“Preparing Today’s Children to LEAP into Tomorrow’s Future”
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Hello! My name is Barbara Kissinger and I am from small town in Florida, called, “Christmas”. I grew up
in a religious family, on a small farm, where I used to teach children how to ride, care for, and train
horses. My favorite color is purple and I love to roller blade. I like to listen to all kinds of music and sing.
I am a calm down-to- earth, loving, caring, and patient “people person”.
I have 2 children; my son is 18 years old and my daughter is 3 years old (who loves her new school here!)
and they are my everything. I love children and animals of all kinds. I love working with children of all
ages; we can learn from each other. It is rewarding when you see a child become excited after they learn
a new skill or gain a new accomplishment.
I started my path in teaching by attended college in Orlando, Florida to become a preschool teacher. As
I have learned more about the Montessori Method and culture at LEAP, I now see how children can be
more appreciated for who they are- as individuals, rather than becoming “lost in a crowd” or simply
ignored. I also really appreciate that there is so much more room to grow in Montessori than in with the
public schools and that Montessori is more organized- it just makes sense and is far more inviting to the
children, than simply rote academics and test taking. I love that Montessori is more interested in
actually offering children an education rather than just passing tests, and it does so in a more natural
way. I truly believe that Montessori is for all children and all ways of learning; the public school simply
isn’t like this. I also can’t help but appreciate that the teachers here (at LEAP and in Montessori schools
as a whole) care far more about their students than most other schools that I have seen. I have
witnessed this personally, with my own son, daughter, and now with the other students at school. I love
being here! I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be caring for and working with your
Ms. Minnie Hannagan
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
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.
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.