Director and Lower Elementary Teacher                                                                   Joyce Downing

We are very excited to welcome back veteran Montessori teacher Joyce Downing to Alpine Montessori School! After receiving her certification in Lower Elementary from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York, Joyce began her career in 1989 at Jarrow Montessori in Boulder, Colorado. In time she and her husband, Jay, moved to Alpine and Joyce began working at our school in 1993, developing our very first elementary curriculum and classroom. She then went on to help establish two other child care centers, Learning Tree and the Sul Ross Day Care Center. Joyce spent many years teaching for Alpine Independent School District, in the 1st, 7th and high school grades. She holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and is certified to teach reading, writing, social studies, and communication. She is also a skilled theatre instructor. In 2013, the school district honored Joyce as Teacher of the Year. Joyce resigned from AISD in the Spring of 2017 and we wasted no time luring her back to the Montessori elementary classroom to co-teach in the lower el class with Ms. Irene. Her expertise in education, and Montessori in particular, is second only to her kindness and patience. We feel very fortunate to have her!


Amelie Urbanczyk 

Amelie Urbanczyk





Amelie has been with the Montessori school since enrolling her oldest son in the primary class in 2007, first as an involved parent and volunteer, then joining the staff in 2009. She can't say enough about the positive influence the school has had on their whole education. She says "Montessori establishes a love for learning early on — and that, to me, is priceless."


Upper Elementary Teacher
Amy Ellis
  Amy began her path at Alpine Montessori as a volunteer in the school's library. The school quickly recognized her prowess in organization and hired her as the office assistant in 2012. After witnessing first-hand the benefits of the Montessori method in both her own child and the student population at AMS she decided come on board full time by applying for a position in the elementary classroom. She is certified for both lower elementary (ages 6-9) and upper elementary (ages 9-12). Amy enjoys helping the children to explore their areas of interest and expand their powers of observation — especially in the outdoor environment. 

Lower Elementary and Primary Teacher
Irene Curry

  Irene has worked with Alpine Montessori since 2011. She began her work with us assisting in the primary and covering after-school care. She quickly picked up on the language and philosophy of Montessori. She is certified for the lower elementary (ages 6-9), and is continuing to expand her knowledge base with further studies. Irene is currently seeking Montessori primary training in order to enhance her understanding of lower elementary curriculum. She will be spending the 2017-18 school year teaching in both classrooms. She enjoys observing children in their natural, inquisitive state and looks forward to guiding them through their explorations.

Primary Teacher
Rhea Thomas

Rhea's Montessori journey began in 1998 when she enrolled her then three-year-old daughter, Makenzie, at Alpine Montessori School. She fell in love with the school! When her 2nd child, Owen, turned three in 2003, she signed on as an aide at the school and soon knew she wanted to become certified. She trained with fellow primary teacher Kristy Webb and they both became certified in the Fall of 2003 through North American Montessori Center. She served as an assistant and then co-lead teacher in the Alpine primary classroom until leaving the school to pursue other ventures in 2007. She was very happy in 2013 to come back to her roots, back to Alpine Montessori, a community she holds so dear to her heart. 

Primary/Elementary Teacher Emeritus
Susan Wright
Susan Wright

Before her retirement in 2016, Susan was a long-standing and very versatile teacher at AMS, having joined our staff in 2000. She began her Montessori career over 30 years ago when she began to assist at her young son's school in Hawaii. There she received extensive training and then moved to Tuscon, Arizona where she continued to teach the 3-6 age group. Though her experience was vast, it wasn't until she relocated to Alpine that she began studying for her Montessori certification, opting to broaden her credentials in the elementary curriculum. Susan taught in both primary and elementary classes and was considered an excellent instructor in reading skills. In honor of her years of service to the school, the Susan B. Wright Library was dedicated to this kind and gentle soul at the graduation ceremony in May 2016.