Kathy Jo Williams – Administrator
Kathy earned a BA in Elementary Education from St. Mary of the Woods College where she first encountered a Montessori preschool. She taught first grade at Palos West for several years and then took time off to raise her young sons. When it came time to send her oldest off to toddler class, she chose Southwest Suburban Montessori. She became involved as a parent and soon found herself back in the classroom. Her Montessori credentials in Early Childhood and Administration were both earned at Meca Seton Institute in Hinsdale. She first joined SWSM in 1980 and has been Administrator since 1991.
Kathy has completed graduate work at National Louis University where she also obtained her Illinois Director’s Credential. She is a field adviser for Montessori trainees from Seton Institute, acted for many years as a validator for NAEYC, was a board member at Intercultural Montessori in Oak Park, and a Professional Growth Adviser who has mentored students from MVCC, Trinity College and Seton Institute.
Melissa Fideli – Toddler Directress
Melissa holds a BA in Business Management from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. After working in the automotive industry for several years, Melissa moved from Michigan to Chicago. Here she and her husband are raising their two young sons who both attended SWSM.
Following her sons to school, she began working at SWSM in September of 2014 as an assistant in the East A.M. environment and became the Toddler Directress in the fall of 2016. Her American Montessori Credentials were earned at Seton Montessori Institute.
When asked what she loves best about working with children, Melissa is quick to reply their innocence and curiosity. She has yet to meet a child whom she instantly hasn’t fallen in love with.
Mary Lou Parsons – Preschool and Kindergarten Directress
Mary Lou has a BA from the University of Illinois in the History of Art, Architecture and Urban Planning with a minor in communication design and Italian. She has graduate work towards a Master’s Degree in Education from National Lewis University. Mary Lou began her Montessori career in 1988 at the Downers Grove Montessori in Westmont, Forest Park Montessori and Oakbrook Terrace Montessori. During this time, she completed her Montessori internship from Midwest Montessori Teachers Training Center in Evanston through DePaul University. She was the directress of a toddler program and a 3-6 environment, both of which were all day, twelve-month programs. Then in 1990, Mary Lou taught at Creative World Montessori in LaGrange. There she was the directress of a 3-6 full day program, taught extended day and led the summer camp program consecutively until 2000.
Mary Lou joined our staff in September 2000 and currently is the directress of the East environment and the PM Kindergarten Directress. She has been nominated numerous times for the Legacy Award that recognizes exceptional teachers and caregivers of young children and has volunteered in various capacities with the developmentally disabled for over 25 years.
Stacy Strzelczyk – Preschool Directress and Spanish Program
Stacy holds an Associate’s Degree in language arts from Joliet Junior College and studied elementary education at Governor’s State University. With SWSM since 2000, Stacy started out as an assistant in the Toddler Class for her first year and then assisted in the EAM and EPM classroom for the next 15 years. In 2014 she completed her 3-6 AMS certification through Seton Montessori Institute and became directress of the Toddler Program in 2015. The following year in 2016, Stacy took on the position of directress of the West morning class.
Stacy has also been teaching the Spanish program in the 3-to-6 year-old environment since 2015.
Sonoe Sullivan – Preschool and Kindergarten Directress
Sonoe earned her degree in English Literature from Yamanashi Eiwa College in Japan and worked as a tutor at KUMON in Japan. She received her Early Childhood Associate’s Degree from Moraine Valley Community College, where she also worked at The Learning Center. Upon joining the faculty in 2001, Sonoe worked as a classroom aide while completing her American Montessori Credentials. In 2003, she became the directress of the East afternoon environment. Since 2008, Sonoe has also been the AM Kindergarten Directress.
Amanda Morrison – Motor Skills Program
Amanda has a Associates Degree from Moraine Valley Community College in Early Education. After spending eight years as a stay-at-home mom, she opened her own licensed in-home daycare and also received certification in Yoga Teacher Training in 2015.
Amanda joined the staff in December 2015. She is an assistant in East morning environment and conducts the gym and yoga programs. When not working at SWSM, she teaches yoga classes and workshops at various studios and homes. In March 2016, Amanda completed her Children’s Yoga Teacher Training through Rainbow Kids Yoga in Arizona. She is currently working on her 3-6 Montessori Credentials at Seton Montessori Institute.