Patrick has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from UNC Chapel Hill, a Masters in Teaching from Western Carolina, a Graduate Certificate in School Leadership from Appalachian State, and he is Montessori Trained with Secondary I and II Licensure from the Cincinnati Montessori Teacher Education Program. Most recently, Patrick has served as an Assistant Principal in the WSFCS system.Patrick has extensive experience working in Montessori programs at the middle school level, and he is delighted to be returning to a Montessori setting after several years working in non-Montessori institutions. Patrick believes the Montessori approach provides the space for a student to develop a genuine appreciation for learning and the skills that will allow them to thrive in a variety of settings. The holistic nature of the method, the respect afforded to students, the development of invaluable skills along with acquisition of content, and the embrace of the natural world are just a small bit of what has continually brought me back to this as the most effective means of working with students.
Toddler Classroom Assistant
Rachel found Salem Montessori as a new mom bringing her then six-month old son to the school’s parent-infant class. She fell in love with the Montessori method for its deep respect for children and loving approach to the child’s emotional development. Rachel now has three children attending Salem Montessori. Rachel loves observing how the school has gently nurtured each child’s individual curiosity and creativity. Rachel says “Salem Montessori has provided an incredible foundation for my children and has given me long-lasting relationships with many families within our school’s community. I am thrilled to join this phenomenal teaching team and further deepen my connection to this special place.”
Rachel graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Art History. Rachel and her husband both grew up in Winston-Salem, and they love exploring the community with their children. Rachel enjoys cooking, get-togethers with her girlfriends, art-making and being outdoors with her children, and spending time in the mountains with her family.
Courtney Kotsionis Children’s House Classroom Assistant
Courtney is excited to be returning to North Carolina after living in Brooklyn, New York for over a decade. Most of her professional experience is grounded in photo editing, website management, and design. However, in 2017, she branched out and started working at Brooklyn Nature Days, a forest school in Prospect Park. At Brooklyn Nature Days, she discovered her love for teaching, the philosophy behind child-driven exploration, and social and emotional learning. Upon returning to Winston Salem, she wanted to build on this knowledge and experience. She had always been interested in learning more about Montessori philosophy and so she couldn’t be more excited to join the community at Salem Montessori. Courtney will be joining as a floater for the Children’s House, where her daughter will also be a student.
Courtney graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BFA in studio art. Courtney’s side passions are playing and writing music, painting, gardening, and interior design.
Children’s House Teaching Assistant
Laura started working at Salem Montessori in 2010, and after a brief two-year hiatus, returned to be a Toddler and Children’s House Assistant. After the birth of her two children she discovered the Montessori Method of education and enrolled her boys at Salem Montessori School. Inspired by their experiences, she joined the team as a Toddler Assistant Teacher. She spent six wonderful years and shared her love of gardening, outdoor explorations and art. Laura has a deep appreciation and respect for the natural learning process that occurs in the SMS classroom and is excited to be surrounded by such incredible children and families who love this school as much as she does!
You may see her around town or hiking with her husband and sons. Laura has an associates degree in Graphic Design with 15 years’ experience working in marketing and advertising.
Children’s House Classroom Assistant
I have always had an interest in children and education, which greatly increased when I had my own children. When they entered preschool, I subbed and eventually took on an assistant role in their school. As I have navigated parenthood, my natural parenting style seems to align with many Montessori principles. I have tried to foster independence in my children since they were very young. They learn many life skills through helping me with the cooking, cleaning, gardening, and other basic household activities. Once I was introduced to Montessori education, I knew it was a great fit for me and my family. I have several acquaintances and friends who have sent their children and/or have been teachers at Salem Montessori and have nothing but amazing reports of what an incredible place it is to be a part of. I met my husband, Eric, in Raleigh where I grew up. We moved to Winston-Salem in 2008 and eventually settled in Clemmons. I have three kids, Maverick 9, Lyla 8, and Maisie 4. The older two attend The Arts Based School downtown, and Maisie will attend Salem Montessori in the Fall.
We love to be outside whenever we can be. Hiking, swimming, bonfires, and trips to the Outer Banks are our favorite family activities. Personally, I love to cook, especially using ingredients from my garden. In my spare time I enjoy reading, listening to music and running with my dog Willa.
After a brief time away, Salem returned to SMS in January of 2019 with her twin boys. Salem began her teaching career at Salem Montessori School in 2009 as an assistant in 3-6. She was inspired to obtain her American Montessori Society certification in 2010. Salem worked at SMS for 3 years before pursuing her Masters in Education at Salem College. While working towards her Masters in 2013, Salem began teaching at Summit School as a Junior Kindergarten Assistant, and then as a Lead Kindergarten teacher for two years.
Salem enjoys spending most of her time outside with her husband, sons and dog. She takes great pleasure in gardening, visiting local markets, and connecting with others across our community. Salem is grateful for the opportunity to be an SMS teacher and parent, and for the privilege to share the Montessori philosophy with our community. Salem graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in International Studies.
Emy Watson Knight fell in love with Montessori in 2002 on a visit to Salem Montessori with her mother. Emy writes, “I am excited to join the Salem Montessori School community! I feel as though I’ve come full circle as an educator. At the time, my mother was an Elder at Home Moravian Church and asked me to accompany her to observe a small school that was interested in renting space at the church. This school was Salem Montessori. Little did I know that this observation would have such a huge impact on my life. Within a month I enrolled in the Center for Montessori Teacher Education Program in Raleigh with a newfound purpose.”
Emy spent several years as a Children’s House teacher before going on to Barry University and earning a Master’s degree and certification for lower and upper elementary which encompasses grades one through six. She taught for 12 years in Montessori classrooms in Florida and North Carolina at a variety of grade levels. She moved back to Winston Salem in 2015 and taught at Summit as a first-grade assistant and for the last three years as a Kindergarten teacher. She also has been trained in Orton Gillingham at the Associate Level. Emy is a native of Winston-Salem. She is an alum of Summit and Reynolds High School. She grew up attending Home Moravian Church. She received a BA in Environmental Education from Prescott College. Emy has two sons and they both have attended Montessori programs. Emy enjoys camping, spending time in the mountains and horseback riding.