• 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 (some 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

Frances Fitzpatrick
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 Fitzpatrick
Elementary (Sequoia 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.

Juniper Dwight
Primary (Willow 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.

Rosa Hopkins
Toddler and Infant (Eucalyptus Class)
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 2004

Rosa has been guiding AMI Infant & Toddler classrooms for 12 years. During this time she has been honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with many Santa Barbara families in the care and guidance of children in the 0-3 age group. In addition to directing the daily curriculum of the SBMS AMI Infant/Toddler program, Rosa offers guidance and information to parents in the areas of pre and post-birth support, sleep, toileting, nutrition, Montessori In-Home Environments, and Parent/Infant Classes. Outside of her Montessori work Rosa loves ballet, baking, and poetry. She also enjoys adventuring and exploring the beautiful environs of California with her daughter, Kira, an SBMS Alumni.

Lyzkey Jimenez
Toddler and Infant (Eucalyptus Class)
› Early Childhood Education, Santa Barbara City College

An SBMS Primary level assistant teacher for two years, and 11 years as an Infant / Toddler level assistant, Lyzkey specializes in Infant / Toddler Spanish immersion. Lyzkey is planning to pursue AMI A to I training at MISD in 2016.

Born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Lyzkey moved with her family to Santa Barbara when she was 14. In addition to her ECE training she is also a certified Esthetician, enjoys exercising, spending quality time with family and friends and meeting people of different cultures.

Jim Fitzpatrick
› 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.

Support Staff

Elia Arispe

Cassie Catlett

Colin Fitzpatrick

Kelly Ruvalcaba

Administrative Team

Robert Davis
Business Manager

Lisa Schaeffer
Administrative Assistant


Aran Klingensmith
Head of School (HOS)
› Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD), 1998

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.”

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Santa Barbara Montessori School
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Celebrating our 42nd Year
“Quality Education Since 1975”
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