“Preparing Today’s Children to LEAP into Tomorrow’s Future”

Ms. Sheila Griffin

Ms. Sheila Griffin

Founder & Montessori Trained Primary & Elementary Teacher

Ms. Griffin is the Founder of LEAP International Montessori School and the Lead Elementary teacher.  She is also the Curriculum Coordinator and responsible for all happenings on campus.

She holds Association of Montessori Internationale Diplomas at both the Primary (ages 2.5-6) and Elementary (ages 6-12) levels, as well as a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in History and Philosophy from the University of Alaska Southeast.  She is also completing a Master’s in International Education.  She has taught nationally and internationally at both the Primary and Elementary levels.

Ms. Griffin is especially interested in Peace Education and has done extensive work with indigenous groups in North America.   Her background before she came to Montessori was in the museum world and outdoor education.

Ms. Griffin is a native of New Mexico and graduated from Sandia High School.  She also spent a significant amount of time in Alaska and considers it to be her second home.

When not in the classroom, Ms Griffin enjoys spending time with her precious four-legged daughter, “Henri”.  She is an avid traveler and lover of labyrinths and geometry gardens and visits them often.

Eloisa Austin, a.k.a Grandmama

Eloisa Austin, a.k.a Grandmama

Toddler Teacher Intern

Hello!  I was born and raised in New Mexico. I am a mother of 4, and grandmother of 5.  I have always taken an interest and been involved in my family’s education. I have worked with elementary and preschool toddlers for many years.  I love the fact that I have an opportunity to make a positive contribution and affect the lives of our future leaders. I have also worked in the healthcare industry for 35 years. I graduated from Pojoaque High School and continued with my education at Santa Fe Community College.

I have provided in-home child care for the past three years, for children ages 1 and 3 years old.  I am now thrilled to be working with toddlers at LEAP Montessori and it is so rewarding!  This is a quality environment that encourages and teaches children new skills and helps them form good foundational habits while they learn and develop skills for independence and improved motor skills.  Each child learns to function as an individual, at his or her pace, and the materials used to help them to develop and learn.  Montessori school allows the children to explore and to repeat concepts, using the materials.  This aids the student to acquire true understanding and concentration.  Children are given the freedom to explore and work as an individual. This also allows the child to grow and develop inner discipline and joy.

I can honestly say that this job is rewarding and the ability to make a difference in a child so that they become a happier and successful individual and improving the future generations is why I am so fortunate to be working at a Montessori School.

Ms. Henri Griffin

Ms. Henri Griffin

Sunshine Committee Chairpup

Hi!  My name is Henri Griffin and I am everyone’s favorite Reading Buddy in the Elementary classroom.  My job is to help make your day, make reading more fun, and give everyone someone to run with in the garden. 

 I am a poodle-terrier mix and have hair, rather than fur, so people are not normally allergic to me.  I enjoy treats, new toys & clothes, and lots of hugs! I am very friendly and loveable- and I especially love my friends in the classroom.  When I’m not needed, I can usually be found in my cuddler bed under my mom’s desk.

Mrs. Krystle Berry

Toddler Consultant

A devoted child care professional specializing in early childhood development with multiple certifications, including two diplomas from North American Montessori Center. Areas of expertise include observation, individualized child support and ensuring that all student’s unique needs and goals are met. Krystle is a hardworking, motivated educator with strong communication and interpersonal skills to cultivate working relationships with the school and throughout the community.

Mrs. Nicole Robertson

Mrs. Nicole Robertson

Montessori School Business Consultant; Contributing Founder

Nicole Robertson is Co-Owner and Founder of Seville Bayside Montessori: a unique Montessori school in the heart of the prestigious Historical Downtown Pensacola that serves 33 children and their families. Mrs. Robertson is passionate about providing her students with a excellent Montessori education that also focuses on the entire child’s needs.

Mrs. Robertson also has a strong interest in start up schools. Her goal is to help bring enrichment to as many students and families possible through an authentic Montessori experience. She is thrilled to be a part of the LEAP family.

