Faculty & Staff

  • Kate Riley - Head of School; Lead Teacher, Upper Elementary

    For many years, Kate Riley was on a mission to provide Nashville children and families with an affordable, Christ-centered Montessori educational experience. In 2009, Kate realized the fulfillment of that dream when Holy Trinity Montessori opened its doors.


    In her role as Head of School, Kate focuses on leading and mentoring our teaching staff, administrating the school, and working tirelessly to bring as many resources as possible to our families and students. Kate also leads our Upper Elementary teaching team, which daily offers her the opportunity to experience her favorite aspect of education – teaching in the classroom.


    Kate holds a Bachelor of Science in Montessori Education from Xavier University and a Masters of Teaching in Special Education from Belmont University. She received her Montessori Elementary training through the North American Progressive Montessori Training Program, and completed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training Program, Levels I and II. Before opening HTM, Kate acquired over 13 years of teaching experience in public and private schools, serving children ages 18 months through 9 years. Her most recent role was Adjunct Professor, Internship Coordinator and Field Consultant for the Montessori Teacher Education Program at Belmont University. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) as well as the American Montessori Society (AMS).


    Kate and her husband Mike live in the Bellevue area with their two daughters, both of whom attend Holy Trinity Montessori.

  • Heather Dennis - Lead Teacher, Toddler Community; Administrative Coordinator

    We have a treasure in our Toddler Community Lead Teacher, Heather Dennis, who joined HTM in the fall of 2010. Heather’s Montessori journey began as a Montessori Elementary Student at Rising Star Montessori School in Lafayette, IN. While her time as a Montessori student was short, it made a huge impact on her: she realized her love of working with children and Montessori Education.


    Heather began Montessori Infant and Toddler Training straight out of high school. She simultaneously studied Montessori with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education and Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. In 2001, Heather and her husband relocated to Nashville, and Heather received her Primary certification (3-6) and a Masters in the Art of Teaching (MAT) from Belmont University in July of 2010. She is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS). Heather also serves as a field consultant for the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.


    In addition to her role as Toddler Lead Teacher, Heather also serves as our Administrative Coordinator, working closely with our administrative offices to provide communication and support to the HTM community.


    When she’s not at school, Heather enjoys staying active, gardening, and hanging out with her family.

  • Ann Forbes - Classroom Assistant, Toddler Community

    Ann joined the Holy Trinity Montessori family as a Classroom Assistant in our Toddler community in 2016. Prior to coming to HTM, she spent more than twenty years working with children in a variety of educational, non-profit, and ministry programs before taking time off to raise her own daughters. Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Guilford College and recently discovered the Montessori approach to education, in which she plans to continue her training. 


    When she’s not in the classroom, Ann enjoys kayaking, playing volleyball, and reading, but she is most passionate about her faith and her family. Ann’s calming and kind nature make her a perfect fit for her role in the Toddler classroom and she’s a wonderful asset to our school.  

  • Sydney Hutson - Toddler Intern

    Sydney Hutson is finishing her practicum year of Montessori training as our Toddler Community Intern. After earning her B.A. in Religious Studies from Belmont University, Sydney spent several years working as an ordained youth minister, but soon realized she wanted to focus her efforts on younger children. She decided to work with infants in a preschool setting and then with children in public schools in a Special Education classroom. After serving children on the autism spectrum, Sydney was drawn to the Montessori approach to education, and her decision to pursue Montessori training was solidified as she observed her own preschool-aged daughter thrive within a Montessori environment. 


    Sydney studied at Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and will soon graduate with her Infant and Toddler certification. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her family and English bulldogs, thrifting, decorating, serving in her spiritual community, and participating in social justice work. 

  • KaToya Jackson - Lead Teacher, Primary A; Educational Coordinator

    KaToya Jackson brings a wealth of knowledge regarding early childhood education to Holy Trinity Montessori. She has been working with children in a variety of aspects for over 14 years, ranging from daycares to after-school programs in the Metro Nashville school system to now holding the position of Lead Teacher in our Primary A Classroom. She completed her Montessori certification as well as her Masters in Teaching at Belmont University and is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS).


