Faculty and Staff


Each of the teacher training faculty and staff of our Montessori educational family has been an innovator in his or her individual areas of expertise. Here at the Age of Montessori you have the opportunity to receive combined benefits of their rich teaching and training experience with the authentic Montessori method and message.

During their rewarding teaching careers, our faculty have identified and developed the potential in many children.  Graduates of their Montessori education programs have become creative, productive and successful adults.  And they look forward to sharing their wisdom and insight with you so that you may awaken and maximize the potential of the children in your care.

Please read more about the faculty and staff in their biographies.

Mary Ellen Maunz, M.Ed.

Mary Ellen Maunz, M.Ed. Founder and Program Director

Mary Ellen is an internationally recognized authority on the Montessori method, She is an acclaimed speaker, author and teacher.

For twenty-two years Mary Ellen Maunz worked with Dr. Elisabeth Caspari, a foremost student and personal friend of Dr. Maria Montessori.  Since 1972 Mary Ellen spent many years teaching in both early childhood and elementary classrooms. She ran a large private Montessori school and has trained hundreds of Montessori teachers around the world.

In her spare time, Mary Ellen loves to read, hike and travel.

Kaylie Utter, MBA Executive Director

Kaylie is our Executive Director and brings so much to AoM it is hard to know where to begin. 

Kaylie at the helm we are seeing the fruitful success of many new initiatives.  We are so grateful for her expertise and direction. Onward and upward!

Kaylie Utter, MBA

Our Faculty and Staff

Randall Klein, B.A.

RANDALL KLEIN, B.A.

Assistant Program Director 

Randall Klein completed his Montessori early childhood educator certification from Association Montessori Internationale and has taught in multi-aged Montessori preschool classrooms. 

In 1986, Randall received the Master Teacher diploma from the Pan American Montessori Society and conducted numerous teacher training courses with his mentor, Dr. Elisabeth Caspari.

Randall has successfully taught hundreds of children from ages three to twenty how to read, and continues to offer his literacy workshops.  

Karen Campbell, Ph.D.

Karen campbell, PH.D.

Accreditation/ Compliance Specialist

Karen Campbell is an educator of students of all ages, from the young to the young at heart. In addition to consulting for Age of Montessori, she teaches online courses in written communication at the University of Phoenix. Karen has taken the early childhood Montessori training and parented her own Montessori child.

She holds a PhD in Education, MEd in Curriculum & Instruction, BS in Technology Education, and BA in Humanities.

Over the past two decades, Karen has taught at middle and high school levels, and at Montana State University-Bozeman, Summit University, and the University of Phoenix.

Susie Schimmin

Susie shimmin

Development Director

Susie Shimmin is our Development and Marketing Director. She has 30+ years of executive leadership experience working in major development projects in her home country of Australia. These include many entrepreneurial endeavors, start-ups, advertising, marketing, PR, franchising, film production, and resort management. 

Susie brings great enthusiasm and commitment to the Age of Montessori mission.The Montessori method is very dear to her heart and she loves to get out amongst the school communities whenever possible.

Susie’s son and granddaughter live in Australia, so she tries to get back every year to hug them like a momma bear, embrace the sun, sea and surf and get an infusion of Aussie lingo (Australian language)!

Montessori Elementary Faculty

Janet Nordemann, M.Ed.

Janet Nordemann, M.Ed. Manager Elementary Program

Janet has worked as an elementary classroom teacher for forty years, in public, Montessori and Gifted Education.  She now enjoys working with online adult learners and mentoring interns.

She recently earned her Distinguished Toastmasters Award (DTM), the highest award given at Toastmasters International.

Karla Hahn, M.Ed. Senior Faculty, Elementary I-II Program

Karla's teaching career spans almost 40 years. Her background includes teaching in public and private schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She has worked as both a teacher and an administrator in special education and is currently teaching in a public Montessori magnet school as a 4th and 5th grade teacher. She joined the online teaching staff for Age of Montessori in September 2019.

Karla lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Robert and close to her daughter Elora. Gardening, walking on the beach and reading mysteries occupy much of her free time.

Karla Hahn, M.Ed.
Suzanne Tipton, B.A.

Suzanne Tipton, B.A. Faculty, Elementary Program

Suzanne began her teaching career over in Thailand in 2012. She taught English as a Second Language in high school Math, Science, Reading and Conversation for almost 5 years at a school in Nakhon Si Thammarat. She decided to return home to Tennessee and learned about Age of Montessori from a coworker. Suzanne soon started her Elementary Montessori Teacher training. 

After graduating, she was hired part-time to be one of the online instructors for the AoM Elementary academic course. And she is also currently teaching in a Lower Elementary classroom in Louisville, Kentucky. Suzanne loves her job and the opportunity to help the students learn using Montessori’s ideas, materials and philosophy. 

Early Childhood Faculty

Diana Palmares, M.Ed.

DIANA PALMARES, M.ED.

Senior Faculty, Early Childhood Program 

Diana has taught for the past 30 years both in primary and toddler classrooms across the country. She also taught in a Montessori Magnet Public School setting for 7 years, mentoring student teachers and educating parents.

Diana received Montessori certification from International Association of Progressive Montessorians in San Diego with further training through the Pan American Society with Dr. Elisabeth Caspari in 1980.

She’s still teaching and loves to do dancing, yoga, and movement with children.

Erin Lanigan, B.A.

erin lanigan, b.a.

Faculty, Early Childhood Program 

Erin is an Age of Montessori graduate, online instructor, Montessori advocate and writer. She   has been teaching, administrating, advising and living a Montessori life for overt ten years.  

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, is a certified Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood Montessori teacher, and a former Montessori Directress and school owner.

Although her very favorite thing to do is to spend time with her children and husband, with a few minutes alone, you would likely find Erin playing the viola, piano, or reading.

Karen Walton, M.Ed.

karen walton, m.ed.

Assistant Program Director, Early Childhood

Karen is an online instructor and internship coordinator for the Early Childhood Program.

She has a Master’s Degree in Montessori Education and brings years of experience as an early childhood teacher, public school music teacher and past school owner/ director. Karen‘s other credentials include a current music teaching license for the state of Montana (K-12), and an AMS early childhood teaching credential. 

Karen‘s talents and interests include the culinary arts, competing in regional races as a runner and adventuring in SW Montana with her husband, Zack.