Faculty

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, Middle School Teacher

Ty Johnston is a full-blooded Montessorian! Both of her parents and also two sisters were Montessori teachers. She has taught all age-levels in this method of education, but concentrated mainly on Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) and Adolescent (ages 12-15).

Her education includes a Master of Education from Lesley University. She learned from that experience that Montessori answers so many of the challenges of teaching with which traditional educators struggle. Freedom of choice, concentration, joyful learning, independent thinking, creativity… all of these attributes of being are nourished with Montessori!
Ty moved onto the Vineyard full time in July of 2014, after teaching at various Montessori schools across the country. In her previous position, she worked for 34 years at Thacher Montessori School in Milton, MA, where she taught Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent classes.

After relocating to the Island in 2014 she happily took over a Primary classroom from 2014 through 2017. In September of 2017 she began VMS’s first middle school program with one seventh grade student.

Besides her husband Bob, Ty has three grown children and two grandchildren who live off-island in the Boston area. Her standard poodle Monty completes her family, and offers us many opportunities for walks on the beach or in the woods. Her hobbies are reading, yoga/meditation, and gardening.

Rebecca Deloughne, Teacher Primary Classroom 1

Rebecca_resizedI 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.

Carrie Peckar, Teacher Primary Classroom

After spending much time on the island during her own childhood, Carrie decided it was time to take the plunge and move to the place that her great grandparents called home in Oak Bluffs.  

Carrie began her Montessori journey at Raritan Valley Montessori School in New Jersey in 2005 and oversaw not only a classroom of 24+ primary age students, but also curriculum and training. She enjoyed teaching fine art and drama at the elementary level at RVM and its sister school, Cherry Blossom Montessori.

As a certified AMS Montessori Teacher and graduate of the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (MACTE), Carrie is a firm believer in the Montessori system and the way it guides and prepares students for a lifetime of learning. She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in Art History and has also been Lead Instructor at the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater in Alexandria, VA each summer since 1994, where she has written and directed over 20 original young adult plays.

Carrie is thrilled to be back on the island and a part of the Vineyard Montessori School family!

Irene Wendt, Elementary Teacher

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Irene’s first experience with the Montessori approach to education took place when searching for the best learning environment for her daughter.  She and her husband immediately knew that the carefully prepared, beautiful environment of the Vineyard Montessori classrooms would help their daughter to become a confident, caring, independent learner.

Irene completed her masters in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College in Boston in 2006. The following year while assisting in the Elementary classroom, she attended the Seacoast Center for Education in NH and finished her Elementary I training. Her Elementary II training was completed through Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC) in Lexington, MA in 2015.

As VMS has expanded, Irene has transitioned to lead teacher of the Elementary Program.  She has found that working with elementary students is very rewarding as these inquisitive young people are developing a sense of who they are, how they can make a difference in the world and how to challenge themselves socially and intellectually.

Weezie Welz, Lead Teacher Extended Day 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.

Cristina Martino,  Lead Teacher Primary Classroom

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Cristina Martino was born in Cadiz, a small city in the south of Spain, and moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2015.  After assisting in the Primary classroom for two years, Cristina recently completed her first year as Lead Teacher and earned her AMS Lead Teacher certification.  She also leads the Spanish language curriculum at VMS.

Cristina’s passion for teaching started when she first encountered the Montessori philosophy, and she was immediately drawn to the prepared environment as well as the freedom, independence and responsibility of the curriculum.  The children are appropriately challenged and free to pursue their passions, and the uninterrupted work time helps each child build concentration, focus on internal development and develop their own unique personality.

When not in the classroom, Cristina enjoys spending her free time with her family, traveling and going to the beach.

Rhiannon Fernandes, Office Administrator

Rhiannon joined VMS in 2017 and brings many years of office experience to her role.  A Montessori student and parent, she previously worked as a kitchen designer and holds a B.F.A. in Architectural Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston.  Rhiannon is a Massachusetts native and moved to the Island in 2015. She lives in Oak Bluffs with her husband, teenage son and giant dog.

Board of Trustees

The school is organized as a non-profit organization that is governed by a Board of Trustees. The board members are:

Jackie Friedman, Chair
Isabelle Lew, Vice Chair
Anthony Stratakos, Treasurer
Robb Moriarty, Clerk
Bill Coggins
Greg Ehrman
Courtney Fitzgerald
Laura Sequin
Nili Beth Morgan
Alyssa Dubin
Pat Thompson
Robert Johnston
Tom Tate

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

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.

2022 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.