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Expanding windows of opportunity through personalized place-based Montessori education. 

our staff

Team Teamwork Togetherness Collaboration

We are small but growing group of professionals who are passionate about the Montessori educational approach.  We are unified by our deep commitment to equity; making sure this developmental model is accessible to all students and families, not just those who can bear the financial weight of a tuition-based program. 

All students deserve the opportunity to have the education that works best for them!

Meet our growing school staff!  Our team will continue to expand over the next few years so check our CAREERS tab frequently.

Our journey began over 4 years ago with a question and grew into surveys and focus groups, and community input sessions.


Staff photo of PCM's current Interim Head of School

Jeneille Branen

Interim Head of School

Bio coming soon!

Staff photo of PCM's current Montessori Coach

Jill Stansbury

Montessori Coach

I am an educator with over 25 years of experience in teaching and school leadership. For most of my career, I have been interested in the project of bringing Montessori to the public sector so that this dynamic style of education is available to all. As a student, school was the place I felt belonging and significance and so it was no surprise to anyone when I became a teacher. I have served as a classroom teacher, early childhood curriculum coordinator, and head of school in Montessori charter schools.  I am American Montessori Society trained for early childhood education and certified for early elementary.  In addition, I have worked as a co-teacher in a Montessori middle school program. I hold a master’s degree in educational leadership from DePaul University. I have a passion for social and emotional education and believe that healthy relationships are the foundation for both learning and wellness. I look forward to being part of a school culture that justly seeks to nurture young people to achieve their highest potential. Partner dancing and camping in our family RV (affectionately referred to as the Escape Pod) are some of the things that bring joy to my life.

Staff photo of PCM’s current Counselor & SEL Coordinator

Jared Kuhn

Counselor & SEL Coordinator

My parents are WSU Alums. Go Cougs!! Therefore, I've been a Cougar fan since I was born. That's why I love the Pullman area. I've lived in the Pacific Northwest most of my life. I played college baseball and was lucky enough to experience the ups-and-downs of sports and the life lessons it taught me. I chose to work in education because growing up I struggled in school because school didn't come easy to me. However, because of great teachers and my parents that believed in me, I was able to achieve my dream job which was becoming a School Counselor. As I was in the process of obtaining my Master's Degree in School Counseling, I worked as an Instructional Assistant for five years. Though my experience working in an educational system I was confident that I made the right choice of working in a school. I have previously counseled in traditional public schools in both Washington State and Idaho. I'm very excited to learn and be a part of the Montessori methods of teaching. My goals as the counselor are to always advocate for my students and be a safe and trusting adult that they can talk to. Also, being a team player with my fellow colleagues and an approachable person that any teacher or parent can collaborate with. Lastly, I believe that communication is the foundation for building a trusting relationship and I'll try to strive to do that everyday.

A few things I love doing are golfing, reading golf books, and spending hours upon hours working on my golf game.

Fun Facts: I was able to play in the Oregon Open and caddied for a buddy in a state qualifier for the US Open.


Staff photo of PCM's  current Office Manager

Desiree Porter

Office Manager & Operations Support Specialist

I am a ten-year Pullman resident and am happy to call this town my home. Many of you have seen me over the past seven years at the Department of Licensing conducting drive test examinations and issuing licenses and identification cards. I am currently the website designer and maintainer for both Pullman Community Montessori and The Montessori School of Pullman. I was a participant in the Community Input Sessions and actively help run Pullman Community Montessori’s social media platforms.

After learning about the Montessori Education model and watching my daughter flourish at the Montessori School of Pullman, I decided that I wanted to do everything I could, to help make Montessori a public education option for the children in my community. I love how the Montessori model empowers her to learn by helping her discover her strengths and overcome her weaknesses. She can learn at her own pace and the only thing that can stop her now, is herself. It warms my core to see her so eager to learn that she counts down the hours until her next day of school.

Now that PCM has become a reality, I am excited to be part of an educational program that will empower our PCM LEADERS and encourage a lifelong love of learning so they can accomplish greatness in all that they do.

Fun fact about me: When I am not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy drawing and making the cartoon footprints that you stand on when you take your photo at the Pullman Department of Licensing.

