Head of School
Kristina (aka “Stina”) Torres is our dedicated and enthusiastic Head of School. She originated in the position in the 2015-2016 school year, St. Croix Montessori’s 10th Anniversary year. The role of the Head of School is to champion the SCM mission; lead and manage faculty and staff to meet nationally recognized standards of quality education and care; cultivate effective relationships across every member of the community, including students, parents, faculty, Board, investors, and stakeholders; ensure accountability and financial sustainability; foster a culturally-rich and socio-economically diverse community; and – in a phrase – make everything at St. Croix Montessori run smoothly!
A native-born New Yorker, Kristina and her family moved to St. Croix from Columbus, Ohio in 2014 when her husband joined the University of the Virgin Islands faculty. With 12 years of recognized change leadership, management of complex systems, process improvement and executive communications strategy, Kristina is a versatile individual with a dynamic, diverse skill set and a passion for learning. She previously worked at The Ohio State University as a Business Relationship Manager, where she developed an extensive knowledge of academic and administrative culture, strategic planning, sustainable funding models, service improvement, and relationship building and program development. She is active in leadership development, particularly women in leadership, and is an Art of Hosting practitioner, hosting and designing facilitation of groups anywhere from 5 people to 200.
Kristina discovered a fierce passion for access to quality education, as well as the development of and implementation of educational policies as a graduate student at The Ohio State University, where she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and assisted in the creation of an interdisciplinary graduate degree program in Disability Studies. In her first position at Ohio State, and later as a consultant, she developed and provided oversight of multiple federal and state educational grants impacting at-risk youth.
As a Montessori parent, Kristina is personally invested in sustaining a thriving community for St. Croix Montessori and the children of St. Croix. Prior to relocating, her family went through the intensive decision and admissions process with an Ohio Montessori school. Access to a strong Montessori Elementary program was a critical factor in deciding to move to St. Croix. With a B.S. in Biology, a love of knowledge, yoga, and nature, Kristina is also a bit of a geek for sci-fi and spy stories, and loves a good meal with friends. Kristina is excited to shepherd St. Croix Montessori into the next decade!
Ms. Sylvia Sullivan has been the Primary Guide at St. Croix Montessori since the school was founded in 2006. She is an active, friendly, outgoing presence. She came to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1969 from her hometown of New York, as a young bride.
Prior to her Montessori work, Sylvia worked as a public health Registered Nurse on St. Croix for ten years while raising her two children, counseling prenatal patients and teaching mothers about the care of infants and children. Sylvia also owned and operated a thriving daycare for three years.
Sylvia’s lifelong strong interest in human growth and development led her to study and attend the 12th AMI Training course in 1979 at the Montessori Institute of Atlanta in Georgia, where she received her AMI certificate as a Primary Education Guide. Sylvia has over 26 years of teaching experience as a Montessori guide, with many of those years at the former Manor School on St. Croix, and as a school nurse. Both of Sylvia’s children received a Montessori education, and her two grandchildren are also Montessori students in the states. Her daughter and son-in-law are both Montessori guides, and her son and daughter-in-law work in the arts.
Sylvia enjoys playing the guitar and piano and singing, yoga and meditation practice (although the daily practice of being fully present in the primary classroom is itself a meditation!), gardening and outdoor activities, cooking healthy nutritious foods, and reading – especially neuroscience and psychology.
With her dynamic energy, enthusiasm and great passion for the potential of children, Washington D.C. native Mary Olive Gosselink relocated to the Virgin Islands and joined the St. Croix Montessori community in August 2015.
Ms. Mary Olive received her Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies in 2009. She instructed a broad range of students from primary to college level for six years in public schools, including as a certified English as a Second Language instructor in Maryland in 2012, and in the JET Program in Fukuoka, Japan. Mary Olive caught the Montessori bug and was an Assistant Montessori Guide at the White Flint Children’s House in Maryland for the 2013-2014 school year. She has been completing her AMI Certification and Master’s Degree in Montessori Education at Loyola University in Maryland.
Mary Olive has a wide range of interests outside of education: she loves books and movies, dance and cheerleading, and creative writing. She is also a certified lifeguard and, to the chagrin of her French-speaking parents, speaks rebelliously and proficiently in Japanese and German.
Primary 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.
Elementary Class Assistant
Ms. Ana is from Bogota, Colombia, but has lived on St. Croix for over 45 years. Ana started working in Montessori education in 1998 at Manor School with Sylvia Sullivan, and later spent two years as an Elementary Assistant at St. Croix Montessori. While Ana has been a Montessori assistant for the past 27 years, her interest in working with children developed when she was a young girl! She recently attended a Child Development Associate program at UVI. We are thrilled that she has joined us again!
Ana has a grandson who is currently a Montessori student.
As a native Spanish speaker, Ana plans to work with our Elementary students on Spanish language skills. She enjoys travel and has spent some time in the Middle East. She also enjoys sewing and reading, and Bible study.
The role of the Office Manager is essential to the successful operations of St. Croix Montessori. The Office Manager serves as one of the “faces” of St. Croix Montessori, greeting parents and community members, and providing high levels of customer service while also maintaining discretion and privacy. The position reports directly to the Head of School and is responsible for the maintenance of daily operations as well as assisting with the marketing and communications of St. Croix Montessori. The role provides assistance to the teachers, Head of School, Board, and parents as needed.
Ms. Hanley is a St. Croix native and Montessori alumnus. She also has a knack for events and cooking, with the children often asking her to make one of her delicious dishes!
Staff photos (c)2015 by Heather Maynard. Thank you Heather!