Classroom Guides

Teresa Strandquist

Primary North Guide

Teresa grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. She received her BA in Theology, with a minor in Music at the University of Dallas. She then became certified as a Montessori Primary Teacher through the American Montessori Society. While teaching in Montessori schools, she discovered, at a deep level, the value of child-centered learning and educating the whole child, and was led to complete a Masters of Education with an emphasis in children’s literature at Penn State University. In her free time, Teresa enjoys playing the piano, spending time outdoors, and playing with her two little girls.

Rhonda Campbell

After School Directress

Rhonda Campbell is a homeschooling mother of four.  She taught at her first Montessori school in 1986.  Rhonda has over 16 years experience with both adults and children in Montessori environments. She started her Montessori training in Knoxville and will be continuing her education in Nashville. Rhonda has been a guest lecturer at ASPU on the Montessori method. Rhonda has also worked as a private mentor and consultant for families establishing in-home Montessori environments. Rhonda hopes to instill a love of nature, science, and geography in each child.  Her goal is to help develop independent, self-directed individuals who have confidence and a passion for life long learning.

​Jaime Yeager

Head of School

Jaime obtained both a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Child Development as well as a M.Ed. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Montessori teaching credential from Montessori Educators International (MEI). Jaime has spent 15 years teaching and directing Montessori programs in both Tennessee and Arkansas. She is also the Executive Director of the Montessori Alliance of Tennessee, a statewide advocacy group for promoting authentic Montessori programs in Tennessee.

Brooke Borchers

Primary North Assistant

Brooke is a recent graduate of Austin Peay State University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is also a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society and the National Association of Social Workers. She has been exposed to Montessori for four years and has worked in the Montessori environment for three years, including aftercare and substituting in all classrooms. She is looking forward to being in the classroom full time while helping children reach their independence. Brooke also works part-time for Bethany Christian Services where she assists Clarksville families in the adoption process. She is thankful to work in two different fields at the same time, especially when her two passions are helping children hands on and finding their forever homes. In her free time she enjoys drinking coffee, watching sunsets, walking her dog, and spending quality time with her friends and family.

Courtney Hester

Toddler Guide

Courtney was a special needs facilitator and nanny for 12 years, leading her to return to school to study special education in 2003. She graduated from Austin Peay State University with both her Bachelor of Science in Special Education in 2005 and her Master’s degree in Instructional Technology in 2007. Courtney taught in the public school system for seven years, but has spent the last year looking for a new path. It is exciting to her to be starting a new chapter in her career as an educator. She is beginning her Montessori Infant-Toddler training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in June and is looking forward to teaching in a new and better way with Montessori. Courtney loves spending time with her son (Ivan), dogs and cats; photography; reading; and, cross-stitch.

Administrative Support

Leigh Anna Bowron

Elementary Guide

Leigh Bowron has spent her career in education and is very excited to begin the Montessori journey. She moved to Clarksville with her husband about three years ago, and together they have established a noisy, busy, fun-loving household with 4 kids, 2 dogs, and good friends and neighbors all around. Leigh loves making things, and especially enjoys the enthusiasm and ingenuity that young children bring to the process of learning. She attended Warren Wilson College and North Carolina State University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in English.

Julie Rullmann

Creative Arts Director

Julie graduated from Martin Methodist College with an AA in Liberal Arts, then following her adventurous spirit, she traveled to Anchorage, Alaska and received her BA in Humanities, Arts and Communication from Alaska Pacific University and then to Seattle, Washington for design courses at Cornish College of the Arts. Julie has worked as a professional in the Creative Arts field as a Graphic Designer and Creative Director for more than 20 years. She discovered her passion for children’s art education when she volunteered to teach art once a week in her son’s kindergarten class. She continued this practice until given the opportunity to teach art regularly at Pleasant View Montessori. Julie has also served as the choir director at Port Royal UMC and has been actively involved in Community Spirit Inc., a local Theatrical organization. Julie lives on her family’s century farm in Adams, TN with her husband and 3 children.