Staff photo of PCM's current Office Assistant

Michael Moll-Fuller

Office Assistant

Born and raised in Lake Isabella, California, quickly moving to Oregon for school, I had no idea what I was going to school for. My center offered four trades and I completed both Auto Body Repair and Collision and Office Administration. I am a trade school graduate with over 4 years of office experience. I've worked in an office plenty of times, but I've also spent a great deal working outside. The work I've done has stretched from working at a media company all the way to the Post Office. I am thankful for this opportunity and very grateful that I've been led to Montessori. When I first moved to Pullman, the only work I could get were seasonal jobs, one of the jobs being a Front Desk Receptionist for a Tax office. It was great, but I was really looking for a full-time job. I spent so much time scrolling through Indeed and other work source pages and I couldn't find anything interesting. My partner had found Montessori on Indeed and told me about it and I immediately applied. I chose education as a career path because it's worthwhile in the long run and I'm not saying all jobs aren't. I'm saying that the opportunity to work and help benefit a child's needs and wants for education is very special and exciting. 

A fun fact about me is that I love watching sports, specifically baseball and hockey. I have lots of favorite things, two of them being rhinoceros and bears. I do impressions of the following: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shaggy(Scooby Doo), and a few others but I spend a lot of time trying to sing and rap songs in the style of Schwarzenegger.

Staff photo of PCM's current School Nurse

Michelle Nick

School Nurse

I am a registered nurse of 16 years, born and raised in the LC Valley. I lived away from the LC Valley for a short time while I expanded my career travel nursing with my family. 

I have had the opportunity to explore a few paths during my nursing career journey. I had a bucket list when my career started. One to travel, two to work management, three to care for the elderly, four to work large hospitals and provide dialysis, last but not least work with children. I am proud to say I have checked my boxes the last 16 years. Working with children and young adults was never a job but always a passion. I am so excited to be joining the PCM family this year. I am excited to work beside a strong team that share my passion for young minds. A team that is compassionate and dedicated to improving the lives of children.

In my spare time, I am a river girl. My family and friend family enjoy spending all of our spare time together. We love to travel and take trips together, we love camping and boating. 

A fun fact about me: I own and operate a low carb/gluten free sandwich shop

Staff photo of PCM's current Food Services Manger

Chris Siple

Food Services Manager

I am a 40 plus year resident of Pullman, and I actually attended Kindergarten at Galdish back in the 80's, so being back in this building is awesome and extremely nostalgic.  The last 27 years I've spent working as a Culinarian in Pullman and Moscow running some of busiest kitchens in the area. Since 2011 I have been working at WSU Dining Services, the last 5 years as executive Chef of Catering.  I am most excited about this job opportunity because my daughter is a LEADER here and I love the energy, and principles of PCM. I was looking for something I could really be proud doing, that also allowed me the most time with my daughter and family and PCM is definitely that.

Staff photo of PCM's current Bus Driver

Scott Hume

Bus Driver

A native to the Palouse area, I have found being apart of this area's community to be a rewarding and exciting experience. Having been a driver for the city of Pullman for some time, I have chosen to shift my career towards being apart of Pullman Community Montessori to be able to engage with the citizens of Pullman on a more personal level. Getting to know the students of the Pullman Community Montessori and watching them progress through their studies is something I look forward to being able to part of. 

I am an avid outdoors person who enjoys trekking through the trees with my trusty chocolate lab Baxter. During the summer I am often found out on one of the many lakes and streams fishing or panning for gold. During the winter I ski- both cross country and downhill. I am looking forward to serve Pullman Community Montessori on the road and on the playground- Recess has always been my favorite subject of school and I'm looking forward to being back on the playground.


Staff photo of PCM’s current SPED Guide - Program Manager

Emily Klein

SPED Guide - Program Manager

As a child, I always loved the act of teaching. I loved helping others and seeing them succeed. I felt confident when I could teach them successfully because I struggled in school. 

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for those that learn differently. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a young girl. I want to make an impact on my students the way my teachers did on me. I believe that an education filled with enthusiasm, movement, and curiosity led by mentors that care is the pathway to success. 

I grew up in the rural town of Gardnerville, Nevada, and loved school. I graduated from Idaho State University in 2013 with a B.A. in Physical Education and received my Master’s in Special Education from the University of Idaho in 2015.

I first became interested in Montessori while I was pregnant with my now 5-year-old son. I lived in Juneau,  Alaska where I was able to witness these environments in person. It immediately resonated with me and what I believe childhood is about; freedom, play, and choice. I strive to build such an atmosphere at home. I am so excited to be a part of the PCM because of what it has to offer children from all walks of life.

I taught elementary special education in Moscow, Idaho for two years after moving back to the lower 48. We recently moved back to the Palouse from Carson City, Nevada where I was a secondary special education and adaptive PE teacher.

I look forward to mornings reading with tea, taking advantage of the bike paths everywhere again, sunsets, and spending many hours outdoors with my family and dogs in this beautiful countryside.

