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

Our Administration Team

Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo

Cynthia Dyer

School Principal, Executive Director of Discover Montessori Society, Elementary Music & Art Teacher


Cynthia holds Montessori certification for both Primary and Elementary levels, an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certification, a Bachelor of Child and Youth Care, and a Masters of Education in 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 as a teacher.  Cynthia is Discover Montessori School's Principal and Executive Director and keeps her hand in teaching as our Elementary Art and Music teacher.

Cynthia writes two Montessori blogs for parents, and facilitates Montessori parenting classes. 

Karin Barker, Nanaimo Karin Barker, Nanaimo

Karin Barker

Office Administrator


Karin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University, with a Double Major in Anthropology and Communications, and a Diploma of Technology in Broadcast Communications from BC Insitute of Technology.  She was instrumental in opening our Parksville Campus in 2008 (then called Oceanside Montessori School).  Karin serves the school community as Office Administrator and is also coordinating the Farm School Project.

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 Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, 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 working with Discover Montessori School as the French and Dance Specialist Teacher. Literally inspired by her students, Valerie completed her AMI Montessori Primary certification in 2008, and joined Discover Montessori School as a Primary Directress.  Valerie brings a global and ecological perspective to the classroom, having studied organic horticulture in England, as a member of Kabudu, a professional West African dance and drumming ensemble. She has 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. As a Montessori Directress at Discover Montessori's Parksville campus, she is passionate to understand and provide the best experience she can to her students, parents and community.

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 Educator and Care program, including the additional Infant/toddler and Special Needs training. Jodi has worked with supportive child care at the Nanaimo Child Development Centre, and has since completed her AMI Montessori Assistant's Course. As part of Discover Montessori School's Primary Program, Jodi 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 in 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 Primary Program team.

Darla Thiara, Nanaimo

Darla Thiara

Primary Classroom Assistant, Nanaimo Campus


Information to come.


Joy Belino, Nanaimo

Joy Belino

Extended Day Program, ECE, Nanaimo Campus


Information to come.


Veronica Melenic, Nanaimo

Veronica Melenic

Extended Day Program, ECE, Nanaimo Campus


Information to come.

Stephanie Ingram, Parksville

Stephanie Ingram

Primary Classroom  Assistant, Parksville Campus


Information to come.

Our Elementary Program Faculty

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

Andrea Saam-Lawry

Elementary Teacher, Nanaimo Campus


Andrea completed a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in History and English from Malaspina Univeristy-College (now Vancouver Island University). In addition to AMI Montessori Elementary Teacher certification, she holds a Professional Certification of Qualification for teaching with the BC Ministry of Education. 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. 

Zeny Belino, Nanaimo

Zeny Belino

Elementary Teacher, Nanaimo Campus


Zeny holds an AMI Elementary Montessori Diploma and a BC Independent School Teaching Certificate. She worked with Pre-K to 5th grade students as well as in the ESL department at an international school chartered by the embassies of Canada, the UK and the USA in Moscow, Russia. Zeny holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters in Science Education along with Registered Professional Teaching Certification under the Professional Regulation Commission in the Philippines. At the International School, Zeny pioneered the beginning of the Biology department and was the Coordinator and Head of Instruction in addition to teaching laboratory and natural science courses. She worked as a Middle School Classroom Adviser and Biology teacher before she was asked to join the college Department where she taught Laboratory Sciences and major Biology courses. Alongside her teaching workload, she was also an adviser to an Indigenous Student Group in the Philippines which aimed to promote and preserve indigenous arts, songs and dances.

Jodi Donaldson, Nanaimo Aviva Stein-Wotten, Nanaimo

Aviva Stein-Wotten

Elementary Resource Teacher/Elementary Admin Coordinator


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 also holds a Professional Certification of Qualification for teaching with the BC Ministry of Education. 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 and teaches Art to the Lower Elementary students. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Aviva works closely with our office manager in an administrative capacity. Aviva is also a professional photographer, and has shared her passion with both the Elementary and Middle School programs, teaching a unit on analog photography in the Middle School Program last spring. 

Rehanne Newcombe

French Specialty Teacher


Information to come

Elan Tombs, Nanaimo

Elan Tombs

Music Specialty Teacher, Nanaimo Campus


Information to come

Our Middle School Program Faculty

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 Independent School Teaching Certifications in math, science, English, and social studies, and is a graduate of the North American Montessori Teachers Association/AMI Montessori Orientataion to Adolescent Studies. 
Gail was a faculty member at Vancouver Island University for 16 years before joining the team at Discover Montessori School.  She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of our Montessori Middle School Program.
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