    In addition to her role as Lead Teacher for Primary A, KaToya also serves as our Educational Coordinator, in which she works closely with the Head of School to provide overall educational support for parents and teachers.


    KaToya is a favorite among our students and families because of her loving, consistent approach and her patient and calm nature. We have been blessed to have her as a part of HTM from the very beginning!

  • Emily Allison – Assistant Teacher, Primary A

    Emily is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Child & Family Studies. Her passion for human development and education fueled her academic research, including international studies in Sweden, and ultimately led her to the Montessori method. While in college, Emily worked as a Primary classroom assistant in a Montessori school, where she decided to pursue a career as a Montessori teacher to achieve her personal goal of creating a better world through education. 


    Emily is a Nashville native, and when she’s not in the classroom she enjoys cooking, spending time outside, and traveling.  

  • Brooke Coyle - Lead Teacher, Primary B

    Brooke serves the Holy Trinity Montessori community as a teacher in Primary B. After receiving her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Auburn University, Brooke taught in traditional schools before choosing to stay at home full-time with her children for a season. While pursuing her Catechesis of the Good Shepherd certification in 2012, Brooke discovered and fell in love with the Montessori philosophy. This led her to obtain her Montessori certification from the North American Montessori Center in 2014, after which she taught in a Primary classroom at another Montessori school. Brooke also holds certification as a Positive Discipline Parent Educator. 


    When she's not teaching, Brooke enjoys time at home with her husband and their four sons, singing, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. Brooke's kind and engaging spirit makes her a natural fit for our community, and we love having her as a part of Holy Trinity Montessori! 

  • Regan Pearson – Co-Teacher, Primary B

    Regan joins the HTM staff as Co-Teacher in Primary B. After discovering the Montessori method while on a campus visit at Xavier University, Regan knew she had found her calling as a Montessori teacher. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education as well as a degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Xavier University, and received her Early Childhood certification from the American Montessori Society. As the former co-President and Secretary of the XU Montessori Education Club at XU, Regan will continue to encourage rising Montessori teachers by serving as a teacher peer mentor for those in student teaching placements. 


    In her spare time Regan loves to cook and bake, and she enjoys both watching and playing sports.  

  • Britney Bussell - Lead Teacher, Primary C

    Britney Bussell has been a teacher for 12 years in a traditional setting, working with both special and general education students. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Austin Peay State University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Trevecca University, and completed her Early Childhood Montessori Certification from North American Montessori Center. 


    Britney lives in Dickson with her husband Eddie and their three children. When she is not teaching, Britney enjoys running, hiking, and camping with her family. 

  • Jessica Polsteen - Lead Teacher, Lower Elementary 1

    A native of Brentwood, Tennessee, Jessica began her own educational experience in a Montessori school and says she was “over the moon” about becoming a Montessorian herself. She received her Early Childhood Education (K-3) degree from Middle Tennessee State University in December of 2011, and then taught preschool and substitute taught for a public school system before re-discovering the Montessori philosophy. She was so inspired by everything she learned that she decided to become a Montessori teacher.


    Jessica obtained her Lower Elementary certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in 2014 and returned to earn her Upper Elementary certification in 2016. Jessica is a nurturing and caring teacher who challenges her students to explore their interests with a passion. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys hiking, photography, playing music and hanging out with friends and family.

  • Christina Woodall – Assistant Teacher, Lower Elementary 1

    Christina joins our Lower Elementary 1 community as an assistant teacher. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Education, and then started her career as a private school teacher focusing on language arts. She went on to teach multiple subjects, then transitioned to a substitute teaching role for all grade levels.  


    In addition to her vast experience in the classroom, Christina is also an accomplished entrepreneur, with a business portfolio including The Green Apron (home cooking), The Velvet Brick (a communication strategies company), and Peacable Path (a conflict communication workshop). Christina loves spending time with her husband, Traylor, and creating memorable moments and experiences with their four children. When she’s not at school, you might find her hiking, cooking, writing, shopping at a thrift store, and traveling to beautiful places.

  • Jaime Moran - Lead Teacher, Lower Elementary 2

    Jaime joined our Lower Elementary community as a teacher in the fall of 2014. Prior to that time, she served HTM in numerous ways, helping us develop our gardening and cooking programs as well as providing support in multiple other areas.