Ms. Betty Osoff- Hannagan

Ms. Betty Osoff- Hannagan

Head of School

Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan is one of the founders of LEAP International Montessori School.  Except for a few years traveling and living abroad, she is a life-long, proud resident of the Rio Grande Valley.  Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan is a graduate of Highland High School and New Mexico State University with a Bachelors in Business Administration/ Management.  She has started, owned, and operated several businesses and has extensive volunteer leadership experience. 

 Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan first learned about Montessori education while stationed in Italy with her former husband and since has supported several Montessori endeavors.  In addition to serving as our Head of School she is also a licensed real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Legacy.  She has been successfully helping people to buy and sell residential homes for the past 13 years.

 When in her spare time, she and her husband enjoy gardening.  She also sings in a choir, enjoys cooking, sewing, painting, playing with her elderly yet wise miniature poodle, and making Montessori materials.

Rebecca Despain

Rebecca Despain

Primary Intern

Ms. Becca has recently relocated to New Mexico from Billings Montana.  She is the mother of four children, two of whom have left the nest leaving two teenage boys at home.  She and her husband have been married for 25 years and are excited to be in the warmer climate, closer to family, and the chilis.

Ten years ago, Ms. Becca was introduced to the Montessori Method when she lived in Bozeman, Montana.  The school she was working for was making the transition over to Montessori and Ms. Becca found her passion.  With over 25 years of working in early childhood, the Montessori philosophy has become her focal point in education.  She received her certification in Montessori Primary from the Caspari Montessori Institute (PAMS) at the same time finishing up her MAED from Ashford University.  Ms. Becca has ten years of Montessori teaching experience.  She co-owned a school before moving, to the Rio Grande Valley.  The young child is definitely her favorite part of teaching.  “Help me to do it for myself!”

Ms. Minnie Hannagan

Ms. Minnie Hannagan

Sunshine Committee

Hi everyone! My name is Minnie Hannagan. I am a poodle-cocker spaniel mix and I love coming to school! I am very friendly and smart and love hugs. My job at school is to be a greeter for all new people coming in every day.

When I am not playing with my friends, I like to be in my mom’s office.

Ms. Shywanda Royal

Ms. Shywanda Royal

Common Core Curriculum Advisor

Ms. Shywanda Royal is a true gem and is proud to be the Common Core Curriculum advisor for LEAP. Ms. Royal has a background in traditional, secondary teaching as well as early childhood education and school administration as well as start-up business.

 Ms. Royal is originally from New Orleans, LA and is now enjoying Sacramento, CA by way of Juneau, AK.Ms. Royal received her bachelor’s degree in English from Dillard University and her Masters of Arts in Teaching in Secondary English from the University of Alaska Southeast. She holds state teacher certification in Alaska, Louisiana, California and (soon to be) New Mexico.

 Ms. Royal has over 13 years’ experience in education, serving in both administration and in the classroom. She has also served as a consultant and creative mind in literacy, classroom management, and curriculum alignment with AMI Montessori and Common Core for several Montessori teachers and other experiential educators.

 Along with her many professional talents, Ms. Royal is an exceptional culinary artist and enjoys volunteering for her church and spending time with her family. She is happy to be joining LEAP’s team and is looking forward to exploring New Mexico and working with the staff.

Ms. Kristi Lachlan

Ms. Kristi Lachlan

Montessori Administration Advisor

One of Kristi’s favorite books is Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  Little did she know that her life would mirror this adventure from the moment she began her Montessori journey almost 12 years ago thanks to her two wonderful children.  

 Seeking educational opportunities for her daughter which would respect the child for who she was instead of how old she was became the first step.

 A career rooted in arts management blossomed into a pursuit of providing educational excellence to children through Montessori programs and led her beyond a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Production & Management to add a Montessori 6-9 Teaching Diploma from NAMC, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from University of Alaska- Fairbanks/The Foraker Group, and will hit a new milestone with the achievement of a Masters in Education Administration during 2014 from University of the Southwest in Hobbs, NM.

 Kristi resides in Georgia with her family, but is excited to be an adviser and friend to LEAP Montessori.  Her leadership experiences include being the Administrative Director, Elementary/Middle School Guide and PAVE founding educator for ABC Montessori, Executive Director for Anchorage Montessori School, and currently, Executive Director of Marketing and Educational Quality/Curriculum for The Meliora School Group.