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Our Faculty

Although early childhood education workers with college degrees earn only one-third of the average income of other workers possessing a college degree, our faculty members are dedicated professionals who are highly qualified. We work at MPI because of our heart-felt passion for young children, and because of our shared vision in what a top-quality program should look like. We are idealists who would always want to improve our practices; our most valued rewards come from the awareness that we have contributed positively to the child's life to the best of our capacity. All faculty members at MPI have college education and above. Chinese teachers in our faculty are native speakers of Chinese. It takes a community to raise a child. We are excited about working and growing with children and families at MPI!

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Meet The Team

Ms. River

  • Montana’s Highest Professional Level (Level 10) Early Childhood Practitioner 

  • Ph.D., College of Health and Human Development, the Pennsylvania State University 

  • International Montessori Teaching Diplomas: Preschool/Kindergarten; Lower Elementary

  • Extensive Graduate-level Courses in the field of Early Childhood Education, Play, Human Development and Family Studies 

  • Montana Preschool Teaching Certificate 

  • B. Ed. & M.S. from a teachers’ university in China 

  • Happily married to a wilderness scientist; a lucky mother of two daughters 

  • A life-long learner who enjoys reading, playing piano, gardening, singing, dancing, ice skating, and spending time with horses

Ms. Mary Anne

  • International Montessori Teaching Diploma: Preschool/Kindergarten

  • Montana Preschool Teaching Certificate  

  • Studied Collagraph printmaking, sculpture and film photography, piano and music theory at University of Montana 

  • Has shown works in The Castle Gallery (Billlings), University of Montana UC Gallery, and the Downtown Dance Collective 

  • Working as a professional photographer for many years before joining MPI in 2015 

  • Resides in Missoula with husband and daughter

  • Taught daughter how to play the saxophone

  • Enjoys spending time with family and encouraging daughter's various artistic explorations

Ms. Melody

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from Oregon State University 

  • Full time graduate student at the University of Montana (elementary education) 

  • Years of experience with preschool aged students 

  • Five months living in Macao, China teaching English at an international school

  • A river guide on the Salmon River in Idaho for five years

Ms. Nico

  • Montana Preschool Teaching Certificate 

  • B. Ed., Elementary Education from a university in China 

  • Teaching experience at an international English school in China for 4 years before moving to Missoula with her husband in 2019

  • Working experience in state-licensed preschools for more than 2 years

  • Enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, making crafts, playing Gu Zheng (Chinese Zither), and spending time with their newly adopted puppy

Ms. Alice

  • Montana Preschool Teaching Certificate

  • M.A., Slavic Languages & Literatures, University of Wisconsin - Madison 

  • B.A, Russian, Oberlin College 

  • Grew up in Portland, Oregon 

  • Was an exchange student in Germany after high school and an English assistant in a German high school after graduating from college 

  • Spent summers in college teaching eight- to eighteen-year-olds Russian & German at Concordia Language Villages 

  • Worked in Portland helping refugee children and their families from the former Soviet Union transition to school in the US in the early '90s 

  • Lived in Russia with her husband in the mid-90s, where they taught English to 5th-13thgraders

  • Believes in life-long learning and feels lucky to be involved both at Montessori Plus International and at UM, where she is an adjunct instructor of Russian

  • Enjoys interacting with young children and the wonder, curiosity and openness with which they approach the world

Ms. Joyce - Our Beloved Substitute Teacher

  • M.A. in Communications, University of Montana

  • 25 years of experience as an Early Childhood Developmental Specialist

  • Expertise in early childhood development, parent training, curriculum development and intervention strategies for infants and children

  • Provided training to parents, therapy technicians, teachers’ assistants, and community agencies, including an 2-week early childhood training modules to orphanage care givers from all over China

  • Co-founded and coordinated a nationally certified and recognized non-profit therapeutic riding program serving individuals with disabilities, elderly, youth-at-risk and families in crisis

  • Resides in Missoula with her doting husband of more than 50 years who still cooks for her and serves her wine at the end of the day

  • A beloved wife, sister, mother, aunt, and grandmother who is a highly valued source of love and support for all family members

  • A lifelong learner!