Faculty & Staff

Administration and Office

Director of Education
Heather Edmond is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a degree in Elementary Education and Environmental Studies, with Summa Cum Laude distinction. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Portland. Mrs. Edmond is both a Montessori and Pennsylvania Instructional II certified teacher. She brings ten years of experience teaching in a Montessori primary classroom, as well as direct experience in curriculum development, school-wide science initiatives, and committee work and leadership in hiring and enrollment. Mrs. Edmond grew up in Carroll County, MD and has lived in Gettysburg, PA since 2005. In addition to her passion for Montessori, she cherishes experiences in nature with her husband and young daughters, including hiking, vegetable gardening, kayaking, swimming, and fishing.

Director of Operations and Advancement

Dr. Stefanie Basalik is a graduate of Bridgewater College with a dual degree in History and Political Science. She has a master’s degree in History from James Madison University and a doctorate degree in American Studies with specializations in Interdisciplinary History and Public Heritage and Museum Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Basalik has taught at the college level for various institutions for twelve years and was previously the Executive Director of Heritage Frederick and the Washington County Historical Society. Most of her professional career has been dedicated to assisting non-profit organizations fundraise, increase exposure, manage assets, and further community engagement. Dr. Basalik serves on the Board of the Meritus Medical Foundation and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. In the spirit of "service above self," Dr. Basalik is also the Past President of the Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary Club. She lives in Greencastle with her husband, Shaun, and children, Miles and Lily.

Administrative Assistant / Receptionist

Lisa de Salis joined Montessori Academy after many years of previous experience in the clerical field.  She enjoys greeting parents and students at the front desk with a friendly smile and is happy to be as helpful as possible to make each visit to Montessori Academy a pleasant one.  Lisa has two grown sons and two grandchildren.  In her spare time, Lisa enjoys music in many forms, crafting and most of all, spending time with her family.

Toddler Community

Toddler A Teacher

Jody Mell is the assistant teacher in Toddler A. She previously worked for 17 years as a teacher of two-year-olds in a local child care facility. Jody is the mother of three grown children. She loves animals, going to the beach on family vacations and playing volleyball.

Toddler A Assistant Teacher

Leah Wolfinger

Toddler B Teacher

Madison Platter is the lead Toddler B teacher. She graduated from Northampton Community College with an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing a BA/BS in Early Childhood Education at Keystone College. She has previously served as the Lead Teacher in a Young Toddler classroom at another preschool. Mrs. Platter got married in May 2021 and lives with her husband, Devon, and their dog, Baxter, in McConnellsburg, PA. On the weekends, she loves to spend time with her family, bake, read, and watch the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mrs. Platter is very excited be a part the Academy and to make an impact with her students.

Toddler B Assistant Teacher

Ingrid Lee

Children's House

Children's House A Teacher

Sarah Durden holds a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education with a Pennsylvania Instructional I Teaching certification for birth to 3rd grade and also holds a Masters in Special Education. Sarah is a mom of 7 kids and enjoys coaching soccer with her husband Bobby. She is an art instructor and enjoys sharing a passion for art and creativity. Her hobbies are photography, drawing, reading, writing and being outside.

Children's House A  Assistant Teacher

Dessirae Monroe Children's House B Co-Teacher
Cathy Davidson joined the Montessori family of Chambersburg in 2002. Before she came to the Academy, she worked in childcare for seventeen years in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. She attended school in West Virginia. Currently she resides in the town of Shippensburg with her husband, Tim, and two sons, Russ and Ethan. She has a house rabbit and a very large puppy. Her family is very active in area sports.

Children's House B Co-Teacher

Katelyn Schindler has been teaching preschool age children for five years. She holds a Pennsylvania Instructional I Teaching certificate for pre-kindergarten - fourth grade. She also holds an Associate’s degree in Education from Hagerstown Community College. Katelyn has an elementary age son at home. Over the summer she leads the Preschool Discovery Camp at the Waynesboro Area YMCA. When she is not working, Katelyn enjoys spending time sewing, knitting, crocheting and using her cricut machine in her craft room.

Children's House C Teacher

Kim Kulla has many years experience teaching at the Children’s House level. She completed her Montessori Training at Montgomery Montessori Institute in Rockville, MD. Ms. Kulla hopes that her classroom is a prepared environment that will allow each child to enhance their natural love of learning. Ms. Kulla lives in Waynesboro with her husband, two of her four children, and five dogs. She has two granddaughters and two grandsons.

Children's House C Assistant Teacher

Karen Thrush is an assistant in the Children House Program and she previously worked in the elementary program for twenty-one years. She is the mother of four grown children and a grandmother. She and her husband live in the Greencastle area and she loves to garden, read and help students enjoy the love of learning. Mrs. Thrush attended Wilson College in The Education Program and The Center of Montessori School in North Carolina in 6-9  program. Her own children lead her to Montessori Academy for which she is grateful for the experience to follow the child starting at a young age.

Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary Teacher

Alison Gilbert is a graduate of Kutztown University with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She taught at Magic Years Kindergarten and Pre-School before moving to South Carolina to teach in the Columbia School District. She joined Montessori Academy of Chambersburg in May 2006. Mrs. Gilbert went to Barrie Institute for advanced Montessori studies for lower elementary training. She lives with her husband and daughter, Penelope. Lower Elementary Co-Teacher
Kendall Hamilton is a graduate of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, with her Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She is currently pursuing her pre-kindergarten – fourth grade teaching certification through Wilson College, and is very excited to be working in the classroom with students at Montessori Academy. Kendall previously worked as an Assistant pre-kindergarten teacher in New York and is passionate about helping students learn and grow as individuals. Ms. Hamilton is originally from Tennessee and is new to the Chambersburg area. Outside of school she enjoys being outdoors, quilting, and visiting friends and family. Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher Bethany Massara has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University.  After being at home with her children she has spent the last 10 years as a substitute teacher with extensive time spent at Luhrs University Elementary School on Shippensburg University. She and her husband live in Shippensburg, have 3 children, and enjoy visiting National Parks, kayaking, hiking and spending time with family.

Upper Elementary

Upper Elementary Teacher

Alicia Runkle is the lead teacher in the Upper Elementary community. She has been a part of the Montessori Academy team since 2012. Mrs. Runkle is a graduate of Shippensburg University, with a teaching certification in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and a minor in Reading. She also holds a Montessori teaching certification in Upper Elementary through the Center for Montessori Teacher Education New York. In her free time, she enjoys singing, attending Hershey Bear hockey games, and spending time with her husband, son, and family. 

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher

Stephanie Whitlock graduated from High Point High School in Beltsville, MD. She provided daycare in her home for 10 years. She helped design a cooperative pre-school with her church and participated in it for six years. She has spent many hours as a volunteer in her children’s classrooms. She has three adult children: her sons Sean and Nicholas, and her daughter, Sofia and has two grandchildren. Mrs. Whitlock joined Montessori Academy of Chambersburg in August 2006. In addition to her role as the assistant teacher for Upper Elementary, Mrs. Whitlock serves as our librarian. Mrs. Whitlock and her husband Jerry live in Fayetteville. In her free time, Mrs. Whitlock enjoys antiquing and papercrafting.

Middle School

Middle School Teacher

Kim Walter is a graduate of Messiah College where she received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and minor in Human Development and Family Science. She also holds Certificates in PA Elementary k-6/Mid-level Mathematics, 7-9/PA Private School Nursery-Kindergarten. Mrs. Walter started co-teaching 5th-8th grade at Montessori in 2004. Then she spent a year in Greencastle-Antrim School District and 9 years in the banking industry before returning to Montessori in 2017. Kim was interested in a school that would challenge children by developing their strengths, encouraging their weaknesses, while also valuing development of the whole child. Kim resides in Chambersburg with her husband Tyson and two children, Seth and Ethan, who are former students of school. Outside of school Mrs. Walter enjoys singing, spending time with family, working with children, youth and music departments at church.

Middle School Assistant Teacher

Kristin Byers is currently an Assistant Teacher in the Middle School class and the instructor of middle school science and history. Kristin is a Shippensburg University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in geography. She and her husband, Sam, live on a rural homestead outside of Newburg, PA, where they garden and raise a variety of animals. They have four grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren. Outside of school, Kristin is the violinist for Blythe Spirits, a harp and string ensemble that performs for special events in the surrounding area.

Music Teacher

Heather Cermak is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. After graduating in 2004, Heather worked as a music teacher at a private school in Chambersburg for 14 years. In 2019, she made the decision to leave her full time music teacher position to be a stay at home mom to her children, Cameron, Kipton, and Delaney. The part time music position at Montessori Academy is a perfect fit for her so she can still be at home with her kids, while also spending time in the classroom teaching music. Heather is extremely excited to share her passion for music with the students at Montessori Academy.

Art Teacher

Sara Spitzer, currently the executive director of the council for the arts in Chambersburg is a mixed media artist specializing in digital photography. Her work has appeared in journals such as TRANSverseMeat for Tea, and Azahares. The recipient of numerous awards for her teaching over a nearly thirty year career, Sara holds a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on arts and play therapies and has taught in a wide range of settings and programs. In addition to teaching, Sara has organized community arts projects and was Creative Director for a community arts center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She and her family live in Chambersburg.

Fitness Instructor

Theresa Ingram-Kuhar is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She started out coaching at the college level before teaching in & out of the classroom.   Mrs. Kuhar married into the Coast Guard which led to living in many different states  up & down the east coast. Upon her husband's retirement they settled in Waynesboro. She has been teaching PE at St. Andrew School for 3 years. Mrs. K has two children and loves leading them & all children to an active lifestyle.


Hillary Skipper has been an LPN for 14 years. She has worked a variety of nursing positions in various hospital, Pediatric/General Practitioners offices, Inpatient Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care. She also holds an Associate's Degree in Patisserie and Baking from the Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. When she’s not at work she enjoys time with her two sons and husband going to her sons football and wrestling events, kayaking, being outdoors and traveling. She looks forward to caring for and helping the students of the Montessori Academy.