Crescent Montessori is lead by a volunteer board of directors and a committed group of primary parents. Roles and jobs are completed by this caring and dedicated Montessori volunteers.
Primary Program Lead Teacher: Persy Kreider
Persy Kreider was born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. She discovered the Montessori Method while taking a Special Education class in college. After graduating, Persy moved to Maitland, Florida, where she started working as a Montessori teacher’s assistant. When she first entered the classroom, her attention was caught by the children working independently, deeply engaged in their work, and the beautiful materials throughout her surroundings. She was fascinated by how the prepared environment allowed the children to move freely to explore and work with the materials of their choice. Immediately, Persy fell in love with the Montessori Method and knew that this was her passion. She has worked as a toddler and primary teacher in Florida, Utah, and now California. In addition, she has home-schooled her children using the Montessori Philosophy. She comes to Crescent Montessori with 16 years of experience and is proud to be joining the community. In her spare time, Persy enjoys taking walks in nature with her two daughters.
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, B.S Psychology
National Center for Montessori Education
It is my goal to create a classroom environment that accommodates the needs of every child. It is my belief that every child deserves to be treated with love and respect. Daily I feel great gratitude for having found my calling.
Faculty Emeritus & Founder, Director & Board Member: Karin Neihoff
Karin Niehoff founded Crescent Montessori School in 1994. Formerly a teacher at Vintage Country Day School, which closed in 1994, Karin carried on the Montessori tradition at the Pre-School level for 12 years before opening the school to Elementary classes in 2006 and to a Middle School class in 2014.
Montessori trained at all levels from pre-school through adolescent, Karin continued in the dual role of Teaching Head of School until her retirement at age 70. Today the school continues her legacy of an authentic Montessori pre-school class in its original location at the Sonoma Community Center.
Gaining non-profit status for the school in 2010 and successfully guiding the process for being awarded full WASC accreditation status for the upper grades in 2011 and again in 2017 count as her professional accomplishments. She brought memorable creative programs like Art In The Garden, Roots of Empathy, Spring and Holiday shows, Orff Music Performances and Culinary Arts to the school to enhance the students active learning while engaging the community of families. The blessing of a wonderful and productive career that spanned 44 years in the Montessori classroom surrounded by curious, happy learners, inspires Karin to continue on the learning path at Art Farm Sonoma where she continues to learn, paint and be surprised by the everyday work of art.
Faculty Emeritus: Pam Higi
Pam has 40 years of Montessori teaching experience, and taught at Crescent since it opened in 1994 through 2017.
Pam received an AMI Montessori Diploma in 1975 from the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles. She has been a Montessori Directress for the past 40 years, teaching in Southern California, Santa Rosa and at Crescent.
Pam walked into a Montessori classroom for the first time when she was 14 years old. She was babysitting for a family who were realizing their dream of opening a Montessori classroom in southern California. Pam spent that summer helping the family convert an old house into the beautiful three classroom Montessori school. There was a lot of work to do, including painting, sewing curtains and tending three children as the old house transformed into a school not so different from Crescent Montessori. This transformative experience introduced Pam to the discoveries of Maria Montessori, and she knew that becoming a Montessori Directress was the work she wanted to do.
Working with the families and staff of Crescent Montessori as we support children through an essential time in their development is an honor and joy. Crescent is a nurturing and supportive place to learn through discovering, which brings out the best in me, and all of us!
Board of Directors
Tim has been a Bay Area Technology Executive for the last 20 years. He currently works with Amazon Web Services. As President of the Board, Tim provides guidance on overall strategy and direction of the school. He became an advocate for the school when he saw the immediate positive effects it had on his youngest son.
His two boys attend Crescent Montessori School.
Casey Richter currently works for Teen Services Sonoma in the role of Program Director but previously served as Crescent Montessori School’s lower elementary lead teacher, and co-founded the middle school program at Crescent in 2013. She holds a Master’s in teaching from NYU and has several years of classroom teaching experience in traditional public schools and progressive charters in the East Bay. Both of Casey’s young sons have attended Crescent and she is committed to keeping a high-quality Montessori education available to the children of Sonoma for years to come.
Kinh is a mother of two boys at Crescent and is passionate about Montessori early education for the community. In 2017, she gathered the community of Primary Crescent families to create a family-run, alumni-supported school that continues today. Kinh owns a Pilates studio in Sonoma that specializes in 1:1 training for functional movement. She also serves on the Board of Sonoma Valley Education Fund for Public Schools.