Meet Our Pocatello Montessori Teachers and Staff

Pocatello Valley Montessori is passionate about Montessori preschool and elementary school. Our teachers are seen as educational guides; they are there to introduce children to learning opportunities. Then they stand back as the children pursue their passions. As the children grow in their education, the teachers continue to guide them, gently drawing them into new and progressively more challenging learning experiences. The teachers also supported by classroom assistants who help the children stay on track during the school day. They make sure that the materials are properly stocked each day, and help with special projects and works.

Our Pocatello Montessori Teachers

Our teachers send a regular email to parents of our students. It is the best way to stay informed about what your child is learning at school. Sign up for the newsletter in the form at the bottom of this page.

Primary Montessori Primary Guide (Ages 3 to 5): Shelley Schaguaard

Pocatello montessori preschool teacher Shelley Schaugaard
Shelley loves being a child’s first introduction to school.

Shelley is so excited to be a part of the Primary Classroom, which is a Montessori preschool and kindergarten program. She has almost 15 years of experience teaching and mentoring children in many different settings.  Most recently, she has been teaching preschool in her home.  She finds the excitement and enthusiasm that kids have for learning at this age such a joy to be a part of, and she loves to be able to provide a child’s first introduction to school in an atmosphere that feels safe, loving, and nurturing.

Shelley is affiliated with The North American Montessori Center and has a Bachelor’s degree from BYU. She and her husband, Chad, have four children ages 5 to 14 years-old. Sign up for Ms. Shelley’s newsletter.

Primary Montessori Primary Guide (Ages 3 to 5): Amy Holgate

Amy Holgate Primary teacher
Amy loves creating new Practical Life materials.

Amy came to Pocatello Valley Montessori school after spending several years working as a paraprofessional in the local schools. She became intrigued by the Montessori philosophy while attending education classes at Idaho State University. Coming into the Montessori classroom felt like “home” to her as she embraced the individual paced instruction. She loves creating practical life material which teach young children useful skills like buttoning, sweeping, pouring, and simple food preparation. In addition to fostering specific skills, Practical life materials are often the children’s first introduction to the classroom and help a child develop inner discipline, self-regulation, focus, and concentration. Amy is pursuing her American Montessori Society accreditation at the Montessori Institute at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. She and her husband have three daughters. Want to receive Ms. Amy’s newsletter? Sign up here.

Lower Elementary Montessori Guide (Ages 6 to 9): Sandra Morgan

Pocatello private Montessori Lower Elementary teacher Sandra Morgan
Sandra is passionate about Montessori.

Sandra grew up in Utah, but having lived in Chubbuck for the past 23 years, she is happy to call Idaho her home. She and her husband, Rich, have six children, all of whom have benefited from a Montessori education. Naturally loving and caring by nature, Sandra loves working with children and is passionate about the Montessori method as an approach to life and learning. She is affiliated with the North American Montessori Center, and is the qualified teacher of Pocatello Valley Montessori’s Lower Elementary program.

Outside of the classroom, Sandra’s favorite pastime is cheering on her children from the sidelines as they participate in sports and musical activities. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with family. Ms. Sandra’s newsletter is available here.

Pocatello Valley Montessori Staff

Head of School: Leslie Woodford

Pocatello private Montessori Head of School
Leslie loves Montessori’s hands-on approach.

Leslie Woodford fell in love with the Montessori method when she first toured a Montessori classroom in Savannah, Georgia. More than anything, she wanted her children to have a chance to experience the hands-on child driven education. When her children got wait-listed during the initial public school lottery, she submitted her own application to work at the school–she’d heard that staff member children got in automatically. She got hired, but it was after her children moved up the waiting list and got into the school. She worked at the school, while her youngest son attended the Montessori preschool and her older son was in a Lower Elementary classroom. She has a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Brigham Young University. She brings ten years of teaching and training experience to the position. Sign up for the PVMS Newsletter from Ms. Leslie.

School Spokesperson: Morgan Kirkham

Pocatello Valley Montessori spokesperson Morgan Kirkham
Morgan wants all children to have a great education.

Morgan is a Pocatello native and the mother of four. She has been passionate about the Montessori method since sending both of her oldest children to a Montessori preschool. She also considered it as a homeschool option for her oldest son. Because of the Kirkham’s positive experience with the Montessori curriculum, Morgan felt strongly about founding an elementary school for her kids to further their education through Montessori. She is excited to come together with the community and to provide a wholesome experience for other local families who are also educationally motivated.

Office Manager: Kathy Kirkham

Pocatello Valley Montessori office manager Kathy Kirkham
Kathy facilitates all facets of the school.

Kathy is the volunteer Office Manager for Pocatello Valley Montessori. For her full-time work she is the CFO for Commercial Real Estate Services of Pocatello where she manages the day-to-day financial affairs for some 80 commercial clients located in 32 properties in Southeast Idaho. Additionally she manages the finances for Contractor Sales Inc., and a number of other limited partnerships. She is a graduate in Business Management from BYU and has nine grandchildren, some of which are students of Pocatello Valley Montessori. Several of her grandchildren have attended Montessori preschools both in Pocatello, and other locations.

School Board Chairman: Rich Kirkham

Pocatello Valley Montessori chairman Rich Kirkham
Rich is civic minded and wants to provide excellent educational opportunities.

Rich is the President of Commercial Real Estate Services headquartered in Pocatello Idaho (Dale’s Inc). In 2002 he founded the successful The Academy Charter School in Pocatello, a Harbor School that has grown to serve nearly 500 children in the Pocatello-Chubbuck area.

Rich graduated from BYU in 1980 with a degree in Business Management and continued his Masters of Business studies at Idaho State University. He is a successful entrepreneur who owns and operates Commercial Real Estate Services, Contractor Sales, Dale’s Auto Supply, Meridell Park Events Center, and Dale’s Outdoor Advertising. Rich has served on a number of local boards including the Bannock Development Board, Valley Pride, The Chamber of Commerce, and the Idaho State University Symphony. A passionate Rotarian, Rich is the 2015-2016 President of the Pocatello Rotary Club.

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Whether you have a child at our school or not, there are many ways to stay connected to the school. Fill out the form below to receive regular updates on what we are doing.

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Learn more about our Montessori preschool program.