Health & Fitness, Special Ed, Elementary Ed

Staff photo of PCM's current Instructional Assistant/Interventionalist (SPED)

Maegan Franco

Instructional Assistant (SPED)

My husband and I recently moved from Hawaii to Pullman to be closer to our Cougs! My passion for taking care of children drove me into this profession where I have been lucky enough to have worked across all ages. I have a great passion for our youngest learners and have been proud to focus on building responsive, positive, nurturing relationships

with each child.

Teaching Early Education in Hawaii is one of my greatest accomplishments and I'm so excited to be able to be apart of Pullman Community Montessori.

Outside of the classroom I enjoy spending time with family. We love the outdoors, traveling and going to sporting events!

Staff photo of PCM’s current PCM's Adolescent Community Guide (AC)

David Schneider

Adolescent Community Guide (AC)

My wife Mary and I, both WSU alums, moved to Pullman in 2018 from the Seattle area in search of a better pace of life and to attend more Cougar sporting events.  I taught for four years at Palouse Prairie Charter School in Moscow, and loved that experience, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at start-up charter school in Washington.  I previously taught in a traditional public school in Kenmore and at a homeschool resource program in Edmonds, Washington.  I’m especially excited to learn the Montessori method of teaching in a multi-age classroom.  My goals as an educator are to cultivate learning experiences for students that emphasize critical thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration; and to help students discover their strengths and interests in order to become life-long learners and contributors to building a better world.  One of the best things Mary and I have done in our life is walk the Camino de Santiago in 2017.

M.A. Education, University of Washington Bothell
B.A. English Teaching, University of Washington
B.A. Recreation and Leisure Studies, Sport Management, Washington State University

7010 - All Subjects (K-8)

Staff photo of PCM's current Instructional Assistant/Interventionalist (AC)

Katherine Hamlin

Instructional Assistant (AC)

Bio coming soon!

Staff photo of PCM’s current Older Elementary Guide (OE)

Jordan Bovee

Older Elementary Guide (OE)

I am new to Pullman and am originally from Virginia Beach, though I also lived in the mountains of Appalachia for nearly seven years while I attended college at Virginia Tech. I graduated this past spring with a Master’s degree in Material Culture and Public Humanities, and before that with Bachelors’ degrees in Art History and International Studies, and a minor in French. While in school, I picked up two and a half years of experience teaching undergraduate art history and visual arts courses as part of a small team of graduate teaching assistants and tutored in academic and technical writing and research methods. I also have years of volunteer experience working with kids as a swim instructor and coach. I have always found helping others to learn and succeed to be very fulfilling work, so I am delighted to be joining the PCM team this year! Though I am new to the Montessori method, I value its hands-on approach and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to help create and support this dynamic learning environment!

Some fun facts about me are that I drove across the country twice to move here, and have seen 31 U.S. States altogether! I love to travel and I have a personal goal of visiting every National Park in the country - and then hopefully also the ones not in the U.S.!

Staff photo of PCM's current Instructional Assistant/Interventionalist (OE)

Shane Davis

Instructional Assistant (OE)

Bio coming soon

Staff photo of PCM's current Younger Elementary Guide

Annette Peppel

Younger Elementary Guide (YE)

I started my teaching journey right out of college, when put my Art degree to use and taught Art to all grades. It was during this time that I absolutely fell in love with teaching as a whole. I decided to pursue my k-8 credential with the goal of taking what I had learned in the art classroom - observing the world around us, listening to different perspectives, hands-on learning with materials - and applying it to all subjects in the general education classroom. I was able to spend a year in Alaska, and a year in Southern California and recently moved back to Pullman where I have been able to work in Special Education and preschool classrooms as well. I’ve always valued the learning that can happen in a classroom, and outside it as well. I've spent multiple summers in the gorgeous Coeur d’Alene national forest teaching kids how to cook with a Dutch oven, float on the Coeur d’Alene river, and navigate a natural rock wall. 

I have a deep appreciation for the Palouse as I was born and raised in Pullman, and many of my friends and family are still in the area. Though I was born a Coug, I can safely say I have earned it after having graduated WSU with my Master’s in Teaching. One of the highlights of being from Pullman is getting to spread the joy of canned cheese from Ferdinand’s with my friends in other places. 

Fun facts: I have visited most of the National Parks on the West Coast (including Alaska!) though I still have quite a few to check off the list. When I am not at school, you can find me reading, crafting, getting coffee, or trying to keep my cat Dusty from climbing too many curtains.

