Board of Directors

* indicates second term

Frank Murray, Ph.D. - Public Member

Chair of Board - August 2015-2018*

Newark, Delaware
Telephone: (302) 831-2557


Frank B. Murray is H. Rodney Sharp Professor in the School of Education and the Department of Psychology at the University of Delaware and served as dean of the College of Education between 1979 and 1995.  He received his B.A. degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and his M.A.T. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University. He has served in various capacities on the editorial boards of several journals in developmental and educational psychology and is a fellow in the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society and the American Educational Research Association. He was the founding president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) in Washington, DC and currently serves as chair of its board of directors and for the new Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), also in Washington, DC.  Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Holmes Partnership and formerly he was chair of the National Board of its forerunner, the Holmes Group, a consortium of research universities engaged in educational reform. He was president and co-founder of the Project 30 Alliance, an organization of faculty in education and the liberal arts.  Between 1994 and 1997, he co-edited the Review of Educational Research for the American Educational Research Association. In 1996 he edited The Teacher Educator’s Handbook for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. For his contributions to the fields of child development and teacher education (in which he has published some 200 articles), he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1994, inducted into the Laureate chapter of Kappa Delta Pi in 2009, honored with afestschrift by TEAC and the Award of Merit by St. John’s College in 2012 and a Distinguished Alumni Award by the Johns Hopkins University in 2013.

Stacey Edwards Russo - Public Member

Vice Chair - December 2016-2019*

Portland, Oregon


Stacey Edwards Russo is originally from a small farm town just west of Chicago. She moved to Portland in the Fall of 2011 with her husband Michael. 

Her “Montessori” story began over 13 years ago after she graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Through the magic of serendipity, she discovered the brilliance of Maria Montessori, got trained as a primary directress and has been working in Montessori education for the last 12 years; the past 7 as a director of education for large schools in both Chicago and Manhattan. 

Stacey has taught in classrooms in Michigan; Wisconsin; Illinois, New York and even in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011, she received her Master’s Degree in Child Development and Administration from the Erikson Institute of Chicago. Through her work with the Montessori Accreditation Council of Teacher Education (MACTE), she has also been fortunate enough to assist in accrediting Montessori Teacher Training centers all over the United States as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. Now she proudly sits on the Board of Directors for both MACTE and the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA). She holds memberships with NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), AMS (American Montessori Society), OMA (Oregon Montessori Association), NAMTA (North American Montessori Teachers' Association), and AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization).

 Stacey loves to explore the world’s landscapes by hiking, biking, running, camping, picnicking and spending time with friends and family.

Teresa Noble - MEPI

Secretary- March 2015-2018*

Gray Court, South Carolina
Telephone: 864-876-2475


Teresa Noble holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of South Carolina.  Her Montessori Early Childhood credential was granted by Montessori Education Programs, International.  She is retired from the public schools of South Carolina, with 28 years of service, serving as Teacher of the Year of Laurens District 55 for the 1992-1993 school year.  Before retiring, she began to do Montessori teacher training for Lander University and The Institute for Guided Studies.           

After retirement from the school district, she continued to participate in Montessori Teacher Education for Lander and IGS and other programs.  Today she serves as Program Director, Instructor, and Supervisor for The Institute for Guided Studies, headquartered in Camden, SC.  She also does consultation and work for Montessori schools and early childhood programs.

Karen Simon - AMS

Treasurer-September 2017-2020*

Celebration, Florida
Telephone:  (407) 433-0610


Karen Simon has been a Montessori classroom teacher for children aged 2 ½ to 12 for over 20 years. She was born and raised in Venezuela, South America and holds a B.A. in Modern Languages (Wheaton College, 1979) and AMS credentials for Early Childhood and Elementary I-II. She is the director of the Montessori School of Celebration, FL, where she also teaches. Karen is also a faculty member for the Orlando Montessori Teacher Education Institute and Seacoast Center for Education.

Floyd Creech, Ph.D. - IND

April 2015-2018

Mullins, South Carolina


On March 2, 2015, Dr. Creech was elected to the MACTE Board of Directors to represent the Independent Affiliation not in a Consortium.  We are excited to welcome Floyd to our Board as he carries a wealth of knowledge regarding Montessori teacher education. Floyd was instrumental in helping get the state of South Carolina to recognize the credential from a MACTE accredited teacher preparation program for licensure in the state to teach in a public/private Montessori school.  He also served as the President of International Association of Montessori Educators, (IAME).  He is currently the director of three public early childhood centers in Florence SC, which utilize Montessori curriculum. He is recognized as a Montessori Early Childhood Literacy Specialist and a Specialist in Early Childhood Readiness Assessment. 

