Discover Montessori SchoolspacerDiscover Montessori teachers hold Montessori certification along with Early Childhood Education and Independent Teaching Certificates in accordance with BC Ministry of Education and VIHA requirements. When considering our school you’ll meet the teachers and observe ‘in-action’ a truly different classroom. Educators considering a Montessori career are always invited to contact the office for more information.

Nanaimo Campus

Diana Chalmers, Principal and Elementary Montessori Directress Diana Chalmers, Nanaimo

Diana Chalmers

Principal and Lead Elementary Montessori Directress


Diana received AMI elementary training in Bergamo, Italy, 1994–95 and her Masters in Education in Child Studies from Simon Fraser University in ’99. Involved with Nanaimo Montessori School since ’81, Diana held many positions; as a parent, parent volunteer, secretary, dance and computer instructor, elementary teacher and as of 2003, Principal of Discover Montessori School. Diana is a past Director of the Montessori Society of Canada and committed to the growth of Montessori across Vancouver Island. Diana’s four children were raised through Montessori’s Primary and Elementary programs.

Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo

Cynthia Dyer

Vice Principal, Primary & Elementary Montessori Directress


Cynthia holds Montessori certification for Primary and Elementary levels, an ECE license and a Bachelor of Child and Youth Care. Involved for many years with Montessori, first as a parent, then a teacher (including Elementary Art and Music) and currently Vice Principal, Cynthia is also Co-chair of the Vancouver Island Montessori Association, writes two blogs for parents and facilitates parenting classes. She is currently working toward a Masters of Educational Leadership.

Valerie Mermet, Nanaimo Valerie Mermet, Nanaimo

Valerie Mermet

Lead Primary Montessori Directress


Born in the south of France Valerie has taught French and Dance since 2013. Literally inspired by her students, Valerie completed her AMI diploma for Primary in 2008. Valerie studied organic horticulture at Darlington Hall, Devon, England, and was a member of Kabudu, a professional West African dance and drumming ensemble. Valerie leads cultural tours to Nepal and Tibet and is cofounder/organizer of the annual Gabriola Island Himalayan Festival fundraiser for a remote hospital in western Nepal.

Kathleen Hancock, Nanaimo Kathleen Hancock, Nanaimo

Kathleen Hancock

Lead Primary Montessori Directress


Kathleen has been a Directress with Discover Montessori since AMI training in 2007, prior to which Kathleen earned BA’s from UBC in History and Botany. Before Montessori Kathleen worked in community and outdoor recreation – a personal passion. Kathleen has two boys currently attending Discover Montessori School.

Ann Pettit, Nanaimo Ann Pettit, Nanaimo

Ann Pettit

Primary Montessori Directress–After School Program


Anne completed Teacher Training at Edinburgh University and after teaching in Scotland for four years accepted a post with The British Council teaching in Lima, Peru before returning to Scotland to teach. Travelling worldwide Anne volunteered whenever possible, settling in Nanaimo in 2002 and attending Vancouver Island University (VIU) for Early Childhood Education and Care. Since joining Discover Montessori School in 2005 Ann has earned the Montessori Teacher's Certificate in Theory and Methodology from the Montessori Centre International.

Andrea Saam-Lawry, Nanaimo Andrea Saam-Lawry, Nanaimo

Andrea Saam-Lawry

Lead Elementary Teacher


Andrea graduated from VIU (form. Malispina College) with a dual degree (B. Ed., and B.A.) in History and English and holds BC College of Teachers certification in addition to AMI Elementary Teacher certification. Born in Nanaimo, Andrea has travelled and volunteered in Europe, South America and Asia including Hsin Chu, Taiwan, where she created the curriculum for, and taught, the English as a Foreign Language program to preschoolers at the America Montessori School. Andrea’s two children attend Discover Montessori School.

Zeny Belino, Nanaimo Zeny Belino, Nanaimo

Zeny Belino

Elementary Classroom Assistant


Zeny completed the AMI Assistant's Course in addition to a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Masters in Science Education. Teaching laboratory science and biology in the Philippines, Zeny, in 2007, also worked with Moscow’s International Anglo-American School (chartered by Canadian, USA and UK embassies (pre-kindergarten–5th Grade)). Zeny has recently completed her Elementary Montessori training.

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo

Jodi Donaldson

Primary Classroom Assistant


Jodi first experienced Montessori in her teens assisting with Discover Montessori’s summer school for three years. In 2002 she graduated VIU’s Early Childhood Program (incl. infant/toddler and special needs). Pre-and post graduation Jodi worked with Nanaimo’s Child Development Centre and in 2004 joined Discover Montessori’s Primary program. Jodi completed the AMI Assistant's Course in 2002 and remains with Discover Montessori, as do both of her sons.

Gail Conway, Nanaimo Gail Conway, Nanaimo

Gail Conway

Middle School Director and Guide


Gail has completed a BA in physics, an MSc in astronomy, and a PhD (ABD) in astrophysics.  Gail also holds teaching certifications in math, science, English, and social studies, and is a graduate of the NAMTA/AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Gail was a university faculty member for 16 years before joining the Montessori team.
Julie Hughes, Nanaimo Julie Hughes, Nanaimo

Julie Hughes

Primary Classroom Assistant


A native of Plymouth, Julie has 13 years of assistant-teaching experience in English schools following completion of the Nursery Nursing Education Board training. Upon arriving in Ontario in 1993 Julie completed the ECE (equivalency) and taught at co-op schools for four years prior to moving to Vancouver Island in 2014. Julie completed AMI Teacher’s Assistance training in 2015 and currently assists Primary classes at Discover Montessori School, where her own daughter attends.

Karin Barker, Nanaimo Karin Barker, Nanaimo

Karin Barker

Office Administrator


Karin holds a Bachelor of Arts from SFU with a double Major in Anthropology and Communications in addition to a Diploma of Technology in Broadcast Communications in Television Production from BCIT. Karin was a Post-production Coordinator in film and television before relocating to Vancouver Island, where in 2008 she was instrumental in opening Oceanside Montessori School (now our Parksville campus).

Parksville Campus

Kaitlin Jackson, Parksville Kaitlin Jackson, Parksville

Kaitlin Jackson

Primary Montessori Assistant


Born in Ontario, raised in Alberta, and as of 2014, a Nanaimo local, Kaitlin studied at Mount Royal College before completing a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in English Language Arts) in 2011 at the University of Lethbridge. Between 2011–2014 Kaitlin provided tutoring and aide/respite services to children with behavioural and physical disabilities. In 2013 Kaitlin worked with Montessori within Bragg Creek School as a Teacher’s Assistant, and in 2016 will be completing her AMI Assistant’s training.

Jane Krickan, Parksville Jane Krickan, Parksville

Jane Krickan

Primary Montessori Directress


Training under Nicole Marchak, Jane received AMI certification in 1999.   She then taught in the lower mainland for 15 years before relocating with her family to Vancouver Island.  Jane has had many unique opportunities to work and study with great thinkers in Early Childhood and Cognitive Development and is passionate to understand and provide the best experience she can as a Montessori Directress.

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