Staff photo of PCM's current Instructional Assistant/Interventionalist - (YE)

Theo Jones

Instructional Assistant (YE)

It is a great privilege to work with your children. I attended the University of Idaho and graduated with a B.S. Ed., a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education Teaching, with an emphasis in History Teaching. I also have a history minor with that degree. I graduated from the University of Idaho in May of 2020.

I have been inspired to join the path of becoming an educator ever since 2011, when in high school I took a 'teacher trainee' course with Gretchen Wisner. I was placed in an elementary reading intervention program. I got to experience firsthand what it feels like to be able to help someone else learn. I have found throughout my life that when I am teaching someone something, I find great peace and fulfillment in it.

In that same year, 2011, I heard President Obama's State of the Union address. He said, "...To every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child—become a teacher. Your country needs you."

When I decided to give college education a try a few years after graduating high school, I found that teaching was what interested me the most. Education is such an integral part of our society, and I really feel like I am contributing back to society by working in the field of education.

I come from a long line of educators. My grandma was an art teacher for 20 years in Indiana, and it was because of her joy of learning new things that teaching sparked my interest. I find that in teaching, no day is the same, making it one of the most intellectually rewarding and rigorous processes I have ever been a part of. Seeing students expand their knowledge and evolve their minds through education is what brings me the most joy. I look forward to seeing what knowledge we will gain as we work together as a community toward the common goal of education.

Staff photo of PCM's current Younger Elementary Guide

Natalie Hall

Younger Elementary Guide (YE)

Bio coming soon!

Staff photo of PCM's current Instructional Assistant/Interventionalist (YE)

Katie Kendrick

Instructional Assistant (YE)

As a child, my favorite activity was to arrange my stuffed animals, and give them each spelling tests, which I would diligently grade and return to them. When I was very young, I came to realize that at its best, school was not only a place to learn, but a place to feel compassion, empathy, and care. When I got a bit older, I realized that that was not the case for everyone, and began to search for other modes of education that could provide that care to a wide range of children. This became a central theme of my own education as well. In 2015, I came to WSU for college and quickly fell in love with the sense of community that Pullman has to offer. While in college, I was introduced to the Montessori method, and immediately felt a connection with the emphasis on respecting children, and for allowing them to be who they are, rather than pushing them to meet specific standards. In 2021, I joined PCM as an assistant, and have been here ever since. I love working with such dedicated people, and with such interesting and unique children. I am currently working toward my Montessori certification in order to become a guide.

Fun fact about me:  In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, printmaking, and spending time with my dog, Toby.

Staff photo of PCM’s current Stand-Alone Kindergarten Guide

Christina Brandt

Stand-Alone Kindergarten Guide

My name is Christina Brandt and I am very excited to join Pullman Community Montessori. I have a passion for teaching and developing young children. I understand the incredible impact that a good teacher can have on the life of a child. I have always wanted to be a teacher because of the positive influences my teachers had on me. PCM aligns well with my personal values and mission.

I attended Iowa State University where I studied education and theatre. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts. I went on to attend the University of Idaho where I received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing, specializing in Children’s Theatre.  After graduating I taught drama as well as kindergarten at a private school in Seattle. It was there that I was first introduced to a teaching philosophy based on Montessori principles. I was immediately drawn to this method of teaching and learning. When I found out that I would be moving back to the Palouse for my husbands’ job, I knew that I wanted to teach in a school that emphasized the educational values that were so close to my heart. After moving to Pullman, I had the privilege of working as a lead teacher at a private Montessori school.  I am thrilled to continue my journey by joining PCM as the lead teacher for a kindergarten community! My goal has always been to foster life-long learners that are excited to come to school day after day.

When I am not in the classroom I enjoy drinking coffee, hiking, running, and snuggling my 10-month-old baby girl!  I cannot wait to get started with PCM and meet our PCM students!

Staff photo of PCM’s current Stand-Alone Kindergarten Guide

Becky Byers

Instructional Assistant (K)

It is with great pleasure I will be working with kindergarten students at PCM as an Instructional assistant. I have been an educator for 40 years. In my early years I taught kindergarten for seven years then stepped down from the position so I could be more involved with our young children’s lives. I then became the Director of Daytime Cooperative, along with developing and teaching the preschool program for six years. My plan was to return to full-time teaching but we had another little blessing we weren’t expecting (our fourth child), so I became a substitute teacher for the next 18 years.

I love kindergarten and I believe it’s one of the most important classes for many reasons. Laying a good foundation for kindergarten students to love math and reading, etc. through FUN games and activities while nourishing each student to feel smart as they discover new concepts is very rewarding for them and me. I get very excited as I see a huge smile on their faces because they just discovered a new concept on their own and feel great about themselves.

