LEADERSHIP

"Shaping minds and hearts is a gift." - Lisa Gerard

Founders

Lisa Gerard

Lisa Gerard

Owner, Director of School Operations

I am not sure which I find more rewarding: my time as an Army officer leading, developing and ensuring the safety of my soldiers; or the time I’ve spent doing the same for my awesome Montessori students! Regardless, making a difference in young people’s lives is a privilege. Shaping their minds and hearts is a gift. To be trusted with the task of teaching them and helping them grow as individuals is humbling. I was born at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and moved to Wisconsin shortly thereafter. In 1998, I received my Bachelors Degree in International Relations and Global Affairs with minor degrees in Spanish and Sociology. I graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and received my US Army commission from the University of South Florida where I was cross-enrolled in Army ROTC. I began my professional career as an Army Airborne Signal Officer stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. I spent six years leading paratroopers, and planning and executing operations for the 35th Signal Brigade. This time serving my country gave me the opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills and develop strategic and tactical planning skills. Most importantly, the Army imprinted on my heart a sense of personal accountability and as a result, I place integrity above all. After fulfilling my military obligation I became a financial advisor, serving primarily military families. A couple years later, my husband’s job required us to move to Charlotte, NC. I decided to stay in the sales industry but opted to try my hand at surgical sales where I advised surgeons on instrument use and product specifications during trauma surgeries. Through my sales roles I gained invaluable insight into the customer experience and gained a deep understanding of client’s’ needs – as customers and as people.

 


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I knew that serving others was what I wanted to do, but I missed operations and leading others so in 2006, I accepted a job with Iron Mountain, a document storage, digital protection and shredding company. My responsibilities at Iron Mountain ranged from managing a fleet of trucks and drivers to writing standard operating procedures and policies to performance improvement efforts for North American operations. My last role at Iron Mountain was Continuous Improvement Manager where I traveled from market to market leading route optimization projects, training managers and drivers and significantly contributing to the company’s gross profit margin improvement. In 2010, I left the workforce to have children and in 2011 we moved to Fort Mill. When my daughter was three, I decided she needed more structure within the four walls of our home. So I became Montessori-certified by the North American Montessori Center at the encouragement of my mother-in-law (also Montessori-certified) and fell in love with the philosophy. Soon after, two mothers asked me if I would consider teaching their daughters out of my home, along with my daughter. Interest grew and Village Montessori was born! I have had the privilege of serving fifteen families over the past two years and I feel so blessed to be expanding and to provide even more children with a Montessori education – the best education for preschoolers!
Kristine Veltri

Kristine Veltri

Owner, Director of Curriculum

My teaching career has always been geared towards the teaching of young children. I have a strong passion to educate young minds and help them blossom into well rounded, responsible and successful individuals. I have a love for the teaching of reading and writing and believe that a child’s success in language arts sets the stage for comprehending and enjoying academic subjects as they progress through grade levels.I am originally from Long Island, New York. I received my Bachelors Degree from Marist College, Poughkeepsie NY. There I became certified to teach Elementary Education Pre-K-6 and Special Education K-12. I later received my Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Reading and Writing from Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. My teaching career began in 1997 in Garden City, New York. I taught kindergarten and first grade in a primary school building. My classroom was set up to provide young children with a Balanced Literacy approach to learning. This approach included the Reading and Writing Workshop along with Literacy Centers from the Fountas & Pinnell framework. I was trained in the Lucy Calkins Writing Program at the Teachers College in New York City. I’ve had wonderful opportunities to teach diverse groups of students, including those with learning disabilities and those who were gifted/exceptional.

 


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 During my 14-year career in Garden City, I took a child-care leave to have my children. During that time, I worked part-time as a Special Education Therapist with young children birth-five years old with developmental and cognitive delays. I worked in homes and preschools helping children, teachers, and school districts to best meet the child’s needs. In 2011, I moved to Fort Mill, South Carolina with my husband and four children. I am proud to live in such an amazing, family-oriented community. I am currently teaching first grade in the Rock Hill School District. I am excited to begin this new endeavor, bringing to our community its first preschool and private kindergarten that embraces and implements the Balanced Literacy approach!

Staff

Kim Cook

Kim Cook

Office Manager

Years working with children
8 years

Education
Masters of Business/Accounting

Certifications/Credentials
Pediatric First Aid/CPR Certified

Church home
River Hills Community Church

Personal Motto
Don’t worry, be happy. Just smile!

Why Village Montessori?
My daughter had a great experience at the school, and I love the values and work ethic of the directors.

What do you enjoy most about working here?
I love seeing the kids’ faces every day, and watching them learn and grow.