Mrs. April Kennedy: Upper Elementary & Middle School Teacher

Hello Everyone—

My name is April Kennedy, and I am the Upper Elementary and Middle School teacher at One World Montessori. This is my fifth year in a Montessori classroom, but I have spent most of my adult life teaching others. I graduated with a Masters Degree in English in 1996. Once I completed my degree, I taught at West Virginia University as an adjunct English instructor. Though I loved my work on a college campus, I knew I needed to find a job with benefits, so I began teaching English at a Catholic high school in WV. During the two years I was there, I completely fell in love with my students, but my family had moved to NC, and I missed them terribly (plus WV winters can be brutal). I moved to Wilmington, NC in 2004 and began teaching at a high school in Duplin County. Once again, I fell in love with my students, but more importantly, I fell in love with the biology teacher, and we were married in the summer of 2005.

After we got married, I started teaching English at a local community college. During my time there, I completed 18 graduate hours in Communication Studies, and I taught both English and Public Speaking. I also became a mother to two beautiful little girls, and I decided to take a break from full-time teaching so I could spend some important time with them. This also freed me up to take my oldest to a Montessori school. While she was there, I began learning more about the Montessori philosophy, and I was committed to giving this amazing educational experience to both of my daughters. Though we were forced to take a break from the Montessori classroom for a few years, while we were away, I became even more convinced that my children would flourish most in a Montessori environment. I also began to realize that I didn’t just want the philosophy for them—I also wanted it for myself.

In the summer of 2015 I started my Upper Elementary Montessori Training with Seacoast, an AMS and MACTE accredited training center. In 2017, I completed my training in both Upper and Lower Elementary. During my training, I saw the true genius of Maria Montessori come to life in her materials and lessons. I saw her dedication in revealing the interconnectedness of all things–from the stars, to the wind, to the birds, to us. And, most importantly, I became even more committed to upholding and respecting the dignity and individuality of each child.

In August 2019, my dream of having my very own Montessori school came true when my husband and I decided to open up One World Montessori. We both believe that children deserve everything we can give them, and we were incredibly lucky to find people who we felt could give our students the world. We also wanted to build a community for parents where everyone feels loved, respected, welcomed, and valued. We need each other because we are all in this together.

Mrs. Katie Beasley: OWM Consultant

Hello Everyone—

My name is Katie Beasley, and I was the Primary teacher at One world Montessori during the 2019-20 school year. The Montessori philosophy has shaped my life in profound ways. In 1983, I began attending a Chesapeake Montessori School in Annapolis, MD, and I completed the program there in the 5th grade. My experiences at this school shaped my learning and understanding of the world as a child, but they also inspired me as an adult to become a teacher so I could share the Montessori philosophy with others.

My early Montessori experiences instilled in me a curiosity and love of learning and they led me to the College of Charleston where I graduated with degrees in both history and corporate communications.

In 2003, I joined the faculty of Montessori Children’s School in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I spent a year as an intern under an extraordinary Montessorian Maria Rock, and between her encouragement and my love of the Montessori method, I knew I needed to be trained and certified to teach in a classroom of my own.

I was accepted to The North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education in Apex, North Carolina in 2004 and began my primary studies under the supervision of Ceres Schroer York and Kitty Bravo. This was a unique time to be involved in Montessori in the state because of the focus on public Montessori schools in Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville. I finished with Full AMS Credentials in Primary education ages 2 ½- 6 in June 2005.

I am a proud wife of a United States marine, and as most military families know, we don’t stay in one place for very long. However, we have been lucky enough to return to Jacksonville, NC a few times, and each time, I have been able to teach and contribute to the Montessori Children’s School in Jacksonville. During our periods away from Jacksonville, I spend time raising our three beautiful daughters.

In 2016, a new Montessori challenge presented itself to me, and I started my Lower Elementary training with MEPI and the Institute of Guided Studies. During this time, I was trained and guided by two master Montessorians, Mary Helen Cline and Beti Wyn Holcombe. My Lower Elementary is complete with the exception of taking my exams.

I enjoyed teaching Primary at One World Montessori during the 2019-20 school year.  It is my honor to help OWM instill the same love of learning that I was given as a child into their school.

Mrs. Lisa Norgard: Office Director

Hello, my name is Lisa Norgard. I am a mother, grandmother & have a new a position at One World Montessori. I was introduced to Montessori through my daughter and granddaughter’s experience with Montessori! My daughter is a Lower Elementary directress and my granddaughter is about to start her 1st year in a Lower Elementary classroom. I have been involved and able to share their experiences. Because of this I decided to make a career change and follow my passion; what better way to get more involved in the Montessori world. I have recently completed the training portion to become Montessori certified in the Early Childhood program (2-1/2 – 6 years) at the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute in Celebration, FL. What an amazing and eye opening experience, no wonder my daughter loves Montessori so much!

