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About Our School

As a unique hybrid of indoor and outdoor learning environments, we support the natural curiosity of children through interactions with nature.  Children are then able to further explore their curiosity through hands on experiences with Montessori materials in our indoor environment. 

We serve 6-12 year olds in two learning communities, one for 6-9 year olds and thee other for 9-12 year olds with learning opportunities offered for all four seasons of the year.   

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Our Teacher Leaders

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Josh Shanklin

Founding Teacher Leader and Elementary Guide

Josh is a 12 year veteran Montessori elementary teacher who has worked in both public and private Montessori schools.  He has also worked for 8 years helping others become Montessori teachers at Xavier University and most recently with the American Montessori Society.  Josh and his wife have three daughters, all of whom have grown up, “Montessori.”  One of Josh’s first jobs was as a summer camp counselor.  Throughout his teaching career he has often wondered how to have school feel more like summer camp.  He is excited to pursue his love of nature and Montessori in this new endeavor.  

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Jason Waters

Founding Teacher Leader and Elementary Guide

Jason is an avid outdoorsman and dedicated Montessori  educator. He began his calling at Xavier Montessori where he also earned his certification in Elementary I and II.  Jason was born and raised in Cincinnati and is now raising his two sons here as well. When not in the classroom, Jason enjoys hiking with his family and friends all around Ohio and beyond, collecting and reading books, and good coffee. Founding Azalea Montessori Elementary has meant combining his love of nature with his passion for Montessori education. Observing the way children and nature interact has been an inspiring experience.

Our Staff

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Michelle Geter

LeadElementary Guide

Michelle has been a Montessori educator for the past 10 years. Her career has consisted of one year in a 3-6 classroom, six years in a 6-9 classroom, and three years in a 9-12 classroom. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Montessori Education from Xavier University and received her certification for Montessori ages 6-9, and has completed courses for both the 3-6 and 9-12 certification programs. She is thrilled to be part of the Azalea community and to combine her love of nature with Montessori education. She will be with the elementary program in the morning and the primary program in the afternoon.

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Claire Swick

Lead Elementary Guide

Claire Swick is celebrating a decade of being a Montessori educator as she joins us at Azalea. She is trained as an Upper and Lower Elementary guide, but has spent most of her career with children ages 6-9. Claire has her Masters in Montessori Education from Xavier University and has been teaching as an adjunct professor in their program this year. She loves the outdoors and dedicates a week every summer to hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. You will also find her kayaking, climbing and trail running on the weekends. Claire’s passion for the outdoors and vocation as a Montessori educator has led her to our school.

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