Our Team

BOARD

Linda Z

Linda Zankowsky Ed.D
Linda has worked to improve the educational opportunities for children in Delaware for over 30 years first as a teacher and principal in several Delaware public schools and currently as the Director of the University of Delaware Montessori Teacher Residency. Linda is the former head of school of Wilmington Montessori School where she spent 12 years learning about Montessori education both in her role as a school leader and as a parent of two Montessori children. She is certified in Montessori school leadership by the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York, a member of the American Montessori Society, the Montessori Teachers Association of Delaware. In addition to Montessori education, her professional focus is around the teaching of reading and writing in child-centered classrooms. Linda is the founding chair of the Board for Sussex Montessori School, a Montessori Works project located in Seaford Delaware. She is an advocate for ideal learning environments for all Delaware children birth to age 12.

Christine

Christine Carrino Gorowara, Ph.D., Co-Vice Chair
Christine is currently Dean of the School of Education at Trinity Washington University in the District of Columbia.  Previously, Christine was the senior associate director at the Delaware Center for Teacher Education at the University of Delaware, vice president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and a faculty member at UD’s School of Education.  She was also a school board member and a national education organization leader.  Her children attended Elementary Workshop Montessori School.

Trish Hermance, Co-Vice Chair
Trish Hermance is the Director of the Delaware Teachers Institute, a professional learning partnership that pairs the University of Delaware and five New Castle County school districts. Trish is also a founding board member and Co-Vice Chair of the Sussex Montessori School Board in Seaford, Delaware. Previously, she was an elementary school teacher, charter school Head of School and the Kent County director for a national dropout prevention nonprofit.

Jessica CB

Jessica Crampton Bradley
A native Delawarean with a Masters in Elementary Education, Jessica was born in Lewes, grew up in Centreville, and has resided in western Sussex County for over 20 years, where she raised her two sons. Now living in Seaford, her southern Delaware roots run deep as her mother and father were, respectively, from Roxana and Dagsboro and many members of her family are still scattered throughout the county. Currently she works as a full time realtor for Jack Lingo, but maintains a strong community focus, particularly regarding children in Sussex.

Mark Conces

Mark Conces
Mark is a long-standing board member with three adult children whose success he attributes to their Montessori education. He first became involved in promoting the Montessori curriculum while his children were at Wilmington Montessori School where he served on the board. His passion for promoting Montessori and ensuring it is available to more children is what keeps him involved today. Mark has been in a number of senior analytics and finance roles within the banking industry and currently works for Wells Fargo.

Sean Steward

Sean Steward
Sean is a licensed Realtor with Home Team Realty and co-owner of lnfiniti Transportation LLC in Bridgeville. He serves as a board member of the Sussex County Association of Realtors and is past director of Delaware Association of Realtors. Sean is also a graduate of Leadership Delaware and was born and raised in Seaford, Delaware. Sean has been a committed board member for Sussex Montessori School serving as Finance Chair.

Taryn Fletcher, Ed.D
Dr. Taryn Fletcher is a school and business strategist, bestselling author, and master life and leadership coach. Her mission is to help change-makers pivot and evolve to their next chapter so that they have a greater and more equitable impact on the world. Taryn has reached millions of readers and viewers through national publications and media—like The 74, Smart Brief, and The Hechinger Report—where she’s helped audiences solve complex problems by candidly sharing her own failures and successes. Today, she strategizes for schools and businesses in the metaverse! As a former New Jersey superintendent, founding charter school principal, and regional workforce development executive director, Taryn has been designing programs that value historically excluded communities and their lived experiences for the last two decades. While earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation, Taryn’s dissertation research and strategy influenced the complete revamp of an entire course offering within the university. As a little girl, she was known throughout her neighborhood for starting clubs so that everyone could feel like they had a place to belong. Not much has changed! Besides helping create community and consciousness everywhere she goes, she can be found curled up in the corner of her couch with a good book right before the sun rises.

Jennifer Cooper, Ed.D
Jennifer Cooper currently serves as a K-5 Principal at Chester Community Charter School. In July of 2023, she will transition into the Principal at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Jennifer began her educational career managing Career and Technical Education programs in the School District of Philadelphia. Jennifer continued her career working with at-risk youth, by serving as a teen parent counselor for Communities In Schools of Philadelphia and later providing treatment services for children and families at Abraxas Youth and Family Services. After making a career change, Jennifer returned to education as a Math, English and Special Education Teacher. Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree at Chestnut College, graduate degree from Saint Joseph’s University, teaching certification at the University of Pennsylvania and her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. Jennifer has an undeniable passion for educating and inspiring. She will continue impacting the lives of scholars, educators, and families. She is a firm believer that it truly takes a village to raise a child.

Carissa Swiss
Carissa, an assistant professor at Chestnut Hill College, is the Director and Discipline Chair for the Montessori Teacher Education Program at the College. She serves as a MACTE accreditor for Montessori Teacher Training Programs. A Montessori credentialed leader, Carissa brings a rich background as a Montessori leader and teacher to our work. Her local and national connections across the Montessori community, understanding of policy and regulations, and passion for quality Montessori programs bring strengths to the MW board.