Brittany Lynch

Fitness Guide and Operations Manager 

Brittany guides our daily fitness classes and works in the front office where she is responsible for overseeing the daily management of the office and logistical operations of the school. Brittany is a graduate of Austin Peay State University with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She is also educated in the field of Exercise Science from the University at Buffalo which has given her a desire to teach health and fitness to children of all ages. She is delighted to bring her fun and enthusiastic approach to education and fitness to Amare. Brittany lives in Clarksville with her husband, John and two children, Declan and Lyla. She enjoys lifelong learning, running, dance, healthy cooking, music, family outings, and reading.

Andrea Ellison

Elementary Guide

Andrea is beginning her third year as an Elementary Montessori guide at Amare. She received her Montessori Elementary Certification (ages 6-12) through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sam Houston State University. Her love of travel and having lived in nine different states has instilled a deep desire to learn more, dig deeper and explore our world. This desire melds beautifully with the Montessori elementary philosophy to support autonomy, interest, competence, and relatedness to our world. Guiding the child in the development of their own internal motivation, while supporting the development of lifelong skills, is her focus for each child. Married, with two children, Andrea enjoys traveling, hiking, playing tennis, reading and spending time adventuring with her family.

Cathi Prather

MA Inc. Office Manager

Cathi works at Montessori Academy in Brentwood and is responsible for keeping student tuition accounts in order.

Enrichment Guides

Elizabeth Coleman

Spanish Guide/Drama Guide

Elizabeth is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and
Cinema & Media Arts. She has long been interested in the intersection of arts and
education, and is very excited to be exploring Montessori Education. She has found its
philosophy to be harmonious with her own personal creative beliefs, and is thrilled to be
teaching and learning from Amare’s children as they experience Montessori’s power
together for a second year. She looks forward to fostering a productive and peaceful
classroom, infused with joy and inventiveness. She will be teaching Spanish, co-
directing drama, and leading the elementary aftercare curriculum. In her spare time,
Elizabeth revels in reading, writing, and exploring new modes and mediums of self-
expression including acting, singing, directing, photography/filmmaking, and ceramics.

Alexis Beatty

Toddler Co-Guide

Alexis will be assisting Ms. Courtney in the toddler classroom. She graduated from
Austin Peay State University with a BS in English and a minor in Professional Education.
She has worked with children for over 10 years and has a deep love for teaching, but fell
in love with the Montessori philosophy over traditional education. She hopes to instill in
her own children and her students a life-long love of learning, independence, and a
peaceful disposition. She hopes to receive formal Montessori training in the near future.
She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two daughters. In her free
time she enjoys creating art, practicing yoga, reading, spending time outdoors, and
relaxing with her family.


Maria Thomas

Primary South Guide 

Maria is a military spouse with years of being a home educator to her own two children and within their homeschooling group. She completed her Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Training in 2017 at the Montessori Training Center of Brentwood, to be certified through the American Montessori Society.  She holds a Bachelors in Communication from the University of South Florida, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She has worked with children for over 10 years and believes in fostering a life long love of learning and curiosity. Maria is thrilled to be a part of our Amare community and wants each child to feel loved, encouraged and have a reverence for nature.

Dr. Jim Bernstorf

Executive Director

Jim serves as Executive Director of Montessori Academy, Inc. and as Head of School at Montessori Academy in Brentwood. As the CFO of the entire organization, he provides visionary oversight, leadership development, and strong strategic direction, supporting the organization's consistent achievement of its mission.


Faculty & Staff

Amare Montessori’s faculty and administration are committed to uncompromising standards of academic excellence, and to preparing students to be future leaders. 

Morgan Whightsil

Primary South Assistant​

​Morgan assists Ms. Maria in Primary South. She is originally from Vandalia, IL. Morgan recently relocated to Clarksville after completing her Elementary Education degree from Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. She was raised on what her mother referred to as a "toy farm" with lots of animals including sheep, chickens and horses. Along with her many animals, Morgan has two older brothers. Morgan enjoys sports and staying active. She strongly believes that trusted and clear communication between home and school is the best recipe for any student's success.