Discover Montessori teachers are passionate professtionals with Association Montessori International (AMI) certification.


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

Diana Chalmers

Executive Director, Discover Montessori Society


Diana received AMI Elementary training in Bergamo, Italy in 1994–95, and completed her Masters in Education in Child Studies from Simon Fraser University in 1999. Involved with Nanaimo Montessori School since 1981, Diana has held many positions at the school: as a parent, secretary, dance, instructor, computer instructor, and Montessori Elementary teacher. In 2003 Diana became Principal of Discover Montessori School until 2018. She is a past Director of the Montessori Society of Canada. Diana’s four children were raised through Discover Montessori School's Primary and Elementary programs, and she is currently the Executive Director of Discover Montessori Society.  Diana is spearheading the development of a purpose-built Montessori Farm School in Nanaimo.

Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo

Cynthia Dyer

School Principal, Elementary Music, Elementary Art Teacher


Cynthia holds Montessori certification for both Primary and Elementary levels, an ECE Certification, a Bachelor of Child and Youth Care, and a Masters of Educational Leadership. Cynthia is a past co-chair of the Vancouver Island Montessori Association and has been involved for many years with Montessori, first as a parent, then a teacher (including Elementary Art and Music) and currently as Discover Montessori School's Principal.  Cynthia writes two Montessori blogs for parents, and facilitates Montessori parenting classes. She is delighted to oversee the growth of Discover Montessori School in Nanaimo and Parksville.

Karin Barker, Nanaimo Karen Barker, Nanaimo

Karen Barker

Office Administrator


Karen holds a BA from SFU, with a Double Major in Anthropology and Communications, and a Diploma of Technology in Broadcast Communications from BCIT. Karin was instrumental in  opening our Parksville Campus (then called Oceanside Montessori School) and has been involved in Montessori Education since 2008.

Our Primary Program Faculty

Kathleen Hancock, Nanaimo Kathleen Hancock, Nanaimo

Kathleen Hancock

Primary Montessori Directress, Nanaimo Campus


Kathleen has been a Directress with Discover Montessori since receiving her AMI Montessori training in 2007. She also holds a BA from UBC, in History and Botany, and has worked in community and outdoor recreation in the past. Kathleen is passionate about sharing Montessori education, and her love for the outdoors, with our students and families.

Valerie Mermet, Nanaimo Valerie Mermet, Nanaimo

Valerie Mermet

Primary Montessori Directress, Nanaimo Campus


Valerie moved to Canada from the south of France in 2000. In 2003, she began wotking with Discover Montessori School as the French and Dance Specialist Teacher. Literally inspired by her students, Valerie completed her AMI Montessori Primary cetification in 2008, and joined Discover Montessori School as a Primary Directress.  Valerie brings a global and ecological perscpective to the classroom, having studied Organic horticulture in England, as a member of Kabudu, a professional West African dance and drumming ensemble, and having also lead expeditions and volunteer trips to Nepal. 

Jane Krickan, Parksville Jane Krickan, Parksville

Jane Krickan

Primary Montessori Directress, Parksville Campus


Training under Nicole Marchak, Jane received AMI Montessori certification in 1999.   She subsequently 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 at Discover Montessori School's Parksville Campus.

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo

Jodi Donaldson

Primary Classroom Assistant, Nanaimo Campus


Jodi first experienced Montessori while assisting with Discover Montessori School’s summer program. Jodi has completed the Early Childhood Eductator and Care program, including the additional Infant/toddler and Special Needs training. Jodi has worked with supportive child care at the CDC, and has since completed her AMI Montessori Assistant's Course. Jodi joined Discover Montessori School's Primary Program, and absolutely loves working with the students. 

Kaitlin Jackson, Parksville Kaitlin Jackson, Parksville

Kaitlin Jackson

Primary Classroom Assistant, Parksville Campus


Kaitlin studied at Mount Royal College before completing a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in English Language Arts) at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Kaitlin provided tutoring and aide/respite services to children with behavioural and physical disabilities from 2011-2015, and worked at Bragg Creek School as a Teacher’s Assistant. In 2016 she completed her AMI Montessori Assistant’s training and is a valuable member of our Parksville Campus Primay Program team.

Ann Pettit, Nanaimo Ann Pettit, Nanaimo

Ann Pettit

Primary Montessori Directress–Extended Day Program, Nanaimo Campus


Anne completed her Teacher Training at Edinburgh University.  After teaching in Scotland for four years, she accepted a post with The British Council, teaching in Lima, Peru. Travelling worldwide, Ann volunteered whenever possible, settling in Nanaimo in 2002.  She attended Vancouver Island University (VIU) and completed the Early Childhood Education program. Since joining Discover Montessori School in 2005, Ann has earned the Montessori Teacher's Certificate in Theory and Methodology from the Montessori Centre International, and delights in the children every day.

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Veronica Melenic, Nanaimo

Veronica Melenic

Extended Day Program, Nanaimo Campus


Information to come

Our Elementary Program Faculty

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

Andrea Saam-Lawry

Elementary Teacher


Andrea competed a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in History and English,  She holds BC College of Teachers certification, in addition to AMI Montessori Elementary Teacher certification. 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. 

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Michael Geselbracht, Nanaimo

Michael Geselbracht

Elementary Teacher


Information to come

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Aviva Stein-Wotten, Nanaimo

Aviva Stein-Wotten

Elementary Resource Teacher


Aviva holds a Bachelor of Arts with minors in Languages & Culture, and Liberal Studies as well as a Bachelor of Education, from Vancouver Island University. She grew up in Nanaimo, and has travelled in Europe, the United States and eastern Canada. Aviva is the Reading Specialist in the Elementary program, along with teaching French and Art to the Lower Elementary students. Aviva is an avid photographer, and is excited to begin teaching photography in the Elementary and Middle School programs. 

Our Middle School Program Facilty

Gail Conway, Nanaimo Gail Conway, Nanaimo

Gail Conway

Middle School Guide


Gail has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Masters in Science in Astronomy, and a PhD (ABD) in Astrophysics.  She also holds teaching certifications in math, science, english, and social studies, and is a graduate of the NAMTA / AMI Montessori  Orientataion to Adolescent Studies.  Gail was a university faculty member at VIU for 16 years before joining the team at Discover Montessori School, heading up the development and implememntation of our Montessori Middle School Program.
Julie Hughes, Nanaimo Liz Kreutziger, Nanaimo

Liz Kreutiger

Middle School Guide


Liz has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Masters in Education. She has earned AMI Montessori certifications in Primary and Elementary levels, and a graduate of the NAMTA / AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Liz has been working in the field of Montessori education for 9 years, before joining the DMS team in 2017, and brings her love of the Outdoors and the Arts to the program.

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