Christeen Rasmussen, Lead Teacher Primary Classroom 2
My name is Chris Rasmussen, better known as Miss Chris. I am the lead teacher in Primary class 2. I joined the teaching staff at the Vineyard Montessori School in 2002 as an assistant and quickly moved into the lead teacher position within a few months. I have also had the opportunity to be the Director for a couple of years but knew that my heart lay in the classroom with the children so I moved back to being the lead teacher. I took my Montessori training at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, New York and became certified in both the Primary (3-6yrs) and Toddler programs. After completing my training, I taught in the oldest Montessori school in the United States, The Whitby School, located in Greenwich, Connecticut. I had the privilege of teaching there for 17 years before moving to the island in 2001.
I became interested in the Montessori method and philosophy when I volunteered in a Montessori school in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I wanted to work with young children but didn’t know anything about Maria Montessori and her philosophy. After taking that first step into the beautiful, organized and inviting classroom, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the method and returned to Connecticut to take my training. That was in the early 1980’s and I have been hooked ever since!
I have three sons, all of which attended The Whitby School through first grade. I was very fortunate to watch my children blossom in a Montessori environment while working just a classroom away. Some things I enjoy doing when I am not spending time in my classroom are reading, gardening and most of all, spending time with my family.
Tyrene Johnston, Lead Teacher Primary Classroom 1
I am a full-time, full-blooded Montessorian! Both of my parents were Montessori teachers, and they had their own school in Minnesota. Two sisters are also Montessori teachers. I have taught all age-levels in this method of education, but concentrated mainly on Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) and Adolescent (ages 12-15). Throughout my years teaching the older students I never forgot how important the foundational years of Montessori are. Everything forms and starts from birth to age six.
My education includes a Master of Education from Lesley University. I learned from that experience that Montessori answers so many of the challenges of teaching with which traditional educators struggle. Freedom of choice, concentration, joy, order, independence… all of these attributes of being are nourished with Montessori!
I moved onto the Vineyard full time in July of 2014, after teaching at various Montessori schools across the country. My latest tenure was 34 years at Thacher Montessori School in Milton, MA, where I taught Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent classes.
After relocating to the Island in 2014 I happily took over my Primary classroom for the 2014-2015 school year.
Besides my husband Bob, I have three grown children. Now I have a grandson and who is an absolute joy!!! Our standard poodle Monty completes our family, and offers us opportunities for many walks on the beach or in the woods. My hobbies are reading, yoga/meditation, and gardening.
Rebecca Deloughne, Assistant Teacher Primary Classroom 1
I found my way to the Vineyard in the spring 2011 and began working at VMS as an assistant in the fall of 2011. I hold a bachelor’s of art in fashion design and marketing and in my past life spent many years pounding the pavement in NYC, London and Paris working in the Fashion Industry. In 2008 I moved to New Zealand and decided it was time to start a new path and pursue my interest in early childhood education. I worked in Christchurch in a small Maori school in a primary classroom where I received training and focused on implementing a Maori immersion curriculum.
Since working at VMS I have completed training in the Fundamentals of Montessori and participated in Montessori Schools of Massachusetts (MSM) Annual Conferences. My favorite part about practicing the Montessori philosophy with children is that I have been allowed to observe the children become masters of their environment. I get to share in the joy and love I see them experience on a daily basis and this is what I love the most about coming to work every day. I currently live in Oak Bluffs by the lagoon where you can usually find me jumping on the trampoline with my energetic son and husband.
Irene Wendt, Elementary II Teacher
My first experience with the Montessori approach to education took place when searching for the best pre-school program to benefit our daughter. My Husband and I immediately knew that this carefully prepared, beautiful, learning environment would help our daughter to become a confident, caring, independent learner. Three years later I attended the Seacoast Center for Education in NH and completed my Elementary I training. My Elementary II training is through Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC) in Lexington, MA. I also hold a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College in Boston.
Through my training our lower elementary class has grown into an Elementary I and Elementary II program. It’s fulfilling to observe my students become active participants in their classroom, school and their island community.
In addition to teaching, I have enjoyed caring for island children during the summer months for 8 years. I am a strong advocate that a child’s desire to be connected to the natural world should be fostered throughout the entire year. During my down time I look to the outdoors as well, enjoying biking, running and hiking. When I’m not alone I value the time that I have to spend with my family and friends.
