faculty and 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.

  • 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 - Assistant Teacher, 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 at school, 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.  

  • 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!

  • Meghan Nash - Assistant Teacher, Primary A

    Meghan Nash is joining Holy Trinity Montessori as the Primary A Teacher Assistant. Born and raised in Nashville, Meghan holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

    Throughout her career, Meghan has enjoyed working with kids, beginning as a camp counselor in high school, then running an after-school program during college, and more recently as a substitute teacher and assistant teacher at various schools around Nashville. Prior to joining our staff full-time, Meghan worked part-time at HTM as a substitute/floater teacher, where she fell in love with working with toddlers and primary-aged children using the Montessori approach to learning. Meghan also worked for many years as a legal assistant and medical typist, all while being a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters.

    When she's not working, Meghan enjoys spending time with her family and pets (two dogs, a guinea pig, gecko, and fish). She's passionate about the outdoors and animal care, which is why you can often find Meghan and her family taking care of the goats and chickens at HTM. We are so grateful for their love and support of our campus animals!

  • Regan Pearson – Lead Teacher, Primary B

    Regan serves as Lead 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. 

  • Sydney Hutson - Lead Teacher, Primary C

    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 graduated with her Infant and Toddler certification, finishing her practicum year of Montessori training as our Toddler Community Intern before taking on the role of Lead Teacher in our Primary C Community. 

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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 and began her career working in the food industry. After some time she discovered her true passion was in working with children, so she went on to receive her Lower Elementary training from Northern American Montessori Center. Jaime is now in hear sixth year of teaching at HTM, and she loves her Lower Elementary classroom.

    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.

  • Jenny Garrison - Assistant Teacher, Lower Elementary 2

    In the fall of 2020, Jenny joined our Lower Elementary 2 classroom community as Assistant Teacher. Jenny has spent her life pursuing knowledge through a variety of ways, including traveling, learning interior design skills, and exploring the culinary arts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Communication from New College at the University of Alabama and also studied at American College of London as well as American University in Washington, D.C. After working on Capitol Hill, Jenny decided to switch her focus from politics to food. She attended the Culinary Academy in Birmingham, Alabama before joining The Cooking School at Southern Living Magazine.

    Because learning is a core value for her family, Jenny has dedicated her time and talents to serve each of her three children’s schools over the past decade. She is now looking forward to exploring nature, literature, and life alongside her students at HTM. We believe they will love learning from Jenny as well!

  • Cassidy Gramke – Co-Teacher, Upper Elementary

    Cassidy joined the Upper Elementary community in 2018 as Co-Teacher. A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Cassidy studied Middle Childhood Education with a specialty in Social Studies and Language Arts. After completing her first year of teaching, Cassidy earned her Montessori certification through Montessori Live's Upper Elementary training program.

    Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Cassidy has developed a love for her new city of Nashville. She 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.

  • Abbie DeBlasis - Middle School Lead Teacher

    Abbie DeBlasis joined the Holy Trinity Montessori teaching team in the fall of 2020 as the leader of our Middle School program. Abbie comes to HTM with many years of experience in law, teaching, and academic scholarship.

    A Nashville native, Abbie graduated from Miami University with a degree in Finance and a minor in Gerontology. She then attended Wake Forest University School of Law, where she acted as the Editor-in-Chief of the Wake Forest Law Review. She went on to practice law at national and regional law firms in Charlotte, North Carolina, and here in Nashville, Tennessee, focusing her practice on lending and health care operational and regulatory matters.

    After spending time as a teacher's assistant in law school and recruiting new talent for her respective law firms, Abbie discovered a new passion for guiding and mentoring younger members of her profession. She joined the faculty at Belmont University College of Law and spent nearly 6 years as a law professor there. While at Belmont, she began researching, writing, and presenting in the areas of law student and lawyer well-being and mindfulness. In addition, as a reflection of her years as a deep believer in Dr. Montessori’s pedagogy, she wrote and had published an article on the application of Montessori principles in a law school classroom.

    Because her children have attended HTM since 2011, Abbie has been a frequent visitor to HTM’s campus over the years as a parent and a volunteer. Most recently, she has served as a member of the PTO and as coach of the HTM Forensics Team. We are thrilled to officially welcome Abbie to our faculty, and we believe our Middle School students are going to have an amazing guide through their studies of language arts, history, U.S. government, and economics.

  • Richard Friedman - Math and Science

    Richard Friedman joined Holy Trinity Montessori in 2020 as our Math and Science Teacher. Originally from Queens, New York, Richard graduated from Queens College CUNY with a BA in Biology and Science Secondary Education. After teaching in the NYC Public School System, Richard earned a PhD in Molecular Genetics from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

    After a career in both Basic Science and Medical Research, Richard returned to teaching and tutoring students in math and science at the middle and high school level. Richard feels that children are some of the best scientists, as their minds are curious about the world around them. They want to know why things are the way they are and how things work. Richard looks forward to learning the Montessori methods of teaching so he can help to guide the students in their exploration and understanding of the worlds of math and science.

    When not teaching, Richard likes to relax by exercising, reading mystery and science fiction novels and spending time with his wife Debra and daughter Erica.

  • 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!

  • Kristina Bassett - Office Administrator and Admissions Coordinator

    Kristina joined the HTM family as our new Office Administrator and Admissions Coordinator beginning in the 2020 academic year. With a background in business development, office management, and wedding planning, she was well-equipped to take on this dynamic role supporting our team. Kristina attended San Diego State University to study Meeting and Event Planning, so we know she'll put a special touch on our fundraisers and events. Kristina recently moved to Tennessee from the San Diego area of California, so while she'll miss the weather there, she has fallen in love with the big hearts and big music here in Nashville. She is most looking forward to Nashville hot chicken, long walks through Shelby Bottoms Greenway, and making fast friends with our HTM students. We are excited to welcome Kristina to our school!

  • 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  lives in the Bellevue area with her husband and their three young sons. 

board of directors

Holy Trinity Montessori is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. A Board of Directors, composed of parents and community members from the Nashville Area, oversees Holy Trinity Montessori and operates under an established set of Bylaws. The Board of Directors is responsible for hiring and evaluating the Head of School, overseeing the school’s financial status and conducting strategic planning for the school.

2020-2021 Board Members

Brink Fidler

Tabatha Tharpe

Leo Miller

Sharon Graham

Gette Rech

Jeremy White

Chuck Hoving

Kate Riley

Dan Loftus