We appreciate all you have done for [our granddaughter]. She has had a great experience at KMS. KMS Grandparent, 2011

Our Staff

The KMS teaching staff includes some of the best and most experienced Montessori educators in East Tennessee.

All of our teachers have a minimum of a B.A. and a Montessori certification from training centers accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education.

Our three Senior Teachers – Elizabeth Coburn, Valérie Kuentz, and Paige Fowler – have over 60 years of combined Montessori teaching experience.

All of our teachers and staff care deeply about our students, and they have the training and experience to help children reach their full potential.

Montessori Educators

Photo of Elizabeth Coburn

Elizabeth Coburn

Elementary Senior Teacher

  • B.S., Mathematics; UT, Knoxville
  • Elementary Montessori Teacher Certification, ages 6 – 11, Montessori Educators International, Knoxville, TN
  • Named an “Exceptional Educator” by the Knoxville News Sentinel, January 31, 2012. To read the article, click here.
  • KMS Tenure – Since 1995

A photo of Paige Fowler

Paige Fowler

Primary II Senior Teacher

  • B.S., Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Tennessee
  • Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Certification, Montessori Educators International, Knoxville, TN
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2002

photo of Ms. Nuria

Nuria Hernández

Spanish Instructor

  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management Technology from Roane State Community College
  • Extensive experience as a translator for Denso and Spanish instructor for Oak Ridge High School
  • KMS Tenure – Since 1998

Photo of Ellen Kellogg

Ellen Kellogg

Elementary Teacher

  • B.A., Psychology, Maryville College, Maryville, TN
  • Montessori Primary Teacher Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, Angier, NC
  • Montessori Elementary Teacher Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, Angier, NC
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2008

Valérie Kuentz

Primary I Senior Teacher and Primary Curriculum Coordinator

  • B.A., Psychology and Education, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
  • M.Ed., Preschool-Grade 3, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
  • AMI Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Certification, Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland, OH
  • Montessori Teaching Experience (partial): New Horizon Montessori School (Knoxville), Jefferson Montessori School (Jefferson City, TN), Garden Montessori School (Knoxville), Nature’s Way Montessori School (Knoxville), The Bilingual Montessori School of Val de Marne (Paris, France), and Marotta Montessori Schools (Cleveland, OH)
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2013

Photo of Nigel Lay

Nigel Lay

Elementary Assistant

  • M.A., Psychology, University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2014

Amanda Morgan

Primary II Assistant

  • B.A., English, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2014

Photo of Ms. Georgi

Georgiana Schmitt

Music/Movement/Dance Teacher

  • BS, Music Education with specialization in Orff Music and Dalcroze Eurythemics, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
  • Certified Music Teacher with experience teaching PreK-8th Grade in Tennessee South Carolina, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania
  • Montessori Primary course work
  • KMS Tenure – Since 1997

Courtney Wansley

Primary II Teacher

  • Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Certification (in process); Center for Guided Montessori Studies, Tampa, FL.
  • B.A., Alternative Education; New College of California; San Francisco, CA
  • M.A., Non-Profit Management, U.T.; Knoxville, TN
  • KMS Tenure – since 2012

Operations Staff

Photo of Charlie Biggs

Charlie Biggs


  • M.Phil., English; Columbia University; New York, NY
  • M.A., English; Columbia University; New York, NY
  • B.A., History & American Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  • 25 years’ experience in nonprofit management, communications, and fundraising with KMS, the Highlander Research and Education Center, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and the Youth Project, among others
  • 17 years’ experience teaching English and American Studies at the City College of New York and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2009

Photo of Annie Brown

Annie Brown

Administrative Assistant

  • B.A., Writing/Communications, Maryville College, Maryville, TN
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2015

Photo of Gillian Denham

Gillian Denham

Operations Coordinator

  • B.A., Parks and Recreation Management, Program Leadership, Minor: Elementary Education; Western Carolina University; Cullowhee, NC
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2010

Abigail Polos

School Nurse / Student Health Policy Consultant

  • BSN, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
  • ADN, Roane State Community College, Knoxville, TN
  • B.S., Anthropology/Human Growth and Development, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
  • Professional Nursing and Health Care Education Experience (partial): University of Tennessee Medical Center, Labor and Delivery; Knox County School Systems; Transcultural Nursing Program, Quito, Ecuador/Napo Province
  • KMS Tenure – Since 2016

[Staff e-mail log-in]

KMS has been a fantastic school for our daughter and a wonderful community for our family. KMS Parent, 2010