Fun Facts: I am a local and was raised on a farm in Colton/Uniontown area. I am one of the youngest of twelve kids. My husband and I have four children and four grandchildren. We have attended many sports games since all four children played college sports. Now, in my spare time, my husband and I go four-wheeling, visit the grand kids and I spend my time thinking of and creating educational games to make learning fun for the students.

Staff photo of PCM’s current Physical Education Guide

Dominick Luby

Physical Education Guide

When I was in school I really did not know what I wanted to do until my freshman year of being at the University of Idaho. It finally hit me after doing an observation in an elementary school in Moscow. I decided I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to have the impact on the future generations of students like my teachers had on me. My teachers, growing up, were able to make a great environment and a great learning experience for me to decide I want to be in the same footsteps.

I am originally from Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho. I have lived there my entire life besides living in Moscow for school. I played football at the University of Idaho and was part of many outdoor clubs and activities. I have a goal to hike and climb the tallest peaks in every state. I have so far  completed two with it being Idaho and Florida. I am an adamant about rock climbing, football, and fishing. I am a big Rams fan for football! Horns Up! I am also a big Oregon Ducks fan even though I am in Coug territory. I came back to the Palouse because it feels like a second home.

I am looking forward to this new experience working at a Montessori school this being my first year. I have worked at a couple other schools, but I am looking forward to a new way of teaching and seeing a new school.

Our Roots

Founders note

While we all support and deeply value our community and the Pullman School District (PSD), we believe additional options for high quality public education in Pullman are necessary to meet the needs of our growing and increasingly diverse community. With that said, we are committed to continue to grow and strengthen our relationship with PSD and share data and opportunities available to us that may benefit all children in our community.

our beginnings

Initially known as The Pullman Charter School Initiative, (PCSI), the founders were a small group of diverse, passionate community members who had experienced, in one way or another, the powerful whole-child educational approach of Montessori. This experience drove the group to investigate what educational needs were specific to our community and how to make expanded options accessible to all families, not just limited to those in the position to pay tuition. 

PCSI Image.jpg
focus Group.jpg

The group dove into state report card data and engaged a community focus groups to gather preliminary data. Data emphasized the need for a whole-child focused 

developmental model, like Montessori that would help: 

  • close persistent achievement gaps for at risk demographics,

  • increase supports for students who struggle,

  • increase rigor for those students considered to be advanced,

  • offer more opportunities for project-based and service learning,

  • offer more student voice and choice, and

  • provide intense focus on social-emotional learning and life skills development throughout a students education. 

The group found that application for charter as the most equitable option for accessibility.  This led the team to engage in 2 rounds of application to the Washington State Charter Schools Association School Leadership and Design Fellowship program. The Fellowship provided financial support and guidance for selected teams in designing a high-quality community responsive school.

After a rigorous vetting process, PCSI was accepted into the 2018-19 fellowship program.  Laylah Bewick, a fellow founder, local business owner, and Pullman High School science teacher, was identified for the Fellow role.  Ms. Sullivan led the writing of the 795 page charter application (a detailed legal operating contract for the school) and led the team in the 9-month application process. 

PCM Founding Board 2019.jpg

Application & Approval

Following submission of PCM's application in February 2020, the PCM founding team engaged in:

  • an intensive Capacity Interview with a council assembled by the Commission, which involved a performance task and 3 hours of intense questioning.

  • a Commission-hosted Public Forum to offer another opportunity for community input and for commission staff and Commissioners to ask questions.

  • a final question session by Commissioners at the resolution meeting on June 25, 2020.


On June 25, 2020 Commissioners gave their full support and unanimous approval for the opening Pullman Community Montessori. The schools charters was negotiated and formally accepted on Septembers 8, 2020.

PCM is now in its planning year which consists of numerous deadlines and deliverables including securing a facility, finetuning the design, hiring and training staff, growing the board and committees, and overall logistics. 


The formal application writing process took place between July 2019 to February 2020.  During the application writing process the Fellow and founding board received monthly professional development and application writing support.  Community forums were run in the fall to solicit community input on the design, informing the services we provide, the school councils we will maintain, our mission, and our core values.  A number of survey opportunities were provided, for example at the 2019 Lentil Festival, for interested community members to engage in selection of the school name, logo.  Prompted by a request from our founding board, a Washington State Charters School Commission staff member hosted a Charter Starter - Community Conversation to inform our community about Washington's unique charter sector.  The application underwent multiple internal reviews by our team and Washington State Charter Schools Association staff, was reviewed by key partners, a national review agency and a contracted application specialist, and underwent 2 rounds of copy editor review before submission.

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