Victoria de Leon
Ms. de Leon has recently come to St. Croix from another US Territory – Saipan. Ms. de Leon, a consummate educator, has the distinction of being certified in three AMI Montessori training courses (0-3, 3-6, 6-12). In addition, she has a diploma from the St. Nicholas Montessori Training Center in London. While in England, she had the opportunity of studying under two trainers who had themselves been trained by Dr. Montessori. Most of her career has found her in inner city public schools but also in rural and urban schools, domestically and internationally. Her experiences include work as a Montessori mentor, the Head of a Montessori program at a Chinese school in Beijing, and a Reading/Literacy support at an international Montessori school in Hong Kong. She has also worked as a Cross Cultural Trainer, preparing youth to join international service projects under the auspices of the Baha’i (Faith) Youth Service Corps. She has offered pro bono services in literacy in Asia and the United States. Her other academic achievements include three master’s degrees, in Cultural Studies, Curriculum and Instruction, and Reading and Language Arts. These degrees earned her certifications as a Remedial Reading Teacher and a Reading Consultant, as well as a certificate in teaching English as a Second Language. Her life has taken her around the world multiple times, starting with a three-month trip backpacking, hiking and hitch-hiking around Europe directly after college. She has since traveled to six of the seven continents including 39 countries and territories. Although she has attempted to retire twice, she continues to be lured back by her love of children and desire to stay a useful and productive member of the World. Currently, she is refining her Spanish communication skills under the tutelage of her Teaching Assistant extraordinaire, Ana Assad. THANK YOU, Ms. Ana!
Jean Bishop, born and raised in England, moved to St. Croix in 1983. After completing her BA and postgraduate studies in the UK, Jean Bishop traveled in the USA and had her first experiences with Montessori education on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. She completed her lower elementary training in Maryland with Harvey Hallenberg, who was trained directly by a student of Maria Montessori’s. Jean went on to work in Special Education in the UK but found her way to St. Croix, after a particularly cold winter, in search of sunshine. She has lived here ever since. Jean has taught various subjects in several private schools on the island and has over 20 years’ experience as an Elementary Montessori Guide.
Primary Class Assistant
Ms. Ana was born in the small town of Sasaima outside Bogota, Colombia. She left school at an early age first to work on her family’s farm, and then as a nanny in Bogota, where she was determined to continue her education. In 1969 she met her husband, who was from Jordan. After having her first child, the young family moved to St. Croix, where she followed through on her promise to herself to continue her education. She earned her GED in 1984 and began working in Montessori education as a teacher’s assistant in 1988 at the Manor School. In the interim years she has participated in seminars on topics as far ranging as Bilingual Education and Early Brain Development Research. In 2010 she enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at the University of the Virgin Islands, receiving her Child Development Associate Credential in 2016. Congratulations, Ms. Ana! Ms. Ana worked at Manor School for twenty years, and in the Head Start program before joining the St. Croix Montessori School in 2006. After a brief retirement from 2018 to 2020, she was convinced to return to the classroom, and we are so pleased that she agreed to do so! She is much loved by her students for her gentle kindness and attention to their learning.
Elementary Class Assistant
Ms. Radiance (aka “Ms. Rae”) Irwin is a native born Crucian and has been with our St. Croix Montessori community since 2013. Her gentle and consistently positive manner pervades the classroom and invites children to participate thoughtfully.
Ms. Rae came highly recommended to St. Croix Montessori and is well loved by all who know her. She has over 42 years of experience working with children, including our community’s children most at risk: she has for many years worked directly with troubled children and adolescents for Virgin Islands Behavioral Services, where she would often manage the overnight shift at the residential treatment center in Anna’s Hope.
Ms. Rae is excited to continue learning about Montessori and work in our Primary environment.