ECMS Staff


Amelia Sherwood, Dean of Students

Amelia has a B.S. from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.  Amelia has been with ECMS since the school opened in 2014. Prior to joining the team at ECMS, Amelia was a co-teacher for two years at the Montessori School on Edgewood in New Haven.



Annie Armugum, Primary Assistant

Annie is a certified Montessori Assistant Teacher. She came to ECMS after several years at The Montessori School in Wilton, CT, where she was an assistant teacher in a primary classroom. Annie also has experience as a multi-age childcare provider and a mental health counselor for both adolescents and adults.


Anthony Wiley, Primary Intern

Anthony is studying Liberal Arts at Gateway Community College and has worked at ECMS since December 2015. A working musician, Anthony also teaches music and is a band assistant at James Hillhouse High School. He has been an intern with the Yale Music in Schools Initiative since 2014.

Ben Smith, Primary Intern

Bio coming soon!


Che Dawson, Director of Operations and Family Partnership

Che grew up in New Haven and has extensive experience leading local nonprofits and city government and working, coaching and volunteering in public schools. Che served on the New Haven Board of Education from 2013-2017. He has held leadership positions at Amistad Elementary School, Elm City College Prep, the City of New Haven and Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership (LEAP). Che has a BA in physics, an MA in Public Administration and his CT teaching certification.


ElizaHalseyEliza Halsey, Executive Director

Eliza has a BA from Yale University and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.  She was born and raised in New Haven and attended New Haven public schools.  In 2011, she co-founded New Haven Parents, a parent group working to ensure all children in New Haven have access to excellent public schools and high-quality preschools.  This work led her and a group of parents to work together to create Elm City Montessori School. She has previous education and non-profit leadership experience as the New Haven Director for All Our Kin and the Director of Quality Assurance and Evaluation for Public Allies, a national leadership development organization whose Connecticut chapter she helped found.  Eliza began her work in youth/leadership development in 2000 at a small NGO in Nepal working with street children in Kathmandu.

EmmaEmma Moreno, Primary Assistant

Emma holds an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Penn Foster College, a B.A. in Child and Family Development from the American Public University, and is a certified Montessori teacher through the United Montessori Association. Throughout her entire career, she has focused on children’s well-being through instructional strategies, including cooperative and individual learning, direct instruction, discovery learning, problem solving, invention, memorization, and recall. Through these strategies, she has supported children’s cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth. Learning about the Montessori Method has made Emma a better teacher and given her even more tools and skills to help children’s development.

Erin Burgett, Primary Guide

Bio coming soon!

FrancoiseFrancoise Leger, Primary Guide

Francoise comes to Elm City Montessori School from Hartford, CT.  She attended University of Connecticut and University of Hartford and has a BA in Sociology and MEd in Elementary Education. Francoise received her AMI Primary training at the Montessori Training Center of New England and also holds her Provisional CT teaching Certification in both Elementary K-6 and Montessori Primary. Francoise holds Montessori in a special place in her heart, because her own children attended AMI Montessori schools. Francoise is a dedicated and committed individual whose passion is teaching children and instilling a lifelong love for learning.


Heidi Crosby, Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon!



Jasmin Kurtz, Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon!

JenniferJennifer Richards, Primary Guide

Jennifer has her AMI certification from the Ohio Montessori Training Institute and holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.S. in Geology from Texas A&M. Prior to joining the team at ECMS, Jennifer worked as a Montessori Primary Directress and English Teacher in Osaka, Japan. She has extensive Montessori teaching experience, having taught in Montessori schools in Florida and Ohio, and she has worked as a hydrogeologist in Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Julia Webb, Principal

Julia Webb has a BA from Dartmouth College and an EdM in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College Columbia University. She attributes her passion for teaching and learning to her own experiences as a child in a Montessori School and later as a student in New Haven Public Schools. Julia has spent the last 15 years as a teacher and leader in public schools in New York City and New Haven. In this work, Julia has developed systems for coaching teachers and for student social emotional growth and mastery of skill and content. Julia is committed to creating meaningful and challenging learning environments for adults and children to grow.

