Ms. Monica Shy, Director

Ms. Monica Shy

Ms. Shy grew up in Jacksonville, Florida where she worked in the logistics/transportation field for over 13 years, and she also received her venipuncture certificate in 2011. Ms. Shy was very active in her 4 kids’ activities. Her children ages range from 20 years old to 2 years old. In Jacksonville she was very active at a recreation park where she coached cheer-leading for 6 years, softball for 8 years and T-ball for 1 year. She was also the treasurer of the Recreation Park for 6 years and a very active Board member for 8 years.

In 2014 she moved to Marietta GA with the family where she as was Chief Operating Officer for a transportation company and was the VP of players for her older son’s semi-pro football team “The West Georgia Falcons”.

Ms. Shy took an interest in child education due to her 3 and 2-year-old and decided to obtain her CDA and learn more about The Montessori Method. She loves kids of all ages and wants to help kids learn as much as possible in these early stages of their lives.

She enjoys shopping with her daughter, chasing her kids around the house and supporting her older son that is in the Army Reserves.

Administrative Assistant: Ms. Maria Vazquez

Details forthcoming


Ms. Rebecca Cleveland Nichols
Elementary: Ms. Rebecca Cleveland Nichols

Ms. Nichols was born in Atlanta, GA and grew up in rural south Fulton County, with two sisters and a brother as well as cows, pigs, chickens, several cats and a dog. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, after which she worked as a Legal Assistant for a number of years. During that time she married and had two children, Taylor & Ellie, and came in contact with Montessori when her daughter started attending the Duluth Montessori School. The more she knew, the more she became passionate about Montessori education, and she attended the training to teach at the Primary Level (3-6 years of age). Later she had the amazing opportunity to move to Bergamo, Italy and receive the Elementary training developed by Mario Montessori (Dr. Maria Montessori’s son). Upon her return from Italy, she taught at The Duluth Montessori School, and later she had the opportunity to start and develop the Elementary Program at Garden of Discovery Montessori School in Grayson, GA, where she taught for 9 years. She joined Montessori Scholars Academy in the 2012-2013 academic year and she is currently the Guide of a delightful group of Elementary-aged students.

When asked about her work at MSA, she says:

“One of the best things about teaching here would have to be how much support I have received from the staff and the parents.  It is wonderful to be in a place where parents and staff work together to accomplish the goals and fulfill the needs of the teacher, children and classroom.”

When she is not telling great stories, or helping children tend to the vegetable and flower garden, or building a volcano, or observing her students sort out who irons and who vacuums on any specific morning, Ms. Nichols enjoys reading, crocheting and cooking.

Primary I: Ms. Joni (Johnny) Linch

Ms. Joni (Johnny) Linch
Lead Teacher, Primary 1 Community

Mrs. Joni (Johnny) Linch and her husband relocated to Georgia from South Carolina 7 years ago, where Mrs. Linch was the Director of the Clemson Montessori School.  She has over 30 years of experience as a 3-6 Montessori teacher and director in Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina, and Georgia.  She has a Bachelors degree in Art Education and love bringing this passion to the children.  She also have an AMI Montessori 3-6 diploma.  She’s mother to two grown children who attended Montessori preschool.  Her son lives in Atlanta her daughter in Cincinnati, Ohio where they are working.  Mrs. Linch looks forward to getting acquainted with new families and returning families at MSA..  Lastly, Mrs. Linch  enjoy music and has trained Montessori teachers in music for the 3-6 classrooms.  “I am thrilled to start the school year at Montessori Scholars Academy“.

Ms. Carol-Ann McKinley
Ms. Carol-Ann McKinley Lead Teacher, Primary 2 Community

Ms. Carol-Ann McKinley
Lead Teacher, Primary 2 Community

Ms. Carol-Ann began her teaching career as a New Zealand mainstream Primary (US Elementary) teacher and then specialized in Education of the Deaf. She moved to the United States not long after, teaching in Houston, Tx, Honolulu, Hi, and Tucson, Az. When her daughter Tori was born she realized that education had a far greater role than she’d earlier perceived and began her Montessori journey, studying for her AMI Diploma (3-6) in 1993, in Phoenix, AZ, and then completing a Master’s Degree in Education with Loyola College in 1995.

Her passion for Montessori has been fueled by the children and families she has worked with in the USA, New Zealand, The Bahamas, Dubai, Cayman Islands, and currently back in New Zealand.

