Head of School
Tamara Castleman, known as Miss Tammy to our students and families, has her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College, where she is currently also a faculty mentor at the Institute for Educational Studies (TIES). Miss Tammy is also a freelance writer and editor, and recently collaborated on a book with Professor Philip S. Gang entitled Educating for Right-Action and Love: Extending and Expanding the Montessori Vision. Previously, she taught at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School and was a parent liaison and part of the office staff at Montessori Centres in Indianapolis. Miss Tammy comes to us with a wealth of Montessori knowledge and experience. She began her Montessori journey when her daughters attended a Montessori preschool, which ignited a passion for Montessori philosophy and curriculum. She enjoys supporting Miss Maria and our staff and being a welcoming presence to our families. Miss Tammy is deeply committed to developing our Village Montessori community, post COVID, and to continuing the unique traditions that make Village a special place for our children and families.
Maria Leeman graduated from Xavier University with a degree in Montessori (and Traditional) Early Childhood Education, with a minor in Special Education. Most recently, she is from Ohio, since age 5. However, from the age of 6 weeks to 5 years old, she lived in Bulgaria in Eastern Europe. Her family lived in the mountain foothills where her love of nature began. She spent every minute outside as a child and it continues to be her source of joy, along with teaching children.
She found Montessori in high school through a long-time family friend. She has always loved children, beginning to babysit at age 12, and was always told what a great teacher she would be. However, it was not until she saw a Montessori classroom (even with no children) that she knew she wanted and needed to teach this way. She is dedicated to the Montessori method and feels strongly about its support for the foundational years of children.
Alyssa attended a Montessori school for eight years and is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and methods of learning.
Alyssa graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with B.A. degrees in math and linguistics. After graduating and roaming the country she returned to Bloomington, IN and began teaching preschool at Bloomington Montessori School. She moved to Indianapolis to serve in Americorps at Herron High School in 2016. She is grateful to have found the Village Montessori community and has enjoyed working here since 2017. She continues to apply the compassion and life skills she learned through Montessori education to other life experiences, big and small.
Kate Porter Knutson
Kate was born in England to Irish parents and was raised in England and Ireland. At the age of 20 she was offered the opportunity to live and work as a nanny in
Mission Viejo, California. After a year, she and a group of Irish friends moved to Orlando where she lived for the next 22 years and met her husband, Eric, from Indiana.
After their daughter was born in 2002, she retired from her 16 year career with Marriott Vacation Club to focus on mothering and through this developed a keen interest in child development. Their family moved from Orlando to Carmel, Indiana in 2005 to be closer to Eric’s family and then In 2007 decided to upsticks and move the family to County Clare Ireland, to be alongside Kate’s family and in order for her daughter to attend Raheen Wood Steiner National School (Waldorf School). They lived on the shores of Lough Derg, immersed in nature. The school, which as the name implies, is situated on the entrance to Raheen Woods and has been educating children for 35 years. Her interest in child development continued as she enrolled in Waldorf teacher training which led to working as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher for 6 years while her daughter attended school there for 8 years. She was fortunate enough to attend the 2010 Waldorf Early Childhood Conference in Donarch, Switzerland, which included speakers from all areas of child development along with attendees from all over the world, a unique experience.
In 2015 their family returned to the U.S. in order to be close to Eric’s family in Indianapolis. They currently live in Washington Township and their daughter, Caoimhe, is a senior at Cathedral High School, where Kate has been working for the past 15 months.
Kate has often walked by our school in Broad Ripple and has long admired the charm and ethos and finds many similarities between Waldorf and Montessori which at the heart is focused on child development. She looks forward to getting to know the children and continue her love of learning to now include the Montessori method and is grateful for the opportunity.
Director of Admissions & Operations
Anne began her Montessori journey while looking for a preschool option for her oldest child. She was delighted to discover this method that honored children developmentally—from an emotional and academic perspective. Her children attended Montessori preschool, where she volunteered and served as president for one year. They later attended IPS 91 Montessori Magnet. She was a classroom volunteer, served on the PTA, and for 5 years served as director of new family outreach, welcoming prospective and new families.
Anne graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership & Supervision. Her past careers have included sales, account management and owner of her photography business. She also contracted with the Indiana Perinatal Network and the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition as a grant liaison and photographer.
She completed the Para-Professional Training at Seton Montessori Institute in Clarendon Hills, Illinois.
She was so excited for Village Montessori School to open up in 2010—filling a need for authentic Montessori education in Midtown. She loves working at Village as the director of admissions and operations—greeting children and families each morning and supporting the school administratively.
Anne lives in Butler-Tarkington with her daughter who is in high school at North Central. She also has a daughter at Purdue.