About City Garden

Our Values, History, & Team

Mission & Vision

City Garden Montessori Schools exists to redefine education, reimagine community, and reinvigorate our world.

The City Garden Story

City Garden began in 1995 as a small, preschool of a few children. Today, we serve 275 children from ages 3 to 14.

Board of Directors

City Garden is supported by deeply engaged board and committee members. Learn more about their work and service by clicking below.

Meet the Team

City Garden has a dynamic team of guides and administrators. Get to know our team, and find out how to connect with them!

Mission & Vision

City Garden exists to redefine education by developing the whole child in an excellent, inclusive, Montessori school; to reimagine community by creating spaces and systems that help to restore our collective humanity; and to reinvigorate our world by creating a culture in which individuals and communities thrive without disparities or barriers to success.

In the process of nurturing our students to be competent, creative, lifelong learners who practice compassion, respect, nonviolence and sustainability, we will strengthen families, the neighborhoods we serve, and the City of St. Louis as a whole.

The City Garden Story

City Garden Montessori School was founded by Trish Curtis and Mary Mitchell in 1995, with an intent to provide high-quality early educational experiences to children in the City of St. Louis for a very affordable price.

In January of 2006, seeing a need for more quality schooling options in the City of St. Louis, parents led efforts to pursue the expansion of City Garden to include an elementary program.  A Charter Planning Committee was formed and led the work of creating a charter school. The elementary expansion of City Garden Montessori School built upon what was established at the preschool, cultivating a nurturing, intimate atmosphere and implementing an interactive learning approach that honors each child individually.

In Fall 2008, City Garden Montessori School opened its charter school with 53 students in grades kindergarten through third grade. City Garden’s charter school is a neighborhood school, serving children and families in the Botanical Heights, Forest Park Southeast, Shaw, and portions of the Southwest Garden and Tiffany neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis. The school currently serves 275 students ages 3 to 14, in preschool through eighth grade.

City Garden’s vision has always been to introduce children to the idea of being change makers in our world. The Montessori approach, hands-on and individualized, helps to instill a firm understanding of respect for oneself and others. The school’s curriculum has a multi-cultural focus, making connections with children, cultures and environments around the world. Cultivating what Howard Gardner calls the “naturalist intelligence,” children’s natural wonder at the world is harnessed into a ecological awareness and a capacity for scientific observation. City Garden students and graduates are compassionate, well-rounded, confident human beings who are eager to learn and who excel in many areas.

Our hope has been, and continues to be, that City Garden school will be a community school—a space for members of the surrounding neighborhoods to gather, learn and get to know each other, a school in which families and community members feel a sense of ownership and pride, and a place that will be a source of hope and vitality for our community. We aim to cultivate compassionate and critically thinking young people who will make a difference in our world.

Our Sponsor - Saint Louis University

City Garden Montessori  School could never be the type of school and community gathering place that we are without the support of our partners, our friends, and our sponsor, Saint Louis University.

Saint Louis University’s commitment to urban community education is manifested in the involvement of its students, faculty, and staff in various forms of public schooling.

The University has an extensive history of collaboration with St. Louis’ public schools, and continually seeks to assist the St. Louis Public School District, neighboring public school districts, the City of St. Louis, and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as appropriate to advance student learning. Toward that goal the University has committed to sponsorship of public charter schools.

Community Leadership Through Sponsorship

The success of a charter school – and, therefore, the successes of its students – is closely tied to the integrity of the sponsor and quality of sponsor oversight. As a leader in the education and certification of St. Louis’ teachers and administrators, and as a comprehensive research institution committed to empirically-based improvement efforts in urban public education, Saint Louis University is uniquely poised to serve the St. Louis community as a sponsor.

Serving as a sponsor further engages the University’s faculty, staff, and students in the St. Louis community, and further evidences the University’s leadership commitment to public schooling, innovation in education, and community development.

The Decision to Sponsor

Over the past several years a number of groups have requested that Saint Louis University consider charter school sponsorship. Recognizing the extent of such a challenge, the University has approached sponsorship cautiously and with due diligence. University constituents have consulted with officials from the St. Louis Public School District, regional and national charter school associations, and faculty and staff at other colleges and universities serving as charter school sponsors in and outside of Missouri.

Faculty and staff from throughout the University are encouraged to lend their insight, experience, and expertise to the institutional sponsorship effort.

Scope of Sponsorship

While the need for high-performing public schools is significant, Saint Louis University recognizes that its role as a sponsor of charter schools is both supported and bounded by its institutional mission as well as human and financial resources.Accordingly, faculty and staff have focused their efforts on sponsorship of a very small number of schools whose leadership, missions, and curricula present a “good fit” with the people and programs of the University. Sponsored schools are characterized by:

• a strong local board of trustees (non-profit), formed in response to demonstrated local need
• an educational mission consistent with Saint Louis University’s mission and values
• a location close to campus to meet the distinct needs of students residing in neighborhoods near and adjacent to the University
• a rigorous curriculum design responsive to the school’s mission and the needs of the community
• opportunities for University faculty, staff, and student involvement throughout its operations

These parameters exclude a majority of charter school applicants; the University is not seeking to sponsor a vast network of charter schools.

Financial Implications of Sponsorship

Missouri’s charter school laws provide that “the expenses associated with sponsorship of charter schools” be reimbursed to sponsors on a per-student basis, up to an annual maximum amount (RSMo 160-400). Accordingly, as enrollments at the schools sponsored by the University grow to their potential as designed, and as our relationships with sponsored schools mature to include increased involvement of University faculty, staff, and students in the charter schools, our sponsorship should evolve to be a revenue-neutral educational initiative.

Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
State Accountability Report Card

State and federal law require the development of report cards at the state, district, and building level. Specific data includes: enrollment, attendance, percent students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch, staffing ratios, teacher  experience, average teacher and administrator salaries, expenditures/student, Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) results, students in gifted education program, and percent english language learners.

To access City Garden Montessori School’s 2019 State Accountability Report Card:
1. Visit the DESE website: https://tinyurl.com/y46r9gjv
2. Select 2019 as School Year
3. Select City Garden Montessori as District
4. Select City Garden Montessori as School
5. Select View Report

Meet the Team

Primary (Preschool) & Kindergarten Teams

Shannon Adams

Lead Guide - Primary 1

shannon.adams@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Amy Milligan

Assistant Guide - Primary 1

amy.milligan@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Hilary Fischman

Lead Guide - Primary 2

hilary@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Mary Halim

Assistant Guide - Primary 2

mary.halim@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Camille Young

Lead Guide - Primary 3

camille.young@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Andra Staicu

Assistant Guide - Primary 3

andra.staicu@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Anita Zipprich

Lead Guide - Primary 4

anita.zipprich@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Kristina Wilkerson

Assistant Guide - Primary 4

kristina.wilkerson@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Alissa Imel

Lead Guide - Primary 5

alissa.imel@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Chelsea DeMease

Assistant Guide - Primary 5

chelsea.demease@citygardenschool.org

She/Her They/Them

Julia Freeman

Lead Guide - Primary 6

julia.freeman@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Jocelyn Beard

Assistant Guide - Primary 6

jocelyn.beard@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Carmen Beliz

Lead Guide - Kindergarten 1

carmen.beliz@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Amy Willems

Lead Guide - Kindergarten 2

amy.willems@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Emilie Moroney

Lead Guide - Kindergarten 3

emilie.moroney@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Dennia Butler

Assistant Guide - Kindergarten 3

dennia.butler@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Lower Elementary Team

Becky Broshears

Lead Guide - Lower Elementary 1

becky.broshears@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Christine Vinarcsik

Apprentice Guide - Lower Elementary 1

christine.vinarcsik@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Danielle Combs

Lead Guide - Lower Elementary 2

danielle@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Ollie Ganim

Lead Guide - Lower Elementary 3

ollie@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Adam Kertz

Assistant Guide - Lower Elementary 3

adam.kertz@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Anne Lacey

Lead Guide- Lower Elementary 4

anne@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Upper Elementary Team

Amber Watson

Lead Guide - Upper Elementary 1

amber.watson@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Matt Jaworski

Lead Guide - Upper Elementary 2

matt@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Vida Weekly

Assistant Guide - Upper Elementary 2

vida.weekly@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Ariel Danza

Lead Guide - Upper Elementary 3

ariel@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

KJ Jones

Assistant Guide - Upper Elementary 3

karli.jones@citygardenschool.org

They/Them He/Him

Junior High Team

Amy Denother

Lead Guide - Math & Science

amy@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

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Pat Garrett

Lead Guide - Language Arts & History

pat@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

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Gloria Haukap

Assistant Guide - Junior High

gloria.haukap@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

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Academic Support Services

Cathy Bain

Director of Academic Support Services

cathy@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Anne Beney

Reading Specialist

Anne.Beney@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Jeanne Eveld

Special Education Instructor

jeanne@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Christine Rose

Speech-Language Pathologist

christine.rose@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Nick Diener

Special Educator Teacher

nick.diener@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Dominique Cazako

Special Education Paraprofessional

dominique.cazako@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Ivy Mason

Lower Elementary Reading Specialist

ivy.mason@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Specials Team

Trisha Anderson

P.E. & Afterschool Instructor

trisha@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Lauren Denney

Outdoor Education Specialist

lauren.denney@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Juliet Salih

Spanish Instructor

juliet@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Norman Williams

Music Instructor

norman@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Academic Administration Team

Crystal Isom

Principal

crystal.isom@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Dr. Lanor Payne

Assistant Principal

lanor.payne@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Sharmouel Mosley

Executive Assistant to the Principal

sharmouel@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Liz Harris

School Secretary & Admissions Coordinator

liz@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

School Support Team

Catrina Davis

Family Support Coordinator

catrina.davis@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Chris Stevenson

Senior School Support Coordinator

chris@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Jemecia Bailey

School Support Coordinator

jemecia.bailey@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Nephari Luckett

Receptionist

nephari.luckett@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Emily Salmieri MSW, LCSW

Behavioral Health Therapist

emily.salmieri@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Robert Nelson

Lead Student Support Guide

robert.nelson@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Montessori Institute Team

Jori Martinez-Woods

Institute Director

institute@citygardenschool.org

Heading

Mike Flohr

Elementary Level Coordinator

mike.flohr@citygardenschool.org

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Administrative Network Team

Christie Huck

CEO/Executive Director

christie@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

David Blank

Chief Operating Officer

david@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Tiffany Whitlock

Business Office & Facilities Manager

tiff@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Deb Fox

Administrative Coordinator

debra@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Lynn deLearie

Development Associate

lynn.delearie@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Mary Swofford

Food Service Coordinator

mary.swofford@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Casey Owen

Buildings & Grounds Maintenance Technician

casey.owen@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His