Carol-Ann says, “ I truly believe that Montessori is a way of raising children; a way of being as a family- it is not just what we do here from 8 am until 4 pm. Dr Montessori believed that only through children will we achieve a peaceful world.”

Ms. Carol-Ann is excited to be returning to the United States to be with her own family, and to have the opportunity to join the Montessori Scholars Academy community for this new school year!

Ms. Gladys Castaneda Assistant, Primary I Community

Still needed

Ms. Lorena Galindo Assistant, Primary II Community

Ms. Lorena Galindo
Assistant, Primary II Community

Ms. Lorena Galindo was born in the beautiful city of Guadalajara, Mexico. From a young age, and ever since she can remember, she loved teaching, working with, and caring for children. This passion helped shape her decision to study Early Childhood Education, and so she attended and graduated with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from UDEM. Afterwards, Ms. Lorena held teaching positions in private Early Childhood Educational Centers. She furthered her education by taking specialized courses, and obtained a Diploma in Psycho-motor Activity from the “Instituto Highland de Toluca” in Toluca Mexico. Today, Ms. Lorena brings 18 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge in the areas of Psycho-motor Activity, Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education.

Her husband’s career brought the Galindo family to the Atlanta area in 2011. They have has two sons, Alejandro who is 17 and Mauricio who is 14. She joined MSA in 2013, and loves her life in Alpharetta!

When asked what she likes most about working at MSA she says, “I love being at Montessori Scholars Academy. It has been an enriching experience to work in a private school in the United States, which has allowed me to contrast and compare with my prior experiences in Mexico. I want to always work with children because their innocence and their desire to learn, day after day, is something that energizes and motivates me.”

Montessori vs. Traditional education

What is Montessori Method??

Ms. Mayber Paez Gallardo Lead Teacher, Infant Community

Ms. Mayber Paez Gallardo
Lead Teacher, Infant Community

Mayber Paez Gallardo was born and raised in Cuba. She attended University of Pinar del Rio, where she graduated with a Degree in Medicine in 2006. Her thesis was “Infant Psycho-motor Development in the Age Ranges from Zero to One Year Old”, a topic that later would mark her preference of work with the infant and early years population. Although her medical degree is that of General Practitioner, her professional work exposed Dr. Gallardo to other programs in the pediatric field, which quickly became an area of interest for her.

 Upon graduation, Dr. Paez Gallardo initially worked in Cuba and later was offered a three-year position in Venezuela. During her residence in that country, an opportunity arose to transfer with her husband to the United States. The couple relocated to the Alpharetta area 2 years go ago. Mayber desired to continue to work with children, while she undergoes the process of obtaining of her credentials to practice in the United States. This desire brought her to Montessori Scholars Academy.

When asked about her passions, she answers: “I have two: To save human lives and to work for the kids. These areas have been the two most rewarding experiences of my life.”  

MSA is very honored to count Dr. Paez Gallardo as part of its staff.

Since joining our school, she has had the opportunity to work with MSA children as an Infant Teacher, and given her background, Dr. Paez Gallardo also acts as a resource and is able to support the school with first-aid emergencies and school hygiene/well-being practices

MSA is very honored to count Dr. Paez Gallardo as part of its staff.

Ms. Affy Ghasemi-Dehkordi, Assistant, Infant Community

Ms. Afshan (Affy) Ghasemi Dehkordi was born in Shahrekord, Iran and received her primary and secondary education in Isfahan. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Counseling at Isfahan University, and her Masters in Psychology and Counseling from Shiraz University in 2007.

Affy worked for ten years counseling kindergarten, high school, and university students, and this is where she found her passion for helping others. “I enjoy connecting with my students, and find joy in helping them to realize their full potential.” Additional courses in Play Therapy, Confidence Building, and Anxiety Control make her uniquely qualified to work with students with specific needs.

Regarding her work at MSA, Afshan states that she “loves her students”. She enjoys the positive atmosphere of the school, and the creative environment that allows students to thrive.

In her free time Affy enjoys cooking, painting, working out, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Infant Child Care

The aim of our infant program is to foster the development of basic trust and assist in the normal development of the personality. Basic trust develops in an environment where people respond appropriately to the infant’s communication of needs to be loved, respected, and accepted. Infants learn through their senses.They learn by watching and moving freely.