Our Staff

Our highly-trained staff is committed to upholding the standards and principles set forth by Dr. Maria Montessori and preserved by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

Emily Hayden, Founding Director 

Emily holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Franklin and Marshall College, an M.Div from Emory University, and an AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta.  Prior to pursuing a career in Montessori education, Emily directed a local after-school program and served as a resident volunteer at the Open Door Community here in Atlanta. Emily and her husband live in the West End with their two children.

KieAnna Jones, Primary Guide

KieAnna holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University, an M.Ed from Loyola University Maryland, and an AMI Primary Diploma from the International Montessori Training Institute. KieAnna previously worked as an assistant teacher at Preston Ridge Montessori School and as an instructor at Big Thinkers Science Exploration.

Danielle James, Primary Assistant

Danielle holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia, an M.Ed from Loyola University Maryland, and an AMI Primary Diploma from the International Montessori Training Institute. Whenever she is not at work, Danielle enjoys the outdoors, digging in her yard and hanging out with her family.

Sarah Sevier, Toddler Guide

Sarah holds a B.F.A. in Art Education from Georgia State University, an M.Ed from Loyola University Maryland, and an AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta. After working in NYC for four years as a primary guide, she recently returned to Georgia to be closer to family. She plays guitar and loves to incorporate music and art into the classroom. Sarah and her two sons are excited to join the Grow community.

Melissa Scott-Ticknor, Toddler Assistant

Melissa is currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology at Georgia Perimeter College. In 2008, Melissa participated in Mission Year–a year-long residential service program–in English Avenue during which she volunteered at the S.A.Y. Yes Center for Youth Development at New Life Covenant Church. Melissa and her husband live in Vine City with their two children.

Danielle Duckett, Infant Guide

Danielle holds a B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and worked for several years as a senior tax accountant. She later received her postpartum doula certification and worked as a doula and nanny. Danielle will begin the Infant and Toddler training course at the Montessori Teacher Education Institute in Atlanta this fall. An avid gardener, Danielle is also certified in permaculture design. She is a proud resident of the Sylvan Hills neighborhood in Southwest Atlanta.

Tara Blassingame, Infant Assistant

Tara is currently pursuing her B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and her Child Development Associate (CDA) from a local training program. She has worked in a number of early childcare centers in Atlanta, and she recently completed the United Way’s Early Learning Substitute Teacher Certification. Tara resides in the West End.