Audrey Gordon
Audrey Gordon Powell is a dedicated educator and school leader currently serving as the Elementary 1 Program Coordinator with the University of Delaware’s Montessori Teacher Residency.  She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA where she recently served as Principal of a local Montessori charter school. Audrey has experience teaching in private, public, charter schools in both traditional and Montessori learning models. Since completing her AMS Elementary 1 certification, Audrey has been dedicated to increasing high-quality Montessori access to all learners nationwide.


ADVISORY BOARD

Dawn Alexander, is the Preschool Expansion Coordinator in Colonial School District. Dawn was recently recognized at the Governor’s Birth to 8 Summit for her work in helping move forward Delaware’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan.

Dawn Alexandar

Madeleine Bayard, is the Senior Vice President at the Rodel Foundation of Delaware where she manages investment partnerships and provides policy, program and research support to statewide efforts in K-12, higher education, and early childhood programs.

Madeleine Bayard

Alonna Berry
Alonna is the manager of teacher leadership development for Teach for America Delaware. A former fifth-grade math teacher and ninth-grade English teacher, Alonna also served in the Delaware Department of Education as aide to the Chief Academic Officer and Associate Secretary of Education.

Alonna Berry

Gina Castelli, is an educator and researcher specializing in Responsive Classrooms. She has her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University and works as an adjunct professor for the University of Delaware and a trainer in Trauma Informed Care. She trains teachers nationally in the Responsive Classroom approach and focuses on how to balance social and academic demands. She has created and delivered teacher professional development in topics such as Common Core, co-teaching, and Quality classroom culture strategies.

Gina Castelli

Drew Fennell,  is the chief officer of strategic communication and development for Christina Care.  Drew served as Chief of Staff for former Governor Jack Markell.  Before becoming Gov. Markell’s chief of staff she served as policy director and deputy chief of staff.  Drew’s children attending the Elementary Workshop Montessori School where she experienced how a Montessori education positively impacts the lives of all children.

Drew Fennell

E. McCrae Harrison
McCrae has a long history in the Montessori world in Delaware and nationally. Currently enjoying retirement, McCrae began her Montessori carreer at the Elementary workshop where she was the director and a teacher. McCrae transitioned to head up the Montessori Academy at Christina, Delaware’s first public Montessori program, as the program director and teacher. McCrae is a member and former board member of the American Montessori Society, the Montessori Teachers Association of Delaware, Sussex Montessori School and the advisory board of First State Montessori Academy.

Carol Holzman, is the Executive Director for Cadbury Senior Lifestyles retirement community in Lewes. Prior to moving to Delaware she worked at Washington Montessori School  in Washington, CT, where her son attended through 7th grade and daughter through 4th grade.  Although her children are now in their 20’s, Carol has an undying passion for Montessori education.

Carol Holzman

Rita Landgraf, joined the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences in early 2017 as professor of practice and distinguished health and social services administrator in residence. She also serves as director of the UD Partnership for Healthy Communities (PHC), a cross-college, cross-state initiative. Prior to joining the faculty at UD, she served as Cabinet Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services from Jan. 22, 2009 through Feb. 6 2017, under Governor Jack Markell’s administration. As secretary, she led the principal agency charged with keeping Delawareans healthy, ensuring they get the health care they need, and providing children families, individuals with disabilities and seniors with the essential services they depend on. She managed one of the largest departments in Delaware’s government, with an annual budget of more than $2 billion. She is a former executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Delaware and of The Arc of Delaware, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is also a former president of AARP Delaware. Rita currently serves as a member of the DGA Healthcare Advisory Council and is on the Board of Delaware Center for Health Innovation, the Executive Advisory Boards of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Delaware and atTAcK addiction. Rita also serves as the First Lady of Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland.

Rita Landgraf

Yvonne Nass, is a Delaware Certified Parent Educator and Certified Adlerian Family Counselor who is currently a self-employed family counselor. She has worked in the non-profit sector for twenty-five years. She was a founding board member of First State Montessori Academy and is currently the Board Chair.

Yvonne Nass

Jesse Reeves
Jesse, principal of Sales Solutions and IMPACT Search, has a son currently attending First State Montessori Academy, Delaware’s first public Montessori school. Jesse’s daughter also attended the Elementary Workshop Montessori School, and both his son and daughter attended the Montessori Learning Centre.

Jesse Reeves

Beth Ritchie – eritchie@dtcc.edu
Beth is the Department Chair, Education at Delaware Technical Community College prior to this role she was the Program Manager for the Child Development Center at the College. She serves on many state committees related to early childhood policy and advocacy in Delaware. Beth brings her knowledge of program operations and policy to Montessori Works.

Lori Smith, a teacher in the Caesar Rodney School District, is certified by both the State of Delaware and the American Montessori Institute.

Lori Smith

J Brett Taylor, Ed.D.
Specialist in organizational development, finance, strategic planning, and governmental relations.

J Brett Taylor