prepared environment”. I’m always observing and tweaking the works, shelves and room design to suit the needs of the children as well as my own creative needs. I have two grown children who both attended NMS and sometimes come back to give back to their alma mater. When not teaching, I enjoy hiking, camping, biking, and gardening.

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Tara franke | co-owner & primary

I remember the first time I laid eyes on a Montessori Classroom.  I could not believe the independence and respect that I was seeing.  The students were moving about the classroom with such purpose and control.  It was like nothing I had ever seen before.  I was sold immediately!  After 16 years, I continue to be a part of Montessori because it works.  Having the opportunity to watch children grow, learn, and mature is the best reward anyone could ask for.  And Montessori allows for each of those things to happen at each child's individual pace. 

The personal and deep relationship with each individual child is what fuels me daily.  With the three year cycle, I am able to really get to know each child.  We spend time observing and getting to know each child individually, learning their likes and dislikes in addition to their strengths and areas that might need gentle guidance.  Those moments when they grasp a concept for the first time, give a lesson to a friend or go and complete a job are priceless.  Their pride and joy can be seen through their smile!

The families and students at Northside are compassionate, loving and supportive.  The students have an insatiable appetite to always learn more and they in turn teach me so much throughout the day.  And the Northside Families are what make us such a strong community.  I don't know if it is because our school is in a house or not, but there is definitely something about Northside that makes you feel a part of one big family!

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Ashley Sullivan | Primary

I love Montessori because I have seen every child has different ways of processing and learning.   Everyday I am fueled by the curiosity of a young learner and the thrill of mastering something new. Northside quickly became home to me because there is a big sense of community that wraps you up.  If I wasn’t a teacher and wife I would love to live in Paris. Paris has always called to me. 

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AshleE Miller | primary assistant

    I rediscovered Northside Montessori when I was looking for schools for MY daughter. After a tour and my own personal presentation, from one of our past upstairs kids, I was hooked-AGAIN! I was a previous student of Northside Montessori from 3-5 years and have very fond memories. I love what the Montessori method has to offer. We are helping to create lifelong learners. While we are teaching academics, we are also fostering a respect for others and all living things. These social and educational skills are setting these kiddos up for success, no matter where their lives lead them. 

   I specifically love Northside because it is its' own little family/community. Our upstairs kids and older downstairs kids are leaders. When they see that they can help they jump right in and help, no hesitation. We also get this amazing opportunity to have our downstairs (3-6 years) continue through elementary with our upstairs program (6-12 years). The amazing confidence, leadership, and kindness that the kiddos leave with is beautiful. All our students have a pace that is unique to them.

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Nina lemke | primary intern

My favorite thing about Montessori is the individual freedom that each child is allowed in the Montessori classroom. Each child is so unique and special in their own way. They deserve the freedom to follow their hearts without hesitation. 

I have always had a HUGE passion for children. I admire their simplicity and innocence. It is impossible for me not to smile when I am interacting with children all day. It is my happy place!

I love how welcoming and accepting the students and staff have been to me as a new teacher! I also love that NMS has staff with such a long history associated with the school. Finally, I love that NMS is inside a home instead of a building. It gives you a sense of comfort. 

Fun Fact: My birthday is on Valentines Day!

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Andra Faye | Music

This my only experience as a Montessori music teacher, though I did attend an Alternative Program when I was in high school, Learning Unlimited, that I loved. I truly love the openness & creativity of Northside, and the shared air of respect between both teachers & students. The delight with which I’m greeted from the preschoolers, and all the students’ willingness to be silly & creative in the moment & to find their connection with music. I so appreciate that our ideas are listened to, and that we are invited to implement them. I am crafty! Recently taught myself to crochet, and have also taught myself to do stained glass.

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Jody Pandelidis | Art

I started teaching at Northside in the fall of 2017.  Having recently moved to Indianapolis, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to teach art at a small private school.  After observing the school in action, I was so impressed with the student-guided learning - such intense focus and concentration for such little people!  The practiced philosophy of respect for human beings, property and feelings of others as well as the guidance offered to students to encourage their problem-solving skills had me hooked!  The setting in a big old house also appealed to me since I lived in a 120-year-old Victorian house in Massachusetts before relocating to Indiana

What inspires me as a teacher at Northside is the enthusiasm for art that the students display!  It's not uncommon to hear squeals of excitement when working to complete a project - especially when it involves mixing of paints and a new color is "discovered"! The students at Northside are a curious bunch of children who also display kindness towards both their teachers and fellow students.  I look forward to expressions of eagerness for new projects and hugs & smiles each day that I am at school!

Fun Fact: The Victorian house that I lived in for 25 years was painted in six different colors (chosen by me) and was affectionately known in town as "The Purple House".

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Elizabeth Harris | Spanish

I am in Montessori because I love to be able to see children flourish in their own unique ways, and because I love how our children love to learn!

Every day, I am fueled by the fact that I have the chance to make a huge impact on a child. I strive to be a light for a child, whether it be pushing them to their maximum potential, or simply giving a warm hug.

I love how Northside students love learning. They amaze and inspire me daily with their enthusiasm to learn new things.

Fun fact: I make award winning chocolate chip cookies!

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Jeannie Brammeier | Permanent sub

Several years ago my daughter came home and said, "I think I am going to become a Montessori teacher."  And then shortly after graduation she said, "I want to own my own Montessori school!"  So I have had time to prepare for that day.  However, I never knew the pay off would be this great.  What a wonderful experience it is to see the children grow and accept so many challenges that are given to them with such enthusiasm.  It has truly been a blessing to experience the Montessori Philosophy.

The children desire to learn new things!  It is contagious to see them so happy to be going to school and having such a wonderful time with their friends.  


Aaron Franke | Co-owner

My favorite aspect of the Montessori Philosophy is the independent learning aspect.  I can't think of a better way to teach children!  Being at Northside feels like you are part of a large family.  Everyone is kind and courteous.  And it is incredible to watch how everyone is willing to help and support the school.  

The chickens are really cool too.

Fun Fact: I share a birthday with Maria Montessori.