Sylvia Sullivan ~ Primary Guide
Ms. Sylvia Sullivan is an AMI certified Primary Montessori Guide.
Ms. Sylvia has forty years of experience guiding children in Montessori schools on St. Croix, and she is a founding member of St. Croix Montessori.
Ms. Sylvia recently moved back to St. Croix after spending a couple years in Georgia. However, even upon her move off island, she never really left St. Croix Montessori – she served on the board as pedagogical consultant 2020 until her return the classroom and the children.
Ms. Sylvia is also a Registered Professional Nurse, and has served as School Nurse for many years.
Ms Sylvia enjoys yoga, playing the guitar, and singing.
Ms. Sylvia recently expressed: “I am thrilled to return to my beloved school. This school is near and dear to my heart. I look forward to creating a loving and safe environment for the children. I am looking forward to joining my St. Croix family very soon.”
Ana Asad ~ Montessori 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.
Ms. Ana began working in Montessori education as a assistant in 1988 at the Manor School. 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.
Maddy Wilson ~ Elementary Guide
Ms. Maddy is thrilled to be expanding her teaching journey here at St. Croix Montessori. After graduating in 2018 with a degree in Secondary Education and French from Saint Louis University, Maddy traveled around the world for two years. Whether it was managing a hostel in Morocco, helping to start an urban farm in France, teaching surf lessons in Sri Lanka, or herding cattle in Ireland, Maddy’s philosophy is that connections with people and the world around her is the best part of being human. She hopes to bring this sentiment into her classroom, along with the importance of kindness, grace, and curiosity.
Ms. Maddy can be found singing in her folk band, The Songbirds, at various spots around the island, acting in plays at Caribbean Community Theatre, or catching waves wherever she can find them. She is especially grateful for the team at St. Croix Montessori for making her transition here smooth and supported. “Within the child lies the fate of the future.” -Maria Montessori
Theresa Gonzalez ~ Elementary Guide
With a background in Science and Art, and over 20 years experience as a Montessori educator, Theresa Gonzalez is eager to bring her passion for education to the community of St Croix Montessori.
Theresa earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western Carolina University, attended graduate school at WCU and the University of Florida, and is Montessori certified in Elementary Education.
Theresa has lived all over the US, including Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Washington, and Alaska. She has spent the last few years working as an artist and gallery owner, but her love of children and Montessori education has drawn her back to teaching. Theresa loves nature and the outdoors, where she enjoys gardening, kayaking, and exploring, always with a field guide and sketchbook in hand. A lifelong learner, Theresa’s current interests include basketry, weaving, pottery and curling up with a good book.
Radiance Irwin ~ Montessori Assistant
Ms. Radiance (aka “Ms. Rae”) 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 Elementary environment.
Caitlin Dowd ~ Montessori Assistant
Caitlin was born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and moved to St. Croix three years ago. She played volleyball and basketball in college and began working with children through coaching and doing summer camps. Coaching helped her realize her passion for creating an environment for children that supports and encourages a love for learning and since then she has worked as an aide in a Headstart classroom, a nanny, and an aftercare teacher. For the past two years she has worked as an aftercare teacher and in the Pre-K classroom.
In her free time Caitlin loves to go to the beach and explore the island with her son, Elijah. She is currently attending Montessori Training Center Northeast where she will receive her Primary Teaching Certification. She is so inspired by everything she is learning about the Montessori Method and excited for the opportunity to work at St. Croix Montessori School.
“Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul.” ~Maria Montessori
Joshua Grant Canning ~ IB Teacher
Mr. Canning is delighted to be joining St.Croix Montessori this year and looks forward to working with the team to help develop passionate, life-long learners. He brings a wealth of background and teaching experience to his role as English and Social Studies teacher in the school’s new International Baccalaureate program. Mr. Canning has over 24 years of teaching experience in schools such as: Good Hope Country Day School, The Pine Ridge School in northern Vermont and internationally at schools in Japan where he lived for four years.
A proponent of interdisciplinary, place-based education, Mr. Canning was awarded an Orion Society Fellowship in Environmental Education in 2008. He was selected as a Middlebury College Graduate Fellow in Environmental Journalism in 2009 and this allowed him to combine his passion for environmental awareness with his interest in traditional Japanese culture.
Mr. Canning also brings to STXM a passion for music and music education. As a jazz guitar player, he performs regularly in venues around the island, drawing from a wide ranging repertoire of jazz standards, contemporary pop, bebop, Bossa Nova and ballads. He has taught guitar for many years.
As a Remedial Language Instructor at The Pine Ridge School, Mr. Canning received several years of training in the Orton Gillingham Approach to language remediation. He likes to quote Howard Garner who said “it’s not how intelligent a person is, it is how they are intelligent.”
In his approach to teaching, he likes to emphasize his notion of “education as celebration” and tries to keep in mind what his graduate school mentor, the nature writer and literary scholar John Elder, once wrote:“Successful education has the power to make the world strange again.” Mr. Canning understands this to mean that, at its best, education can reawaken the sense of wonder and curiosity that, as young children, we all felt about the world around us.
Keith Pollock ~ IB Teacher
Keith Pollock moved to our beautiful island two years ago with his wife Courtney and their two dogs. He’s originally from Mentor, Ohio which is right outside of the more widely known Cleveland, Ohio – the home of rock n’ roll.
Keith was one of the top wrestlers in the state of Ohio while he was in high school, and after graduating, he went on to share his talents, skills, and love for the sport as a high school wrestling coach and as a volunteer coach for youth. Keith continued coaching as a member of the high school staff for about 20 years. He also coached high school football for five years.
Keith studied at Cleveland State University and received his Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Middle School Education. He has taught 4th to 8th grades in multiple content areas. He also spent some time teaching in a school that specializes in service to students with autism spectrum disorder.
Keith enjoys going to the beach, snorkeling, boating, and taking in all the live music the island has to offer. He is excited to join St. Croix Montessori during this time of growth with the International Baccalaureate program, and to be part of something new and innovative for the island of St. Croix.
Tracy Cook ~ Head of School
Tracy has been in the field of education for over 20 years, as teacher, director of special education, leader of technology initiatives, director of curriculum, dean of middle school, and dean of academics & technology. She has served in public schools, private schools and universities. Tracy received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and her Master’s in Educational Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
Tracy moved to St. Croix in 2017, just in time for hurricanes Irma and Maria. That experience showed her how a community can pull together in times of challenge and her love for this island was deepened.
Tracy earned her AMI Montessori Administrators Certificate from the Sydney Montessori Training Centre. She joined the team at St. Croix Montessori because she loves and believes in the Montessori methods, she loves the island of St. Croix, and she’s determined to continue the high quality experience built by the St. Croix Montessori School family. Tracy is excited to help expand and improve upon it to become a world class Montessori and International School for the kids and families on St. Croix.
In her spare time, Tracy loves to spend time with her new husband, Dean, and their two dogs, Winston and Hendrixx. She enjoys reading, traveling, scuba diving, and exploring. She is co-owner of a podcast that encourages women to explore.
Tracy’s passion is to live a happy life, and to help others do the same. She is very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this close-knit community, and excited to help St. Croix Montessori School grow and be all that it can be.