• Santa Barbara Montessori School’s 40th year begins with an updated version of head teachers and support staff dedicated to provide the best possible care, instruction, and guidance to each and every child enrolled in the school’s programs.

  • SBMS’s faculty and staff is a multi-generational blend of veteran teachers (some with more than 40 years of Montessori classroom experiences) and new (two of the support staff are finishing their AMI Teacher-Training), along with a younger group of teachers who have quietly accumulated a decade of directing children at SBMS.

  • Plus, SBMS’s AMI-Trained teachers are directly involved in mentoring the next generation of young teachers through the “student teacher” programs of the AMI Teacher Training Centers in San Diego, Minneapolis, Portland, Mountain View, Denver and Loyola Marymount in Maryland.

  • Additionally, SBMS’s faculty and staff regularly attend and participate at national AMI conferences and “refresher courses,” as well as other professional development workshops and classes.

AMI Montessori Teachers

Allwyn Fitzpatrick
Erdkinder (Magnolia Class—junior high, 7th – 9th grades)
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 2003

Allwyn has directed classrooms at the 6-9 and 9 – 12 year old levels, and now directs SBMS junior high—Erdkinder. Her interests and abilities include travel, the ‘outdoors,’ volleyball and other athletics, dance and performance arts—all shared with the students in the school’s programs as well as in SBMS’s After School Classes (ASC).

Frances Fitzpatrick
Upper Elementary (Sequoia Class)
› International Center for Montessori Studies, Bergamo, Italy 1972

Co-founder of SBMS, Frances has taught at nearly every level as both a head teacher and or assistant at SBMS. Teaching in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Whittier, before founding SBMS, Frances brings her talents and abilities to SBMS’s Sequoia Class each day. A talented artist and knitter, her interests include travel, golf, outdoor-ism, and anything involving her three grandsons.

Mishelle Ordosgoitia
Lower Elementary (Red Oak Class)
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 2015

Mishelle’s experiences with Montessori education began in 2008 at Countryside Montessori School in Chicago, where she assisted at the elementary level while developing a Spanish immersion program for the Primary and Elementary classrooms. In 2012 Mishelle joined the SBMS staff implementing a Spanish immersion program at every level. In 2013 she began the AMI teacher-training at MISD, and became the assistant teacher in SBMS’s Sequoia class. Her background includes international studies, which included business translations at the United Nations. She holds a M.A. degree from Old Dominion University, and is working toward another M.A. degree from Loyola University.

Margaret Barlow
Primary (Willow Class)
› Montessori Institute of West Los Angeles, 1980

Margaret has directed classrooms for more than 30 years, originally at SBMS, then at Alcuin School in Dallas, TX, and now again at SBMS. Her interests include the outdoors, and just about anything having to do with her horse, ‘Hearts’—the two of them have just made the transition from English to Western riding.

Juniper Dwight
Primary (Sycamore Class)
› Montessori Institute of Denver, 2003

Juniper began her teaching career at SBMS in the garden as a specialist teacher, and since completing her training has been a head teacher at the Primary level. Her interests include gardening, the outdoors, and arts and travel.

Cindi Kessel
Toddler (Eucalyptus Class)
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 2002

Cindi began SBMS’s first Toddler class in 2002, and then returned in 2011, eventually taking over as head teacher in 2012. Her interests include all things involving her first child, Fisher, born earlier this year. Cindi also directs SBMS’s “Montessori Beginnings,” the school’s program for young children and their parents.

Aran Klingensmith
Special Events—AMI-Teacher Training Program 
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 1998

Now in the second year of the “AMI-Training of Trainers Program” (Training adults to become Montessori teachers), Aran has taught at the Primary and Toddler levels, as well as running after school programs. Her interests include dance, the outdoors, theatrical productions, and “staging.”

Support Staff

Riki Berlin

Lyzkey Jimenez

Eva Hruzova

Thea Colton

Hana Shiga
(AMI Student Teacher—MISD 2015)

Kim Davis

Colin Fitzpatrick

Administrative Team

Robert Davis
Business Manager

Lisa Schaeffer
Administrative Assistant


Jim Fitzpatrick
Head of School (HOS)
› International Center for Montessori Studies, Bergamo, Italy 1972

Co-founder of SBMS, along with his wife, Frances, Jim was a classroom teacher at both elementary levels, and launched SBMS’s Erdkinder class 14 years ago. A founding board member of the AMI Affiliate Montessori Administrators Association (MAA), Jim works closely with Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and AMI-USA in the ongoing development of teacher-training programs, administrative development, and the globalization of AMI’s activities. His interests include the arts, video and film production, writing, and sports involving boards that are stood upon.

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Santa Barbara Montessori School
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Celebrating our 41st Year
“Quality Education Since 1975”
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