    Jaime graduated from Central Michigan University with degrees in both Biology and Dietetics. After working in the food industry for some time, she found her true passion in working with children. Jaime then received her Lower Elementary training from Northern American Montessori Center.


    When she's not at the school, Jaime always has time for a good book and loves to play volleyball whenever she gets a chance. She resides in the Bellevue area with her husband, Todd, and their three children.

  • Ashley Bess – Assistant Teacher, Lower Elementary 2

    Ashley Bess has been working within a Montessori setting since 2005. With a solid background serving within the Montessori Primary classroom community, Ashley is expanding her expertise by joining our Lower Elementary community this year to observe and offer guidance. 


    Ashley is a native of Tennessee and currently resides in East Nashville with her son. When she’s not working, Ashley loves to spend time outdoors and is an avid hiker and kayaker. She also loves to garden and is a big “foodie.” We are excited to welcome Ashley to HTM!

  • Cassidy Gramke – Co-Teacher, Upper Elementary

    Cassidy joins the Upper Elementary community as Co-Teacher, alongside Lead Teacher and Head of School, Kate Riley. A recent graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Cassidy studied Middle Childhood Education with a specialty in Social Studies and Language Arts. She plans to obtain her Montessori certification in Upper Elementary training after completing her first year in the classroom. 


    A recent transplant to Nashville, Cassidy enjoys reading, traveling, and spending her free time with family and friends.

  • Sarah Mixon - Assistant Teacher, Upper Elementary

    Sarah Mixon serves as Assistant Teacher in our Upper Elementary community. A Tennessee native, Sarah was a Montessori child herself – in fact, her mother started and ran a Montessori school in their rural hometown. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University, Sarah moved to Nashville and began working in a Montessori environment. During this time she met her husband Bo, an Army officer, and after they married they moved frequently due to his military position. By the time they were ready to start a family they returned to Nashville, where Sarah has kept the home fires burning through her husband’s multiple deployments to the Middle East. 


    Sarah first came to HTM as a substitute teacher and accepted an offer for a permanent position soon after. When Sarah's not at school, she enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and two children, and coaching girls’ gymnastics.

  • Elissa Pugh - Lead Teacher, Middle School

    Originally from Maryland, Elissa Pugh has called Nashville home for over seventeen years. She has a vast background in various teaching roles in a range of educational platforms, including teaching English and English as a Second Language to adults in college and community education settings. For the past eight years, Elissa has focused on Montessori education, teaching in early childhood, elementary, and middle school classrooms. 


    Elissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Sweet Briar College and a Masters of Arts in English from Belmont University. She has received her Montessori training in ages 6-9 and started her adolescent training in Cincinnati through CMStep.


    Elissa lives in East Nashville with her three children.

  • Alice Newman - Middle School Math Teacher

    With a strong background of work experience in both the private financial sector and in education, Alice joins the HTM family as our Middle School Math Teacher. Originally from West Virginia, Alice has lived in Middle Tennessee since she received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Lipscomb University. 


    Alice began her career as a financial analyst until she felt a calling to teach. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Middle Tennessee State University after completing a selective program for Grades 7-12 Teachers offered by the Tennessee Department of Education. Since then, Alice has taught and tutored mathematics in middle school through college levels for students in both public and private schools. Alice discovered the Montessori approach as she sought creative and hands-on strategies to help students, including her own children, master mathematical concepts.


    When she’s not teaching, Alice enjoys knitting, yoga, reading, and spending time with her husband Daniel and their two sons.

  • Karla Loftus - Catechesis Teacher

    HTM is blessed to have Karla Loftus on board as our Catechesis teacher! Karla has enjoyed an outstanding career in education, serving in both public and private schools for over 30 years. Her previous roles range from Kindergarten Teacher to Enrichment Coordinator to High School Counselor, so she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team at HTM. Karla holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University, has completed Level I certification for “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd,” and is currently working to complete Level II.


    Karla is a mom of 4 daughters (including Head of School, Kate Riley!), grandmother of 9, and surrogate grandmother for every HTM child. In fact, you’ll probably hear our students call her “Nanny,” the term of endearment from her own grandchildren that we’ve all adopted. We all love Karla - there’s no one we’d rather have caring for the spiritual and moral development in the hearts of our young friends at HTM!