KyoungsookKyoungsook Song, Primary Assistant

Kyoungsook Song holds an LLB from Seoul National University in South Korea and AMI Assistants certification from the Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE). She is currently taking the AMI Primary Guide Training course through MTCNE. Kyoungsook has been with ECMS since the school opened in 2014. She has also worked as a Sunday School teacher for 1-5-year-old children at the New Haven Korean Church and as a Korean language teacher at the New Haven Korean School for 8 years.

Melissa Cardoso, Primary Assistant

Melissa earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education at Gateway Community College. Before joining the team at ECMS, she was a head teacher in a LULAC Head Start preschool classroom in New Haven for nine years. Melissa has been dedicated to working with young children throughout her entire career. She is a native Spanish-speaker.

MichelleMichelle Arias, Primary Assistant

Michelle Arias has a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Northeastern University and has her AMI Assistants Certification from the Montessori Training Center Northeast. She has a diverse and interesting background. During college she taught English in China through her school’s international co-op program. She also spent time in South Africa, studying micro-finance and working directly with urban entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses. She loves the arts and education and is excited to work directly with the students of New Haven.

Michelle Brenes, Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon!

NakishaNakisha Cadore, Student Support Team

Nakisha Cadore holds a B.A. in Elementary Education with a concentration in English from Johnson C. Smith University. She has worked as a student teacher intern in New Haven and in Charlotte, NC, where she also taught literacy through Freedom School Partners. Nakisha also brings to ECMS a wealth of experience in youth mentoring and political canvassing.



Neslin Iyilikci, Primary Guide

Neslin has B.A. in Psychology from Istanbul Bilgi University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from T.C. Dogus University in Istanbul and is certified in Early Childhood Education through the Maryland Center for Montessori Studies in Baltimore. Before joining the team at ECMS, Neslin worked as a co-teacher and intern at Bridges Montessori in Towson, MD. Neslin also brings to ECMS her extensive background and experience in developmental psychology.

NevaCampbellNeva Caldwell, Extended Day Team

Neva trained as part of the first class of Elm City Montessori’s AMI Primary Assistants before joining the ECMS team in 2014. She has worked with children as a Teacher’s Aide at Ridge Hill School in Hamden and through extensive volunteer work throughout the New Haven community including the Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven Healthy Start and the PACK Program.  She also worked with the New Haven Board of Education for more than 13 years and with Special Education programs.

Patrick Whitney, Primary Assistant

Patrick holds a B.S. in Anthropology from Southern Connecticut State University and is currently training for his EMT License. Before joining the ECMS team as a tutor, he worked as a substitute teacher throughout the NHPS district. Patrick also has experience as a baker, a teaching assistant, and an archaeological researcher both in Connecticut and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ramya Subramanian, Elementary Guide

Ramya is excited to bring her practice of the Montessori method to the public sector, after having taught at an independent Montessori school in Milford since 2009. Her passion for the method stems from having watched her daughter thrive in a Montessori school, and her own continued love of learning.  She holds a BA, MA, and M.Phil  in English Literature and Linguistics from Madras University, and an MLS from Rutgers University.  Her Montessori credentials include AMS Certification in Primary and Elementary education.  She is currently working on her CT State Certification in Elementary Education. When she is not at school or making materials, she is out hiking in the woods with her dog, Tulsi.

SharonSharon Harrison, Elementary Assistant

Sharon has dedicated her career to creating and nurturing a lifelong love of learning in children. An enthusiastic and dynamic teacher, Sharon is AMS Certified and holds certificates in Early Childhood Education and Child Psychology. Before joining the team at ECMS, Sharon was a Head Teacher at both the New England School of Montessori in Milford and the Hudson County Montessori School in New Rochelle, NY. She has also taught in Kingston, Jamaica.

SusanSusan Clark, Elementary Guide

Susan Clark is an AMI trained Elementary guide with 18 years of classroom experience. She has worked as a consultant at several area Montessori schools and is a Course Assistant for the Montessori Training Center Northeast. Susan is currently working towards her Masters of Education with a Montessori Concentration at the University of Hartford. Helping to grow the Elementary program at Elm City Montessori right now feels just right.

TroyCaldwellTroy Caldwell, Extended Day Team

Troy is currently working on his Associate’s degree at Gateway Community College.  He joined the ECMS team in 2014. Troy previously worked as a lunch and recess teacher at Ridge Hill School and as a volunteer with the New Haven Best Buddy program.