Weezie Welz, Lead Teacher After School Program
I am looking forward to starting my second year at the Vineyard Montessori School in the Extended Day Program.
My professional background includes a B.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College. I’ve served as both Director and Lead Teacher at the South Shore Community Center Nursery School in Cohasset, Massachusetts.
I have spent many years working with children in many different settings. In my years of experience, working with children and continued professional development in many different settings, I have developed a passion and drive to initiate curriculum for children that intertwines play, literacy, nature and the arts.
My husband, Brian and I moved to our Edgartown home in 2014 after having spent summers on the Vineyard for many years. We have two grown children and two grandchildren. I love being part of the wonderful VMS Community.
Holly Bruguiere, Assistant Teacher Primary Classroom 2
My name is Holly Bruguiere. I am the assistant teacher in Primary class 2. I started working at VMS in 1997-2000. Then my husband and I moved off the Island to Wayland, MA. I was able to continue working in a Montessori school at the Apple Valley Montessori School in Sudbury, MA. That is where I grew to understand and appreciate more about the Montessori Method and the philosophy. I love everything about it! The prepared learning environment, the materials and how each lesson is presented to each child.
We moved back to the Vineyard in 2004 and I was lucky enough that a position opened up at VMS. I have been working here for the last past 10 years and love it. I have 2 children that attended VMS through kindergarten. They both received a great social and academic foundation here and continue to use it in school. I have an associate’s degree from Champlain College in Burlington, VT. I have my teacher’s certificate and I am working on becoming lead teacher certified. In my personal time I enjoy spending time with my family, exercising and reading.
Cristina Martino, Afterschool Program Assistant, French & Spanish Teacher
Located in the southeast of Spain, I was born in the capital of Andalucía. My native language is Castellano, Spanish. While attending the University of Cadiz, I began privately tutoring and teaching exchange students at the San Fernando Institute. After graduating with a degree in Tourism Management in 2012, I continued to offer private lessons to students who were native English speakers, looking to practice Spanish abroad until 2015 when I moved to Martha’s Vineyard to be with my husband.
I continue my passion for teaching language and culture by teaching privately to all ages, and I volunteer at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School for all levels of Spanish classes, including Advanced Placement. My hobbies are painting, playing tennis and swimming, traveling, learning languages and being with my family. I am a team player, and like to learn and experience new ideas and philosophies. I have grown as a person teaching to students from other countries with very different cultures. I hope to continue to grow at the Vineyard Montessori School and share my knowledge.
Board of Trustees
The school is organized as a non-profit organization that is governed by a Board of Trustees. The board members are:
Rob Moriarty, Chair
Anne Williamson, Vice Chair
Deirdre Bohan, Treasurer
Merrie Beth Dodge
Ex Officio Members:
Debbie Jernegan, Head of School
The Board of Trustees is responsible for governance of the school, ensuring adherence to the school’s mission, and supports the Head of School of VMS. The Head of School is responsible for the daily operations of VMS. When the Head of School is off-premises the Lead Teachers are responsible for the daily operations of VMS.
VMS Family Association
Membership shall be automatically granted to all parents and legal guardians of VMS students, plus VMS staff. There are no membership dues. Members have voting privileges, one vote per household. All parents and faculty are members of the VMS Family Association.
The purpose of the Family Association is to enhance and support the educational experience at Vineyard Montessori School, to develop a closer connection between school and home by encouraging parent involvement, and to improve the environment at Vineyard Montessori School through volunteer and financial support. Activities that are related to the improvement of VMS include fundraising activities; procurement of materials, educational services, or other needs as deemed appropriate; aid in property maintenance and management; participate in selection of new school employees as deemed appropriate by the VMS Board of Trustees (“VMS Board”); and other activities as determined to be advantageous to the school that do not conflict with the policies or procedures of the VMS Board or other regulating agencies.
Erin Tilton, Advancment Director
2021 Strategic Intent
The parents, leaders and faculty are preparing Martha’s Vineyard’s next generation for future success, aiming to exceed the Massachusetts State Standards for each grade by fostering each student’s potential to become bright, outside-the-box thinkers – creative and open-minded about the future. See our strategic plan for 2022 below.