Cathy Carpenter - AMS

November 2017-2020

Phone: (240) 353-9619 

Silver Springs, Maryland

Cathy is a current Primary teacher at Barrie School and instructor at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies. She has Early Childhood and Elementary I-II credentials and has years of experience working in Early Childhood, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary classrooms.  She has presented at many Montessori conferences, served as a verifier for both MACTE and AMS during accreditation on-site visits, and worked on AMS School Accreditation Teams.  Cathy’s journey in Montessori education began in 1984 in Federal Way, WA at Spring Valley Montessori School with Madeleine Justus and Gulsevin Kayihan.  Her husband’s military career then added an association with St. Nicholas (Paula Gtasgow) while they were living in Germany, and then the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD.  Along the way, there were teacher and consulting opportunities in Montgomery, AL, Gainesville, FL, and San Antonio, TX.  

In her spare time, Cathy enjoys traveling with her husband of 41 years, playing her 34-string folk harp, and spending time with her Bichon Poo, Dugald.

Ellie Elzerman - AMS

February 2017-2020



Ellie Elzerman, has been a directress for Clemson Montessori School for the past 34 years; she was a classroom directress for Early Childhood, Elementary I and Elementary II. Ellie was the former director of training for Montessori Teacher Training Institute of South Carolina, in Clemson, South Carolina from 1995 – 2015. In her “retirement” Ellie is an instructor and field consultant for Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO; Montessori Educational Institute of North America, Jackson, TN; Adjunct faculty and field consultant for Lander University Montessori Teacher Education Program. Ellie has her masters in elementary education and an AMS Montessori credential in Early Childhood, Elementary I and Advanced Elementary II. She is well published and has developed and written curriculum for the teaching of Montessori teachers in preschool and elementary. Ellie is the recipient of the South Carolina Governor’s Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Montessori Education. In her spare time Ellie is a Master Naturalist and an expert weaver.


Katie Keller Wood - AMS

November 2017-2020

Phone: (804) 301-0990
Richmond, Virginia

Katie Keller Wood is the co-director of Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program, she holds an AMS Secondary I-II credential.  She is currently completing her Ed. D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia. She has been a Montessori secondary education teacher since 2009.  She has volunteered with the American Montessori Society including completing the AMS Ed. D. internship, hosting a webinar, and serving on AMS School Accreditation Teams. 





Mark LaCelle-Peterson- Ed.D. -Public Member

December 2016-2019 

Washington, District of Columbia


Mark LaCelle-Peterson joined AACTE in 2014 as a member of the executive leadership team. He oversaw government relations (federal and state), state affiliate relations, and initiatives to support member institutions in their evidence-based program improvement efforts. While there, he initiated AACTE’s online professional development program and expanded its support of performance assessment, which led to the creation of the Quality Support Center. He led reorganization of AACTE’s data collection and analysis efforts. Prior to joining AACTE, he served as Senior Vice President of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and as President of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), both national programmatic accrediting agencies.

He has held faculty, administrative, and research posts at public and private institutions of higher education, teaching course in the history and philosophy of education, the social, cultural, and linguistic foundations of education as well as courses in humanities and early medieval literature (Anglo Saxon and Old Norse). He has developed partnerships with urban schools and a transition-to- teaching program to provide highly qualified teachers for high-needs schools. His scholarship has focused on equity in assessment, democratic teacher education, curriculum history, and program evaluation. A native of the Minnesota prairie, he holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (BA in Scandinavian Studies and English; MA in International Development Education) and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (EdM and EdD in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments).

Martha Monahan - AMS

November 2015-2018*

Warren, Maine
Telephone (O): (207) 236-6316


Martha Monahan, the Executive Director of Northeast Montessori Institute (NMI) since 1990, has been with NMI since its inception in 1984. After receiving an A.M.I. diploma from the Toronto Montessori Institute in 1977, Martha taught in Montessori schools in Maine, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Martha has worked as a Lead Teacher, an Educational Director and a School Administrator. Her varied background provides her an insightful and multi-faceted understanding of the needs of children and of parents. Combined with her on-going work as director, teacher trainer, and field consultant for NMI, Martha is able to bring the right combination of support to her work with interns, supervising teachers, and heads of schools in connection to NMI’s certification courses.

