Director/Elementary 1 Teacher
Janice received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida in 1966 and has Montessori certificates for the 3-6 and 6-9 age levels. A teacher for over 30 years, Janice continued in her parents footsteps: her mother was an elementary school teacher at Anna Maria Elementary; her dad, Mr. Higgins, was the chemistry teacher at Manatee High in the 1950s and 1960s. Janice was trained by Dr. Caleb Gattegno, creator of the Words in Color approach to teaching reading. Before starting the school, she was a reading consultant to public schools in California and Ohio, and conducted workshops to train teachers in the use of Words in Color and the Cuisenaire rods. Janice and her husband, Peter, have 4 grown children, Amy, Kara, Justin, and Kristopher, and 10 grandchildren, Anna, Colin, Nathan, Quinn, Roman, Grant, Rocco, Daphne, Genevieve and Baby Kristopher.
Jayne is a graduate of New College of Florida and has been a teacher and coordinator of childrens’educational and recreational programs for more than 25 years. She has worked in a Montessori environment since 1994, and has been a teacher at the Center since 1996. She received her Montessori 6-9 credential from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland, and her 9-12 credential from the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. She is an advocate for Edible School Gardens.
Susan was born in Bermuda and has lived in Sarasota for the past 15 years. She studied Advertising Design at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and graduated in 1990. She has three beautiful children and discovered Montessori education while searching for a better school for them. She began working as a Primary Assistant in 2000 and went on to obtain her Infant/Toddler Montessori credential in 2006 from the New School Montessori Center. She worked for nine years in the Toddler environment. She is currently training for her Elementary certification at the Houston Montessori Center. Her hobbies include having adventures with her children, painting, cooking and making music.
Rachel Wallace Reid
Rachel is an alumna of the Center; she was a student here from 1976-1984. She received her B.A. in art history from the University of Central Florida in 1994 and an M.A. in art history from the University of Florida in 1997. Rachel was a museum educator for four years before returning home to the Center, where she has taught since 1998. Rachel completed her Montessori training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland. Rachel is delighted that her son, Evan, is a student at the Center.
Juana was born in Lima, Peru. She moved to Spain after high school and received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University School of Social Work in Vitoria (the University of the Basque Country). She worked as an educator with children for many years. She was also instrumental in developing community programs for at-risk families. She has been living in Bradenton with her wonderful husband and son Eddie since 1991, and has been at the Center since 2001. Juana completed her Montessori training at the Seacoast Center for Education in Celebration, Florida.
Elementary 1 Assistant
Melanie Kersey-Smith was born in Savannah, Georgia. She has lived in the Bradenton area for the past 15 years. During this time she previously worked at the Center for ten years. Her children, Elayna and Ethan, are Center alumni.
Elementary 1 Assistant
Amy Martin was born and raised in Bradenton, Florida. She graduated State College of Florida in 2012. She has worked at the Center for the past three years as an aftercare and an Elementary 1 assistant.