I wholeheartedly believe in the Montessori Philosophy of providing an environment that will, through a “hands on” natural process, give each child the ability to learn based on their individual needs. They are able to accomplish this by following their own interests, and creating their own experiences in an environment that cultivates an empowered, confident child with countless opportunities.

I am excited about our working being a part of a team that works together to provide an environment that fosters the most growth and experiences for our children to prepare them for becoming the leaders of tomorrow with endless possibilities.

Mrs. Angela McConnell: Primary Teacher

Hello, my name is Angela McConnell and I am thrilled to be the teacher of the Primary classroom for One World Montessori. Originally from Connecticut, I moved to North Carolina 2007 with my husband and three wonderful children.

I attended college in Springfield Massachusetts and graduated with a business degree. After taking time off to be at home with my children, I decided to follow my love of teaching and the Montessori philosophy by completing my primary credentials at North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education in Cary, North Carolina. I have been teaching Montessori Methods to students since 2013.

I am deeply passionate about my educational role in your child’s life and do not take this amazing responsibility lightly. The fruits of an excellent Montessori program are children who love learning and are fully engaged in their own self-development. This is what you will find at One World Montessori.

Ms. Ally Ballinger: Upper Elementary Assistant

Hello my name is Ally Ballinger and I am excited to be the Assistant Teacher for the Upper Elementary Classroom. I grew up in Iowa and graduated in December of 2017 from Iowa State University with a BS in Biology. Since graduating, I have traveled around the United States teaching environmental education for different programs. One of those programs is located in North Carolina and I knew after my first season there that I wanted to live in this beautiful state. I am excited to settle down in Jacksonville and work with everyone at One World.

I became interested in Montessori teaching when I worked for a Montessori-based outdoor education program. I am excited to pursue all of my interests at once and get the kids outside to learn this year!

Ms. Mae Davenport: Primary Teacher

Hello Everyone-

My Name is Ms. Mae! I am the Assistant in the Primary classroom at One World Montessori. As the child of a military family I moved early in my childhood but settled here with my family around age 6 until I graduated from high school in Beulaville, NC. I took a break and did some traveling, got married, and had a child and decided to come back home to raise her near family.

Exploring learning styles for her was my first introduction to Montessori philosophy. I wanted this method of learning for my daughter but even more I wanted it for me too!  I have experience in Primary and Upper Elementary and while I love them all, Primary is where my heart is.  It is an honor to be here at One World Montessori and to help your child discover their own love of learning!

Kelly McDonaldMrs. Kelly McDonald: Primary Teacher at The Garden

Hello everyone! My name is Kelly McDonald. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to work as the lead teacher at One World Montessori’s new location, The Garden.

I went to Buffalo State, where I studied elementary and early childhood education. I’ve worked in many early childhood and early elementary classrooms. From teaching in small preschools in upstate NY to large ones in Okinawa Japan, I’ve always held the same philosophy. Any moment can become a learning moment.

I am a very nurturing educator and I fully believe a loving and stimulating learning environment are the building blocks to a successful future. I’ll strive to provide this kind of atmosphere to my students daily.

Mrs. Karalyn Kern: Music Teacher

Karalyn came to North Carolina four years ago and has fallen in love with the people and the community. She grew up in a small Idaho town, and as a young girl was surrounded by music as her mother made it a priority in the home.

She took piano lessons starting at age six, and when she was ten started taking violin lessons and playing with the school orchestra. She continued to play violin and piano throughout high school, and went on to study music in college, was part of the university orchestra, and joined the university bluegrass band. She has worked alongside wonderful professors and students who have inspired and taught her many lessons.

Karalyn has always had a passion for education and has enjoyed being a public school teacher for the last five years. She is now thrilled to merge two of her passions together—music and education, and excited to partner with One World Montessori to bring music education to the school and community.

Mrs. Nikki Dyba: Theater Teacher

Nikki Dyba originally comes from London England and performed on stage in London and Oxford . Since coming to the states Nikki has been in approximately 21 Productions, directed 10 Productions and co wrote a stage play . Nikki is now a Director and founder of Jacksonville Performing Arts and stages shows at the USO of NC, Jacksonville Center that have raised over $11,000 for our Military Community. Nikki is beyond thrilled to be partnering up with the One World Montessori.

“To be able to be a part of something so special is such an honor and I cannot wait to be able to spark that creativity in every child. To see each child find their joy within themselves is truly a gift that the arts help nurture”