  • Margaret Brown – Art Instructor

    Margaret Brown is a uniquely gifted artist, teacher, and business owner with a passion for helping children discover the joy of creating art. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Design from Auburn University and Art Education from Middle Tennessee State University. As a guest teacher and lecturer, Margaret has conducted workshops for such institutions as the Tennessee Arts Education Association and the FRIST Art Museum for more than seven years.

    Margaret loves how the process of art making helps each child discover their passion and find their own voice within their work, an approach which fits seamlessly with the Montessori philosophy.  

     

    In addition to her teaching endeavors, Margaret owns ML Brown Studio in Germantown, where she paints using complex layers and mark-making to communicate intuitive thoughts and emotions. When she’s not teaching or creating, Margaret enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and serving at her church. Her two young daughters both attend HTM.   

  • Jo Dee Messina – Music Teacher (Interim)

    We are thrilled to welcome music industry veteran Jo Dee Messina to our HTM staff for the 2018-2019 academic year! If you’re a country music fan, we probably don’t need to tell you about Jo Dee’s many notable achievements, including nine No. 1 hits, sixteen Top 40 songs, over five million albums sold worldwide, and a slew of honors from the ACM Awards, CMA Awards, and GRAMMY Awards, just to name a few.  


    But while we all love to sing along to Heads Carolina, Tails California, we really love Jo Dee for her huge heart and her indomitable spirit. She has been a longtime champion of Montessori education and a true blessing for our school, advocating for HTM since we opened our doors. Jo Dee volunteered to work with our students last year, and it was a perfect fit – they loved her energy, and she encouraged them to reach their potential through courage, hard work, and consistency.


    Whether on the stage or in the classroom, Jo Dee is exactly the same - she holds nothing back and gives it everything she has. We are so thankful she agreed to join us this year, and look forward to hearing some amazing music filling the halls of our school!

  • Anadara Arnold - Music Teacher (On Leave)

    Anadara became part of the HTM family as our Music Teacher in the fall of 2011. As a child in San Diego, Anadara was fortunate to attend a Montessori school during her Primary and Lower Elementary years. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Vocal Performance from Syracuse University, with a minor in Theater. Since then, Anadara has released two solo albums and received numerous songwriting awards, but her favorite song is still the official school song she wrote with the help of the Lower Elementary class of 2012/13, called “We Are All Friends Here.” Prior to coming to HTM, Anadara also taught for The Music Class in Nashville, a music education program designed to unleash the musical potential of young children.


    Anadara is taking an extended leave of absence for the 2018-2019 academic year. We wish the Arnold family well and look forward to welcoming them back soon!

  • Whitney Enoch - Office Administrator and Admissions Coordinator

    We can’t imagine HTM without Whitney! Whitney provides general administrative support in our front office and also coordinates our admissions process. Whitney fell in love with HTM during her very first visit for a Parent Tour, and she decided since she can’t enroll as a student herself, working here was the next best thing!


    Whitney brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her years in the music industry, where she worked in artist management, booking, tour management, and as an Executive Assistant for the president of a major record label. We love that she manages to stay organized, calm and collected while injecting humor into almost every situation. She also unofficially serves as Head Cheerleader for every child who walks through our doors; it’s not uncommon to find multiple students in Whitney’s office at any given time because she truly makes each one feel special and loved.


    When she’s not at school, Whitney loves to go on adventures and make memories with her family. Whitney lives in Nashville with her husband and four children, all of whom now attend HTM.

  • Laura Frith - Director of Development

    Laura does an amazing job in her role of Director of Development, in which she works diligently to spread the great news about our school. She is responsible for coordinating our Capital Campaign, meeting with current and potential school partners, developing our annual fundraising efforts, and more. Prior to joining our staff, Laura worked for over ten years in the areas of marketing and financial services, where she helped affluent corporate clients and individuals build customized financial plans. 


    Laura holds a Bachelor of Science from Birmingham Southern College. She and her family live in the Bellevue area and recently welcomed their third baby boy (both big brothers enjoy attending Holy Trinity Montessori!).