Martha is a recognized speaker, effectively blending the essence of Montessori Philosophy with real classroom practice. She is able to provide an insightful and inspiring presentation, whether for fellow Montessorians at a national conference or weekend workshop, students in training, or before a small gathering of inquisitive parents.

Northeast Montessori Institute was the first MACTE accredited, AMS affiliated training course in mainland China, established in 1999. Martha continues to work with local educators and administrators in Beijing to bring quality Montessori education to Chinese children. Presently, Martha is a consultant with the Hanlinyuan Education Group of Beijing, which is currently working to build a completely “Green School” as a K-12 model school for the Chinese government; blending authentic Montessori education with Chinese Traditional Culture and a curriculum in stewardship and sustainability.

Martha is especially excited to have recently joined the MACTE Board of Directors and to working together with other Board Members in support of quality Montessori education world-wide. Martha is an effective network person, able to provide recommendations and resources for other professional consultants. She invites you to contact her at anytime if she may provide professional assistance to you or your school community. 

Nicole Olson

Nicole Olson - AMI

September 2016-2019

St Paul, Minnesota


Nicole Olson, Administrator of the Montessori Center of Minnesota, in St. Paul received her Masters of Education from Loyola University in Maryland and has an AMI Diploma for primary level, ages 2.5 - 6+. She takes the seat on the Board representing the Association Montessori International (AMI). Nicole has devoted the last nine years to the Montessori Center of Minnesota's venture in opening a school that serves children of varying ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and conducting outreach efforts to expand Montessori. She has represented the Center and AMI at every MACTE Symposium. She was instrumental in writing and submitting the Self Study for the Elementary I-II Initial Accreditation for the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota (MTCM).

Melissa Redd- IND

December 2016-2019

West Columbia, South Carolina
Telephone: (803) 381-4665


Melissa is the program director for Sandhills Montessori Institute, which is a part of Lexington School District 4 – public school system and accredited by MACTE. Melissa has a great passion for Montessori, and nurturing adult learners into caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable Montessorians. She was a previousboard member for the South Carolina Montessori Alliance and chairperson of the conference committee. Melissa received her Montessori Certification from Lander University (+30 Graduate hours), she also holds a MFA in Early Childhood from Liberty University.

Helen Traicus- IND

December 2016-2019

Maple, Ontario
Telephone (H): (416) 222-3959


Helen is currently an educator and field supervisor with Montessori Teachers College (MTC) and has been since its conception in 2005. She holds Montessori diplomas at the EC, Elementary I, and Elementary II levels. Helen has taught children ages 3 to 12 years of age and was Vice Principal and Director of Admission at Bannockburn Montessori School in Toronto for over 10 years. Helen has served as an accreditor, evaluator, and team leader with the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) since 2010. CCMA is an accrediting body that serves Montessori schools throughout Canada, using a process that is similar to the MACTE verification of quality principles and criteria.


Gulsevin Kayihan - IND

Board Member Emeritus 

Federal Way, Washington
Telephone (O): (253) 874-0563
(H): (253) 927-4439
Fax: (253) 838-5193


Gulsevin completed her second term on the MACTE Board in 2015 and continues to act as an Advisor to the MACTE Board of Directors. 

Gulsevin Kayihan is a Montessori educator of more than 35 years of experience. She is the Academic Director of Montessori Teacher Education Program and Spring Valley Montessori, the oldest Montessori School in the State of Washington, established in 1951 by Madeleine J. Justus.

Gulsevin Kayihan is the co-author of more than 20 Volumes of Montessori Education Textbooks for Montessori teachers. She is the recipient of several awards. She currently serves on the MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education), PNMA (Pacific NorthWest Montessori Association), WFIS (Washington Federation of Independent Schools), and Spring Valley Montessori Boards. She also served on the IAME Board. She is very involved with the education issues in Washington State.

Gulsevin Kayihan studied General Science at the American College for Girls and has a degree in Administration from the University of Bosphorous in Istanbul. She did her graduate studies in Montessori Education at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. She taught at all age levels, from Early Childhood through 8th Grades. She loves Nature, Math and Science and is an avid reader. She also does consulting and gives seminars. She was recently in Istanbul presenting Sensorial Exercises and Math.