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 & Committees

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

Board & Committees

Board of Directors

Joel Achtenberg

Retired Clinical Social Worker,

Washington University Medical Center

Anthony Beasley

President

Beasley HR

Sysco Deuanephenh

Finance Director

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation

Jesse Dixon

Education Consultant

Rung, Inc.

Liz Fathman

Director of Marketing and Communications

Missouri Botanical Garden

Joelle Fouse

Director of Finance and Human Resources

Rainbow Village Properties, Inc

Michelle Gleason

Safety and Soundness Examiner

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Sherita Haigler

Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion

United Way of Greater St. Louis

Shanika Harris

Charter School Program Specialist

University of Missouri

Claire Schell

Assistant Vice President, Employee Experience

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation

Jarrod Sharp

Attorney, Partner at

Thompson Coburn LLP

Susie Shelton-Dodge

Director Emerita

Hope Montessori Educational Institute

Donna Smith

Executive Vice President

Smith NMTC Associates, LLC

Board Meeting Packets

September 2020 Board Packet

Committee Members

Jesse Dixon

Academic Excellence Committee

Susie Shelton-Dodge

Academic Excellence Committee

Saras Chung

Academic Excellence Committee

Mia Howard

Academic Excellence Committee

Isaac Pollack

Academic Excellence Committee

Brian Thomas

Academic Excellence Committee

Jarrod Sharp

Building and Grounds Committee

Alex Brooks

Building and Grounds Committee

Kirby Burkholder

Building and Grounds Committee

Brian Feld

Building and Grounds Committee

Matt Guymon

Building and Grounds Committee

Paula Langley

Building and Grounds Committee

Dave Orwick

Building and Grounds Committee

Jeff Steinmann

Building and Grounds Committee

Stacey Wehe

Building and Grounds Committee

Liz Fathman

Development Committee

Kristen Carroll

Development Committee

Luke Carroll

Development Committee

Lynn deLearie

Development Committee

Rachel D'Souza-Siebert

Development Committee

Sara Gordon

Development Committee

Kate McCarthy

Development Committee

Joelle Fouse

Development Committee

Sysco Deuanephenh

Development Committee

Sarah Buchheit

Development Committee

Adam DeZego

Development Committee

Bill Kling

Development Committee

Justin Rolwes

Development Committee

James Schier

Development Committee

Joshua Zade

Development Committee

Shanika Harris

Governance Committee

Donna Smith

Governance Committee

Anthony Beasley

Governance Committee

Mollie Farrell-Khazaeli

Governance Committee

Mollie Grossmann

Governance Committee

Peter Ruger

Governance Committee

Steve Sanchez

Governance/ Academic Excellence Committees

Meet the Team

Primary Team

Shannon Adams

Primary 1 Lead Guide

shannon.adams@citygardenschool.org

Helen Sayre

Primary 1 Assistant Guide

helen.sayre@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Hilary Fischman

Primary 2 Lead Guide

hilary@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Mary Halim

Primary 2 Assistant Guide

Mary.halim@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Amy Willems

Primary 3 Lead Guide

amy.willems@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Emilie Moroney

Primary 3 Assistant Guide

emilie.moroney@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Lower Elementary Team

Becky Broshears

Lower Elementary 1 Lead Guide

becky.broshears@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Nick Diener

Lower Elementary 1 Assistant Guide

nick.diener@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Danielle Combs

Lower Elementary 2 Lead Guide

danielle@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Christopher Stevenson

Lower Elementary 2 Assistant Guide

chris@citygardenschool.org

Brenda McDonald

Lower Elementary 3 Lead Guide

brenda@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Upper Elementary Team

Ariel Campbell

Upper Elementary Lead Guide

ariel@citygardenschool.org

Matt Jaworski

Upper Elementary Lead Guide

matt@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Vida Weekly

Upper Elementary Assistant Guide

vida.weekly@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Ollie Ganim

Upper Elementary Assistant Guide

ollie@citygardenschool.org

Lauren Denney

Upper Elementary Assistant Guide

lauren.denney@citygardenschool.org

Junior High Team

Amy Denother

Junior High Lead Guide

amy@citygardenschool.org

Heading

Pat Garrett

Junior High Lead Guide

pat@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Heading

Marina Henke

Junior High Assistant Guide

marina.henke@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Heading

Academic Support Services

Cathy Bain

cathy@citygardenschool.org

Director of Academic Support Services

She/Her/Hers

Christine Rose

christine.rose@citygardenschool.org

Speech-Language Pathologist

Anne Beney

Anne.Beney@citygardenschool.org

Reading Specialist

Jeanne Eveld

jeanne@citygardenschool.org

Special Education Instructor

She/Her/Hers

Benjamin Pauls

ben@citygardenschool.org

Special Education Instructor

Specials Team

Trisha Anderson

P.E. & Afterschool Instructor

trisha@citygardenschool.org

Juliet Salih

Spanish Instructor

norman@citygardenschool.org

Norman Williams

Music Instructor

juliet@citygardenschool.org

School Support Team

Crystal Isom

Principal

crystal.isom@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Amanda Gilliom

Lunch Coordinator

amanda.gilliom@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Liz Harris

School Secretary & Admissions Coordinator

liz@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Tiffany Johnson

Nurse

tiffany.johnson@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Michelle Marshall

Family Support Coordinator

michelle.marshall@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Sharmouel Mosley

Executive Assistant to the Principal

sharmouel@citygardenschool.org

She/Her/Hers

Robert Nelson

Lead Student Support Guide

robert.nelson@citygardenschool.org

He/Him/His

Kennard Williams

Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator

kennard.williams@citygardenschool.org

Montessori Institute Team

Jori Martinez-Woods

Institute Director

institute@citygardenschool.org

Heading

Mike Flohr

Elementary Level Coordinator

Mike.Flohr@Citygardenschool.org

Heading

Administrative Network Team

Tiffany Murphy Whitlock

tiff@citygardenschool.org

Business Office & Facilities Manager

She/Her/Hers

Christie Huck

christie@citygardenschool.org

CEO/Executive Director

Deb Fox

debra@citygardenschool.org

Administrative Coordinator

Deb Flores

deb.flores@citygardenschool.org

Chief Development Officer

She/Her/Hers

David Blank

david@citygardenschool.org

Chief Operating Officer

He/Him/His