OurSchool_Quintych_2019

Our Teachers

Lindy McGrail Younis – Head of School

fullsizeoutput_1c40Lindy McGrail Younis attended a Montessori school as a young child and has never forgotten the joy that was present as she built the pink tower, explored the various continent maps, and made connections among all the materials and other children in her Montessori classroom. This visceral memory of her earliest learning experience is what drives her each day to help guide young children in their self-formation through a meticulously and thoughtfully prepared environment at Dandelion Montessori.

Previous to her work with Dandelion and the Wildflower Network, Lindy worked in a variety of educational settings. As an undergraduate student at Fairfield University, Lindy researched the implementation of Montessori preschools in post-Soviet educational systems to help aid the development of global citizens and critical thinkers. This led to a Fulbright Scholarship in Martin, Slovakia as a guest lecturer at a public secondary school. Lindy’s love of Montessori philosophy and lifelong learning grew when she returned to the U.S. and worked at Walnut Park Montessori School in Newton, MA. She received her primary Montessori certification through the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2012 under the direction of Bonnie LaMothe.

Lindy helped found and open Dandelion Montessori in September 2015 and is continually inspired by the passion of those she works with to use Montessori education as a catalyst for local and global change. Her personal mission is that every person who walks in or out the doors at Dandelion is able to witness and embrace the amazing faculties of children who have an incredible amount to contribute to the world.

Devanshi Desai – Co-Head of School

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Devanshi has her M.Ed in Montessori education. She has worked in several early childhood environments that were Montessori or Reggio classrooms for 5 years before finding Wildflower and Dandelion. She started at Dandelion Montessori as a fellow of the Global Majority and after-care teacher in 2017, and has been on their Board since.

Devanshi believes strongly in Wildflower and its evolutionary path which centers around equity and access for children and educators.  She is deeply committed to critically examine the materials and practices in the classroom from an equity lens. She is excited to explore an intentional outdoor curriculum as well as engage in early education research.

Devanshi is grounded by her immediate and extended family, some of the Indian cultures and traditions, nature, and belief that education is a tool for lifetime and can pass to generations to come.

Katie Giraldi – Teacher Leader

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Katie Giraldi immigrated to America from Taiwan at the age of eight. She grew up in northern New Jersey with four siblings and is fluent in Mandarin. Katie earned her degree in Photography and in Display and Exhibit from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and her degree in Art Education from Kean University in New Jersey. She has worked with children in various educational settings for over twenty years. In New Jersey, she worked as a Curriculum Developer for Newark Museum, and as an After School Teacher at an outreach program in Newark. In Boston, she worked at Kingsley Montessori School for over eight years as a Preschool Art and Mandarin teacher. After expanding her family, she resumed her teaching career at Cambridge Montessori School, where she worked with toddlers. Katie lives in Cambridge with her husband and three sons.

Jenny Gomatos – Teacher Leader

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Jenny Gomatos is a recent graduate from Merrimack College where she studied Child, Family, and Community Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She started to work in the education field in 2015. At a young age, Jenny always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is very passionate, creative, and patient. She recently discovered her strong interest in the Montessori teaching approach. Jenny believes that children learn best through hands-on learning activities and exploration. Jenny loves to go on nature hikes, paint, and learn to play the guitar during her free time.

Brianna Lavelle – Teacher Leader

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Brianna Lavelle recently graduated from Clark University with a B.A. in History. She has been working with children in various settings for the past five years and particularly enjoys teaching in non-traditional learning environments. She attended Lexington Montessori as a child and is excited to be back in a Montessori classroom. In her free time, Brianna enjoys coaching a middle school soccer team and creating pottery at a studio in Somerville.

Micki Sausen – Emeritus Teacher Leader

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Micki has enjoyed a 45 year journey in the world of Montessori education. It took her through a diverse world of both private and public schools throughout the US — the last five years of it spent growing Dandelion Montessori in partnership with Lindy McGrail Younis and with the support of Devanshi Desai. Throughout her work she found continual proof that Montessori works for children of all cultural, socioeconomic and developmental backgrounds. While retired from the classroom, Micki will continue to be active in Montessori education through consulting at Dandelion and other Montessori schools throughout the Wildflower Network and beyond, as well as spending many lovely hours with her husband and ever-growing number of grandchildren.

Family Involvement at Dandelion

At Dandelion Montessori, family involvement in the classroom, in family education and community events, and in committee work support a learning environment that moves fluidly between school, home and community.

Families will be invited to attend at least one in-class observation session (9:30am-11:30am) over the course of the school year. These sessions provide an opportunity for parents or family members to witness the Montessori environment in action, act as a guest of their child, and practice the art of Montessori observation.

Family education meetings with the teachers provide the opportunity for families to deepen their understanding of Montessori philosophy and how it informs their child’s experience at school and at home.

Each Dandelion family is also asked to participate in the life of the school to the extent that they are able. We recognize that families bring their own unique skill sets to our community, and we want to encourage them to either participate in a standing committee (technology, marketing & outreach, physical space, community building, board of directors) or share a talent, occupation or family tradition with the children during the school day. There is a rich tradition of this type of family participation at Dandelion and it is highly valued!

Community Program

Dandelion families are invited to participate in optional parent-led activities and discussions throughout the year to support open communication, to nurture and celebrate our shared passion for this school, and to strengthen our sense of community. Past events have included potlucks, after-school and weekend park meet-ups, community education evenings, and group visits to the Museum of Science. Dandelion families are also invited to participate in an optional community online discussion platform, giving families the opportunity to be a resource for each other and to support each other as our children develop and grow throughout the year.

Our goal is to provide opportunities for children and parents from different families to interact and bond with each other, and transforming our community into a big, extended family where we all care for each other. We also hope to create opportunities for families to support the Dandelion teachers and the school space itself, encouraging a community sense of ownership and stewardship of the school.

This program includes both formally scheduled events and spontaneous activities, guided organically by the interests and input of Dandelion families. New ideas are always welcome!