Teresa Chocano is the current Director for the Orcas Montessori School. IN 1991, soon after moving to Orcas Island, she served as assistant in the Montessori school classroom for two years before attending Antioch University to earn her Washington State Teaching Credential and Masters in Education. She has endorsements as K-8, Early Childhood and K-12 music teacher. Both of her children attended Montessori preschools, her daughter here on Orcas.
Over the past 20 years, Teresa has participated and watched the school’s progress from its early days to the present. As director of the Montessori School since winter of 1998, she has fund-raised and overseen building improvement and expansion projects. Teresa has watched the school’s population grow in size and parent enthusiasm for the program lead to the establishment of a Montessori classroom in the public school for grades 1-3.
Before returning to the Montessori School, Teresa taught and performed music, wove tapestries, and was a substitute teacher for grades K-12. She especially enjoys the rewards of interacting on a daily basis with our children and their families and observing the benefits of the Montessori environment on the lives of our families.
Tom Rubottom has been involved with the Montessori community since 1994, when he began as a teacher’s aide at the Northwest Montessori School, Seattle’s oldest A.M.I. Montessori classroom. He received his professional Montessori diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia in 2000, and has been living and working as the head guide of the Orcas Montessori School ever since. Tom’s education also includes a B.A. in psychology from Bowdoin College.
“While I came to Montessori largely by chance, I have been both inspired and humbled by the experience of seeing Dr. Montessori’s methods ring true with such an incredible diversity of children, and I feel exceptionally lucky to have been able to play a role in bringing her work to an island that offers such energy and support to our program.”
When not in the classroom, Tom fills his day by taking in the beauty of Orcas, playing his bass and his banjo, and enjoying life with his partner Madeline and their son Finnian.
Maddie Olson is thrilled to join the Orcas Montessori community as the Assistant Teacher starting September 2018. She worked at Arcadia Montessori as an Assistant Teacher for their 2018 summer program, and is looking forward to gaining more experience in this individualized and intentional approach to education.
Originally from Evergreen, Colorado, Maddie graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in Humanities for Leadership and Public Affairs in 2017. She served diverse communities in King County and in Chikuni, Zambia at various social service internships throughout her education.
Maddie spent the year after graduation working at YMCA Camp Orkila as a Kayak Guide for the Teen Expedition summer program and as an Outdoor Education Instructor during the school year, just up the road from the Montessori. Camp Orkila introduced her to the island community and re-ignited her passion for working outside with young kids.
Living on Orcas Island is something that Maddie dreamt of as a child. Now that she’s here, she is humbled by the warmth of the community and is looking forward to what will unfold inside and outside of the classroom.
I am so grateful to return to the Orcas Montessori School this year following my previous work from 2107-2019 as Administrative Assistant and Cook. I spent this past year (2019-2020) off-island completing my AMI Certification (Montessori Diploma) and Master’s in Education. at Loyola University. This goal was fueled by my curiosity, drive to understand and glean all I could about this amazing approach to educating children. Through learning, observing, reflecting and practicing the Montessori methods, I found an approach that mirrors the child’s natural development and strives to create an environment that allows for the maximum whole person growth for the child.
I previously was also in education (high school age) and administration for years back east in addition to non-profit work. I have a certification as an Integrative Health Coach, have worked with at-risk youth and their families on island and continue to be of service where and when possible.
My husband and I were thrilled to move to Orcas Island in June of 2017, from Charlotte, NC. My folks had a second home here for 13 years, which is what drew me into this special place years ago. We purchased a home that we adore, close to much hiking, running and water sports which we enjoy. When I have some down-time I enjoy pulling out my artistic experiences and quietly creating. We love being a part of a small community that is steeped in loyalty, care and a passion for the environment and its people.